How to Make Money on Upwork | Is It Worth It?

Is Upwork worth it?
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Have you recently joined Upwork as a freelancer, or do you still have concerns before signing up? Do you want to know more about how to make money on Upwork?

ThisUpwork review will show you how to make money on Upwork with no experience, and you can decide if Upwork is worth it for freelancers.

Ready for the ride? Let’s hit the road.

What Is Upwork?

Upwork, based in the US, is one of the largest freelancing platforms.

Upwork History: It was formerly known as Elance-oDesk and rebranded as Upwork in 2015. The full name is Upwork Global Inc.

This platform offers lots of job opportunities for freelancers to make money online.

How Does Upwork Work?

You can take the initiative to find freelancing work, get invites from clients or have your project purchased.

When you (a freelancer) get a contract successfully (from an interview or a Project Catalog), your client will deposit the agreed fee to the escrow account held by Upwork.

When the work has been submitted, and there is no dispute, you will receive the earnings (after the service fee deduction) in the Billings & Earnings section after the security period.

How to Make Money on Upwork For Beginners

As a new freelancer on Upwork, getting your first order or generating more sales is challenging.

Luckily, we can do a couple of things to increase your profile credibility and facilitate the process.

Create a Professional Profile

Having a complete profile gives you more opportunities to promote your freelance business to prospective clients.

Besides, a complete profile is necessary to get a Rising Talent badge and be qualified for a Top Rated freelancer.

There is a list of requested items for creating a 100% complete freelancer profile on Upwork, such as your hourly rate and profile overview.

Create a complete Upwork profile to get more clients

If you are new to Upwork, you can check some profile examples from experienced freelancers on Upwork first and then craft your profile.

Create 2 Specialized Profiles

According to Upwork, specialized profiles increase 30%+ more chances of getting customers’ invites.

If you have special skills and expertise, feel free to create 2 specialized profiles for your targeted audience.

Get Your ID Verified

When you start to make money on Upwork (being an active freelancer), you will receive an email regarding the identity check.

Make sure you do it as soon as possible, so your account (such as funds withdrawal and job proposal submission) wouldn’t be affected, and you can keep making money on Upwork.

How To Get A Verified Badge On Upwork

There are only 2 steps to verify your identification.

A Valid Government-Issued Photo ID

Upwork will let you know the specific requirements for the photo ID.

Make sure you follow the instruction to get this done quickly.

Upwork Video Verification

They want to make sure you are the same person who has created your profile.

You can follow their detailed guidance about accessing the video chat in an email.

Note: You wouldn’t see the Upwork agent on camera during the video call. 

An agent will ask you a couple of questions regarding your profile.

For example, 

  • Where are you living at the moment?
  • What services do you provide on Upwork?
  • How do you provide your services?

Once you have done the identity check, you will get a verified badge on Upwork next to your profile within 7 days (usually faster), which shows other users that your account is verified (a trusted Upwork member).

If you have encountered any problems with video verification, such as an invalid link (It happened to me), don’t hesitate to contact Upwork customer support for assistance.

Create Projects to Increase Exposure and Expand Your Skills

This fantastic feature (Project Catalog) allows you to create up to 20 defined projects. Instead of approaching clients yourself, buyers will find and contact you (less legwork).

You can create projects by clicking on Find Work > My Project Dashboard.

How to find Project Catalog

Different projects could gain more public exposure than a general profile on Upwork. And both parties (you and clients) have more flexibility to get the best match.

You can also offer optional add-ons with the pre-set pricing and showcase your marvelous with high-quality videos.

Once your potential buyer is happy with your offer after discussion, you can send the client a fixed price or hourly contract to close the deal in the chatbox.

Note that the default one is an hourly contract.

If you wish to offer a fixed rate contract (such as $60 instead of $40), don’t forget to switch it to a fixed price.

How to send a fixed-price contract on Upwork

Note: In this proposed contract, you can’t create the due date, but the client has an option to choose a due date (optional) when reviewing your offer.

