Upwork: How It Works

Upwork is arguably the most popular freelance marketplace in the world, catering to the needs of millions of buyers and sellers from around the globe.

However, Upwork, just like many other freelance platforms out there, has a steep learning curve that could pose a challenge to beginners.

In the light of the above, we thought it wise to seek the opinions of some experts in the industry about Upwork and how it works.

Read the excerpts below:

Create a profile

“Freelancers need to make an outstanding profile on Upwork to be noticed by buyers,” according to outreach expert Jehanzaib Ahmed. “Upwork is a robust platform for freelancers and always comes up with great opportunities for sellers.”

Add your qualifications

Get verified

“Getting accepted requires a detailed process, and applicants must provide documents and get verified by the Upwork team,” freelance marketer Warner Williams reveals. “This ensures that only qualified workers are allowed to work on the platform.” 

Find clients

“Basically, Upwork is a great place for freelancers to find clients that are ready to hire—you could say they’re warm leads,” says Slvia Pinho, a social media marketer with over a decade of Upwork experience. “It’s also great to grow with the platform, since the more clients you get, the easier it gets, and the more inbound leads you get, versus having to apply to jobs all the time.” 

Apply for jobs

“Freelancers can search for jobs, apply for them, and get hired by clients all on the Upwork platform,” says Steve Bouboulis, a website optimization expert. “Clients can also post job requests, where they outline their project needs and budget, and then select a freelancer based on their qualifications.”

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Send proposals

“After you create your account, you are able to send out proposals to clients who require your skills,” notes freelance writer Tyler Holmes, who made over $9,000 on Upwork within two years and also landed a full-time job with the help of the platform. “From here, the client can either reject or accept your proposal. If they accept, you can then begin discussing the details with the client and eventually set milestones for the project.” 

Use Connects

“You’ll need Connects to apply for jobs,” according to Yeremia Poco, an animated video creator who has been with Upwork since 2015, when it was Elance. “However, the amount of Connects required to apply for each job can vary. Freelancers can earn or buy these Connects.”

Submit proposals on time

“You have to submit proposals on time to be one of the first few applicants for a job,” data analyst Janeesa Hollingshead suggests. “Otherwise, you have to pay quite a bit to bid with credits to get attention.”

Deliver on time

“To maintain a good reputation on Upwork, freelancers should communicate effectively, meet deadlines, and provide high-quality work,” SEO freelancer Vinay Raval advises. “Clients can leave feedback on the freelancer’s profile, which can influence their chances of getting hired in the future.” 

Pay a service fee

“There are no access fees on Upwork, but a certain percentage of your earnings will automatically be deducted when you complete a project,” explains freelance writer David Bakke. “So, it’s important to understand this fee structure ahead of time so you know what you get at the end of each project.”

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Get paid

“You’ll get paid at the completion of each project,” says freelance writer Henffrey Muthama. “Upwork offers a secure payment system that guarantees timely payments for services rendered.”

So, that’s just basically a few things about Upwork and how it works that we hope could help you get started with freelancing on the platform.


In your opinion, how does Upwork work? Tell us in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

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