Upwork: When Clients Invite You (Instead of You sending Proposals)

Upwork: When Clients Invite You (Instead of You sending Proposals)

When you’re passed the early phase, you’ll have more opportunities. Previously, the clients were filtering you. Now is the time you filter clients. Why? Because you have limited time and it’s important that you proceed with worthy clients. You want to work with clients where you’ve the opportunity to grow, earn and do important work.

Four Categories of Such Clients

Based on my experience, there are four different cases where the clients invite you. In all of these cases, the client (or Upwork specialist) has already seen your work history on your profile and he/she thinks that you might be a fit for this job.

Category 1 Clients

  1. The clients themselves will send you invitations to apply to their jobs. In such cases, the first thing I always check is how much money has the client spent? The second thing I check is the client’s rating. Both are usually highly correlated. It’s rare to see a client who has spent so much money yet has such a poor rating. For example, a client with $2M+ spending will likely have a 4.9+ rating out of 5. Freelancer’s want to work with great clients again and again, and they don’t want to burn the bridge by giving a low rating to such clients. And, vice-versa is also true. Clients with budgets and available work will want to work with the great freelancers again and again. In such cases, client-freelancer relationships go on for years.

If you’re the right person for that job, go ahead and send a serious proposal.

Mistake I Made

Early when I received an invitation from a client. I thought the client was inviting me. So, the client must have seen something special in me. And,  I sent a few lines of proposal which showed I was not serious.

Lesson I Learned

Even though the client himself/herself is inviting me, he/she’s inviting 10 other competitive freelancers as well. And, the client has seen something special in all ten of them. Yet, he’s going to hire only one. So, it’s important to show seriousness in your proposal. The clients can always feel when a proposal is serious enough and the freelancer is interested enough.

Category 2 Clients

2. In some cases, an Upwork specialist will contact freelancers on client’s behalf. In these cases, clients are mostly worth it even if they don’t have much spendings. The Upwork specialist is contacting freelancers because clients are on some paid plan which means the client is serious, he/she’s got the fundings and wants to get the work done. If the work is of interest to you, you should definitely send the proposal

Category 3 Clients

3. In some rare cases, Upwork itself is the client. I mean working with company Upwork whose CEO is Hayden Brown. I once had such an interview several months ago (in my expansion phase) yet didn’t get the job. The recruitment process had many phases.

Category 4 Clients

4. In some even rare cases, a big company wants to hire you as its own employee where the job likely will last for several years. I recently had an invitation to apply for such a client. But, I was not available to commit 40 hours per week for them.


Why do the early phase freelancers never receive an invite from a client let alone a worthy client? Because early phase freelancers are too much risk for the client when he/she has fundings to hire a more experienced freelancer. Note that, even when a client/specialist invites you, sending the proposal does not guarantee that you’ve won the job. Jobs like this will also have 10-15 proposals and all of those proposals would be invited/competitive. Yet, if you do win such a job (which eventually does happen), it’ll be worth it.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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