Work from home earning opportunities have been on a steady rise due to two major reasons; the demand for more flexible working hours by workers, and the cost-effectiveness of companies outsourcing jobs to qualified professionals.
Writers, web designers, nursing mothers, and even students have joined the bandwagon of those working from the comfort of their homes. Under this working condition, it is common for workers to determine pay rates, working hours, and other conditions that make for a work-life balance.
Freelancers are having a field day as clients keep resorting to hiring them for “little” tasks that are time-bound. Freelancing platforms have continued to spring up to take advantage of the growing gig economy.
Our review today is one of the most popular freelancing platforms in the world. If you have participated in any freelancing jobs on the internet, chances are, you are familiar with Upwork. This review provides detailed information on Upwork and how freelancers can use it to attract jobs.
Table of Content
- What is a Freelancer?
- About Upwork
- Features of Upwork
- Job Types on Upwork
- Tips on Getting Great Jobs on Upwork
- Upwork Membership Plans
- How to Find Work on Upwork
- Upwork Payments
- Pros and Cons of Upwork
What is a Freelancer?
A freelancer is a self-employed individual who specializes in performing service-related tasks for one or more clients. Freelancers are usually not committed to a particular client, which gives them the ability to take on as many jobs as possible.
Popular jobs associated with freelancers are content writing, graphic designs, video production, animation, translation, book reviews, and video editing.
Freelancers are paid on an hourly basis, task or projected completed basis. This gives a lot of flexibility to determine pay rates and work hours.
Freelancers connect with clients directly, through social media platforms, or through websites designed for such purposes. Some common platforms that allow freelancers to connect with clients for jobs are Fiverr, Freelancer.com and Upwork.
This post reviews Upwork and what potentials it portends for new and experienced freelancers.
Reputed to be one of the biggest marketplaces where freelancers connect with clients, Upwork currently boasts of more than 12 million registered freelancers and 5 million registered clients on its platform. More than 3 million jobs are posted annually ranging from lowly paying to very high paying jobs for experienced professionals.
The company now known as Upwork was originally founded in 2015 as oDesk, and has evolved over time with a merger of oDesk and Elance to produce Upwork as we know it today.
Upwork is a highly rated freelance marketplace by users who find the quality of service much better than most platforms in its niche.
Here are some interesting features you should expect from Upwork if you are new to the platform.
Features of Upwork
- Connects freelancers with clients by offering a platform where clients post job offers they want done, and freelancers applying for such jobs.
- Clients are allowed to post job offers based on their budgets and get responses to those offers from freelancers.
- Upwork feedback system provides reviews on freelancers and clients for completed jobs. This helps to evaluate and rate users based on jobs done and successfully completed. Freelancers and clients alike can use these reviews in determining those they choose to work with in the future.
- Very appropriate for beginners going into the business of freelancing.
- Payment protection for freelancers against clients who may not want to pay for jobs satisfactorily completed.
Job Types on Upwork
Upwork offers two main job types for freelancers on its platform:
1. Hourly Rates
Clients are billed every Monday on hourly jobs for the past week’s hours according to the freelancer’s recorded hours in a job.
The billing period commences on a Monday and ends on Sundays with the freelancer’s funds available 10 days following the billing period.
Freelancers are assured of their hourly payments once confirmed.
2. Fixed Rate
Clients are expected to make deposits in an escrow account for fixed rate jobs, while the money is released to the freelancer upon completion of the job or attaining a particular project milestone after a 5 day security period.
This security period is used by Upwork to process the payment and resolve any dispute that may arise after completion of the work.
Clients are responsible for deciding milestones for their projects, and payments are released only if the client is satisfied with work done.
Tips for Getting Great Jobs on Upwork
- Do not price yourself too low. Clients are well aware that quality comes at a great price, and freelancers who price their services too low come across as producers of low quality jobs. For instance, a good quality job cannot be done at a rate of $2 or $5 an hour. Charging a rate this low will attract very low quality jobs.
- Do not compete on price. This is very tempting especially if you are in need of quick cash. If you must compete with other freelancers, let it be based on quality of output and not on price.
- Do not let the fact that a client’s budget is lower than your price prevent you from bidding for the job. I know this sounds like a contradiction with the previous tip, but there are very good reasons for this. Bidding for a job by a client can give you an opportunity to express the quality of work you can deliver, and if the client is convinced that you are the best fit for the job, you will get the job.
- Ensure you deliver on clients’ requirements to guarantee positive reviews and improved ratings for subsequent jobs.
- When bidding for a job, ensure your proposal is well written and addresses the particular needs of the client. Communicate clearly through your proposal and avoid ambiguity. Clients need to know that they are well understood by whoever will handle their jobs.
- Your Upwork profile has to be very detailed and come across as professional as possible. A well written profile can get you great jobs even without you bidding for them.
