Guides to Find Freelance Jobs on Upwork

The Beginner’s Guide to Make Money Online on Upwork

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When it comes to freelancing, there are many ways to make money using your expertise and technical skills to help clients solve their current problems.

So where you do search for jobs online?

The answer is there are many legitimate professional job sites and freelance marketplaces that offer a wide range of online jobs for students and freelancers to start a side hustle and earn money online.

And, Upwork is one of the largest freelancing marketplaces that has millions of members worldwide, including businesses of all sizes, individuals, and talented freelancers. You can take the opportunity to join the site and find your first online job.

However, it is not easy to launch your first freelance work on Upwork since you are a beginner and do not have much experience. For this, it takes you time and a lot of effort to build your freelance work portfolio and learn how to interact with clients professionally.

In this article, we will show you the types of online jobs on Upwork, how it works, and importantly, provide a step-by-step guide on how to find and apply for freelance jobs on the platform.


Key Takeaways

  • Upwork is a legitimate freelance marketplace that has millions of members worldwide, including businesses of all sizes, individuals, and talented freelancers.
  • The platform is a great place for beginner freelancers and side hustlers to find projects, learn to communicate with clients, and build their work portfolios.
  • It has too many new and experienced freelancers, which means it may be a challenge to get regular gig work and also may impact your earnings. For this, you can use Fiverr to offer service to clients as it’s also an ideal solution for beginners.
  • For those who have a work portfolio and technical skills, you can use other top freelance job boards like FlexJobs and Toptal along with Upwork.


What is Upwork?

Upwork review


Upwork is an online job marketplace that connects talented freelancers with businesses of all sizes and individuals for both short and long-term projects. In particular, the platform offers different online jobs for students and freelancers to make money online using their skills and experience.

At the time of writing, Upwork has millions of members worldwide, including companies of all sizes and talented freelance members. Some large enterprises that use Upwork services like Microsoft, Airbnb, Nasdaq, etc.

In order to make money online with Upwork, you must sign up and create a new account by filling out as much information as you can (including employment history, work experience, etc.), which means there is a higher chance you get hired from clients ( we will talk more about this in the next section).

With this in mind, it’s important to select the industry you want to offer service on Upwork and read the job description carefully before applying.

Related: How to Become A Virtual Assistant: 5 Steps


How does Upwork work?

Upwork is one of the largest freelance websites that offer a variety of industry categories like freelance digital marketing, graphic design, virtual assistant, finance & accounting, copywriting, and content writing services, to name a few.

Upwork freelance jobs

Basically, the platform is a gateway for businesses and individuals to search for reliable freelancers to complete the work. 

In particular, companies of all sizes hire freelancers on Upwork by posting a project, and they can select a good-fit candidate for an interview based on a profile and proposal offer.

Freelancers and side hustlers can find jobs online on Upwork, either fixed-rated or paid hourly projects. And, if they find the job that best matches their skills and expertise, they can submit a proposal with a cover letter.

Related: What kind of Remote Jobs Are On FlexJobs? 4 Key Facts To Know


What kind of jobs are on Upwork?

Upwork has thousands of freelance jobs from different fields and sectors, which allows individual students and freelancers to apply, work on projects, and get paid.

Upwork jobs online

 Here is a list of industry categories on Upwork:

  • Web development
  • Digital marketing
  • Finance & accounting
  • Graphic design
  • Virtual assistant
  • Content writing
  • Copywriting
  • Video editing
  • and much more.

As a beginner freelancer, it is important to only apply for a gig that actually best fits your skills and experience. Don’t go all over the place to apply for multiple projects from different industries as it is not the way to scale your business and build a portfolio on the platform.

Upwork freelance work

For example: after creating a profile on Upwork and highlighting your expertise and experience as a web designer, I suggest only submitting a proposal after you have found the right opportunity and read the job description.

It may be a challenge for beginner freelancers to secure their first online jobs due to a lack of work experience. Another factor is the platform is full of new and experienced freelancers who may offer a lower rate. This may make it harder for you to find your first job.

With this in mind, the only way to stand out in the job market is to understand the job requirements and write an attractive cover letter that addresses all the needs of clients.


The Step-by-step guide to finding freelance jobs on Upwork

After signing up to the platform, it’s recommended to complete your profile by providing essential information related to your technical skills and work experience. 