Set a due date to finish a contract on time on Upwork

Deadline wouldn’t affect your Job Success Score. However, I personally think it is better to have a deadline agreement so that the buyer can expect your work on a specific date.

🌟 Pro Tip: It is crucial to finish your work nicely and punctually (beyond expectation is a plus) because you are more likely to get a positive review after submission.

The client will be notified via email and Upwork Messages when you send the proposal.

They can also see the contract in the Pending Contracts section.

When the buyer approves your proposed contract, you will receive an email and message on the Upwork account; that is when you can get work started.

Note that if the client doesn’t have a verified payment method, you can’t proceed further. If that happens, let your client know. First-time buyers probably wouldn’t be aware of this.

Buyer's payment method is not verified on Upwork

Alternatively, if the agreed price is the same as the pricing in one of your projects, you can simply offer the project link, so your client can place an order there.

Update Your Freelancing Availability

As a beginner, you want to be as available as possible (more than 30 hrs/week) if your schedule is allowed.

Update your freelancing availability on Upwork

When you start to have more projects and get busy, you can change the availability.

Also, don’t forget to set your status to available, so your potential clients will know you are willing to take offers.

However, you can easily switch your status to unavailable when you are on holiday.

Use Your Upwork Connects Wisely

What Are Upwork Connects?

Upwork Connects are a virtual currency that you can use to reach out to potential clients and apply for job posts on Upwork.

Each job post will show you the number of Connects (on the project details page) that you need. Some jobs don’t require any Connects.

Check the required Upwork Connects for a job proposal

How to Get Free Connects On Upwork

There are 3 ways to get Free Connects onUpwork.

FreeUpwork Connects

You get 10 FREE Connects every month (Freelancer Basic accounts holder) or 80 Connects (including 10 free Connects) every month for Freelancer Plus account holders.

Don’t worry if you haven’t used up all your FREE Connects in a month. The unused Connects will automatically roll over for both plans.

Note that there is a monthly rollover limit to your unused Connects (freelancers for 200, agencies for 400).

Do Upwork Connects Expire?

Yes. Your Upwork Connects expire after one year from the date of issue.

Earned FREE Upwork Connects

Bonuses

After submitting a proposal, you can earn a bonus of 10 Connects if you get an interview, meaning more job proposals for you, hurray! 🥳

Note that you can only get up to 50 Connects (5 winning interviews) every 7 days.

First-Time Freelancer

When you first sign up with Upwork, you will receive 40 Connects, AND if you pass the Upwork Readiness Test, you will get another 40 Connects; in total, you get 80 FREE Connects.

For example, if every proposal you submit costs you 2 Connects, you can reach 40 potential clients.

Learn how to pass the Upwork Readiness Test (with answers) here. 😀

Upwork Rising Talent Badge

When you become a rising talent (represents one of the best new members) on Upwork, you will get 

  • 30 FREE Connects (a one-time bonus).
  • reduced fees (start at 10%) on Featured Jobs.
  • a Rising Talent badge on your profile, proposals, and Project Catalog projects.
  • specialized chat/ticket support.
  • more job opportunities.
  • to work toward Top-Rated status.

Let’s look at how to get a RisingTalent Badge on Upwork.

Wondering how to become aRisingTalent on Upwork? You need to do the following things.

  1. Pass the Upwork Readiness Test
  2. Complete projects as scheduled
  3. Write a 100% complete and genuine profile 
  4. Set your availability status up-to-date
  5. Actively submit proposals that suit your skillset
  6. Be present in the last 90 days or signed up in the past 30 days
  7. Follow the Upwork Terms of Service

Upwork Skill Certifications

If you happen to be a talent in Web, Mobile & Software Development, and Design & Creative industries, there is a chance to be invited (invitation only) for the Upwork skill certifications.

This certification can get you a bonus of 80 Connects.

Purchased Upwork Connects

If you have used up all your free Connects, you can buy more.

  • Cost for per Connect: $0.15 USD
  • Bundle sale: 10, 20, 40, 60, and 80
  • Bundle sale for agencies: 10, 20, 40, 60, 80, 150, and 300 if allowed

Connects Reward – UpworkPromo Code For Connects

Sometimes you will receive special offers or limited promotions for free Connects. You can redeem the Connects (amount varies) using an Upwork Free Connects promo code.

