Upwork is a freelancing website that connects gig-seekers, like designers or programmers, with professionals looking for help in specific fields of expertise. The site has grown significantly over time — since its launch in 2010, more than 35 million users have signed up worldwide.
The freelance platform's mission statement reads "to empower people around the world by connecting them with reliable information, quality service providers and affordable prices." And while there are plenty of other sites out there offering similar services, what sets this one apart from others is the fact that it caters specifically to professional gigs. So if you're interested in working as an independent contractor, this might be the right place for you.
But before we take a look at how exactly you go about building your profile on Upwork and finding potential projects, let’s talk about some important things to keep in mind when using this platform.
While many websites offer free signup options, Upwork requires you to spend money upfront to register. This means that you'll need to make sure you've got enough saved cash to cover any expenses associated with hiring someone online. In addition to paying for registration, Upwork charges $19 per month (or $155 annually) to maintain your account. If you want to cancel your subscription after signing up, you'll still owe a refund. That said, most experts recommend keeping your membership because it will save you money later on.
If you don't feel comfortable spending so much just yet, you may also opt to start off on a trial period where you can test drive Upwork without having to commit long term. However, remember all payments made during these periods are nonrefundable unless the terms of service change beforehand. You should always read everything carefully before committing.
Additionally, there is no way to check whether a person who posts a project really wants to hire you until they accept your bid. While this isn't necessarily bad, it could mean dealing with less qualified contractors. It would definitely be helpful if the client were able to reach out to you via email once they've decided to proceed with your proposal.
As far as design goes, Upwork offers templates to choose from which give you an idea of what each section looks like. But the best thing about this option is that you won't incur any extra fees. For those who prefer handcrafting a resume or CV, however, you'll need to shell out another few dollars for premium designs.
You can edit the text to suit yourself but bear in mind that you shouldn't add too many graphics or colors. As such, stick to basic fonts. If you aren't confident about your Photoshop skills, you can download our guide detailing how to create a stunning graphic design portfolio on UpWork.
Lastly, you may find it annoying to see ads pop up every now and then. Fortunately, the company recently introduced new features that allow you to hide certain sections within your profile page. They include recommendations and job alerts.
Overall, yes, Upwork is pretty straightforward to navigate through. There's not much else beyond the basics to worry about. Now that you know what to expect, let's explore how exactly you'd go about posting jobs on the platform.
Once you submit a bid on a particular task, Upwork will forward it to the employer. A contract between both parties must exist before either party can officially begin working together. Once the agreement is reached, the client will send payment directly to your bank account. Payments usually range anywhere from $20-$150 depending on the type of assignment you received.
However, even though Upwork provides detailed guidelines outlining the requirements needed for successful bids, the final decision belongs to the client. Therefore, it's possible that you end up being hired despite missing something crucial.
In order to avoid this problem, here's a quick list of tips to follow to ensure you receive full compensation for your efforts:
Make sure you're providing high-quality content. Be prepared to answer questions regarding your skill set and experience level. Provide clear examples whenever necessary.
Don't undercut yourself. Know your worth and stay true to your rates. Don't settle for low payouts unless you absolutely have to.
Be patient and wait for replies from prospective employers. Remember that communication is key in this industry. Clients often contact multiple vendors before settling down solely with one provider.
Keep track of deadlines and milestones. Set reminders for tasks you haven't completed yet.
Remember that most contracts only last 30 days. Afterward, you'll lose access to the file.
Do note that some clients ask for samples prior to making a commitment. If you happen to fall into this category, please refer back to tip number two above. Otherwise, you risk losing future opportunities due to poor performance.
And finally, if you're wondering why anyone would ever turn down your request, remember to treat your assignments respectfully. By doing so, you'll earn goodwill among colleagues and attract positive feedback. Plus, you never know what kind of interesting perks could await you further down the line!
For certain types of jobs, especially ones requiring complex programming knowledge, clients typically want to hire a programmer straight away. Luckily, Upwork allows you to bypass this process altogether by enabling Instant Pay.
To enable this feature, simply head to Manage My Account > Preferences & Settings > Enable Instant Pay and select Yes next to the question asking if you agree to immediate payment upon completion. Then enter your banking details to complete the transaction.
What this essentially means is that you'll get 100% payout regardless of delayed payments or cancellations. Before going live with a project, make sure you understand what Instant Pay entails to prevent any unfortunate situations arising.
It's also recommended that you review the current regulations surrounding instant payments first. Some countries prohibit companies from charging fees to workers for completing assigned tasks.
