how to make money on Upwork

How To Make Money On Upwork (Get Your First Job Today)

This post may contain affiliate links for more info visit my disclosure page.

You will learn how to make money on Upwork even if you are a beginner. I have heard a lot of different opinions about Upwork. Some people say that beginners can’t make money while others say that it’s not possible at all if you have not some reviews. However, many freelancers earn a full time or extra time income from it.

I will share my experience with Upwork and show you how exactly I got my first job a few months ago. Then, you can decide if this is what you are looking for.

Upwork Overview

First of all, let me mention the basics for those who are not familiar with the platform. Upwork is a worldwide platform for freelancers and clients. It works in two different ways:

1. A client post a job and the freelancers who are interested in the specific project applies for the job
2. The client contacts directly with any freelancer he wants for a project

If you worry about the available jobs, you will be excited if you take a look inside. Many projects are posted daily to all the basic niches (writing, SEO, virtual assistants, web development, etc.), and you can find many jobs in less competitive niches as well.

In comparison to other freelance platforms, it’s more professional than gig sites like Fiverr. Many times you will talk with people from big online businesses. It is a huge site in which you can find many different types of jobs. There are long-term and short-term projects, low and high payments, and you will find some opportunities even if you are a beginner.

Of course, it has pros and cons.

On the pros, you will talk with people who know what they are doing and can help to develop your skills if you work with them.

On the cons, they expect a professional attitude, and they will not accept a below-average performance. Also, many times will bid many freelancers for the same project. This is one of the reasons why many people think that Upwork is too hard or competitive.

But you can learn how to be a professional and add value to anything you do. If you have a spammer attitude or you expect to do something “easy” and make money, Upwork will not work for you.

Freelancing Business Model

You decide what type of freelancer you are. Do you want a business or a job? Even if you have only one client, you must keep in mind your goals. If you planned to find an online job, it’s fine.

However, I know that many people start as freelancers because they want to start their own online business. Then, they find a job and stick to it. Or they move up to a level that makes them feel comfortable and stop their progress.

When you get into freelancing, you find clients and no jobs. Then, you can apply for more projects and get even more clients. This is a good way to stay focused on your goals and scale your business. Later, you can raise your price or outsourcing some of your tasks. But you must set up from the beginning your business in a way that will be scalable.

There are many types of online agencies to get some examples (SEO agencies, copywriting agencies, social media marketing agencies, etc.)

I mention the above because there are many ways to use Upwork. It can be a place where you can find a job or a place where you will find clients and traffic for your online business.

While the beginning will be similar in both cases, if you want a business, you must set up your marketing strategy early, for example, by building a site or marketing yourself (or your agency) on social media.

Is Freelancing For You?

You can determine if freelancing is for you by how you feel when you work on that. If you have not worked online yet, check how you feel when you apply for a job.

There is no wrong or right here. When I worked as a freelancer, I did not love it. However, I enjoyed my earnings. After a while, I stopped and focused on my websites but still apply for projects that I like.

Other people enjoy working as freelancers. They are excited when they get a new job, learn useful skills for their expertise, and love all the process. In my opinion, freelancing is a beginner-friendly business, even if you need to start with the lowest fees ($5 per hour or lower). You can increase them later and find more jobs.

If you have developed some skills and you can offer high-quality services, it will be okay to ask for more money from the beginning, but you will need to prove your skills.

Ways To Make Money On Upwork

There are many niches and sub-niches on Upwork. For example, when I joined, I had some experience in SEO and applied to relevant jobs.

But there are many other options, to begin with. Even if you have not any experience or skills in the niche you want to get into, you can learn the basics and apply for some jobs. There are many guides, videos, books, and courses on the internet to get started.

Here are two things to consider:

1. If you have not learned any skills, find a guide, and apply everything new you learn.

Before joining Upwork and get my first job, I had learned about keyword research, on-page SEO, SEO writing, WordPress, copywriting, and improved my writing. Only one of these skills is enough.

2. Mindset

Well, this is a common problem. If you have doubts, boredom, stress, distractions, or for any reason, you cannot focus and work properly. Your focus is one more skill you need to develop if you want to be successful in any business.

After that, let’s see some niches that work well on Upwork:

  • SEO (consultant, keyword research, backlink specialist)
  • Writer (copywriter, blog writer, ghostwriter, SEO writer)
  • Web development and design
  • Virtual assistant
  • Translation
  • Video production
  • Logo creation

The above niches are some ideas to get started. I have not tried all of them, but there are successful freelancers in these categories.

Create A Nice Profile

The profile is important because this is what people see when they want more information about you. When you apply for a job, if your client is interested in your offer, he/she will check your profile.

