Freelance writing has long been one of the most lucrative jobs available online. In fact, many people today have made their living from this field over the years, including some very famous names in entertainment like George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones), Steven Moffat (Doctor Who), Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun Times) or even Barack Obama himself!
Upwork was founded by two former Facebook employees in 2011 as an alternative to Craigslist's job posting section. According to its website, more than 75 percent of all U.S.-based freelancers are currently using Upwork to find clients. If that isn't enough proof, think about how big Amazon is now — there's almost certainly someone out there who needs your services right at this moment.
The question remains though: Is Upwork still a viable option for finding paid gigs? And if so, what kind of income do you stand to get from it? We've got answers for both these questions below. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Upwork, then decide whether or not it's best suited for you.
If you're thinking of trying your hand at Upwork, you should be aware that the pay rate here depends entirely upon which type of gig you want to pursue. There are three main categories under which you will see adverts posted on Upwork: Copywriting & Content Writing, Technical Communication, and Transcription Services. To help illustrate, let me share with you my experience within each category.
As I'm sure you already guessed, copywriters/content writers usually charge higher rates than other types of writers when they post new ads. For example, while technical communicators may only get $20 per hour, content and copywriters could receive anywhere between $50-$100+ hourly depending on the project requirements. This is because the latter group typically writes hundreds to thousands of words daily whereas the former often just write short paragraphs. Still confused? Think of it this way — would you rather read 1,000 pages of text written by a professional ghostwriter or 100 articles composed by a college student? It's obvious which one would take longer to finish but also earns better royalties.
Technical communication experts, on the other hand, are responsible for providing clear instructions during meetings. They don't necessarily need any knowledge about the subject matter, just strong verbal skills. A lot of them tend to focus on medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, etc., since those professions require accurate information being communicated throughout the day. One of my friends actually used to manage a team of translators working remotely for his company before he moved overseas. He told us that although the hours were flexible, his weekly salary earned him around $1,200 annually once taxes were taken into account. Not too shabby either considering he wasn't fluent in English!
Transcribers, however, transcribe audio files from video calls, conferences, interviews, podcasts, etc. Most transcriptionist companies use third-party software called "speech recognition" that automatically converts voice recordings into typed transcripts without human intervention. These programs aren't perfect though, so sometimes mistakes happen. Some transcribers might charge upwards of $25 per minute for correcting typos and misheard phrases. My friend Patrick uses Tytranscripts [Broken URL Removed] service to transcribe conference call notes and emails, and receives commissions every time he sends finished documents to his client. His monthly earnings range between $2,500 -$4,000 based on commission percentages.
Don't forget to check for special promotions offered by certain websites. Sometimes advertisers offer bonus incentives for extra sales via referrals. If you refer others to a particular site, you'll likely get freebies or discounts whenever possible. You never know until you try, right?
Yes, absolutely! But not everyone gets rich off of it. Just as any other career path, there are pros and cons associated with Upwork itself. Let's start with the positives first.
Unlike traditional outlets where you'd send proposals straight to publishers, Upwork allows you to directly contact potential customers through messages instead. That means you won't waste precious time crafting lengthy cover letters filled with fluff. As for benefits associated with having an active profile on the platform, one of them is that you'll always stay updated on current trends in your industry. Other perks include easy access to relevant tools and resources, plus the opportunity to network with fellow writers. Here are some tips to guide you along:
Be selective with whom you message. Don't bother responding to irrelevant posts unless you really enjoy chatting with people. Remember that every person you add to your favorites list counts towards your overall reach limit. So keep conversations polite and meaningful. Otherwise, your inbox will quickly fill up with tons of promotional notifications.
Read existing threads regularly. When something catches your eye, click on the link provided to view full details. Then, scroll down to see similar topics mentioned by other users. By doing this, you can easily discover fresh ideas and opportunities that weren't present before.
Join groups and follow hashtags. Groups are basically forums specifically created to foster discussions among members. On top of that, hashtags allow you to search specific keywords related to your interests. Use #[industry name] to connect with other people looking to hire your talents. Hashtags are especially useful for brands looking to promote themselves. Take Twitter for instance, if a brand wants to market their latest product, they can simply create a hashtag and invite followers to join in on the conversation.
Start networking. Once you become familiar with different niches, browse profiles of individuals offering interesting projects. Look for talented people whose work you admire and approach them personally. Offer assistance wherever needed. Be ready to reciprocate when necessary. After all, nobody likes a suckup! However, remember that relationships built on mutual admiration societies alone rarely result in financial gains.
Lastly, don't expect instant results. Although it's true that plenty of great deals come across our desks everyday, it takes a bit of patience and persistence to strike gold. More importantly, you must treat Upwork as a part-time source of additional revenue. Set aside ample blocks of time to research various markets, craft compelling pitches and wait patiently for offers to roll in.