When choosing a freelancer, try to inquire about past experiences as well as references. Also, learn more about the reputation of the person you wish to collaborate with. When in doubt, consider reaching out to friends willing to share their personal opinions to help steer your decisions.
This article was intended to provide general guidance based on common sense and practicality. We suggest speaking to a financial advisor if you're concerned about the legality of the aforementioned practice.
That concludes part one. Stay tuned for Part 2, covering additional topics like negotiating your rate, submitting applications, and managing your finances.
Most likely, you already know that Upwork doesn't handle direct deposits itself. Instead, it uses PayPal to facilitate transactions. This leaves us to wonder, therefore, whether or not Upwork automates automatic deductions from your paycheck.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. According to Upwork representatives, this policy prevents fraudsters from accessing clients' funds. To illustrate, think of it like this: imagine receiving several checks from different companies every week. Wouldn't it be easier to combine the funds instead of opening numerous accounts to deposit each individual amount separately?
Since Upwork handles payments manually, customers are required to withdraw funds themselves. Thankfully, withdrawals are very convenient and accessible once logged in. Simply visit the Withdraw tab under Profile " Funds. Here, you can easily retrieve your balance and transfer it elsewhere.
On top of that, there's a separate Support Center page dedicated to customer inquiries. From here, you can browse FAQs related to billing, refunds, and support tickets. Lastly, if you decide to leave Upwork entirely, you can delete your entire history and data.
Upwork has become a go-to site for freelancers looking for new projects, but getting hired as an independent contractor isn't always easy.
The company's stated goal "to help people succeed at home" by connecting them with employers who need their services." But many are left wondering if they're being discriminated against because of their gender or background. The lack of transparency in what happens behind closed doors makes working with Upwork feel like a gamble instead of something that should come naturally. It also raises questions about whether its fees could be better designed.
But there are plenty of other factors contributing to why some workers have difficulty finding gigs through Upwork — including the different types of contracts offered by companies on the website and the pay system itself. Here's everything you need to know before signing up.
Getting your first job via Upwork requires patience when searching for relevant openings. You may want to try using more than one platform to see which ones yield better results. For example, according to research conducted by Freelancer writer Victoria Varsano, women were significantly less likely to find success with paid project postings compared to men. This trend was even seen among those with years of experience under their belt.
In addition to this disparity between genders, Varsano found that experienced freelancers over 40 had lower odds of finding work via Upwork than younger professionals. Meanwhile, millennials on Upwork reported higher satisfaction rates from their experiences. If you're struggling to land freelance positions on any platform, these statistics might offer insight into where you stand.
Another way to improve your chances of landing jobs is to tailor your profile accordingly. When creating a profile on Upwork, you'll notice prompts pop up asking you to select certain categories such as skillset or location. Choosing general terms like "writer" or "photographer" might not lead to optimal responses. Instead, consider targeting specific niches within each field.
For instance, selecting "writing coach" will bring up listings specifically related to content writing while choosing "marketing consultant" might show opportunities available for social media management. While editing your profile later on, don't forget to add keywords related to your specialty areas, too. That said, keep in mind that the most important part of crafting an effective Upwork profile comes down to providing honest answers. Don't embellish your skill set if you aren't qualified enough.
Once you've created a compelling profile, you can start applying to open roles. However, if you're interested in doing contract work rather than full-time employment, you should look elsewhere. According to a report released last year by the National Association of Professional Employers (NAPE), approximately 70 percent of respondents felt contractors lacked proper training during interviews. Additionally, NAPE estimates that around 50 percent of businesses hire only contractors and freelancers, yet fewer than 10 percent seek out third parties for advice regarding building teams. In light of all this information, UpWork doesn't seem like the best place to begin a career.
While we'd normally advise against jumping straight onto platforms without knowing how to navigate them properly, Upwork offers a few good reasons for potential users to stick with the program. First off, you won't face discrimination based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability status, veteran status, citizenship status, genetic data, family care responsibilities, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, medical condition, marital/relationship status, appearance, education level, housing type, or workplace policies.
That said, you shouldn't ignore signs that indicate otherwise. For starters, check your messages regularly since scammers often impersonate legitimate recruiters. Also, avoid falling for phishing scams, especially emails claiming to come directly from Upwork employees. Lastly, learn about the minimum requirements needed to obtain an account to ensure that you qualify for joining.
If you still encounter difficulties after following these guidelines, it might be time to reconsider Upwork altogether. Alternatively, you can turn to alternative online marketplaces like Fiverr, People Per Hour, Amazon Mechanical Turk, LinkedIn, Angel List, Indeed Hiring Desk, Toptal, etc., to find gig-worthy candidates.
