Bidding and Not Getting Clients? Find out Why

Bidding and not finding clients cover

Do you ever feel like nothing you do matters? Like leaving footprints on the beach and tomorrow they’re gone? Well, I understand the feeling. This happens to freelancers when they are bidding and not getting clients.

Welcome on board, congratulations you are now part of Upwork; these statements bring out joyous moments when you are finally accepted on a job board or a freelancing website.

However, joining is not enough – the real deal is bidding. After creating an account, you need to get clients. In as much as the boards provide infrastructure, landing a client is your job.

I have worked really hard to start landing clients not just clients, high paying clients. Freelancing has been congested by freelancers both experienced and non-experienced and therefore, it is a tussle for the available jobs. A one job for many kind of situation.

What drives me to success?

I am obsessed with a bible verse that states, seek and you’ll find, ask and it shall be given then knock and the door shall be opened. This is the verse that drives me.

It is never a surety that when you submit a bid or proposal, you will get a client. Therefore, you need to be proactive.

bidding and not getting clients - my personal drive

Being a proactive freelancer means that you don’t sit behind your PC waiting for someone to view your LinkedIn profile and send you an invitation to a job. You don’t just stare at your Upwork job feeds and wait for a heaven-sent client to knock on your message box.

It won’t happen, it will never happen, trust me you will fail.

What is my strategy when bidding

Bidding and not getting clients problem does not affect the newbies alone. Even experienced freelancers sometimes face the same problem. I was once there.

When I learned about cold pitching, I was told that I will be better placed to land one or two clients out of 50-100 pitches.

That was a huge number for me. I almost considered it personal slavery.

I was like, what!! a hundred unique pitches for one job??

I came up with a strategy, set my own values and said that I will be working on ratios. My ratio was 5:1.

bidding and not getting clients - bidding strategy

It is considered a decent ratio to win one out of every five proposals you send out. I realized that if I can win one job out of five applications I send, I can improve my success rate for the bidding process. 

The ratio is very tight compared to 100:1 but I like it that way. It drives me to craft high-quality pitches and samples for a specific job post. You can do it, just set your preferences.

Your success rate in winning bids can represent a massive jump in profits. You will not only be winning quality jobs with good pay but also there will be less wasted effort.

Remember, a 10% success in winning bids translates to some good bucks in your account. Time is money, and you need to get to the apex of the technique.

Why are you not getting clients when bidding for jobs?

If you’re not getting a job, know that there is a problem. After tirelessly working on your profile until it’s accepted, you should be getting clients.

I not only use the 5:1 ratio on pitches but also on Upwork and other bidding sites.

Do you know why you are not being hired? It is evident that novice freelancers make common mistakes.

You keep on getting the dreary message on Upwork: your application to job … has been rejected. This message is disappointing because you are not going to get any buck until a client hires you. 

Such trends will not only affect your wallet but self-confidence too.

You’ve got to do things right.

So, let’s keep it Upwork and have a look at the reasons why you are not landing online jobs.

1. Stench Proposals

It sucks to keep on getting rejected messages, right?

Maybe you haven’t realized it but the truth is proposals that are not attention-grabbing will not sell you as a brand. 

If you want to win more jobs the trick is simple, work on the life-line of your proposals.

bidding and not getting clients - cover letter

Many have said it and I will say it, addressing a client by his/her name will make them know that you have read about them.

Most clients do not like being referred to as the hiring manager. I will, in fact, tell you that using the term hiring manager is an old fashion of saluting a client.

Scroll down the client’s profile and get to see the feedback given by other freelancers. Their names might have been mentioned by one. If you can’t locate it, “Dear Client” is a better alternative. 

Since the client is bound to receive numerous proposals, show them that you are excited and enthusiastic about the job.

Have a proposal with a punch!

2. Unappealing Profile 

When pitching clients, that’s business. This implies that every aspect must be professional. You have to list your qualifications and experience until your profile reads 100% complete. 

I often refer to incomplete profiles as resumes with no references.

bidding and not getting clients - profile completeness

No one wants to indulge in freelancing with a person of questionable professionalism. Having a profile reading 70% or uploading a picture with a bikini in the sandy beaches doesn’t command any competency. 

Your profile should put you above the par from other freelancers. 

Tip: Don’t make the glaring mistake of a miss-match about the title displayed on your profile. Being a jack of all trades and a master of none will kick you out of the hiring zone. A combination of a web-designer, content creator, transcriptionist, and accountant makes you look more confused. 

Here is a guide on how you should set up your profile.

3. You Don’t Bid Regularly

The trick to getting clients on job boards and freelance sites is regular bidding.

It will be a miracle if you will get a client when all you do is pitch once a week, bi-weekly, or even stare at your job section perusing on available jobs.

You have to play your role, bid like the world is ending tomorrow.

I like what Walter Akolo said the other day, don’t tolerate white spots in your calendar.

4. Avoid Jobs with Many Applicants

It serves no miracle to pen down a proposal on Upwork after you have seen you are the 50th applicant. Few clients have the time to peruse through all the numerous bids. A good fit can be found on the first to the tenth applicant.

bidding and not getting clients - overcrowded jobs

It will be unwise to apply to a job that was posted one month ago. Imagine the emails that the client received for the same job in thirty days. I don’t think he will have a look at your application.

Make a habit of applying to a job post in the first ten minutes.

Do not be discouraged from applying to it one hour later though the secret remains, the early bird catches the worm.

5. Have References

A testimonial is an important aspect when a client is making a hiring decision. However, this is out of control when you are a newbie.

If you don’t have samples then start preparing some today. They are very useful because they can act as references in your applications and land you a client.

 getting clients testimonials - references

Alternatively, you can ask other people you worked for before to leave a testimonial for you. It doesn’t matter if the fields are different, a general statement of you being dependable and highly organized will be of significant impact.


Have you realized how you have been straying? If you have been bidding and not getting clients, take action right away. Success depends mainly on your input. You can read as much from the different blogs available and online resources. But, the keynote is you must tweak and experiment to get the results.

Ooopps, almost forgetting. For you to make it freelancing, you need to adapt the best freelancing habits in the industry otherwise things will not go according to plans.

If you are on Upwork, try the best that you can to avoid these 5 mistakes when sending proposals.

Compiled by Lilian Anyango

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