The global freelancing platform, Upwork, gets a lot of mixed reactions. Is it a viable source of employment, or isn’t it? In this post, I will tackle why I still use Upwork to find most of my freelance jobs. So, is Upwork Legit? Yes, Upwork is one of the top job outsourcing platforms on the planet that has been growing and connecting workers with employers for more than two decades.
By the end of this hope, I hope you get realistic expectations from this platform and learn how to find clients on it. You can then make an informed decision whether Upwork is suitable for you or not.
What is Upwork anyway?
Upwork is an online freelancing marketplace where clients can connect with freelancers. The clients put up listings for jobs and their estimated budget. The freelancers can then send proposals and make bids on the job.
It’s entirely up to the client who they want to work with. This platform is super helpful for those working at home because you can look for jobs, get hired, chat with clients, share files, and get paid all in one place.
Upwork was specifically designed for remote work so that you can communicate with clients from anywhere. So how do you get started? First, you’ll have to sign up, of course. You have to register your name and work email. Then you have to indicate whether your account is meant to be for a client or a freelancer.
After you verify your email, you will have to create your profile. Filling out your profile will make it easier for you to find relevant jobs in your field. Clients will also see your skills and qualifications.
Upwork is entirely free, but your application has to be approved before you can find work. I suggest that you take your time during the application process to avoid getting your request denied by the admin.
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Is Upwork legit?
Yes, Upwork is completely legit. I have used Upwork to hire close to a dozen contractors for all types of work — websites, graphic design, customer service, book keeping, and more. It’s definitely legit in that regard.
But below I’m going to mainly discuss the platform from a contractor’s point of view.
So why do some contractors like freelance writers warn others to stay away from Upwork as much as possible? Why do they bash Upwork? I’ll be candid and say that there is some level of truth to people’s complaints about Upwork. Below, I’ve listed down these common complaints and my corresponding responses.
5 Reasons Why Some People Don’t Like Upwork
1. Upwork charges hefty fees.
I’m sad to say that this is true, and maybe the thing I don’t like the most about Upwork. When you make your first $500 from a client, Upwork charges you a 20% fee. When you make the next $500, the fee drops to 10%. If you earn $10,000 from the same client, the fee dwindles down to 5%.
If you ask me, those fees suck. For example, I recently got paid $2,400 for a contract job I did with a client. I had to pay $240 to Upwork! The number makes me wince.
However, I suck it up and pay the fees even though it pains me because Upwork makes it possible for me to find so many clients in very little time. I also don’t have to worry about getting paid because milestones are funded right from the start.
So, to me, it’s still fair that I get charged these fees. I wish they could be lower, but that’s just the way it is. I understand why this might turn some people off.
People will often complain about the fees for using platforms. I understand, but I think it’s also small-minded. They don’t account for the fact that company spent millions of dollars forming a platform that would even allow for people to connect for work across the planet. It’s quite amazing.
If you hate the fees, what would it cost you to create your own platform to create the business that Upwork can give you?
2. You can get kicked out of Upwork any time.
Yup, this is 100% true. According to Upwork’s Terms of Service, your account can be suspended or terminated anytime if you don’t comply with their rules. I’ve personally never known anyone who has gotten kicked off Upwork, but I’m sure this happens.
I read some testimonials online of some people whose accounts have been terminated for unfair reasons. This sort of stuff happens on other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn too.
I wouldn’t use this reason to stay away from Upwork, though. When you go into Upwork knowing full well that this could happen, take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. Read and follow Upwork’s guidelines. Add your clients on LinkedIn, so you have all their contact information. Should your account get suspended for something unreasonable, you can still get a hold of them.
3. Upwork gets a lot of bad reviews.
I notice that a lot of negative reviews of the platform come from those who couldn’t manage to make it work for them or have never used it at all. Some say they couldn’t find decent clients.
Upwork didn’t go smoothly for me in the beginning, either. It took some time for me to find a decent amount of clientele. I think Upwork is not everyone, especially those who are impatient.
4. Jobs at Upwork don’t pay well.
Well, that’s true of some jobs. For example, I had a contractor friend get tell me about a job on Upwork and said he needed five 1000-word blog posts done in 48 hours. I thought, okay, this should cost a lot because this is a lot of writing in a limited time frame.
It turns out that his entire budget for the project was $50. I knew that wouldn’t do, so I declined the offer and moved on.
If you wait for projects that you think are worth your time and skill, it will do you a world of good. Why? One, you get paid more. Two, your track record will attract more high-paying clients.
I’ve made almost $9,000 from one client who consistently sends me easy work. It’s just a matter of finding people who understand that quality work requires higher payments. Now, if you’re willing to work for pennies, then Upwork will just be a race to the bottom.
5. The majority of freelancers on Upwork fail.
You may be wondering if my success at Upwork was just a fluke. Maybe I just happened to sign up at the right time and had a stroke of luck finding my clients. Could you replicate my success?
Since I’m honest here, I should acknowledge that my success on Upwork is an exception. But when you think about it, any kind of success is always going to be an exception.
Yes, someone else could be putting in the same amount of work as me, but they’re not making the kind of money I’m raking in.
But why would you go into Upwork thinking that you’re not going to be an exception? Trust your skills and your decision-making. You could be someone who can make six figures on Upwork, unlike most people on it.
Should you join Upwork?
Maybe. I didn’t write this post to convince people to get on the platform and start making big bucks. The point is to shed light on Upwork’s advantages, most of which are overlooked these days.
I know that many successful freelancers swore off Upwork and are convinced that the platform is useless. Maybe they’re right.
The point I’m trying to make is that it’s possible to gain financial success on Upwork. It’s not the loftiest goal either. Yes, it’s going to take some time and effort, but it’s very doable.
And is Upwork Legit? For sure. If you decide to give Upwork a try, here are my tips that can help you get to your goal faster:
1. Get your client’s contact information as a back-up
Since Upwork can suspend or terminate your account without warning you, it’s always best to have your client’s contact information on hand. Never deal with a client outside of Upwork because it violates their Terms of Service.
Only have your client’s contact information, just in case. You always want to be available to them and let them know if you run into any trouble. Connect with them on LinkedIn or at least have their email address.
2. Don’t make Upwork your only source of income.
I understand that to set up multiple streams of income; you have to focus on them one at a time. When you start working on Upwork, it will require a lot of focus, so don’t worry about doing anything else.
When you’re starting to bring in more clients, it may be time to branch out and look for more work elsewhere. Realistically, you can’t rely on Upwork for the bulk of your income. Lucky freelancers get to work on Upwork solely, but this is rarely the case.
3. Ignore the negativity surrounding Upwork.
Many freelancers are trying to convince everybody that Upwork isn’t worth your time. The funny thing is that most of these people didn’t give Upwork a fair shot. Maybe Upwork isn’t going to work out for you, but you’ll never know unless you provide it your best.
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So is Upwork Legit?
I’d also recommend you checking out Freelancer and Fiverr (both of which I have used).
If you have been Upwork for a while and you can’t seem to make any progress, maybe the next move is not to quit. Maybe your proposals need a bit of work. There are many tricks to bag high-paying clients on Upwork. All you need to do is study up and learn how to value your skills properly.