So, you need a photo, a description, add some information, and complete your profile on 100%. However, don’t spend days or weeks to make it perfect.

It will be fine with a photo and a small description saying how you are going to help your clients. Next, add any relevant information like your language, your previous jobs, your website, etc. Good freelancers get jobs and earn money because they can help their clients and not because they have a perfect profile.

To complete 100% of your profile, you need to take some tests. If you successfully answer their questions, they will be added to your profile, and your score will be higher. You should choose the relevant tests for your niche.

Adding your social media profiles or any other personal details could help, but only if you feel comfortable with that. That’ all about the profile. Keep it simple and write in a few words about how you can help your clients. If you do the above properly, you will be approved fast.

Get Your First Job

When you get approved, you are ready to apply for some jobs. You have an understanding of what you are looking for (job or a business), have chosen a niche, and completed your profile.

Now, on the top of any Upwork page, there is a search box. Type what projects you want to find, and browse some offers. You will see a list of jobs. On the listings, you can read the details of the job, the reviews of the client, the budget, if they have confirmed their payment method, etc.

All this information is important, and you can make some decisions based on that. However, if you want to get your first order, find something you know you can do. In the beginning, you need to find some easy jobs and get some reviews.

Also, you have 60 available connections. You spend them every time you submit a proposal, so use them wisely. My advice here is to apply for jobs with 1-5 proposals or no proposals at all if possible, describe how you can help them, and offer them a free sample.

When I got my first job (a long-term job), I wrote in my proposal that I would like to write a test article. If it’s a short-term job, offer a sample or something like this.

When you do the job, your focus should be on how your client will get the best results from your work. Then, do your best, and hopefully, you will get the job. After the first job is completed, repeat the process, and get more clients.

Build your site

Building a website is optional. You do not need a site to find jobs on Upwork. However, it can help you to develop your freelance business. You can publish some samples to send to your clients when you apply for a job. You will look more professional and increases the trust of your clients.

While I have not created a site for my freelance proposals, every time I add a link to my siteS, and they can check my work and style. You can get even better results if you create a site for your services. I am sure that some clients will try to contact you directly at your site.

Next, a site will be the foundation of your business. You can ask the emails of your visitors with a landing page and send traffic from social media or search engines. Most successful freelancers have a website where their clients find them.


Upwork is a place that you can use to make money online. However, in my opinion, the best option is to start building your own online business and use Upwork to get clients.

Now, you can start with the following:

  • Get your first job
  • Build your site

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or feedback, leave your message below. I would like to hear from you!

18 thoughts on “How To Make Money On Upwork (Get Your First Job Today)”

  1. I really appreciate your content explaining Upwork, I am relatively new in the affiliate marketing platform, and have become somewhat literate with SEO content writing, and what Google is ranking the content on. I have definitely gathered more relevant knowledge from your article on the possibilities of the Upwork platform as well. With good communication skill’s and service knowledge, how long would it typically take a serious person move into the expert ranks? Once again thank you for this great knowledge bearing article, Jack

    1. Ilias Kounelis

      You can apply from the first day for jobs that require high skill level. If you feel you can do the job, just go for it.

      Of course, you need to persuade the clients that you are the right person for the job. 

      After getting a few good reviews, you will become a “Rising Talent” member and if you keep the good reviews for months, you will move up to a “Top Rated” member. These achievements can help you to get even more jobs.

  2. Hilary Bassakaropoulos

    You’ve given us some great info and tips about Upwork. It seems that like most things it requires quite a lot of work and preparation.
    It may well be fine for some beginners to get some online experience, but I would prefer to avoid the tests and the price negotiations and just spend my time working on my own business.
    Thanks for pointing out the pros and the cons – I have found your post to be very clear and helpful in making the decision to upwork or not to upwork.

    1. Ilias Kounelis

      Hi Hilary, I’m happy you found my post helpful.

      Freelancing has pros and cons like any other type of business or online job. It depends on what you focus.

      I think your choice to spend all your working time on your business is a wise one. If I could give one advice to myself when I started online, it would be to focus on only one thing.

      Just pick a legit one and stick to it.

  3. Hi Ilias
    Thanks for such an in-depth review of Upwork. I have only heard about it, but keep overlooking it because I’m registered on Fiverr. I might be hiring some content writers soon so this is an excellently timed article for me.

    1. Hi Alenka,

      Fiverr can work as well to find some jobs or hire freelancers. I would be more careful on this platform because there are many low-quality or scammy gigs.

  4. I hired a few people from Upwork when I was writing and editing my book. There is a wide variety of talent online. The freelancers bid for projects and often are lowering their prices, which isn’t the best thing to be doing when you value your work. 