Upwork Membership Plans for Freelancers
Upwork offers two membership plans to freelancers with their features and benefits depending on the particular needs of the freelancer. These membership plans include:
1. Upwork Basic Plan
Upwork Basic Plan is a free membership plan that gives freelancers access to payment protection for hourly work, allows freelancers to buy Upwork Connects (required for job bidding) and full access to all registered freelancers and agencies.
Basic plan is ideal for freelancers who are new to the platform or those who have much fewer jobs on Upwork.
2. Freelancer Plus
This is a membership plan that comes with much more benefits than the Upwork Basic Plan, and it is better suited for more active users on Upwork and for those with a higher volume of clients and jobs to handle. The subscription on Freelancer Plus is $14.99 a month and members of the Basic Plan are free to upgrade at any time.
Some benefits of Freelancer Plus membership include 70 Connects monthly, insights into competitors’ job bids, having your own customized URL for your Upwork profile, and your earnings kept private by Upwork.
How to Find Work on Upwork
Getting a job on Upwork can be anything from easy to very tasking depending on a number of factors which are addressed in this section.
1. Your proposal
This is the first step towards attracting clients on Upwork. Although this comes with your cover letter, clients are known to first go through your answers on the additional questions posted by them. More than a third of Upwork proposals require you to answer these questions.
Let your proposal be a customized one that addresses the points raised by the client and not a generic one. This is an indication that you truly understand the needs of the client, and have communicated that in your proposal.
Your bid may be much higher than other bidders or you might not be the most experienced for the job but clearly articulating the needs of the client shows that you know what the client needs. Communicate professionally also to show that you know what you’re doing.
2. Set competitive hourly rates
In a bid to attract jobs faster, you may be tempted to set your hourly rates very low. Though price competition may be ideal for other kinds of businesses, it may prove counterproductive for you in the long run.
Prices are set according to the value that you bring to the marketplace. It is a way of estimating the benefits that your clients derive from consuming your services. The implication of setting a low hourly rate for your services is that clients do not stand to benefit much from your service. At best you are telling prospective clients that your services are low quality.
To get an idea of what hourly rates are good for you, browse the profiles of competitors in your niche and use their rates as a guide. If you must charge lower rates than them, let the difference be minimal so you don’t end up undercutting yourself.
3. Skim through Job Headlines
Job search on Upwork through keywords and filters are not very effective as you may not get the kind of search results that you want. Clients may not categorize jobs as expected; so, they are not presented in the categories you expect.
It is better to skim through Job headlines categories and go deeper on the ones that appeal to you. Using this approach, you can come across the right jobs for you based on your skills and experience, even if they are wrongly placed in different categories.
4. Create Specialized and Highly Professional Profiles
Freelancers were in the past offered qualification tests in order to ascertain their level of knowledge and experience. That test has been phased out by Upwork and what freelancers have right now is specialized profiles for highlighting skills and expertise.
As a freelancer, you can describe your skills and experience on your profile which will help position you before clients.
You can browse through profiles of other users on Upwork in the same niche for inspiration on designing your profile.
Your profile is very important in attracting clients to you, and enough time and care should be taken for it to come out excellent.
You can set up one or more specialized profiles as you become more established in Upwork.
Freelancers enjoy payment protection on Upwork, which prevents them from being exploited by scams masquerading as clients.
Transfer fees on Upwork range from $0 to as much as $30.
Payment options on Upwork include the following: direct bank account withdrawals, PayPal, Payoneer, M-Pesa and wire transfer.
The name of the beneficiary on the bank account must be the same with the name on your profile. For business accounts, you would need to contact the Upwork support team to have that resolved.
Pros and Cons of Upwork
- Upwork is a great place to earn extra income as a freelancer
- Freelancers have the opportunity to build long lasting relationships with clients found on Upwork.
- You can fix your earning rates to suit you.
- Upwork is one of the biggest freelance marketplaces and it boasts of over 3 million jobs a year.
- Payment protection from Upwork protects freelancers from getting scammed by unscrupulous clients.
- Upwork’s feedback system provides an avenue for freelancers and clients to rate each other on jobs done. This helps other users identify those who are legit and professional with their jobs.
- Upwork is very easy and Intuitive even for new users.
- Upwork is accessible globally with just a few exceptions due to Federal laws
Cons of Upwork
- There are online reports of registered “clients” on Upwork that are scams.
- Freelancers are known to accept much lower rates than what they are qualified for simply because they need to get jobs on Upwork.
Upwork is a great place for newbies desiring to cut their teeth in the world of freelancing.
Experienced freelancers have the opportunity to earn extra pay through contract jobs, build longer relationships with clients, and choose job offers that reflect their skills and experience.
Both new and experienced freelancers have access to Upwork’s payment protection, dedicated customer support, and over 3 million yearly jobs on offer.
Getting started on Upwork is easy and you can sign up for the basic plan for free.
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