How to Get Started as an Upwork Freelancer

Career Building

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  • How to Get Started as an Upwork Freelancer
PUBLISHED BY Alwin Wong / June 30, 2021

Upwork is one of the largest freelancing platforms on the globe for individuals and enterprises alike. In 2020 alone, the business brought in over 373 million US dollars in annual revenue. Not to mention, its roots are old – ‘Since 1999’ old. Nowadays, the American-based platform is a go-to hub for every sort of Gig Economy worker looking to network professionally. That includes both freelancers looking for work and clients looking for freelancers. Upwork has over 12 million users – a diverse community with several avenues of opportunity.

If you’re not in the users’ lot already, you’ll be wondering what the perks of becoming an Upwork freelancer are. That’s what we aim to highlight in this article. From here on, we’ll be discussing the benefits of becoming a freelancer on Upwork, as well as how to get started as an Upwork freelancer.

What are the Benefits of Becoming an Upwork Freelancer?

Firstly, let’s discuss the benefits of becoming an Upwork freelancer. One powerful perk worth mentioning is that Upwork is a global platform. You can work with clients from all over the world, across different languages and cultural expectations. That being said, there’s an insanely diverse job pool. If you’re a Russian speaker looking for employment at a Russia-based company, you can find that. Looking to help college students from Canada write their thesis papers? It’s there. If you want to work for an Indian company in some niche platform few people know about, you’re likely to find something. There are tons of Upwork freelance jobs for every creed and color. Nailing the right job is just a matter of know-how.

Upwork is also great for providing long-term contracts at the discretion of both clients involved. When the fit is right, it’s not uncommon to work with a client for years on end. And nothing is better than building long-lasting business relationships. Patterns of familiarity also take care of communication and payment issues in advance. Speaking of communication, that’s another ease-of-use on Upwork’s platform. The environment is completely secure and protected, so messages are exchanged without risk. Plus, Upwork keeps a record of all invoices and transactions, so transparency is never lost. To top it all off, the site is user-friendly and streamline—you’ll be appealed, but never appalled.

Lastly, let’s not forget about Upwork’s payment protection systems. Their support team most always handles matters with intelligibility, which is highlighted by their payment protection systems. If you have an hourly contract and log in your hours accordingly, you’ll be protected by Upwork in the event of a miscommunication or an unwillingness to pay what may be owed. When it comes to fixed-price contracts, clients will reserve the right to review the work before submitting a payment. Payout amounts can be adjusted after a work submission too.

So that’s the tall order on why. Next up, we explain exactly how to sign up as a freelancer. Upwork has a straightforward but detailed profile setup system which makes long-term success all but promised.

How Can I Join Upwork as a Freelancer?

The how to become a freelancer on Upwork is clean-cut. Go to the Upwork homepage and click the “sign-up” button at the top-right of the page. From there you’ll be prompted to answer how long you intend to use the platform and to create a profile. Creating an Upwork profile is completely free. After you’ve made an account, you’ll be prompted to input information about yourself which Upwork and prospective clients will use once you begin working. This includes things like personal information, field of expertise, past employment, bio, etc.

Once all the information has been inputted, the last step will be identity verification. This requires the validation of a government ID and a visual identification as well. The process usually takes about 10 minutes. If all goes well and you’re accepted, you’re ready to go! You can start searching for jobs and sending proposals to clients of interest(more on that later). And it’s best to put some real effort into making your profile stand out amongst the competition. Check out these tips on creating a winning Upwork profile.

How Does Upwork Pay Freelancers?

There are a few payment options available to freelancers on Upwork. They include direct bank account transfer, bank card transfer (instant pay), PayPal, and wire transfer. That being said, how much you get paid through Upwork will obviously depend on your rate and the amount you work. Taking that into account, there does exist Upwork fees for freelancers. Upwork has a sliding service fee based on lifetime earnings with each client. The fee will be either 20%, 10%, or 5% depending on the size of your earnings. Not to mention, you’ll be expected to pay whatever tax you may owe on earned income to your respective country’s treasury. If you haven’t done so already, get some tips on how to file taxes as an independent contractor.

Like we mentioned before, Upwork is fully transparent about everything concerning you and your business. Very clear records of exchanges and financial transactions will be accessible to you at any venture. That’s including all fees that are taken out on behalf of Upwork’s contribution. Also, whenever a payment is confirmed and delivered for a completed job, a notification will follow. In fact, notifications for all exchanges liable to be enabled or disabled in your profile settings. If you decide to use the direct bank deposit as your payment option (it’s the cheapest), you’ll be paid on a schedule. How frequently will be your choice. Payments will only be sent out for balances equaling or exceeding $100, however.

What Type of Work is Best for Upwork?

The reason why the Upwork platform is one of the best ways to diversify income is due to its sheer traffic volume. While there are positions in everything from admin support to corporate law, some fields are in higher demand than others. Namely, these are the jobs best for Upwork: writing, web developing, and being a sales agent. There are also plenty of non-niche jobs like data entry and voice recording which you’ll find floating around from time to time. Again, it’s a great place to earn some extra money doing whatever you may have to offer.

As an Upwork freelancer, much of your success will be determined by your profile and how you take action when it’s crunch time. That’s important. That means knowing how to communicate with prospective clients, writing strong cover letters in your proposals, and being prepared for interviews. If you are good at what you do and know how to present yourself, you will find good work eventually. The more effort you put into your etiquette, the more you’ll get out of your experience with Upwork.

Alwin Wong

Alwin is the Growth Manager at Moves and a part-time freelance photographer. With the rise of the gig economy, he is excited by a world where people can have greater flexibility over their work and challenge the norms of having a traditional 9-to-5 job. Alwin is also an avid travel enthusiast and Toronto Raptors basketball fan.

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