Upwork Freelancer Made $1.6 Million Creating Pitch Decks

  • Evan Fisher is a freelancer at Upwork who creates launch pads for startups.
  • He has earned over $1.6 million since joining the job platform.
  • Fisher shared her tips on starting an independent business.

Behind almost every million-dollar startup, there is a cleverly crafted pitch that convinced venture capitalists to bet on a founder’s idea.

It takes a lot of work and revision to create a solid pitch deck, something that Evan Fisher knows well. The Atlanta freelancer specializes in designing presentation platforms, particularly for venture capital-backed startups. One of the common mistakes founders make is following a template too closely, he told Insider.

“Every business story is different,” Fisher said. “Venture capitalists love to give founders a roadmap to follow, but unfortunately, many founders take that as gospel and just fill in the blanks.”

Fisher, 34, wasn’t always a master slider. He was an investment banker for six years, went into consulting, and then lost his job in 2017. He needed to find work right away to continue supporting his family. Fisher came across Upwork, a platform that connects freelancers with companies looking to outsource tasks. He created a profile and started working as a marketer and consultant.

In total, Fisher has earned more than $1.6 million in payouts on Upwork, which Insider verified with documentation. Although he declined to name the startups he had worked with, some of his pitches have helped companies secure funding from major venture firms such as SoftBank, Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Management.

“One thing that has always amazed me is the caliber of clients you’ll get on Upwork,” Fisher said. “I’ve been in contact with people who are absolute superstars in their space that I never would have expected to work with.”

As an extension of his freelance work, he launched his own company, Unicorn Capital, in 2018 and an investment fund, Minimal Capital, in 2020. He also provides independent advice on his YouTube channel.

Fisher doesn’t expect his business to take a hit if the economy slows and the once-plentiful supply of venture capital becomes more competitive to capture. Some tech startups are already finding it harder to get venture capital funding, The Wall Street Journal reported. But Fisher isn’t worried about his clientele. He said that he thought they might need his services now more than ever.

“In a competitive market, venture capitalists don’t stop investing,” he said. “Founders will have to work a little harder and a little smarter to catch the attention of blue chip investors.”

Fisher shared her tips for a successful freelancing career and how she used Upwork to grow her business.

Find a specialty and meet its standards

When Fisher started Upwork, she took on just about any job she could get her hands on, creating business plans, financial models, Excel assignments, and PowerPoint presentations.

Over the years, he noticed that many founders needed help raising capital by telling their stories through effective and engaging presentations. So he narrowed his focus to business plans and presentations.

Establishing a niche helped Fisher grow his business and he estimated that he had created more than 1,000 pitch decks since then. He also maintains high standards for every client he takes on and every job he delivers, he said.

“You are the only person who can set the rules for how you work,” he said. “When you set your own principles, you are in control.”

Yesterday’s price is not today’s price

One of the benefits of using Upwork is price acceleration, Fisher said, which he described as the ability to increase your rates as you complete more jobs. For example, when he first used the platform, he charged $300 for a PowerPoint presentation.

He set his rates low to start with so he could get jobs and build his portfolio. Now that you have a lot more experience working for the best companies, you can get paid more. Today, he won’t take any jobs for less than $15,000.

“You are able to accelerate enormously quickly,” he said. “Even the people I talked to four or six months ago, that price is no longer today’s price.”

Get those 5 star ratings

Just as customer reviews are a major selling point when shopping online, referrals from a freelancer on Upwork are the best way to establish a reputation. It’s about delivering quality work, Fisher said.

“If you do a great job, your clients are going to send you compliments,” he added.

Eventually, five-star ratings can get more customers to seek you out, instead of you having to introduce yourself to them.

“You’ll see business flow exponentially,” Fisher said. “When you build that reputation for yourself, it shows and you will see huge benefits.”

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