Is Upwork Legit?
The age-old, freelance writing question.
Before I began sourcing high-paying clients on my own, I used Upwork. Upwork is a platform that connects freelancers and businesses together. It creates a bridge for creatives and businesses to interact; it leaves the guesswork out of job hunting for freelancers. But, is Upwork legit?
Upwork has freelancers offering many different services, such as web design or writing. It’s sometimes seen as ideal for new freelancers because the gig is placed before you, you don’t have to look for work on your own. But, is it really ideal? New freelancers, and even freelancers who don’t know about the platform, may wonder if Upwork is legit. There’s a lot of different factors that go into answering the legitimacy of Upwork, but let’s look at it step by step.
First, create a profile.
As a freelancer, you’ll create a profile, scour the platform for freelance jobs, submit a proposal, and hopefully, get the job. You have to first be approved by Upwork before you create a profile. I actually got my first paying client on Upwork and to this day, I still work with her nearly every week! From what I remember, Upwork has various experience levels you can achieve to get higher paying jobs. Clients that have worked with you in the past can leave reviews on your profile, which encourages higher-paying clients to check you out.
Is Upwork Legit: Here are The Facts
So, is Upwork legit? I’d say so. I have a long-standing client from Upwork, seems legit to me! However… There’s a few conditions.
Many freelancers say Upwork isn’t legit, not worth it, and should be avoided. There are a few different reasons for them believing this, but there are ways to use it to your advantage and make Upwork worth your while!
The biggest piece of advice I have for making Upwork work is this: go into it with a “this is temporary” mindset. Because it’s a content mill, you and maybe thousands of other freelancers will by vying for one $20 job. Hard pass. You’re worth more. But, new freelancers need samples. Upwork can be valuable if you do things the right way. I’m going to jump into a few of the ways you can make Upwork way more legit.
Make it worth your time and set your minimum, can’t go any lower rate
The biggest bone most freelancers have to pick with Upwork is the pay. Upwork doesn’t decide the pay, the companies searching for a freelancer do, and Upwork doesn’t really have any regulations for a required base pay. It’s up to the company to decide a rate and the freelancer can negotiate if they wish. You likely won’t make a huge living on Upwork because of this, however, people do it with enough hard work.
In order to get the most out of using Upwork, you need to establish a rate for yourself that makes it worth your while. For context, I charge between $100-$400 an article depending on what I’m doing, who I’m working with, how many articles they are buying, etc. If you’re a new freelancer, you likely won’t be making $100/article right away and Upwork jobs probably won’t pay you that much anyway. That is okay! Decide what it is a good rate for you until you get some samples under your belt. Upwork has an hourly rate or fixed price option for companies to pay freelancers.
To be honest, I never recommend working for an hourly rate. As you continue to grow and evolve as a freelance writer, your goal is to write content faster. If you’re working at an hourly rate, you’re punishing yourself for improving your time to complete a project. That isn’t fair to you and the work you put into this to become better.
Because of this, I have no suggestions for hourly pay as a freelance writer. If you choose a project that pays hourly, I’d highly encourage you to pay close attention to the time you spend on the project: then decide if that rate is worth it for the future. Sometimes we can only learn by doing, so jump in and determine if you’re being paid an adequate amount of money. Remember that freelancers who work hourly likely don’t work 40 hours per week, so their hourly rate needs to be much higher to offset the cost of less hours worked. Don’t work for minimum wage!
Let’s get into hard numbers. If I was brand new at this freelancing game (and at one point I was!), I’d accept articles for $30 and above. *Cue experienced freelancers synchronized gasps.*
Yeah, I know. It’s low. Super low. But, it is some money and it gives you a sample piece of work. Once you have a few (3-5) very well written samples, IMMEDIATELY raise your rate and don’t you dare write another article for $30!
If you put the time and effort required into each article, you’ll soon see why $100-$400 for an article isn’t unreasonable. There is an abundance of research, planning, strategy, writing, editing, etc. involved. There is nothing that kills your creativity more than being underpaid – don’t work for a lowball rate for longer than necessary! While I hate seeing writers work for $30 (like REALLY hate it), it’ll give you samples and teach you more about pricing yourself appropriately.
At $30 as a brand new freelancer, DEFINITELY don’t write more than 2,000 words – preferably staying around 1,000. You also need to require that these can be used as samples in the future and that you will have access to the link. If not, there’s truly no reason to accept the job. There will be many Upwork jobs that pay $5 or even $10. These are too low and not worth it, even for a sample.
Is Upwork legit? Looking at Upwork’s rules and regulations
The client I sourced from Upwork and I don’t work on Upwork anymore; we moved off of the platform which is actually against the rules. I got my entire account deleted for doing this, and I can never get it back. Thankfully, I wasn’t too upset, because by that time I already had other clients from other places. I realized pretty quickly that Upwork wasn’t going to be a place to find high paying clients on a regularly basis, and I encourage you to approach the platform with that same mindset.
With that being said, if you decide to go for a content mill such as Upwork, make sure you abide by the rules and stay ON the platform! Always follow a platform’s rules if you choose to join it – this wasn’t a smart move on my part.
The primary reason people go off of Upwork is to avoid paying their fees. This is how Upwork makes their money, by taking a cut of your money; as well as a cut from the business in need of a freelancer. Upwork’s processing fees on top of an already low rate makes the quality job pool smaller and smaller. It’s nothing against Upwork, they have to make money somehow, but it makes things a bit harder for freelancers.
I firmly believe that content mills like Upwork should not be your only source of income. You shouldn’t even be relying on them to be most of your income. For the most part, they don’t pay well. Some of these rates are a slap in the face to writers trying to make a living. But as a new freelancer, or even just for some side income, you can find a “good enough” paying gig. This gives you experience, protects your payment, and allows you to experience working with a client in a controlled environment.
That’s another thing about Upwork, your payment is protected if a client should choose not to pay! If you go off of the platform, they cannot protect your payment. This gives you experience working with a client in a controlled environment.
Find a niche and work it on Upwork
To make Upwork more worthwhile, I highly suggest trying to find jobs in a niche you might like to work in. This way, you aren’t just writing randomly. With each new piece you write in the same niche, your experience is growing and therefore you can charge more. Everyone wants to work with the expert!
So, is Upwork legit? Yes. But, don’t count on it for too long.
In closing, while Upwork is legit, I highly encourage you to eventually move away from the platform entirely. Honestly, my account being deleted was a great thing for business. It forced me to rely on other methods of sourcing clients.
It can be an easy cycle to get stuck in, accepting low paying clients because you think there’s nothing else. I’m here to tell you friends, that’s just not true! I’ve made thousands and thousands of dollars from sourcing clients on my own – it’s an amazing and liberating thing!
My advice to make Upwork most worth your time and energy? Go into it knowing it’s temporary and go into it knowing you’re here to get samples, get paid, and get OUT!