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To help fulfill our mission to create economic opportunities so people have better lives, Upwork is investing a lot of thought into where our community is headed and how best to support the vibrant professionals working on our site.

Upwork Is a Place for Skilled Professionals

First and foremost, we are obsessed with creating a place where professional freelancers can succeed—skilled business owners who:

  • Invest time in marketing their services on Upwork, starting with a polished profile
  • Are selective about the projects and clients they choose, only submitting proposals for job posts they’re qualified for and are serious about winning
  • Understand how to communicate and collaborate effectively with their clients

We also understand that even the best can find it difficult to truly stand out. That’s why over the coming year, our team is prioritizing efforts that encourage higher quality projects and client relationships. I’d like to share what we’re going to do to emphasize quality.

It Starts With Freelancers Who Clients Can Trust

Trust is integral to an online marketplace like Upwork. That’s why we recognize freelancers and agencies that are committed to delivering results that are consistently high quality and impactful to their clients. The most successful have a Top Rated badge, a status earned by building an impressive reputation among clients on Upwork. Those who are newer to Upwork may have a Rising Talent badge, given to those who’ve demonstrated early success with their first clients on the platform.

Over the coming year, we’ll implement additional programs to help these businesses stand out to top clients, strengthen their competitive edge, and increase their odds of winning their preferred projects. Some of these new programs include:

  • Identity Verified badge. An Identity Verified badge is a recognizable mark that can help freelancers establish trust more quickly with potential clients. It’s a signal that allows potential clients to be confident that you are who you say you are. We’ve already started to test this badge with a small group. As we review, refine, and iterate on this program, it will eventually be available to more freelancers.
  • Potential discounts and incentives. Featured Jobs are projects that are highlighted with a banner displayed at the top of search results and also more broadly promoted to Top Rated and Rising Talent freelancers, who pay a reduced fee for these projects. This month, we will be expanding client access to this type of job post, which will put more leads from serious clients in front of proven freelancers.
  • Stronger visibility for agencies. Agencies can be particularly well-positioned to take on complex, large-scale projects. We’re evaluating ways to help clients more easily identify projects best suited to agencies, then quickly identify agencies with the expertise needed to complete them.

Building on Success Requires Effective Tools

We want top freelancers and agencies to be recognizable at a glance—but that’s just a starting point.

When you’re pitching for new projects, you want your work and expertise to rise above the competition. And the reality? So do potential clients. Faced with numerous proposals to consider and shortlist, they want to quickly identify the talent that’s most likely to be a great match.

Upwork is looking at better ways for freelancers and clients to make those connections. Here are a few features we’re adding to help narrow the competition:

  • Search results for design-related skills will be redesigned to feature the first portfolio image alongside other key details. A solid portfolio can help clinch new clients, so we want you to put your best work front and center.
  • Specialized profiles will soon be available to freelancers and agencies. These profiles are a way to emphasize niche expertise with tailored information, a focused portfolio, and the option to set a custom rate.
Upwork: Example search result of an agency member
Upwork: Example search result of an individual freelancer

A look at how design portfolios show up in search results.

We’re also innovating Upwork’s search capabilities so it will be easier for businesses to discover freelancers and agencies that specialize in the specific style and skill set their projects need.

Take Your Growing Business Anywhere and Everywhere

We’re improving Upwork’s apps so clients and freelancers can manage projects on the go. With work becoming increasingly mobile, we know the Upwork community needs more. We’re on a path toward becoming a fully mobile platform.

Upwork’s latest iOS app release—focused on meeting the needs of freelancers and agencies—adds convenient access to important actions such as getting paid. The updated Android app is coming soon, with client access to both apps to be released later this year.

We’ll continue to consider innovative ways to help businesses get the support and information needed to make better decisions about leveraging freelance talent.

Elizabeth Tse
SVP, Operations

The post 2019: Focusing on Professional Freelancers on Upwork appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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