Upwork Ultimate Guide: Is it Right for You?

By | March 31, 2022

upwork reviewWorking online has been the norm for a long time now. You do not need to sit in an office to earn money. With marketplaces like Upwork, you can put your skills, hobby, or talent to work and earn some cash.

Upwork connects talent and employers. As an employer, you work with the largest network of skilled writers. Moreover, as a writer, you get to interact with a massive selection of legitimate employers.

The platform brings together people needing talent and people with skill.

What is Upwork?

Over 2 decades ago, Hayden Brown pioneered a new way to work. The president and CEO of Upwork sought to find a better way for businesses to find and connect with talent. She presented more opportunities for people around the world by creating Upwork.

Upwork is a marketplace. Instead of trading physical goods, independent professionals trade their skills with businesses. Freelancers earn money writing content for their clients, which they bill per hour, or on fixed rates.

The platform is constantly changing and improving. Since its oDesk days, there have been many new developments. However, the basics remain-it connects freelance talents and businesses seeking to outsource their services.

Upwork deals with different job categories. You can write about lifestyle, health, technology, crypto, and so much more. However, the main jobs fall under the following high-level groups:

·       I.T. & Networking

·       Writing

·       Customer Service

·       Sales & Marketing

·       Mobile, web, and software development

·       Accounting

·       Design and Creative works

·       Admin Support

·       Data Science

·       Engineering and architecture

·       Legal

·       Consulting services

In short, Upwork covers everything an organization would need.

How does Upwork work?

Here, clients post their opportunities, and freelancers take up the challenge.

Upon reviewing their profile, the clients hire freelancers, who then start billing their hours using the Upwork time tracking app for the hourly-paid jobs. The employer then receives screenshots of what the freelancers are doing for updates.

Before the project begins, the client deposits the amount of the project into the Upwork account. After completing the work and a review by the client, freelancers automatically receive payment.

Upwork takes a share of the total bill.

When the work is complete, both parties can leave reviews of each other, and clients leave a job success score for the freelancer.

If you sign up for Upwork, you must learn your way around the platform. Familiarize yourself with the filters on the marketplace. Else, you might give up before you even earn a few dollars.
In addition, the filters help you avoid all irrelevant opportunities. However, Upwork is full of possibilities. With a great profile and filter system, you can start earning as soon as you register.

What do you need to join Upwork?

Upwork is the perfect place to kickstart your career as a freelancer. This can be exciting and worrying, but once you get the hang of it, you can create a full-time job from it.

Although the platform is available worldwide, not everyone over 18 years can apply. Provided you comply with the authorization requirements, you can start working with Upwork in over 180 countries.

In the U.S., you can register to work with Upwork unless you are in or traveling to restricted countries like Iran, Syrian, Cuba, North Korea, and Crimea.

In addition, if you have a record of account suspension at Upwork, you cannot work on the platform again. If you have another account, Upwork will close it.

How can you make money with Upwork?

Earning with Upwork is simple. Just register and set up your profile. Here is how you can start earning money with Upwork today:

i.                 Set up your profile

Employers who seek writers at Upwork give out jobs based on experience and skills. Therefore, it is necessary that your profile clearly outline who you are and what you can do.

Your Upwork profile serves as your general resume. Some jobs will need specific skills, which you can only state in your profile. Here, you also include your level of expertise. Also, you can consist of particular samples of works you have completed.

Most importantly, you should be honest. Employers want to work with someone familiar with their jobs. Besides, there is something for everyone at every level. Whether you have expert, intermediate, or beginner skills, you can get a job that matches your accurate profile.

Your profile also includes details of:

  • Number of hours you can work in a week
  • Your standard rates
  • Your location

Note: If you take on jobs that you cannot deliver or do a substandard job, Upwork may have to suspend or close your account.

ii.               Choose a membership plan

Upwork comes in 2 membership plans. You can be under either the basic or the plus plan.

The basic plan is free. However, since you need connects to submit your proposal, you may have to pay about $0.15 per connect. You get 50 free connects and an additional 10 every week when you join.

But with a robust profile, employers may reach out to you, which costs you nothing.

The Plus membership plan costs $14.99 per month. Here, you get 70 connects per month and an option to keep your earnings confidential.

In addition, you get a peek into the competitor’s prices for shared biddings. You can also customize your profile URL, and you never hide your profile, even when you are inactive.

iii.             Connect

Now, this is where your skills sell you. Once you have a profile, you can connect with employers by bidding on their works. Some employers will ask for a sample of your work.

Generally, a proposal will include an introductory letter, answers to the few questions the employers will ask you, and your desired fees. Some employers also have instructions that you must read before submitting a proposal.

If that is the case, they include special instructions in their text, which you need to translate in your answer.

