Freelancers and workers in the gig economy are more dependent than ever on client reviews to influence peoples’ decisions to work with them. After years of freelancing on Upwork and now also running my own agency, I’m deeply aware of the impact good reviews can have on a business’ success. They can strengthen a freelancer’s credibility and steer their growth in the right direction.
I’ve completed over 100 freelance jobs on Upwork and gotten five-star reviews for nearly all of them. I’ve had a handful of less than perfect reviews (I’m human, after all) but have never received anything less than four stars. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful in ensuring a positive review.
1. Be straightforward and open from the beginning
Never overpromise. Instead, set realistic expectations of your work and be transparent about pricing, turnaround time and revisions. I usually set a fixed price based on the project so there are no surprises in the end. Clients know exactly what they’ll pay from day one. I also provide clients with a clear timeline of my process so they know when to expect first drafts and revisions.
2. Present your work in a professional way
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Whether it’s showcasing your work in a professional presentation or making sure your copy is proofread (more than once!), demonstrating care and consistency is key. Although a typo isn’t a huge deal, frequent errors and careless slipups can diminish the quality of your work.
In any partnership, communication is key. I keep clients updated on the status of their projects, alert them to any changes as soon as possible and get back to any questions within one business day. I also ask for feedback after each revision to make sure I’m on the same page as my client.
4. Guarantee your work
One thing that I think has set me apart on Upwork is my revision process. My mission is to work with clients until they’re happy, so I provide as many revisions as needed. I don’t rush them or force my ideas on them — the final choice is theirs. This may be more time-consuming for me, but it almost guarantees I’ll receive a positive review.
5. Be comprehensive
When someone comes to me for branding help, I take a comprehensive approach to their project. If they hire me for a naming project, I’ll give them a few options from different angles along with the rationale behind each idea. I specialize in pairing eye-catching names with mind-catching stories designed to create a connection with potential customers. I also do my best to find matching domain names when working on a project so clients don’t have to spend extra time and money on a domain name. This is also time-consuming, but it shows clients how invested I am in their projects.
6. Stay professional
Never argue with a client. If they’re unhappy with your work, that’s OK Try to see things from their perspective, explain the thinking and methodology behind your work and ask for specific direction so you can match their expectations next time. I love the quote “All of your talent is wasted without good attitude and work ethic.”
How to address a bad review
No one is immune to bad reviews, even if they follow all the steps I listed above. If I do get one, my first move is to respond to it. A negative review will stay negative forever if it’s never addressed, so I quickly craft a response. Typically, I reach out to the client to see if there’s anything I can do to fix the situation, and if I can, I do it at no additional charge.
Hopefully, this will encourage them to update their review. Then other potential Upwork clients will be able to see that I’ve successfully addressed and resolved a problem, which adds to my credibility.
After I submit the last milestone of a project, I make sure to message the client and ask if there’s anything else they need help with (part of my satisfaction guarantee!). I also thank them for their business and mention that I’m looking forward to receiving their feedback. Upwork prompts them to leave a review when the contract is complete, but this is a good way to remind them if they forget.