And remember, sometimes simply having a solid portfolio helps boost your credibility. Having no photos attached to your profile doesn't mean much if you haven't taken pictures yourself. Try adding images of previous client work and edit existing shots if necessary. To further bolster your portfolio, you can share links to videos, blog posts, articles, presentations, websites, podcasts, books, product samples, and anything else you think would benefit prospective customers.
Lastly, you can choose to post your resume on Upwork. Doing so gives you another avenue for attracting attention and increasing engagement with leads.
Aside from paying a hefty fee every month, Upwork charges a flat rate for each completed task. Fees range anywhere from $14 to $20 per hour depending on the duration of your assignment. As mentioned above, hourly payments tend to favor contractors, whereas fixed compensation favors full-timers. Although this might sound unfair, hourly wages give you room to negotiate prices with suppliers. On top of that, you can ask for flexible deadlines once you receive an opportunity. Fixed salaries, however, allow you to plan ahead and budget expenses. Plus, receiving consistent income means you never run out of funds.
Also, note that Upwork takes 15% of the final payout after covering fees. So, if you're paid $100 for completing a project worth $150, Upwork keeps $25. Depending on the type of job you apply for, you may end up making similar amounts of money. Still, it pays to read reviews posted by former clients about their overall experience on the platform. Pay attention to customer feedback regarding things like punctuality and responsiveness. Some people prefer to deal with freelancers who reply quickly to messages, while others appreciate extra effort given by providers.
One major perk associated with Upwork is that you can request reimbursement for travel costs via PayPal. Before accepting such an invitation, though, double-check whether your trip qualifies as a business expense. Otherwise, you'll have to cover your own transportation and accommodation.
As for taxes, Upwork states: “You’re responsible for figuring out your tax obligations and reporting the right amount owed on your W2 form." Since the service provides limited guidance, it's advisable to consult a professional accountant for assistance.
It varies! Getting hired depends largely upon three main factors: Your personal brand, past performance, and professionalism. Just make sure you follow these basic rules: 1) provide accurate details on your profiles 2) stay active by responding to inquiries 3) showcase your abilities 4) communicate effectively 5) treat potential clients respectfully 6) demonstrate reliability 7) maintain high standards throughout the process 8) respond promptly to email 9) update your profile frequently.
Keep in mind that hiring managers typically contact applicants several times before deciding to move forward with a collaboration. Waiting until your inbox fills up with emails, calls, texts, and messages will probably cause you frustration. Make sure to monitor your notifications daily to catch important alerts.
Upwork is a popular freelance job board that helps freelancers find paid projects, as well as companies hire people for specific jobs. It's an easy-to-use website but many new users are unsure of exactly what they need to do in order to succeed on it.
While there are plenty of articles about tips for making money through Upwork, not everyone knows exactly where to start when trying to make some extra cash or land their dream project. If you're just starting out using this site and want to know how to improve your chances at getting hired by paying gigs, we've compiled answers to all these questions below.
First things first — if you really want to have more luck finding work via Upwork, here are the three most important things you should always keep top of mind while searching for opportunities online. These aren't hard rules, but rather guidelines you should follow so that whenever someone searches Upwork (or any other search engine), you'll appear right under "top results" on Google.
1. Use keywords effectively. When creating an account on Upwork, you will see a prompt asking you to fill in several pieces of information including categories and tags related to your expertise. You don't necessarily have to go crazy with these fields because sometimes less is better. The point is to be as descriptive as possible without being too vague. This way potential clients who are looking for something like, say, "web developer," will also notice your profile, even though you may only specialize in HTML coding.
2. Add a strong headline. In the same vein as #1 above, try adding multiple headlines underneath your summary section. While keeping them relevant to your area of expertise, add at least one additional title which includes key words associated with your services. For example, "Web Developer - Expertise in PHP." Using those exact terms might help bring up your profile if somebody was searching specifically for PHP developers. Plus, it makes sense to include titles like this since each individual listing has limited space to describe itself. Don't forget to write concisely! Nobody likes reading paragraphs upon paragraphs describing yourself.
3. Make sure you provide value. On every piece of content you upload, whether it's a resume/CV, cover letter, portfolio, etc., focus on providing real examples of previous work. Potential clients won't care about your skills and experience until they see you delivered actual results. They want proof that you can solve problems others have trouble solving, and that you truly understand what they require from you. Showing past accomplishments gives customers confidence in hiring you over another candidate. At the very least, try to share samples of work done during spare time or side hustles instead of generic statements such as "I'm great at multitasking!"
Next, let's talk about how to get your profile noticed among millions of Upwork profiles.