This not only demonstrates your professionalism but also shows clients that you have the required skills to perform the job better. Thus, it increases the chance of clients reviewing your freelance profile and offering an interview.

The following is the list of things you should follow to complete your profile on Upwork:

  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Provide your freelance work portfolio or any evidence that can prove to clients you have experience and skills.
  • Technical skills ( certification)- list any formal qualifications such as IT certification, English test scores, etc.
  • Available work hours per week.
  • Desire rate per hour.

Upwork profile setting

Importantly, selecting the skill sets related to your niche and expertise is essential to your freelance career success. It’s because Upwork will suggest or show some freelance jobs on the job search section that best matches your profile.

Done with the professional profile setup on Upwork?

Upwork freelance projects

The next step is to start searching for jobs online on the platform, and if you find the right job, then you can create a proposal, including a solid cover letter and desired rate.

Upwork cover letter

To create a standout cover letter, the first rule is to not always use a generic one, which means using the same cover letter for every project is bad and clients will notice it. 

The second rule is to carefully read the job expectations and highlight the essential skills to complete the job. For this, you can write an engaging cover letter that addresses clients’ specific needs and provides your skills, work experience, and freelance work portfolio.

As mentioned earlier, it’s a bad practice you submit a proposal for every freelance job you see on the profile dashboard. It doesn’t work out that way as you need to understand the job requirements and see whether or not the project is a good fit for you.

Similar to other freelance platforms, you could possibly find fake or scam projects, and they normally ask freelancers to communicate outside the Upwork platform. In this case, immediately report fake job posts, and the Upwork team will take action to remove them.


Upwork membership plans

For the membership plans, freelancers can either access the free membership or freelancer plus- the paid plan.

  • With the basic membership plan: you receive a free “10 connects total per month” and you can add additional connects, each one costs $0.15 cents. The plan also includes payment protection for fixed-priced or hour projects.
  • The freelancer plus plan is much more robust, the price is around $14.99 includes everything from the basic, and also gives you: ” 80 connects total per month, can see other competitor bids for any projects, provide training during office hours, etc”.


How do I receive payment from Upwork?

After successfully completing projects, businesses will pay freelancers for satisfactory services, and the payment will be released to their Upwork account balance. 

When your account balance reaches the minimum payment threshold, you have several options to withdraw the fund, including:

  • Direct transfer to the local bank account, the fee is $0.99 per transfer.
  • Payoneer- $2 per transaction.
  • PayPal- $2 per transaction.
  • Wire transfer ( fee is very high).
  • Transfer to the US bank account ( free).

Keep in mind that it may take up to 3 days for the fund to arrive in your account after you select one of the payment methods and activate it.


Final thoughts on the Upwork review

Upwork is an ideal marketplace for freelancers, students, and professionals to start their freelance careers or make money as a side hustle.

In particular, you can submit proposals if you find freelance jobs that fit your skills and interests. The most important is to provide high-quality service, where clients will leave good feedback to build your portfolio.

For this, only submit a bid if you believe that you have the necessary skills to address the project expectations.

Besides Upwork, you also can start your freelancing career with Fiverr, where you can find common short-term projects and build your freelance work portfolio.

For those who already have professional work experience and technical skills, FlexJobs and Toptal can be the places, where you can find premium projects or get more opportunities to work with larger corporations.


Further reading resources related to freelance work and side hustle ideas: 

6+ Best Platforms to Find Freelance Web Developer Jobs For Beginners

The Best Social Media Jobs to Consider

4 Freelancing Tips to Build Better Client Relationships


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FAQ Section

Can I really make money on Upwork?

The answer is yes, the freelance marketplace offers thousands of jobs from different fields like IT, graphic design, web development, etc. The direct approach to make money on Upwork is to only submit a proposal if the project is a great fit for your skills and don't forget to provide satisfactory service to clients.

Is Upwork Legit?

Definitely yes, Upwork is one of the largest freelance websites, where it has millions of users, including businesses, individuals and talented freelancers. For this, it is a legitimate freelance marketplace that connects companies and freelancers for short and long-term projects.


By Jiro Nguyen

Jiro Nguyen is a highly driven and skilled business management professional with an MBA in economics and management. He is also the founder of Moreover, he has a passion for writing and over 4 years of copywriting experience.

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