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How to Start Freelancing on Upwork as a Beginner

Upwork is the leading freelance website in the world, with the highest number of freelancers and clients. There are many freelance jobs in different categories ranging from content writing, programming, wed development to web design. You can find hourly, fixed-rate, and milestone types of jobs on Upwork. To become a successful Upwork freelancer, sign up on a freelance website, create a profile, write good proposals, create relationships with clients and offer high-quality work.

In this article, we will show you how you can start freelancing on Upwork as a beginner and get hired.

What is Upwork?

Upwork is a marketplace that connects businesses with independent professionals or freelancers around the world. You can work on Upwork remotely. Upwork is the largest freelance talent marketplace for freelancers and agencies in the world.

How Upwork Works

Upwork is the easiest platform to start your freelancing career. This is how it works; companies post jobs and freelancers apply by sending proposals. Clients and businesses hire their preferred freelancers and then the job commences. When freelancers are through with a project, they submit it and then clients pay them. Clients and freelancers can leave feedback about their experience working together. They can also rate each other based on their experience working together.

Types of Jobs on Upwork

There are three types of jobs on Upwork and you can choose the one you prefer. They include:

  • Fixed-rate. Fixed-rate jobs have one-time deliverables and freelancers get paid a fixed rate after completing the project.
  • Hourly rate. Clients pay for the number of hours a client has worked. The client can set a maximum number of hours in a week or a month. These projects have a timer that takes record of the hours and work you have been doing.
  • Milestone. Milestone jobs are long-term jobs where freelancers get paid for completing small portions of the project until the whole project is complete.

How to Join Upwork as a Freelancer

It is easy and free to sign up for Upwork as a freelancer. To create an account on Upwork, you need to visit their website and click Sign Up. Enter your email and set a strong password. You can use your Google or Apple account to sign up on Upwork so that it is easy to remember your password.

Once you have assigned up, you need to add your personal information like your first and last name and location. Also, indicate that you want to “Work as a Freelancer”. Read Upwork terms of service, User Agreement, and Privacy Policy. After that, click “Create Account”.

You will be directed to the other part where you are required to create your Upwork profile. Your profile introduces your business to your clients. It should highlight your expertise and skills. Therefore, make sure to list your expertise so that clients can know if you are qualified for their projects.

To get started, you need to fill in at least 60% of your Upwork profile. But strive to complete it to 100% to attract clients. Your profile should have the following:

  • A photo of yourself
  • Your title
  • Your overview
  • Work history
  • A skill tag

You also need to choose four work categories. Make sure to choose the strongest and most specialized or in demand categories. The categories you choose will greatly determine how clients find your profile. Also, make sure to add 10 skills from Upwork’s list. You also need to highlight your educational background. However, it is optional. Add the degree you have earned even if you haven’t completed and the area of study

Also, you need to highlight your past work experience. Include companies you have worked for and projects you have completed. You can even list projects you have completed outside of Upwork.

Does Upwork Require One to Verify their Identity?

Yes. You will need to verify your identity on Upwork by providing a valid government issued ID. You will also be required to make an online visual verification through a video call. This comes after you have created an account. Therefore, make sure to use your correct details.

Read also: Top freelance skills in demand. 

How to Get Freelance Work on Upwork

If you are a newbie to Upwork, it can be somehow challenging to get your first client. However, there are some tips that can help you get your first client.

  • Include keywords on your profile. For instance, if you want to specialize in content writing in the finance niche, you can use keywords like “finance content writer”. Use catchy keywords and phrases that are commonly used by clients when looking for freelancers.
  • Write catchy proposals. When applying for freelance work on Upwork, you need to write an appealing proposal. Show the client that you are the right freelancer for his project. Avoid writing general proposals, and instead, write a proposal that is specific to the client’s project.
  • Get positive reviews from your clients. Strive to offer high-quality freelance services to attract and retain clients. If clients like your work, they will leave a positive review that will help you get more clients. Also, if the client has additional work, they can always invite you to complete their projects.
  • Find a niche. Businesses are always looking for freelancers that are specific to a particular niche. For instance, you can specialize in business and finance articles. Make sure that you are qualified in your niche.
  • Use portfolios to showcase your skills. You can add your previous work to the Upwork portfolio to showcase your expertise and skills. Include samples of your past projects, screenshots, and testimonials. Clients get some confidence to work with a freelancer once they have seen their previous work.

How Much Do Freelancers Make on Upwork?

Various factors like years of experience, skills set, education, training and reviews, and rating from clients affect freelance pricing. This is how much freelancers on Upwork make based on their professions. 

Profession Hourly Rate Annual Salary 
Writers$30-40/hr$42,000
Editors$25-35/hr$40,000
Programmers$60-70/hr$120,000
Transcribers $20-25/hr$32,000
Mobile developers$55-65/hr$100,000
Graphic designers$40-45/hr$90,000
Data analysts$55-65/hr$100,000
Online marketers $50/hr$100,000

Read more: Highest paying freelance jobs. 

How Much Does it Cost to be a Freelancer on Upwork?

Upwork charges both freelancers and clients fees for using their services. The following are freelancer service fees you can expect when using Upwork.

  • $0 - $500 from a single client – 20% service fees
  • $500.01 - $10,000 from a single client – 10% service fees
  • $10,000 and above from a single client – 5% service fees

Payment Methods in Upwork

Upwork has different payment methods for freelancers. You need to add a payment method after setting up your Upwork account. The beneficiary name of the payment method you indicate must match your verified name on Upwork. Upwork supports the following payment methods:

  • PayPal
  • Payoneer (Outside of the U.S)
  • M-pesa (Kenya only)

Upwork Withdrawal Fees

You will incur the following charges when withdrawing money from Upwork.

  • Direct to U.S Bank (ACH) - Free
  • S dollar wire transfer - $30 per transfer
  • Instant pay for U.S freelancers - $2 per transfer
  • Direct to a local bank (outside of the U.S) - $0.99

Upwork Alternatives 

You can use the following freelance websites as an alternative to Upwork. 

Summary of How to Start Freelancing on Upwork

Getting started with freelancing on Upwork can be challenging for newbies. However, once you land your first project, it is easy to attract more clients. One of the ways you can attract and retain clients is by offering excellent customer service, creating relationships with clients, and never giving up. Also, make sure to write proposals that are specific to a client’s project.

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