I have heard a lot of different opinions about Upwork. Some people say that it’s not possible for beginners to make money while others say that it’s not possible at all if you have not some reviews.
Lastly, some freelancers earn a full time or extra time income from it.
So, what’s the truth? Is Upwork a waste of time or you can earn some money?
On this post, 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.
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 businesses. 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. 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 the fact that 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 the 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 the spammer attitude or you expect to do something “easy” and make money, most of the times Upwork will not work for you.
Freelancing Business Model
You decide what type of freelancer you are. Do you have a business or a job?
Even if you have only one client, you must keep in your 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.
Later, you can scale your business by raising 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 the 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.
Well, there is no wrong or right here. To be honest, when I worked as a freelancer, I did not love it. However, I enjoyed my earnings. Anyway, after a while, I stopped and focused on my websites.
But 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. So, it’s how you feel.
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 more money from the beginning, but you will need to prove your skills.
So, if you enjoy the process, freelancing could be a great business model for you. If not, there are many other alternatives to consider.
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.
You can do anything you want. 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 to get started.
The basics are enough to find a job. If you cannot find a job then, you do something wrong.
Here are two things to consider:
1. You have not learned any skill (just find a guide and apply anything you learn)
Before joining Upwork and get my first job, I had learned about keyword research, on-page SEO, SEO writing, WordPress, copywriting and was working in my English.
Only one of these skills is enough. I had learned them on Wealthy Affiliate because I was building my site and no to use them on Upwork. But freelancing was a way to make even more money.
2. Mindset Problems
Well, this is a common problem. If you have doubts, boredom, stress, distractions or for any reason, you cannot focus and work properly, you need to fix it.
Your focus is one more skill you need to develop if you want to be successful in any business.
Ok, now 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
- Video production
- Logo creation
The above niches are some ideas to get started. I have not tried all of them but there are many successful freelancers in these categories.
There are many guides on the internet to learn the basics of these skills. If you want to avoid the scams, stick to the popular ones and make sure that the owner has achieved what he teaches.
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, it’s not so important to spend days or weeks to make it perfect. With a few words:
It will be fine 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.
The good freelancers get jobs and earn money because they can help their clients and not because they have a perfect profile. Below you can see an examlple of a good profile:
To complete 100% your profile, you need to complete some tests. If you successfully answer their questions, they will be added to your profile, and your score will be higher. I would choose the relevant tests to my 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 how you can help your clients. If you do the above properly you will approved in a few minutes or hours.
Get Your First Job
And finally, we are ready to apply for some jobs. You have an understanding of what you are looking for (job or a business), chose your 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 these information are important, and you can make some decisions based 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 jobs and get some reviews.
Also, you have 60 available connects. You spend two 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 (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, they will like your work.
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.
First of all, 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 site and they can check my work and style. It has worked well.
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 to 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. Not all them but there are benefits in the short and long run.
For a step by step course on how to build a website and get traffic, you can check Wealthy Affiliate.
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.
If you start growing an online business, soon you will be able to find clients on other platforms as well, and people will visit your site.
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!