    I think it does take a lot of work to actually get those first few jobs on Upwork. I definitely prefer putting my efforts into creating my own money making website. I learned how to build a website through Wealthy Affiliate and spent the time I would have looking for jobs on Upwork into creating a passive income through my own blog. I love Wealthy Affiliate.

    1. Ilias Kounelis

      Hi Melinda, I prefer to work on my sites too.

      Sure, if you want are looking for a passive income, freelance is not the right way. I published some days ago an article with passive income opportunities.

      Freelancing can bring you only an action income. However, you have many ways to scale your business and later, you can outsource all the tasks as you grow. 

      Of course, you will need to manage your employees so it cannot be 0 passive but it a big part of your business can work on passively. 

  5. I’ve just started to create my own website and I can see the lure of having someone else write the content for you.

    Interesting idea about creating a freelancing website to promote yourself. Did you think not having your own site worked against you in getting jobs?

    I must say I never knew this existed so thanks for your article, might even give it a closer look to see if they have any work in the areas I have some skills.

    1. Ilias Kounelis

      Some people do not have a site, but still, they earn a full income from Upwork. But, a site could make the things easier for you.

      If I  should check some proposals, and one of them has a nice and professional website, it would be easier to believe that he can do the job.

      Next, you can promote yourself and get targeted visitors who want to hire someone. I can see only benefits for the freelancers who have their own website.

  6. Hello Ilias,
    I’m an Upworker too but it really took me sometime to get going. All I can say is that with quality work and consistency, success follows. I offer SEO and content creation services.
    Upwork is the best freelancing platform from my experience since you have direct access to your client.
    Kudos Upworker

    1. Ilias Kounelis

      Hi Dennis and thank you for confirming that you can make money on Upwork.

      I was offering writing services as well. While I have offered writing services on other freelancer platforms and gigs sites, Upwork is one of the best options on the internet. 

  7. Kyoko Connolly

    I have heard about Upwork, and I am glad to come across the review that comes from the personal experience. I am not looking into freelancer business, but consider hiring someone to write my content eventually, so it was very helpful.

    You are right about mindset. For some people, charging $50 an hour work sounds very intimidating, but for others, it is just natural because they know what they worth. If they don’t feel worthy enough, they will charge less even though they have a great writing skill. That goes to any business.

    Why not building your own website instead of writing for others is another great point. But I am glad there are some people who are happy to just write for others because otherwise, you won’t find any skilled writer to hire. (LOL)

    So assuming it is an hourly charge. How do we know writers put that much hours to write? I thought freelance writers charge per words. And what if the work they did was not well satisfied with the person who requested? Should s/he have to pay more to fix it?

    Thank you for the great review!

    1. Ilias Kounelis

      Hi Kyoko,

      You are right. There are some people with great skills who earn a few dollars per month and others less skilled people who have built huge businesses. 

      Also, often people say that they cannot write at all, but they post and comment on social media daily. When you do not believe in yourself, no one can help. I have written a relevant article on how to make $100 a day online and mentioned many of the mindset issues that people have when they start an online business.

      In my opinion, when you do believe that you can make money online, focus on earning 1 dollar. It will increase the levels of your belief. Similarly, if you want to make money on Upwork, focus on finding your first job.

      For a beginner making a few dollars online can be really difficult and time-consuming. However, the same person after 1-2 successes may feel like an expert who can earn any amount he wants. Developing the right mindset is like developing any other skill. 

      If you want to hire a freelancer on Upwork, you can decide if you’re going to pay your writers per hour or per project. You can also discuss it later with the freelances who apply for the job.

      There are many freelancers to choose from, so make sure you get the level of expertise you want, check their reviews and ask all the information you want.

      If you do not like their work for any reason, you can ask them to do the job again, discuss the details and find a way to work together. Upwork is a legit platform that makes sure that everything works properly. If there is any major problem, you can contact the support.

  8. Ilias,

    Thanks for the explanation of Upwork.
    I always thought you had to be really established in a skill such as content creation, SEO or websites to get gigs.
    Your explanation has shown me that even with moderate skills you can get gigs providing you give great customer service and deliver the goods.
    Great work.


    1. Hi Paul,

      You do not have to worry about your skills. Even the basics are enough to find a few jobs. There are three types of levels on Upwork: entry level, intermediate, and expert. Your price and the jobs you can get depend on your skills.

      Most freelancers on the internet start with the lowest fees and they scale it as they get reviews and find more clients.

  9. I’m a writer and I was just thinking about applying for jobs on this site. Thanks for your thorough post explaining everything. Bev

    1. Ilias Kounelis

      You are welcome, Bev. You can find many clients on Upwork if you are ready to do some good work. Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *