Upwork: A Freelancers Guide

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Upwork is a platform for connecting freelance professionals with potential clients. It is very similar to Fiverr, Flocksy, and Compose.ly but there are some important differences. There are many people who have found Upwork to be an incredibly useful tool for building their business. And yet, there are others who have lost money using the platform or who have, at least, not seen the success they were hoping for when using Upwork. It’s a service that takes time and effort to master, and in this article, we’re going over the details of what Upwork is about, and whether its right for you.

Upwork’s Offerings

The platform is easy to use and understand, with a UI that people will generally find intuitive. And while the Upwork fees for employers vary on their user history (with freelancers being charged anywhere from 5%-20%), it is still generally much cheaper for the client than any other freelance platform. A good way to think about Upwork is as an entry level, almost training ground platform for companies to test out potential freelancers (most of which are remote workers) before deciding to work with them for longer term projects.

As a freelancer, Upwork can improve your odds of finding work and, most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to gain exposure to multiple clients from the comfort of your home or office, with the ability to build a professional portfolio of work.

Costs For Freelancers

Considering Upwork’s pricing model, it’s no surprise that many writers and developers shy away from getting involved with the platform. It can be difficult to accept cuts in your fees, especially in an industry where your margins are already competitively small.

This makes Upwork one of the higher cost freelance platforms if you are an experienced freelancer. But, as they say, “with great power comes great responsibility” and on a platform like Upwork where there is so much business to be had, competition is fierce.

You ultimately work at your own price, and choose how much to charge for time and projects. If you’re on a fixed-price basis, once the client accepts your work, you’ll get paid. For hourly jobs, Upwork bills the client according to the agreed on rate.

Pros And Cons Of Using Upwork As An Experienced Freelancer

Freelancing full-time on Upwork can be great, but it may not be right for you. If you’re a full-time copywriter, then Upwork might not be worth it due to the low pay and high competition. Some freelancers have even reported making less on Upwork than they made working for entry level agencies, without having the safety net of a steady paycheck.

Upwork is still a fledgling service (well, from a business standpoint anyway) and they are attempting to figure out the best way to do business in the freelance economy. For many freelancers, the initial up-front costs to get set up on the platform are the most expensive part of the gig. And in the long run, there’s a real risk that some freelancers will find that Upwork won’t provide the results they are looking for. But, not everyone is successful with finding work on Upwork. It’s a service that takes a bit of time and patience to master, and unfortunately, it’s one that you shouldn’t rely solely on for your income.

However, freelancing on Upwork can offer you a number of advantages. For one, you have a fantastic way to build your client base, getting your name out there for potential future work. Another is that you can set your rates, which is crucial for planning your day in advance and ensuring the earnings you expect are made. Most freelance copywriters, for example, set a fixed rate based on the size of a given project. However, a seasoned freelancer should be able to glance at the project brief to determine its complexity and place a bid accordingly.

How It Works For The Freelancer

It’s pretty much like online dating in the social media age. Instead of looking for the picture with the best physical features (brownie points if you have good abs or a really cute pet dog), employers are looking for your skills, knowledge, experience and results you can bring to the table. It’s essential that you showcase these through your writing samples.

Having an optimized profile is the first step of doing this. To get started, follow the prompts and fill in the details that upwork will ask for (your rate, your availability, services you offer, education and experience). But be mindful, getting you profile approved can be difficult.

With so many new freelancers joining Upwork, there are now more individuals to compete against. This means the standards for getting into the platform have increased tremendously. To drive a positive experience and accelerate these freelancer-client matches, freelancer profiles are now approved manually by Upwork rather than being automatically approved based on criteria. While this is a good way for Upwork to decide in whom to invest their time, it’s also a challenge for freelancers to be accepted on the platform.

(Banner Photo credit : Photo by Rodeo Project Management Software on Unsplash)