Upwork Connect is the virtual currency on Upwork used to submit proposals for jobs. It costs freelancers in the region of $0.16 (16 cents for each, depending on the volume you buy or get), and it’s used up as you bid for jobs on Upwork.
1. Upwork Welcome Bonus: The first and obvious way to get FREE Upwork connect is signing up for your account whereby you get When Upwork beginners create a new freelancer account on the platform, they obtain their initial 40 free connects (this may vary based on a number of factors, though), and subsequently, Upwork freelancers get 10 free connects monthly. Recently, jobs on Upwork seem to require more Connects. Hence, I advise new Upworkers not to apply for any job on Upwork until they have watched all the videos in my Upwork beginners playlist to ensure they don’t waste the free Upwork Connects before realizing how to do things right and having to buy Upwork Connects with their card. (If you are at the point where you’re trying to buy connects with cards but having issues, I made a video here on 10 virtual cards options you can use)
2. Through the RS Badge: Freelancers who earn the Rising Talent badge on Upwork are rewarded with an extra 30 Connects to further enhance their opportunities on Upwork.
To get a Rising Talent badge, Upwork states the following criteria: Complete projects on time and as promised to clients
Maintain a 100% complete profile with accurate skills and genuine work
Keep your availability status up-to-date
Regularly submit proposals to projects that match your skill set
Adhere to the Upwork Terms of Service
Have been active in the past 90 days or joined in the past 30 days
3. A blackhat method: This method does not exactly give you connect but helps to save connect. It’s a blackhat method some people use: if a job description contains the brand name or any hint, they research the brand outside of Upwork and find a means to contract them. That way, they apply for the job without spending any Upwork Connect and can work with the client outside of Upwork or share their Upwork line with the client to hire them straight up on Upwork.
Note, however, that it’s against Upwork’s TOS for organizations to post their contact details and for you to contact Upwork clients outside of Upwork prior to the commencement of the contract. Hence, this method works, but it is black-hat. Hence, it is not advised.
4. Minimize Boosted Proposals: To ensure a higher conversion rate without boosting your Upwork proposal with extra connections, focus on writing a convincing proposal that focuses on clients’ pain points. Then organize and present your samples, which best match the job you’re applying for. Note that I am not saying you should not use boosted proposals (as I personally do on some occasions). The point is, don’t waste your Upwork connects on boosting your proposal's visibility without first investing quality time to create a convincing proposal. If you simply copy and paste, the visibility you get for boosting your proposals wouldn’t convert to jobs and making money.
5. Upwork Reward: Upwork offers various opportunities to earn free connects as rewards. These include responding to clients' job interviews, attending Upwork events, and completing surveys provided by Upwork. These rewards are occasional but can provide a chance to obtain free connects. When such opportunities arise, Upwork typically sends out a coupon code. To redeem the code, freelancers can navigate to Settings > Membership & Connects > Buy More Connects and enter the code in the promo code box. This enables freelancers to access the free connects and utilize them for submitting proposals on the platform. When you submit a proposal, your connects are refunded when you receive an interview, and respond back.
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