Working and studying at the same time is no joke. For those of you who are getting tired of temporary and unsatisfying jobs in the real world, welcome to the world of online freelancing!
What is UpWork?
You have to pitch to clients but occasionally, clients might also find you. The area of focus, feedback, and skill set will determine your pay. For great work, you can even earn bonuses from clients.
How I Started on UpWork
At my university, the college grocery store was always hiring. The pay for state minimum wage ($8/hr) but money starved college kids gobbled up these jobs all the same. It was supervised and you needed to
I was fortunate enough to have a laid-back computer lab tech job over the weekend with no supervision. I did that job for a semester while the $8/hr checks rained in, thinking I had beat the system.
⭐ Related Reads:
As a full-time student finding the time to make extra money was hard.
That was the case until I found UpWork (back then, it was called Elance.)
Because my lab job was so laid back and unsupervised, I had time on my hands to double dip into some freelancing.
My rate at the lab was $8/hr.
My official UpWork clocked rate was more than $22 per official hour that I worked. That meant I made $30+ double dipping on the job!
That’s pretty amazing for a college student with no official diploma.
My hourly was (I thought fair) at $12/hr but I definitely overestimated a little bit on my work speed since I work pretty fast, especially under pressure.
Prepare for a Slow Start
My specialty gig was under the general term of photoshop,
I know what you are thinking! “Working online doesn’t work (pun intended), doesn’t pay, requires impossible skills.”
Freelancing is hard. I am going to admit that.
I know because I thought it too. To be honest, the first three or four times I tried to set up shop on
All I could really think about was how I didn’t have it in me. There were tons of lowball offers from places like India and Philippines who did shaky work, but for much less.
When I apply to eight or nine jobs my first time, I received no answer. You only get a limited amount of bids as a new worker. Ugh!
Point being, it was hard at the beginning. That’s when most people quit and shut off that option.
But that’s a mistake.
The reason it was so hard was that I was way too new.
If you have no feedback or official Job Score rating, hiring managers won’t take a chance.
That is why starting on
UpWork is Legit*
There are some* scammers on UpWork on both client and freelancer side. But the platform is generally highly trusted among hiring managers and it is possible to make a full-time income.
Always remember to BE EASY on yourself whenever you’re doing something for the first time.
Reviews and feedback is the cornerstone of
Then there’s the flipside.
Always deliver to a reputable hiring person with their own positive feedback.
Once I delivered the first draft and the brand new client tells me that they decided to put the project on hold for the moment…hmm >_>
But trying to find the first job – and eventually finding it and getting paid – was highly satisfactory.
⭐ Related Read:
- 6 Great Survey Companies Still Worth Doing For Money
- 20+ Freelance Writing Sites Online For Beginners – Work From Home!
According to UpWork:
Hourly Time and Weekly Payments are based on the weekly billing cycle
Fixed-price Milestone Payments are available after the client approves the milestone and the five-day security period has passed
Bonus or Manual Payments are available after your client’s payment has been successfully processed and the five-day security period has passed
Payment is done with UpWork as the third party escrow. They hold some and/or all payment transactions for both parties until the client reviews the work and releases it.
Upwork offers the following payment methods:
Direct to U.S. Bank (ACH) – Free
Direct to Local Bank – $0.99 per transfer
U.S. Dollar Wire Transfer – $30 per transfer
And these third party payment vendors:
M-Pesa (Kenya only)
Things got much easier from the hard start. You WILL find work and make money if you keep it up.
If you are new, dedicate only a couple of hours to the platform, don’t have particular skills related to the field, or barely filling out your profile then you will walk away with little money.
Trying = Money.
Tips on Working for UpWork
Something I learned during my time as a member of the Upwork community is that there are some smart ways to make your life easier and some tricks to boost the interest of potential clients.
(Note: they change depending on your field.) Even the expectations you should have and the potentialities of your time on Upwork depend on an extremely high number of variables, such as personal constraints and abilities.
The UpWork Basics
It takes 12 hours or more to have your account approved by
Give work away for free, stress to the hiring clients that you are brand new and you want to do it for some feedback.
Among other things, remember to post:
- Which service/niche you know
- Professional title
- Your profile photo
- Education level
- Employment history
- Level of language proficiency
- Work samples
- Desired hourly rate
- Availability and general physical location + time zone.
