20 Ways to Fast Track Your Way to Top Rated on Upwork

Donald Ngonyo
2:24 pm
July 26, 2023
person using MacBook Pro

Upwork has emerged as one of the leading freelancing platforms. It is a marketplace where freelancers can showcase their skills and connect with clients worldwide. Attaining the top-rated status as a freelancer on Upwork has several benefits. Some outstanding benefits include better visibility, higher earnings, and more opportunities for high-quality projects.

If you are looking for ways to fast-track your journey to becoming a top-rated freelancer, I have outlined several strategies to help you. Without much ado, let us dive in and discuss how you can attain top-rated status faster.

1.     Define Your Niche

Becoming a top-rated freelancer means that you stand out in your work. Therefore, start by identifying your expertise and honing your skills in that niche. Specializing in a specific field will make you stand out and attract clients looking for specialized talent. This is the first hack to accelerate your journey to top-rated status.

2.     Optimize Your Profile

After choosing a niche, the second step is ensuring that you optimize your profile to show your specialization. Create a professional and complete profile that highlights your skills, experience, and previous work. Use relevant keywords to optimize your profile for search results and increase your chances of being discovered by potential clients. Always make sure that your profile is filled 100% to fast-track your advancement to top-rated status.

3.     Showcase Your Portfolio

After optimizing your Upwork profile, the next step is to have an impressive portfolio. For example, if you are a freelance writer, you can create several written samples that you can show customers when applying for projects. You can also publish articles on platforms like LinkedIn, Hub Pages, and other online platforms. Remember to build an impressive portfolio showcasing your best work. Include samples that demonstrate your skills and expertise in your niche. This will give you an upper hand whenever applying for projects.

4.     Craft a Compelling Proposal

When applying for projects, tailor your proposals to each client’s requirements. The proposal is important because it is an opportunity to demonstrate to the client that you can handle the project. Therefore, show that you understand their needs and explain how your skills and experience make you the best fit for the job. With custom proposals, you will easily win projects and accelerate your journey to becoming a top-rated freelancer.

5.     Maintain a High Response Rate

Be fast and responsive when invited for projects, interviews, or when your customers clarify something about the project. Timely communication is crucial on Upwork. Aim to respond to client messages promptly to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment. When you communicate effectively, you will earn customer confidence, giving more projects and referrals, allowing you to expand your business faster.

6.     Deliver Exceptional Work

A top-rated freelancer must consistently provide high-quality work and exceed client expectations. Therefore, delivering exceptional results will lead to positive reviews and increase your chances of securing repeat business. With more positive reviews, you will easily meet the minimum Job Success Score (JSS) required to become top-rated as a freelancer.

7.     Request Feedback

When you complete a project, encourage clients to leave feedback and testimonials on your profile. Positive reviews and ratings play a significant role in attracting new clients. Always be professional and meet the quality requirements of each project, guaranteeing positive reviews that will enhance your chances of becoming top-rated.

8.     Set Competitive Rates

Always research the market rates for your services and set your rates accordingly. Initially, you may need to be flexible to build your reputation, but gradually increase your rates as you gain more experience and positive reviews. This is important to get the minimum earnings required to become a top-rated freelancer. Avoid underpricing your services to win customers. Always price your services competitively based on the value you offer customers.

9.     Upskill Continuously

The freelancing space is evolving rapidly, particularly as technology advances. Therefore, you must stay updated with your field’s latest trends and technologies. Invest in professional development by taking relevant courses or obtaining certifications to enhance your skills. Do not be satisfied with a normal level where you can make ends meet. Always commit to continuous learning and advance your skills.

10.  Network and Collaborate

Network with other freelancers to understand the recent trends and development in Upwork. This is important to ensure you get collaborators and connections to help advance your journey to top-rated. Engage with other freelancers on Upwork and build connections within your industry. Collaborating with other talented professionals can lead to new opportunities and referrals.

11.  Be Proactive

Upwork has thousands of jobs that are updated every minute. So, instead of waiting for clients to approach you, actively search for relevant job postings and submit proposals. Take the initiative to pitch your skills and expertise to potential clients. This is a sure way of ensuring you get noticed and hired on the right projects. The competition on Upwork is relatively high, so you must be committed to ensuring that you proactively apply for projects.

12.  Offer Exceptional Customer Service

Customer service is important for anyone who aims to grow their business. As a freelancer, you always deal with customers with thousands of options. So, provide excellent customer service by being responsive, attentive, and proactive. Address client concerns promptly and go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction. Do not ignore customer messages; give them an unforgettable experience whenever they hire you.

13.  Meet Deadlines

The next strategy to accelerate your journey to top-rated status is keeping time. Consistently deliver your work on time or even before the agreed-upon deadline. Reliability and punctuality are highly valued qualities at Upwork. As you deliver projects on time, your JSS will increase, and customers will be more satisfied.

14.  Diversify Your Client Base

When you start on Upwork, you must avoid relying on a single or few clients. Always be on the lookout for new projects and customers who are ready to pay you better. By avoiding relying on a single client or project, you will easily get a consistent flow of projects that will keep you active. Aim to diversify your client portfolio to mitigate risks and maintain a steady workflow.

15.  Take Advantage of Upwork Tests

Upwork offers a variety of skill tests that can validate your expertise and enhance your credibility. So, take relevant tests to showcase your skills and improve your chances of securing projects. As you get more skill validations from Upwork and other accredited platforms, you will easily convince customers to hire you. This strategy will enhance your marketability and accelerate your journey to top-rated status.

16.  Leverage Client Referrals

As stated earlier, ensure that each customer you work with is satisfied with your work. Satisfied clients are more likely to refer you to their connections. Provide exceptional service to encourage referrals and ask clients if they know anyone who might benefit from your services.

17.  Continuously Improve Your Profile

After settling on a niche, you should not stop there. Regularly update your profile to reflect your most recent work, skills, and accomplishments. A well-maintained and up-to-date profile conveys professionalism and competence. This is important to accelerate you path to becoming top-rated.

18.  Seek Long-Term Projects

Always seek long-term commitment to gain consistent workflow and meet the required earnings, projects, and JSS to become top-rated. Long-term projects provide stability and consistent income. Look for clients who require ongoing work and build strong relationships with them.

19.  Be Flexible and Adaptable

The freelance landscape is dynamic, and client requirements may change. Be open to learning new skills or adapting your expertise to meet evolving client needs.

20.  Be Persistent and Patient

The final aspect is advice I would want you to keep. Growth comes when you are consistent with your objectives as a freelancer. Becoming a top-rated freelancer on Upwork takes time and effort. Stay persistent, continue refining your skills, and be patient. Consistency and perseverance will eventually pay off.


Becoming a top-rated freelancer on Upwork requires skill, dedication, and strategic planning. By following these 20 strategies, you can fast-track your way to top-rated status and unlock new opportunities for success on the platform.

Always consistently provide exceptional work, build strong client relationships, and adapt to changing market demands. With the right mindset and a proactive approach, you can achieve your goals and thrive as a top-rated freelancer on Upwork.

© 2024 Donald Ngonyo. All rights reserved.