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How Freelancing is Like Dating (And Why Upwork Works a Bit Like Tinder)

freelance upwork Mar 14, 2024

I have a theory that freelancing is a lot like dating. Stick with me here!

There are lots of different ways to find potential long-term clients, short-term gigs, or quick projects. Just like there are many options for finding a committed partner, casual fling, or one-night stand.

Let’s break down the different “dating” strategies and how they compare to getting freelance clients:


Having friends and family set you up on blind dates is similar to getting client referrals. It’s word-of-mouth matchmaking! Just like when your second cousin introduces you to their sister’s brother because they think you’d be a perfect match.

Many freelancers build their business solely through referrals, and we all know it can be hit or miss.

Networking Events

Attending happy hours, meetups, and sporting events to mingle is like going to in-person networking and industry events. You’re putting yourself out there to introduce yourself to potential matches (or clients).

Social Media

Plastering “I’m single!” across your Instagram or Facebook feeds would probably come across as desperate, just like directly promoting your business on social media. It never feels great whether you’re looking for love, or your next client.

Keep your social media for your friends, family, and posting about your cat.

Online Dating Sites

This is where the theory really clicks. Sites like Tinder, OkCupid, eHarmony are the Upwork and Fiverr of dating!

They let you get very specific about what you’re looking for and filter for matches. Everyone on there is actively looking to hire or be hired (wink, wink). Expectations are clear from the start.

These sites also require some skin in the game. You pay a monthly fee to access the platform and connect with potential matches. Same as the monthly Upwork membership and paid connects.

You can communicate your interest quickly. Swipe right or apply to their job posting. And have low-commitment initial contact like a coffee date or quick video chat to see if it’s a fit.

So Why Treat Upwork Like Tinder?

Online dating sites give you:

  • Opportunity: A huge pool of prospects. More options and faster search versus waiting and hoping for referrals or meeting in person.
  • Clarity: Everyone knows what they’re looking for upfront. Saves you wasting time chatting with a potential client who isn’t a great match or can’t afford your rates.
  • Speed: Filters and algorithms match you with better prospects versus scattershot networking. 20 minutes a day can deliver a steady stream of qualified leads.
  • Low Risk: Upwork allows you to work on small projects together to see if it’s a good match in the long run, much like an easy first date with very little pressure to commit.

Think of Upwork as freelance matchmaking. Think like an entrepreneur or business owner who knows they need to pay to play to access quality prospects who are ready to hire.

Treat it like a helpful tool for making fast matches, so you can quickly find the ones you want and weed out the bad apples. Have fun with it and don’t take it too seriously! Success in dating or freelancing comes down to mindset and playing the numbers game.

Let me know if treating Upwork like online dating makes you rethink how you approach it!

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