Now for the bad news: earning less than minimum wage is common on Upwork. While some sites may advertise high wages, the reality is quite another story due to several factors. First of all, the majority of workers on the platform are independent contractors. Therefore, they have limited rights to negotiate terms and conditions of employment. Secondly, many employers purposely avoid paying overtime fees since the platform doesn't provide proper tracking mechanisms required to comply with federal regulations. Lastly, some businesses prefer hiring subcontractors outside of Upwork instead of dealing with overhead expenses involved with employing a staff.
However, we shouldn't discourage aspiring writers from pursuing careers on Upwork altogether. Instead, we suggest taking proactive steps to increase chances of landing quality assignments. Start researching industries you intend to target beforehand. Find out what kinds of gigs they prefer sending out and apply accordingly. Also, review previous feedback left by past customers to help determine the average payout for your chosen niche. Finally, consider seeking advice from peers who've recently tried their hands at a given profession.
In summary, yes, writers can indeed make decent incomes using Upwork. However, the key word here is "can". Like anything else, success comes with hard work. Good luck!
This largely depends on the following variables:
Are you interested in pursuing marketing communications, business development, tech support, or legal consulting? Are you passionate about creating fiction or nonfiction books? Do you want to produce webinars, videos, presentations, newsletters, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, etc.? All of these things play crucial roles in determining your hourly compensation.
You can choose to go after general job boards like Indeed, Career Builder, Simply Hired, etc., or specialize in targeted ones like Scriptlance, WritersVault, Elance, PeoplePerHour, Freelancer, Toptal Work, etc. Each one provides unique features tailored specifically to meet individual preferences.
It goes without saying that competition is fierce nowadays. Whether you're targeting small businesses, large corporations, NGOs, media houses, educational institutions, hospitals, universities, etc., you'll surely face stiff opposition from other applicants. Make yourself stand out by showcasing your uniqueness and expertise. Try to differentiate yourself from the crowd and show prospective employers exactly why you deserve priority consideration.
A well-curated collection of samples shows that whatever your specialty, you possess valuable skill sets to bring home the bacon. Having said that, here's a quick tip for making your portfolio shine brighter: Avoid uploading generic resumes, cover letters and CV templates. Focus on demonstrating professionalism and individuality instead. Your goal is to leave a positive impression on anyone viewing your submission. Showcase your achievements and accomplishments while highlighting areas wherein you continue improving.
Freelance writing has long been one of the best ways to earn extra income online because while most other gigs are seasonal or part-time in nature, freelancing can be done around your schedule and workload — and that's not including all the benefits like health insurance and retirement accounts.
But with so many sites offering this type of gig as well as platforms such as Amazon Handmade which allows people to sell their crafts directly to customers, how does one decide where they want to focus their efforts?
To find out if being an independent contractor by day/freelancer by night (or vice versa) is right for you, let's take a closer look at what life looks like when working for yourself. We'll also explore whether or not it's possible to earn enough from Upwork alone to sustain a full-time job without any outside help.
It should go without saying that before starting any business venture, you need to do proper research into its viability. While we've researched our own experiences using Upwork over several months, nothing replaces thorough market analysis and competitive intelligence checks before jumping headfirst into anything new.
With that said, here's what we found after spending some time looking through various articles about earning extra cash via Upwork.
In short, yes. As someone who writes for a living, I know firsthand just how difficult it can sometimes be finding clients willing to pay for my services, especially since digital content isn't exactly known for its profitability. But even though it was challenging, going through those same struggles helped me develop skillsets that translate very nicely into the world of freelance writing.
The main reason why I think Upwork is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the industry is because it offers tons of potential opportunities to both experienced and inexperienced writers alike. In fact, according to UpWork's "Top Freelancers" list, only 3% of current users have had five years or longer experience within the field. So chances are pretty high that you will get noticed simply based off your talent and ability.
That being said, it's important to remember that Upwork itself is not responsible for matching buyers with sellers. Instead, its platform relies heavily upon third parties, namely agencies and individuals posting projects themselves. If these entities aren't careful when choosing clients, they could end up hiring substandard workers who don't live up to their expectations. This leads to unhappy clients, lost revenue, and wasted resources.
If you're serious about making money doing something you enjoy, then it might be smart to try joining forces with another person or company first. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide detailing how to choose a legitimate agency partner instead.
What kind of advice would you give others trying to break into the world of freelance writing?
Don't be afraid to ask questions! It never hurts to clarify details regarding client requests — especially if you haven't worked with them before. Don't feel bad asking for feedback either. Just remember that nobody wants to waste each other's time. And if the buyer ends up getting offended, just chalk it up to experience.
Also, keep track of everything related to deadlines, payments, etc. It helps to use tools like Google Calendar and Trello to stay organized. Those apps provide plenty of scheduling options, reminders, progress tracking, and task management features that allow us to better manage ourselves.
Lastly, always treat every assignment as if it were your last. You'd hate to wake up one morning thinking, "Wow, I really wish I hadn't written that article." That means keeping a positive mindset throughout the process, knowing that things may change along the way but ultimately having fun while putting forth quality work.
As previously mentioned, the hardest aspect of freelancing tends to come down to securing consistent work. Since competition among writers is stiffer than ever, it becomes increasingly harder to land assignments on top of needing to cover basic expenses like rent or groceries. However, once you gain momentum, this problem gets easier to overcome thanks to word of mouth referrals, social media networking, and establishing strong professional relationships.
One thing I personally struggled with early on was coming up with ideas for different topics to write about. Thankfully, I eventually discovered that writing prompts are a fantastic tool to kickstart inspiration. Once you begin receiving submissions, see if you can pitch stories relating to them. Then, just follow your gut instincts and trust that you're onto something.
Another challenge comes from dealing with rejection. When submitting pieces to editors, you typically won't hear back until weeks later unless certain requirements are met. For example, you must include specific words or phrases related to assigned keywords in order to receive credit for originality. Otherwise, depending on the publication, the editor may request revisions before publishing your piece. After sending off multiple pitches, I learned to accept criticism gracefully and continue practicing my craft regardless of outcome.
Yes, there IS a demand for freelance writers! According to Business Insider, approximately 35 million Americans currently rely on freelance jobs to supplement their incomes. With the rise of companies such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, Instacart Shipt, Postmates, et al., millions of people now face the possibility of losing their primary source of employment. Which is why experts predict the future workforce will consist primarily of freelancers.
Of course, it goes without saying that this trend may lead to higher rates of unemployment overall. However, freelance work provides flexibility, freedom, and autonomy unlike traditional office environments. Think of it as a viable alternative to the 9–5 grind.
So is Upwork a good choice for finding freelance writing gigs? Yes and no. On one hand, Upwork certainly doesn't offer anywhere near the level of support offered by bigger organizations like Problogger, CopyBloggers, Content Marketing Institute, etc. There's definitely room for improvement, particularly in terms of helping aspiring writers improve their marketing strategies and become more proficient at pitching compelling proposals.
On the flip side, however, Upwork is still home to hundreds of thousands of active professionals eager to share their expertise with others. So even if you don't plan to stick with the site forever, you could potentially strike gold one day by connecting with an established freelance writer. Alternatively, maybe you will join a team and advance your career over time. Either way, there's absolutely value in building valuable connections via the platform.
While it's true that Upwork isn't necessarily conducive to making real income fast, it is a great option for people looking to build solid portfolios and network professionally. Plus, there are lots of perks associated with registering as a user. To name a few, you can create unlimited profiles, participate in monthly contests, access special deals, and connect with influencers across industries.
Nowadays, we often think that having a big following on Instagram qualifies you to make money for sharing pictures of food and memes. Whereas, if you're skilled enough as a writer, you can leverage your talents to generate actual profits. Sure, it takes practice, patience, and persistence. But if you believe in yourself and put in the effort required daily, you CAN achieve success at Upwork too. Now, that's truly inspiring.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on our findings. What else do you suggest everyone consider before diving into the world of freelance writing? Share your insights below.
Freelancing has become increasingly popular over the last few years, but there's still one big roadblock that keeps many people from getting started: finding reliable clients who want your services.
Many people choose to tackle this problem by becoming an independent contractor or affiliate marketer — creating their own websites with products they promote in order to earn commissions off of sales made through those sites. This can be a viable option if you have time and resources available, but not everyone has both. For those folks looking for more immediate income, using freelancing platforms like UpWork may seem appealing.
UpWork offers writers access to thousands of project opportunities, which are presented daily via its website and mobile app. If you're interested in earning extra cash while working from home, here’s what you need to know about how UpWork works and whether it's right for you.
There are two main ways to generate revenue on UpWork: submitting bids and winning projects. Once you submit a bid (for $1 per hour), you'll receive notifications when new jobs appear that match your skillset. You'll also see what kind of hourly pay rate different types of projects offer at any given moment. When you win a job, you’ll typically be asked to complete several tasks before receiving payment. Some gigs will require copywriting, others might ask for product descriptions, etc., so your payout varies depending on the type of gig you accept. Be sure to read all terms and conditions thoroughly before accepting any gig.
The average earnings reported by users on UpWork vary widely. A recent survey found that most respondents earned between $10-$15/hour, while some claimed to bring in hundreds of dollars each month. It’s hard to say exactly because only a small percentage of workers report their incomes publicly. On top of that, competition among freelancers is fierce, especially since there are so many active profiles on UpWork.
In general, however, you should expect to spend anywhere from four hours to 48 hours completing a single assignment on UpWork—and sometimes more than that! Of course, these estimates don't account for other factors such as client turnaround times or quality expectations. But keep them in mind and try not to let the stress of juggling multiple assignments cause undue distress.
If you end up spending too much time on one particular task without seeing results, consider switching gears until you find something you enjoy doing more. Also, remember that you won't always land a paying opportunity after bidding on a post. While UpWork boasts countless listings daily, there are even more posts submitted every day. Even if you manage to snag a gig, chances are high that another person took it first. It becomes crucial to stay patient and flexible, knowing that you could lose out on a job simply due to timing.
To begin generating revenue on UpWork, open a profile and set your desired skill level based on experience. Then select "Writing" under the "Specialties" section of your profile page. From there, you can filter search results according to your preferred language(s) and region. Next, create a portfolio showcasing your best pieces. Remember to add photos of yourself and include links back to your personal social media accounts where possible. Most importantly, fill out your bio carefully and clearly state your goals and interests.
While browsing job postings, apply for positions that interest you. In most cases, you’ll receive a prompt email asking you to confirm your acceptance. After agreeing to a contract, proceed with filling out forms required by the platform. These usually involve things such as providing ID information, signing non-disclosure agreements, and uploading documents related to previous payments.
Afterward, wait patiently for contracts to arrive in your inbox. Contracts are emails sent directly from either the buyer or seller, explaining details regarding your agreed upon price, deadlines, deliverables, and scope of work. Make sure you follow instructions provided within each message closely. Otherwise, you risk being penalized financially for failing to adhere to rules.
Once you successfully complete a project, send files and receipts via PayPal or check instead of waiting indefinitely for funds. Sometimes buyers request additional items beyond contractual obligations, so prepare accordingly.
Finally, never forget to treat UpWork like any other freelancing site you use today. Keep track of your expenses, communicate regularly with potential clients, and learn from past experiences. With proper planning, marketing techniques, and persistence, you just might turn into a successful writer on UpWork.
It takes time to build trust and develop lasting relationships with potential clients on UpWork. One way to stand apart from competitors is to establish a reputation for delivering outstanding customer service and meeting tight deadlines. To help you achieve success sooner rather than later, focus primarily on building strong connections with clients via messages, calls, and video conferences. Don't hesitate to reach out to fellow freelancers whose portfolios align with yours. They can provide advice, tips, and tricks that can further improve your craft. At the same time, don't neglect self-promotion efforts. Post relevant content online, participate in discussions, and network with industry professionals. Eventually, you'll attract attention from prospective clients who value your talents.
Also, keep in mind that UpWork doesn't charge any fees associated with connecting freelancers with customers. Therefore, you shouldn't feel discouraged from pursuing lucrative opportunities despite having limited budget. As mentioned previously, competition is fierce on UpWork, so taking advantage of free advertising tools like LinkedIn Pulse and Google Search Groups can go a long way. However, UpWork advises against spamming groups with promotional pitches. Instead, share helpful articles or blog posts specifically tailored to group members' needs. Consider creating a custom URL for easy sharing and bookmarking.
Another technique that can increase your visibility on UpWork involves participating in specific forums dedicated to certain industries. For example, browse Facebook groups created around topics pertaining to health & wellness, business development, technology, and creative fields. By interacting frequently in conversations, you'll gain valuable insights into what your target audience wants and needs. Additionally, joining professional organizations focused on improving career prospects and enhancing overall well-being can give you an edge over peers. Finally, be mindful of scams that prey on unsuspecting individuals. Research legitimate companies thoroughly before sending private information. Avoid falling victim to phishing schemes designed to steal sensitive data and credit card numbers. Always exercise caution when dealing with strangers online.
Unfortunately, slow paychecks aren't uncommon on UpWork. Competition is fierce and budgets often remain low, so getting approved for larger sums is challenging. That said, patience pays off once you ace the art of negotiating prices. Although you may not necessarily be able to negotiate higher rates upfront, you can negotiate delayed compensation. Here's how:
When you initially agree to perform a task, think about how many hours you'd ideally like to devote to fulfilling the commitment. Take notes and write down estimated completion dates. Send these reminders to potential clients via email, text message, or phone call. Tell them that you would prefer to receive payment earlier rather than later. Remind them that you've already invested considerable amounts of time and energy into the endeavor.
Additionally, inform them that you understand delays are inevitable and that you intend to continue producing stellar work until full satisfaction is achieved. Try to avoid sounding desperate, though. State your case calmly and professionally whenever possible. Lastly, show flexibility in accommodating reasonable requests. Offer alternatives when necessary, yet stick solely to commitments. Doing so ensures you maintain control of the situation.
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