👉 You can check your Connects balance by going to your Upwork account > Reports > Connects History.

Apply for a Job Post

Here are a few simple steps to applying for a job post.

I will talk more about how to increase the chances of getting hired soon; keep reading.

  • Find a job that interests you.
  • Review the job post carefully to ensure it matches your skills and availability.
  • Submit a proposal (a cover letter) to a job post.
  • Get an interview from a client (wait for the client to contact you).
  • Respond to the interview invitation (You get 10 FREE Upwork Connects after answering the messages).

You can use advanced search to quickly find the job posts that match your skillsets or browse the job feed. 

Whenever you find something interesting, you can apply right away or save the job post (click the heart icon) and apply for all the jobs together later.  

Don’t just copy and paste the same cover letter to every client; it is NOT working. Instead, write a unique and cover letter to stand out from the crowd. 

Also, don’t forget to answer any Upwork screening questions listed in the job post in detail. 

Having specific questions will help clients filter out spam, proposal templates, and unwanted candidates. 

Keep yourself active (more search visibility) by continuously submitting proposals relevant to your skillset. 

Upwork Withdraw Proposal and Resubmit (Upwork Withdraw ProposalConnects)

Can I get my Connects back if I withdraw a proposal?

💡 Note: If you withdraw a proposal, you WON’T get your Connects back. However, you can resubmit a proposal if the job is still available. If you resubmit it, you will be charged for new Connects.

Sometimes, you CAN get your Connects back after submitting a proposal. However, you don’t have any control over these cases.

Cases:

  • Upwork has removed a job because of Upwork’s Terms of Service violation. 
  • The client cancels the project before a contract is made. Expired job posts are excluded in this case.

Before Applying

To increase the chances of getting hired, here is a list of points you should consider before applying. 

Job Description

Make sure you read through the job description to write a targeted cover letter. 

For example, if the description says 1 person is needed and the record shows more than 1 interviewed and 1 already hired, I would not apply for this job even the post is still open.

Reasons: 

  1. The client might be new to Upwork and doesn’t close the job post right after hiring. 
  2. If the client needs 1 freelancer and has hired 1 freelancer, the fund would have been deposited. You probably need to wait a bit longer for a reply.

Activity On This Job

  • Proposals: This part shows how many proposals have been sent to the client. If it is too competitive and the pay is not attractive, I will pass.
  • Last viewed by client: This could give you a signal of the degree of urgency. 
  • Interviewing: This tells you how many people have been interviewed. 
  • Invites sent: This shows the number of invites the client has sent.
  • Unanswered invites: This displays the number of freelancers who hasn’t answered the invites (neither accepted nor rejected the invitation). 

Upwork Preferred Qualifications

This part shows what specific requirements (such as a particular skill) the client is looking for in a freelancer.

If your profile doesn’t meet these criteria, you will see a pop-up when submitting a proposal. You can still apply, but your proposal might be ignored as it doesn’t meet the requirements.

Upwork preferred qualifications

Client’s Recent History

In this part, you can check what jobs have been done and predict how much the client is willing to spend on similar jobs.

Note that clients can rate freelancers’ work without providing any feedback.

However, if there is some feedback, make sure you check it.

Reviews

Feedback will tell you how satisfied the previous freelancers are with the client.

If there are too many negative reviews, pass.

With detailed positive feedback, you can know how the client does business on Upwork. This is helpful information when drafting a targeted proposal.

Other Open Jobs By This Client

This part could give you more information on the client’s business.

I found it helpful to check all the information above before applying since there are limited Connects each month.

Plus, you can use less energy to get more job opportunities by doing this.

Open to Job Invites

When a client invites you to apply for a specific job post, don’t hesitate to write a personalized proposal if interested.

Note that your Connects will not be deducted since the client approaches you first.