Be Keyword RICH on UpWork.
Hiring employers will be using keywords to find you. They will type keywords into the job role titles like “Logo Designer” or “Adobe Suite Expert” or even topics that concern the gig such as “Keto” or “Etsy.”
Fill out even things you like to learn about yourself, food, health, relationship. Even if it has nothing to do with your scope of work.
I say this because there are sub genres to everything – I want to primarily hire someone for photography and Photoshop but I don’t just want a person who knows how to photoshop a photo…I want someone who HAS specialized experience in photo shopping pictures of food!
Having those keyword rich descriptions about your experience, hobbies,
You will only get the Job Score score once you are no longer considered a new member the community.
Job Score is important since
The score is updated every two weeks, and it will go up and down like a yo-yo for no apparent reason.
⭐ Related Reads:
- How To Make Money Streaming & Playing Video Games on Twitch
- Make Money Teaching English Online From Anywhere!
- 19 Popular Parent Magazines Paying Parents to Write ($200/Article)
Makes you wonder if those variables were decided by some drunk…
Even if this score is quite fundamental because is what clients really first look at, keep going and give it a reasonable importance but also know you will work even if you don’t even touch the 90% percentile.
Make An Extra Effort
Again: Trying = Money.
Take advantage of all your bids starting out and build your feedback.
Clients like to see near perfect scores on tests for language and typing speed etc. Although it does not necessarily demonstrate raw talent (because you can always take them over and over). It’s still good to put the effort in so clients know you are serious about working.
Gaining trust is probably the first job at
Spend time on those proposals. It’s just like any other job interview.
ALWAYS provide samples of work, even unrelated, it can’t hurt as long as they’re good.
Bill for a little higher and put out that much better work. If your client asks for 500 words, do 800 words. When the work is great, strong non-cheapy clients will come back.
Always Be Polite
When you write your proposals do it right. Be polite, ask questions and convince whomever you are talking to that they should hire you or that you actually are knowledgeable and professional. Even when the
Gain Learning Experience
There is so much I would love to say that a book wouldn’t be enough, but the good news is you will learn all of it from mistakes and successes.
Remember to be humble and perceptive: pay attention to what works and what doesn’t
Reliability and curiosity are always well perceived. Clients love a curious person because it shows you are interested in the project and want to do your best. More communication means less misunderstandings and less chance you have resubmit anything over.
It can be defeating when other people bidding for the same contract is coming in at a much lower rate.
But it’s important to understand how much psychology plays into the hiring process.
You can definitely get hired for the price you command and have a successful career on UpWork if you are confident that your skill level and customer service level is solid. Even if it’s just 1% or 5% better than other bidders coming in at 30% less for their rate.
People are willing to pay an extra premium, it’s not linear. Think about the example of first class vs economy flight tickets. First class gets twice the leg room but the cost is actually 6x of economy ticket.
The price is not the only factor in hiring clients.
If it is the bottom line for them then it’s probably OK they are not your clients. Freelancers have all seen this before: the cheaper the hire, the more they demand.
With that said, nothing is better than raw experience, find an extra hour a day to make the leap.
Maybe it won’t be your dream job nor a long-term one, but I promise it serves its purpose for getting you paid.
Worst case scenario, it is something more to add to your work resume, right?
Get an Extra $300+ Per Month Sharing Your Influence
- SurveyJunkie: A market research company that lets you take lots of surveys, focus groups, all the while being compensated for your input. You can make anywhere from $5-$20/day in your free time. Try out new products and be an active voice to influence the world
. GlobalTest Markets: The largest leading online panels in the world with 5.5 million registered users. They pay $1.50 – $1.70 per survey. The platform is competitive because all members are eligible for free sweepstakes and fast cash payout.
- Vindale Research: A generous market research and product development firm that pays $5 to $75 for completing surveys. Vindale pays out through PayPal with a Trustpilot score of 8+.
- Opinion Outpost: I like Opinion Outpost because customer service is great and they’re a reputable company. You make less money but there is no “legwork” in looking for surveys. The surveys are short and easy so it’s a great option to do them casually.
- Try InboxDollars: A good alternative if you’re sick of surveys. InboxDollars pay you for games. web searches, and watching ads. Although it’s low-paying, you can get $5 free when you sign up.