If you think working on Upwork sounds overwhelming, then yes, you can absolutely become successful there. With that said, however, it takes some effort and persistence. That's why we recommend following our simple guide titled How To Get Work From Freelancing Sites Like UpWork And Fiverr & Improve Your Chances Of Finding Better Jobs Online. This article breaks down everything you should know about building your own portfolio and landing lucrative gigs. We encourage you to read this before moving onto anything else mentioned in this article. Once you feel comfortable doing so, here are some quick steps you can take to boost your visibility on Upwork.
Upload high quality photos. Be careful uploading pictures since employers could potentially view illegal material. However, if you're okay with sharing nude images, feel free to post whatever you'd like. Just remember that the goal isn't to attract creepy men or solicit lewd comments. Rather, the aim is simply to show prospective clients that you look professional. Upload headshots, full body shots, closeup shots, and medium shot pics. Try to avoid low resolution and blurry pictures. Also, consider putting captions underneath your pictures to communicate moods and feelings. Lastly, don't worry about editing your photos. Most users will probably ignore them anyway unless they happen to be extremely ugly.
Use impressive graphics. Employers love seeing creative designs and unique layouts. Consider learning Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Canva, and similar programs to design eye catching graphics. Then, create a custom background image for your profile page, preferably one you designed yourself. Not only does this give off the impression that you're an artist, but it shows clients that you're serious about your craft.
Create a clean, organized profile. Keep your bio short and sweet. Avoid writing long essays about your qualifications and personal history. Instead, stick to areas related to your field of expertise. Remember, nobody wants to hear stories about how much you used to drink last night. Focus on talking about how you helped your former boss save $5K last year. Additionally, list your education level accurately. People often judge candidates based on whether or not they went to college, so showing your degree doesn't hurt either.
Add testimonials. Testimonials showcase individuals' experiences with your services, which creates a favorable impression. As far as wording goes, try to stay away from phrases such as "very satisfied" and "excellent service." More importantly, ensure that whatever you claim happened genuinely took place. Otherwise, word it differently. For instance, replace "Excellent customer support" with "Managed client relations within deadlines."
Include links to social media accounts. Including social media icons on your profile increases the likelihood of attracting attention from random visitors. Moreover, having active Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, LinkedIn profiles, Instagram accounts, YouTube channels, Reddit communities, Snapchat DMs, and other platforms attached to your name allows you to showcase different sides of your personality. So instead of saying, "My portfolio consists of various programming languages I am proficient in," put something along the lines of "Programming Languages Expert. Check my Github profile for code samples."
Make your profile private. After completing all the aforementioned tasks, scroll back up to your homepage, open your settings menu located at the bottom left corner of your screen, click on privacy preferences, and choose "make profile visible to selected". By default, public profiles allow anyone to contact you. But, if you still wish to hide certain parts of your profile, select "private mode" instead. This setting prevents anyone except you from viewing certain sections and features of your profile. Essentially, it keeps your profile hidden until you decide to reveal it.
Lastly, remember that although Upwork offers thousands of listings for freelancers and businesses alike, competition can be fierce. There are lots of talented professionals vying for the same position, so you must stand out in ways unrelated to price. Here are a few ideas to help you do so.
Try to negotiate higher pay rates. Some clients advertise positions requiring hourly wages, whereas others prefer fixed monthly payments. Since Upwork uses PayPal to process transactions, it can be difficult to determine precisely how much you'll receive per paycheck. Nevertheless, it never hurts to ask. Tell your prospect upfront that you would appreciate it if he or she raised the amount offered to match market standards.
Be honest about your abilities. Sometimes your best bet is to honestly state that you cannot fulfill a particular task, especially if you lack knowledge in a given industry. Prospective clients will respect you more than if you pretended to possess extensive skill sets.
Don't lie about hours worked. Sure, some freelancer's need to inflate their income, but not everybody. Clients usually expect hourly workers to devote 40 hours per week towards fulfilling a single contract. Regardless of how busy you were yesterday or how tired you felt today, tell your prospects the truth. Honesty pays off!
Absolutely. Although Upwork doesn't offer an official training program, its Help Center contains detailed guides that walk newcomers through basic concepts such as posting your CV, sending emails, bidding on jobs, and managing finances. Overall, Upwork provides enough resources to learn the fundamentals of freelancing — which is essential for succeeding on this platform.
Additionally, there are tons of tutorials available on Udemy, Coursera, Khan Academy, Skillshare, Pluralsight, Thinkific, Toptal, and elsewhere. Many experts highly recommend taking classes online in addition to practicing everyday. Even if you have no prior knowledge whatsoever, you'll surely master the necessary skills needed to thrive on Upwork once you spend enough time studying.
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