Upwork Review: How To Make Money on the Freelancing Platform

GOBankingRates Score

4.3
Our take: Upwork is a global freelancing platform that connects businesses to remote contractors. There is a wide selection of freelance jobs to apply for, but many of them are low paying, and Upwork will take a percentage of your earnings.
  • Ease of Use
    4.0
  • Customer Service
    4.5
  • Digital Experience
    4.5
  • Fees
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

    Pros

    • Wide variety of jobs available
    • Good way for beginners to get started
    • Lots of features for freelancers and clients

    Cons

    • Upwork takes a percentage of your earnings
    • The work can be low paying
    • If a dispute arises, Upwork generally sides with the client

    What Is Upwork?

    Upwork is a marketplace that connects freelancer contractors to potential clients. Clients post jobs they need to be completed, and the freelancers can bid on the jobs they’re interested in.

    Upwork is currently the largest freelance marketplace in the world. One of the advantages of using Upwork is that it’s a non-vetted marketplace, making it easier for beginners to get started.

    Upwork does require new freelancers to get their profile approved to ensure there’s a need for the service they offer. But unlike other platforms like Lemon.io or Toptal, it doesn’t only accept freelancers in certain specialties.

    Overall, Upwork makes it easy for freelancers to get started and begin making money right away. But make sure you’re thoughtful about the clients and jobs you take on, so you aren’t taken advantage of.

    How To Make Money on Upwork

    1. Set Up Your Profile

    The first step to making money on Upwork is setting up your freelancer profile. To get started, you’ll click the “Sign Up” button and use a Gmail or work email address or an Apple ID to create your account.

    From there, you’ll add in your personal information, work history, and highlight the services you plan to offer. Make sure you fill out all of the information, or at least until Upwork says your profile is 100% complete.

    2. Verify Your Identity

    One of the changes Upwork has implemented in recent years is that it requires freelancers to verify their identity before they can apply for work. Once you’re verified, you’ll have a badge on your profile that potential clients can see. This helps you build trust and credibility with potential clients.

    The first step to verifying your identity is to use a government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport. From there, you’ll go through a video verification process where an Upwork employee will ask you a few questions about your profile.

    3. Choose Your Pricing

    The next step is to choose your pricing. You can either set up hourly or fixed-rate projects with clients, and there are pros and cons to both options.

    If you use the hourly pricing option, you’ll log your time on the Upwork app. The advantage of hourly pricing is that Upwork guarantees you’ll get paid for the work you’ve already completed. However, as you get faster and more efficient at your work, an hourly price could cause you to lose money.

    With fixed-rate pricing, you and the client will agree to a set amount for the entire project. This ensures you aren’t just trading time for money, but it can be easy to undercharge for big projects if you’re new to freelancing.

    4. Start Applying for Jobs

    Next, it’s time to start applying for jobs so you can find your first client. Fortunately, you can never run out of jobs to apply for on Upwork.

    For your first couple of jobs, you may have to accept a lower rate until you have some social proof. But once you have a few clients under your belt and some good reviews, you can begin raising your prices.

    Types of Memberships

    When you create your Upwork account, there are two different plans you can choose between: the Freelancer Basic and Freelancer Plus plans. The Basic plan is free and comes with 10 Connects each month, which you’ll use to apply for jobs.

    However, most jobs require up to six Connects each to apply, depending on the size of the job. For instance, small jobs of $49 or less will cost two Connects. Medium jobs of $50 to $599 costs four Connects, and large projects over $600 will cost six Connects.

    So if you’re regularly applying for jobs, the free Connects you receive may not be enough. You can buy additional Connects at 15 cents each, and you can also sign up for the Plus membership.

    A Plus membership is $14.99 per month and comes with 80 free Connects. Plus, you will receive additional perks, like the ability to see the bidding range on jobs you’re applying for.

    Upwork Fees

    Once you start making money on Upwork, the company will take a percentage of everything you earn. However, the pricing is set up so that the more you make with each client, the less money you’ll pay in fees.

    For the first $500 you bill a client, Upwork will take 20% of your earnings. From there, you’ll pay a 10% fee with that client. Once you’ve earned over $10,000 with a client, your fee will drop to 5%.

    Is Upwork Worth It?

    If you’re looking for ways to make money as a freelancer, then Upwork may be a good option for you. Freelancing is one of the few side hustles where you can start earning money almost immediately, and Upwork has a large selection of jobs to apply for.

    However, it will take some work to get your profile set up, and you may have to accept lower rates in the beginning. But if you’re consistent about looking for jobs and do good work for clients, Upwork can be another tool to help you grow your freelancing business.

    Upwork FAQ

    Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Upwork.
    • Is Upwork good for beginners?
      • Yes, Upwork is a great option for beginners because it's a non-vetted marketplace. That means that you don't need to have a certain type of skill set to get accepted on the platform. This makes it a good way to start working with clients and building some experience.
    • Do you receive any free Connects on Upwork?
      • Yes, if you sign up for the Basic plan you'll receive 10 free Connects per month. Freelancers on the Plus plan will receive 80 free Connects per month. If you need more, you'll pay 15 cents for every additional Connect.
    • Why did Upwork reject my profile?
      • Occasionally, new freelancers will set up their profile for Upwork to review, and the company will reject their account. This usually happens because either you didn't fill out your profile all the way or because there isn't a demand for the service you're trying to offer.

    About the Author

    Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who covers a variety of personal finance topics, including investing, loans, and building credit. In addition to writing for GOBankingWrites, she currently writes for clients like Quicken Loans, Credit Karma, and the US Chamber of Commerce. 

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