First of all, this is not a paid post. Everything that is to follow is my own opinion given my experience using Upwork for over 5 years. It is no secret that I absolutely love Upwork as a freelance platform and there are many reasons for that, not limited to:
Access to millions of clients across the world
Range of potential categories of projects to freelance on
Opportunities to apply for multiple projects at a single time
Extremely easy to use interface that is quite enjoyable
Top Rated and Rising Talent programs designed to showcase talent who deliver exceptional service to clients
Ability to create an “Agency” and invite co-workers to collaborate on projects
How it Works
There would likely be an avalanche of information coming your way if you dare to ask me about Upwork and making it big on the platform, but I will give you the Cliff Notes version today. Over the years I have learned some tricks to get clients quickly and potentially repeat clients too, but let’s not get into all of that right now. Keeping it simple:
Upwork is like a job board where clients are constantly posting projects they need freelancers to execute
You can tailor the jobs that come through your feed by setting filters on the general category of projects you are considering
Once you spot a project you are interested in, you submit a “Proposal”
This pushes you to the interview stage, if the client is interested, which in my experience is not really an interview – your potential clients usually reach out on the Upwork chat to make sure you can deliver on the project
After some back and forth, Badabing…Badaboom…YOU ARE HIRED!
What you need to Get Started
Getting noticed on Upwork is important to get your foot in the door. So first things first, you need a profile that sings and literally says “Hire Me”. From using keywords to taking clear professional photos, there is a lot of advice I can give you to help succeed on Upwork.
But here are some of the other things you need to get started:
Deciding what category of projects you are looking to work on
Setting up your payment channels where you can receive your earnings – Paypal or Bank Account directly
Creating a winning “Proposal” to get clients interested in hiring you
One of the most rewarding aspects of freelancing is flexibility – not just in when you can take jobs but also in how you get paid. On Upwork, you can earn in two ways; an hourly rate which is a relatively fluid structure tracked by Upwork software and a single fixed price for entire projects.
Your preference for how to be paid depends first of all on what the client is comfortable with but also on a laundry list of factors. That is also definitely a post for another day.
As far as the actual income potential is concerned, there is really no limit. Like the typical supply and demand equation, earnings depend on how specialized your skillset is and how much time you can spend on the platform to create a track record. Just to give you an idea of how high this can go, I have seen a single project for $5,000 for deliverables that can take up to 3 weeks. Of course, there are smaller projects on Upwork, which is more likely for beginners who are new to the platform.
For full disclosure, while Upwork is free to sign up, the site charges service fees directly from your earnings. Up to $500, you get charged 20%. Let's crunch some numbers; if your client pays $250 for a project, you get paid $200. I think it's a small price to pay for access to a treasure chest of projects.
The Icing on the Cake
Mobile App: There is an app for everything and Upwork is also onboard. It is easy to use, gives you a chance to look for projects on the go and allows you to communicate quickly with clients. In a way, this preserves your phone number and emails because everything can be done on the app.
Upwork Payment Protection: This is such a cool function because don’t be fooled, there are definitely clients that set up contracts they aren’t always ready to pay for. When they can't pay, Upwork can pay you right away for hourly contracts that are tracked on the tracker software.
Agency: Sometimes, you get busy and need some help with handling clients and projects. Well, Upwork has thought about that and allows you to create an Agency to invite co-workers on your projects. Now you can book that vacation knowing someone’s got your back.
Phew! I hope this wasn’t too much to digest at a single go, I really tried to break it down and share only the essential bits to get you started.
If you are interested in getting starting out on Upwork and need some help with building a killer profile, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am helping out the first 5 people that email for FREE.
So catch you on the money side…