To know which potential employers to work with, you can use the Upwork rating system. The system includes the number of projects they have done and how they pay. The system also consists of the ratings they receive from other employees.

iv.             Set your prices

A bid is not complete without you presenting your prices for the job. Some tasks have a fixed price, which the client will pay for the project. For these tasks, you do not have room to set your price.

Other projects have an hourly price, allowing you to propose your tasks’ charges.

For either type of project, Upwork takes a cut of your earnings. The scale depends on the total amount you bill the client. It also depends on how long you work with a client. The more you work with an employer, the lesser you pay to Upwork.

For instance, the sliding scale applies as follows:

  • You pay 20% for the first $500
  • 10% for $500.01-$10,000
  • 5% for billings exceeding $10,000

The good thing about Upwork is that you can always negotiate the price with the client for better pay.

v.               Get your money

Upwork uses PayPal and direct deposits as forms of payment. You can choose to receive compensation per milestone or project.

When you go with the milestone option, you receive a portion of the total bill equivalent to the completed milestones.

When you choose to receive payment per project, Upwork deposits the whole amount you earned for the project to your account upon completion and review by the client.

How much can you expect to make?

upwork reviewThe amount you earn on Upwork will depend on your hourly rates and your client’s budget. The more jobs you take, the more you are likely to make.

However, your rates will also depend on your experience level. Members with beginner skillsets earn less compared to experienced writers.

Finally, the time you spent working on Upwork will determine your pay. The longer you work and earn more, the lower your commission to the platform. Therefore, the total amount you pocked increases with time.

Pros and cons of using Upwork

There are merits and challenges in every job. Upwork is no different. You can experience a lot of benefits and drawbacks. Some of these include:


  • Upwork captures screenshots of freelancers working every 10 minutes. So, the client gets automatic updates on the progress of the job
  • All platforms, from the browser application, desktop, and mobile apps, have a messaging option, which you can use to communicate directly with the client
  • The job market has many options. Therefore, you can efficiently market yourself and land jobs faster with a few tips.
  • Upwork has high-paying jobs. Clients pay higher rates for your services in Upwork compared to other platforms. Jobs labeled the U.S. only can earn you up to 75% more than other regular postings
  • You are likely to get tasks quickly- Not all freelance platforms can guarantee a job. However, when you include an honest profile and have the experience required, you can start taking tasks almost immediately.
  • You have the guarantee to receive payment- Once the freelancer takes on a task, Upwork holds the money on your behalf from the client and releases it upon approval. The amount then goes to your account automatically upon successful completion of the task
  • You can work from anywhere


  • The charges on your profits are too expensive. As a newcomer, you have to pay a $4 cost for a $20 job. The amount is particularly hefty for small tasks.
  • When landing your first client, it could take an unexpectedly long time, which is the main reason why freelancers give up working with Upwork
  • When applying for jobs, the platform also charges you a fee (connects, which cost $0.15 each). Some tasks cost as much as 6 connects to apply, with no guarantee that you will get the task
  • The user experience on the website seems straightforward, but once you start browsing, it becomes clear that it is not the best there can be

Tips to making your proposal stand out

As we have already seen, your proposal is your everything at Upwork. Your potential employer will gauge your skills based on what you present in your proposal. To make the most out of it, here are a few tips to help you:

Always find the right job

The right job will match your skills and niche. If you apply for the right job, you will most likely complete the job successfully. In effect, you improve your reputation on the platform and get more jobs.

Review the requirements

Reading the requirements ensures that you understand what the client wants. Some clients are very clear on what they want. Once you know you have what the client wants, you should include it in your proposal.

Give client-specific proposals

Nothing could be more detrimental to your progress at Upwork than a generic proposal. Every job has its specific requirements.

So, as you write up your proposal, address these requirements for a tailored response. Don’t just list your skills. Instead, include why your skills make you the perfect person for the job. This way, you can be more convincing and land more jobs.

Include your interview availability

You do not want to get in a back-and-forth argument over when you will be available for the interview. You should tell your potential employer when you could handle the interview. Include a date and time, and you will likely hear back from them.

Pay close attention to additional questions

After a proposal review, your employer will likely ask more questions at the bottom of the description. Take your time to go through these questions before starting your proposal. Remember, the client sees the additional questions before reviewing your cover letter.

Overall, the question of whether you should work with Upwork is straightforward. Yes, the platform is simple to use and could be a helpful bridge in your freelancing career. However, it will take time to land your first client.

Even though, do not give up. Getting tasks after your first completion is easy. You will be working from anywhere, with your hours and, most importantly, earning. Take time to learn a few tips from people with experience, and you will be the next one to hack Upwork. Alternatively, check out other good business opportunities and pick one that works best for you.

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