Fight for Rave Reviews

Like all other freelancing platforms, positive feedback from your previous clients is one of the most direct ways to prove your professionalism.

It is highly likely to get more clients quickly when you have a couple of satisfactory clients.

Gently Ask Your Client to Release Your Fund

It is important to inform your clients when the work is done.

When you know your client has received your work and is happy with it, feel free to send them a kind reminder to release the fund and give feedback.

Turn on the Email Notifications

If you turn on the email notifications,you will be notified about anything that happens with your Upwork account (such as payment processing, messages from future clients, or the available free Connects).

Once you get into the freelancing business, you never want to miss important messages.

Download the Upwork App on Your Mobile

You might not be at your laptop/desktop all the time, so the mobile Upwork app is convenient.

You can check potential jobs when you are outside, reply to your clients’ messages promptly or close a deal on the go.

Contact Upwork Customer Support

If you have any concerns, questions, or suggestions, you can contact Upwork customer support via email.

You will receive an automatic notification right after sending your email to them. The customer support team usually gets back to you in a timely manner, speaking from experience.

An automatic notification from Upwork customer support

Is Upwork Freelancer Plus Worth It?

It depends on your needs.

Here is a list of benefits for the paid Upwork Freelancer Plus accounts (USD 14.99/month).

  • Get public exposure: Whether you are on holiday or at work, your profile is active so prospective clients can find you. 
  • Check the bid range: You get to see your competitors’ bid range (high, average, low) on the jobs you intend to apply for. 
  • Receive Connects: You get 80 Connects each month.
  • Customize the profile URL: You can create a custom profile URL to look more professional. 
  • Hide Earnings on Upwork: Don’t want others to see how much you have earned on Upwork? Not a problem. You can hide your earnings by upgrading to the Upwork Freelancer Plus plan.

If you think these features (like hiding earnings on Upwork) are necessary to you, then upgrading toUpwork Freelancer Plus is worth it.

However, if you are new, it’s better to learn how to make money on Upwork first.

How to Hide Earnings on Upwork

If you are an Upwork Freelancer Plus plan member, you can go to Settings > Profile settings and click the Earning Privacy box. Then you can hide earnings on your Upwork profile. 

The general public and the marketplace won’t be able to see your earnings. However, your potential clients can still see your total billings and the past contract rates.

Note: This feature is NOT available for a Basic plan. You can either upgrade toan Upwork Freelancer Plus plan or limit others’ access to your profile (not recommended).

Make Money With The Upwork Affiliate Program

Another way to make money on Upwork is to join their affiliate program.

YES.

Upwork has an affiliate program for you to promote Upwork services (Talent Marketplace & Project Catalog) on your website and earn commissions.

Make money as an Upwork freelancer and an Upwork affiliate.

Read on:

How To Start A Blog And Make Money (No Experience Needed)

Common Blogging Mistakes To Avoid (And How To Fix Them)

Upwork Commission Rate

You can earn a commission for every first-time client you bring in through your Upwork affiliate link.

The commission rate is based on 70% of the first contract from a new client. You can earn up to $150 per transaction.

Related articles about affiliate marketing you might be interested in:

The Ultimate Guide: Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

Why Affiliate Marketers Fail

Why Your Affiliate Applications Get Declined And What To Do Next

How To Apply For The Upwork Affiliate Program

You can apply for their affiliate program on FlexOffers (an affiliate network platform).

Not only can you apply for the Upwork affiliate program, but also there are 11,767 affiliate programs for you to choose.

Click here to create a FREE FlexOffers account.

Another way to apply for the Upwork Affiliate Program is to submit the application form through their official website. 

  1. Go to Upwork.com.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the homepage, then click on the affiliate program (see image below). 
  3. Next, click on the Start Earning button on the Upwork affiliate page. 
  4. Complete the application form.
How to apply for the Upwork Affiliate Program
Steps to applying for the Upwork Affiliate Program

How To Promote

When you become an Upwork affiliate, you can access a selection of creatives (promotional materials) and affiliate links. Feel free to choose the ones that fit your website content.

