Upwork is a leading freelance job board that has seemingly endless opportunities.
It takes the hassle out of finding freelance work, but is an Upwork job the right choice for you?
Life as a freelancer opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Just think — you could be your own boss, set your own schedule, and choose your rates.
Upwork is one of many freelance platforms you can use to find high-paying gigs with ease.
We’ve done the research for you in this complete review of Upwork.
We’ll go over how you can find jobs with Upwork, work with clients, and get paid using the platform.
What Is Upwork?
Upwork is a freelancing platform that connects gig workers with people or companies who need work completed.
Users can create professional profiles, bid on available jobs, and find paid freelancing gigs.
Upwork gives you access to thousands of high-paying freelance gigs in a secure environment.
You know you’ll be working with real clients and won’t have to worry about being scammed during your job search.
Finding freelance remote work with Upwork gives you the opportunity to choose when and where you do business, allowing for a great work-life balance.
You’re the boss and can set your own schedule, as long as you’re meeting the deadlines set by your client.
You’re also able to choose your projects and set your own rates.
Once you’re up and running, you can strengthen your reputation via client feedback and start setting a higher pay rate for clients.
Let’s go over how you can earn money using Upwork.
How Does Upwork Work?
Upwork provides a centralized place for you to find clients, communicate during projects, and receive payment for your work.
When you first sign up for Upwork, you’ll need to create a professional profile that includes a photo, professional skills, a description, and a portfolio highlighting your experience.
Your profile will be used when applying for jobs to show clients how much of a rockstar freelancer you are.
You’ll then use the Upwork job board to find available work related to your expertise.
There are thousands of job openings for you to choose from.
Upwork will give you job recommendations based on which skills you’ve included in your profile.
You can also filter through the many job descriptions by things like pay rate, required skills, and project duration until you find the perfect fit for you.
Now you’ll need to send in proposals that new clients will use to decide if you’re the right freelancer for the job.
You’ll include your desired pay rate and a short description of your experience and expertise.
You’ll also be required to answer a few questions the client has provided to vet potential candidates.
Clients also have the ability to browse through freelancer profiles in search of the perfect employee.
You may receive invitations from clients to submit a proposal to their job opening.
If so, you’ll send in the same information as mentioned above.
When they decide you’re the right candidate for the job, you can get to work right away.
Working With Clients
Upwork provides an online workspace you’ll use to work with your client.
You’re able to access project details, communicate with clients, and send files back and forth.
Everything will be managed through Upwork’s website and mobile app.
When it’s time to turn something into the client, you can send your files through Upwork’s secure messaging platform.
Clients can then give you feedback in real time through text, chat, or video.
Upwork will also help you track the time spent working on projects.
The desktop app has a Work Diary which automatically takes screenshots every 10 minutes while you work.
This will give clients a sneak peek of your progress and provide proof that you’re working hard on their assignment.
You and your client can also choose to manually track your hours in the Work Diary.
Once the project is complete, it’s time to get paid.
All of your invoicing and payment will be handled through Upwork’s platform.
Upwork offers Payment Protection which guarantees that you’ll be paid for successfully completing projects.
For hourly projects, your client will be automatically billed for the number of hours tracked in your Work Diary.
For projects that have a fixed price, you’ll be compensated for hitting pre-determined milestones and deadlines.
Once you’ve reached certain milestones, you can submit your work and wait for your client’s approval.
Upwork will hold the client’s payment in escrow, so you’ll always be certain you’ll be paid for your work once your client approves.
In short, they make worrying about accounts payable a thing of the past.
You can then choose your payment method.
You can receive payment via PayPal, direct deposit, wire transfer, local funds transfer, or Payoneer — whichever works best for you.
Upwork is free to join, however, they charge a service fee for using their platform.
The company uses a sliding fee structure that charges you a lower percentage fee for doing more work with a single client.
Here’s how their service fees are set up when working with one specific client:
- 20% for the first $500 you receive from your client
- 10% for total billings between $500.01 and $10,000
- 5% for total billings that surpass $10,000
As you can tell, it’s to your benefit to establish lasting relationships with your clients because you’ll be charged lower service fees in the long run.
So, you might be thinking about what type of work you can find on Upwork.
Actually, you can pretty much find any type of job you can think of.
Types of Upwork Jobs
Upwork offers a wide range of jobs for people of every skill set.
If you can do it from your computer, you’ll likely find it on Upwork’s job board.
Upwork has job postings across every category.
Everyone from social media strategists to graphic designers to product managers use Upwork to find paid freelance work.
Here are some of the more popular types of job titles you can find, along with many others:
- Web development
- Product management
- Specialty Consulting
- Social media management
- Content writer
You can browse through the top freelancer categories and decide which projects align with your expertise.
The only thing left to do is sign up and start earning cash with Upwork.
Signing Up for Upwork
To start working on Upwork, you’ll need to sign up and create a strong professional profile that looks great to clients.
First, head to Upwork to sign up.
Provide your first and last name and select “Work as a Freelancer.”
You can either create your profile manually or upload your LinkedIn profile, which can save you a ton of time.
Provide your areas of expertise, your main services, and which skills you can offer clients.
List all of your areas of expertise, however, be selective with your services.
Profiles that are highly targeted in a particular area are more likely to attract clients.
You’ll then need to give a handful of other details including the following:
- Skill level
- Employment history
- Hourly rate
- Profile photo
- Phone number
You’ll also need to create a title and overview description that knocks the socks off of clients.
It should be well-written, error-free, and prove that you’re a professional and skilled freelancer.
You can read some of these tips to create a standout profile and also browse through real profiles of other freelancers in your area.
You should be as thorough as possible when creating your profile.
The stronger your profile, the better chance you’ll have at landing your first gig.
Once you’ve submitted your profile, Upwork will review it and get back to you within 24 hours.
If you’re approved, you can immediately start looking for work and find your first job on Upwork.
The Ups and Downs of Upwork
Upwork is a great option for full-time and part-time freelancers alike.
It’s incredibly user-friendly and easy for new freelancers to sign up and start seeking opportunities.
Although it may be difficult at first to earn your first few gigs, there is huge potential once you’ve established yourself as a reputable freelancer.
If you’d like to compare Upwork to other freelance job sites, check out our guides to Toptal and PeoplePerHour.