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How to Get Started on Upwork

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How to get started on upwork
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I started working on Upwork back in 2014. Back then it was known as Odesk. I also worked on the Elance platform before the two became Upwork. Since then a lot of things have changed in terms of how they do business. 

In this blog, we’ll look at how to get started on Upwork.

Applying to Join Upwork

  1. Register on the site and then complete your profile to get started on Upwork. Make sure that your profile is complete. It should have a list of your skills, work, and services. Think of it as if you’re making a pitch to a potential client. You’re going to want to let them know what you can offer them in terms of your past experience and skills. Don’t include skills that are not relevant to the jobs that you’re seeking.
  2. Don’t forget to upload a photo of yourself. Clients are more likely to hire you when they can see your face. You can also add a video of yourself promoting your skills and what you have to offer. Also, make sure to link your social media accounts. This will add more proof of your identity. The goal is to get a 100 percent complete profile. This will also help you get Top Freelancer status when you start working.
  3. Then you have to apply to Upwork to work on their platform. It’s not automatic and your application can be rejected. It all depends on if they find your skills and experience to be a good fit for their site. You are allowed, however, to reapply if your application has been rejected.
  4. Once your application has been approved then you’re ready to send proposals.

Buying connects

To send proposals to prospective projects, you’re going to need connects. Some of the larger jobs may require, as much as, six connects to send a proposal. One connect costs 15 cents and you can buy them in bundles of 10, 20, 40, 60, and 80. 

Connects can be returned to you if the job that you sent a proposal is canceled without them hiring a freelancer. If the job post was removed because it violated the Terms of Service, the connects used by you will also be returned.

Freelance Sites: Fiverr vs Upwork

Sending the proposal

Once you’ve located a job in your area of expertise you have to make sure you sell yourself to the client. Here are some dos and don’ts when sending your proposal.


  •  Tell the client why they should hire you and what you can do for them.
  • Make sure to sell yourself. Put yourself in their shoes. Suppose you were looking for a freelancer to help you with a project. As your freelance business grows it may become necessary to hire other freelancers. What would turn you off? Also, what would you be looking for when it comes to hiring somebody to help you.
  • Read the job requirements thoroughly and make sure you understand what the client is asking for. Some clients will test you by asking you to include a word or phrase in the proposal. Many freelancers have sent the proposal without the required word and have lost out on a potential job.
  • Let them know your availability to do the project. 


Send clients the same proposal over and over again. Many will pick up that you’re “copying and pasting” your proposals. I don’t think I have to tell you how bad that looks to a potential client. 

Tips for selecting jobs

  1. Look for jobs in which the client has a payment verified method. It’s risky to go with a client who has an unverified billing. You can encourage the client to verify their billing method if you’re interested in the job. If you do work for that client without verification, you’ll have no protection if they fail to pay you.
  2. Make sure the job fits your skills. Learning new skills is something that you should do on your own. 
  3. If the clients have good reviews, that’s a good sign. If they don’t they might be new to Upwork. That shouldn’t deter you, though, if they have a verified billing method.

6 Reason’s You’ll Make it as an Online Freelancer

Once your proposal is successful

After you’ve got the job:

  • Under-promise and over-deliver. I’ve been hearing that since I started, but I’ve found it to be one of the pillars of freelancing online. Give the client more than what they’ve asked for. Then if you’ve agreed to a specific time, try and hand it the job before that time. The client will love you for that.
  • If you have any questions about the job, communicate with the client. Always keep the lines of communication open. If the job is going to be late, let the client know.

After you’ve completed the job:

Give the client good reviews, If you believe that you’ve had a bad experience, Say nothing rather than leaving bad reviews with the client. I’ve found that most dissatisfied clients do the same thing. Look at the reviews at the bottom of the page when you’re sending a proposal. Not all reviews will be good, but you won’t see any for some.


They’re two plans on Upwork that you can select from before you start working. 

Freelancer Basic: That’s the default plan. It’s free to join, however, if you take a break from Upwork, they’ll put you on Private where you won’t be seen by prospective clients.

Freelancer Plus is a paid plan that costs $14.99 per month. 

  • You’ll get 70 connects per month with this plan. 
  • If you decide to take a break, you’ll still be seen by prospective clients (Public). 
  • You’ll be able to see what other freelancers are bidding for the same job. You’ll also have a customized URL. 
  • What you earn will be kept private.

In my opinion, Freelancer Plus is worth it, but only after you’ve started earning money on the site.


Upwork used to be completely free, but since recently, they’ve started charging fees on the site. Some people, naturally, have an issue with this. Personally I have no problem with this. 

The freelancer will have deducted:

  • 20% up to $500 income
  • 10% between $500 to $10,000
  • 5% over $10,000

As you can see, the higher your earnings with a particular client, the more you’ll take home. 

In conclusion

Upwork is the best freelancing site that I’ve worked on. If you do well, it can become a full-time source of income for you. If you’ve found my tips helpful please let me know in the comment section.

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