How Can You Tell a Scam on Upwork? –Elance-oDesk Scam

There are many signals you can tell. 

For example,

  1. Ask for free work directly or indirectly 
  2. Try payment outside of Upwork 
  3. Share personal contact information before a contract
  4. Write unclear job posts 
  5. Request for your bank account

If you sense anything fishy and dodgy, report it immediately to Upwork customer support.

Note: In no circumstances will you be asked for information on your bank account. 

How To Get Paid By Upwork – Upwork Earnings

How Does Upwork Make Money? – Upwork Deduction Fees

When you first started, Upwork charges 20% service fees on billings($0-$500), including hourly, fixed-price, projects on Project Catalog, and bonuses for each non-Enterprise client.

Upwork Pending Payment Time

After submitting your work, Upwork allows 14 days for your client to review the work and request changes if needed. 

If there is a resubmission because of requested changes, the release time will be extended to another 14 days. So make sure you remind your client of the modified work.

If a client is not responsive after submission (it happens), your escrow funds will be released after 14 days.

However, you can be more proactive in contacting your client for an earlier fund release.

If the client releases your fund, you will see the fund marked as “Pending” in your payment account.

Then you will need to wait for an Upwork five-day security period.

For example, if your fund is released on Monday, it will be available on Friday. 

Upwork Withdrawal Methods

As shown in the image, there are several ways to withdraw your Upwork earnings.

Upwork Earnings - How to get paid by Upwork

For freelancers with US bank accounts, there is no withdrawal charge.

As for non-US freelancers, it is best to use a combination of the local bank transfer and Payoneer.

Local Bank Transfers ($0.99 per withdrawal) could be used for small amounts.

Information on Local Bank Transfers

If you transfer a large amount (such as 1,000), Payoneer ($2 per withdrawal regardless of the amount) is a better option.

Depending on your bank, you might get the payment immediately or in a couple of days.

How Do I Withdraw Money From Upwork?

Once you have decided and added your preferred payment method to Upwork, you can withdraw your Upwork earnings by following the steps below.

  1. Click on your image icon.
  2. Choose Settings > Get Paid.
  3. Choose the amount to get paid.
  4. Click on Get Paid Now.

When Upwork approves your payment request, you will be notified via email. The whole process is pretty fast.

Upwork Alternative for Freelancers

Fiverr is an excellent alternative freelancing platform.

Read on: The Ultimate Guide – How To Sell On Fiverr For Beginners

Want to make more money with Fiverr? Check out my Fiverr Affiliate Program tutorial (step by step).

Sidenote: Besides freelancing, I started this blog you are visiting as a side hustle. If you are interested, read more to learn how to start a blog from scratch and make money blogging.

FAQ – Upwork Review

Is Upwork legit?

Yes. You can make money on Upwork, and your earnings are well protected. Many professional freelancers make a living on Upwork.

Is Working For Upwork Worth It?

“Is Upwork genuine?” – Yes. Some have already made a decent income and worked as full-time freelancers on Upwork. If you are serious about freelancing online, Upwork deserves a try.

Does Upwork have an affiliate program?

Yes. Upwork has an affiliate program. You can apply for it on their website homepage or FlexOffers (an affiliate network platform). Earn up to $150 per transaction.

How Long Does It Take To Start Making Money On Upwork?

It depends on many factors (e.g., your job proposal, skillset, and market demand). If you want to get your first client faster, be proactive and approach clients on Upwork using your Connects. It’s also helpful to follow the tips in this post.

Final Thoughts – Is Upwork Worth It?

Upwork is a great freelancing platform to make money online; however, don’t put all eggs into one basket.

You can also try other online freelancing platform and approach potential clients offline.

I hope I covered all the important points that can get you started to work on Upwork.

Further reading: How To Quit Your Job Gracefully Before Freelancing

What is your experience with Upwork? Do you enjoy working on Upwork?

If you haven’t signed up on Upwork yet, what are your concerns?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. 😊

Enjoyed this post? Don’t forget to share it and connect with me on Pinterest.

Upwork Review For Freelancers: Is Upwork worth it?
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