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How to Make Money on Upwork – Beginner’s Guide
By Ritika Tiwari / December 29, 2015 / Comments: 9

Upwork is the new website created after the merger of Elance into oDesk, which have both been pretty big freelance platforms but with Upwork you can expect a lot of jobs and a lot of competition as well.

In this post, I will be talking more about a beginner’s point of view than the freelancers who are already on Upwork. But if you are a successful freelancer on Upwork, I would love to hear your views on how easy or difficult is it to make money on Upwork.

make money on Upwork

Creating an account

The process is pretty straight forward but you do have to wait for a day for your profile to get reviewed. Now when I created my account, it was still oDesk and the website had inactivated my account initially because my profile picture had a side pose and they couldn’t see my face properly. But as soon as I changed my picture, my account was activated.

Finding Projects on Upwork

After the merger with Elance, the number of jobs posted everyday have certainly increased but so have the number of freelancers bidding on projects. And if I have to tell you honestly, it has become more difficult than ever for new freelancers to get good projects here.

This is because when a client posts a project, they don’t see all the freelancers that have bid on the projects in one go. Only the freelancers that Upwork thinks are good enough (basically, experienced freelancers with a good history of projects) are displayed in the list and all the other newbie freelancers are hidden. Now these hidden freelancers can only be seen by the client if he goes into the hidden tab.

make money on Upwork

Applying for Projects on Upwork

If you like a project posted on Upwork and you want to apply on it, you just have to click on the ‘Submit Proposal’ button on the right hand side of the screen. There you would have to enter your budget for the project, the estimated time for project and your cover letter. You can either put links for your work or attach it along.

make money on Upwork - Submit proposal

On the job posting, you will also learn about the history of the client on Upwork– if he’s a new client or he has posted some successful jobs before. Through the client’s history you can easily determine how much he is ready to pay and how well he gives a feedback. Most of the clients also offer their clear budgets on their job posting, if you are not comfortable with it, just don’t apply. But if you think you can work with lesser amount than the client is offering, definitely write that in your cover letter. It will impact the client’s decision in choosing you.


I recommend directly getting paid to your bank account. You will get charged $2 for the transfer but at least you will get a much higher conversion rate.

Is Upwork really worth the effort?

To be honest, I am divided about this because I liked Elance better. But then, with Upwork I have met some amazing and long term clients. The big problem is the huge array of freelancers here. And that is why, clients don’t want to pay more for good quality. I have never seen a good paying client on Upwork yet, at least for freelance writing.

All in all, I think it’s a great place to launch your freelance writing career, but it shouldn’t be your only source of income. Firstly because it is a bidding website and secondly because even when you become a highly rated freelancer here, you will still be getting less than what freelancers are getting through other direct clients ( My personal opinion).

Things to take care of while working on Upwork


  • Stay clear of fake clients. Never start working on a project before the escrow has been set
  • Never directly email the completed work to the client. Always submit it through Upwork by clicking on the ‘Submit Work’ button. This guarantees your payment
  • If the work has been done but the client hasn’t replied on the project for more than 2 weeks, notify the client that you will close your project from your side
  • After the merger, Upwork has many bugs and the site might completely stop responding sometime
  • There are many low paying clients who pay as low as $1 per article. Do not even bid on those projects


Any questions? Any doubts? Let me know and I will love to help you


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9 Comments on "How to Make Money on Upwork – Beginner’s Guide"

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Preksha Das
Preksha Das
1 year 4 months ago

Hi Ritika,
Your article is awesome and somehow informative too. You ahve shared such a great tips about how to make money by doing a work with upwork, i did not ever try but now i am going to try. Might be you would love to see this website as well foe freelance writing. I had a great experience with this, you should try once (URL redacted).

Thank you for the great post

Jerry Nelson
Jerry Nelson
2 years 3 months ago

Ah, Upwork. The latest pond where too many low-quality fish are sought by too many underpaying clients.

Upwork is a waste of time and talen.

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[…] Also, tapping clients on Upwork and similar portals is tough and highly competitive. Even if you do, you shouldn’t keep this as your main source of income. Here is a post I did about getting started on Upwork. […]

2 years 4 months ago

Thanks for your article,
I landed two jobs now upwork won’t let me send any more proposals even though I have active connects. It says that I have too many tabs open. What do they mean when upwork is the only tab I have open at the time 😥 I really need more work as they pay is super low andcjyst two jobs is useless to survive on 😯
Janine Thanks