Work as a Freelancer in Upwork

Upwork connects businesses of all sizes to freelancers, independent professionals, and agencies for all their hiring needs. Upwork has 12 million registered freelancers and 5 million registered clients. 3 million jobs are posted annually, worth a total of 1 billion USD, making it the largest freelancer marketplace in the world.

You will have to create your profile. Your profile will also be shown to potential clients. Include as much information related to career that you want. They will email you once your profile is approved. With so much active freelancers in their platform, don’t expect your profile to be approved immediately as it might take 6 months or longer.

Additionally, you will have to send proposals to get tasks/projects. Sending proposals requires credit called “connects”. Connects costs 0.15USD. Applying for a project or job costs around 1-6 connects which is 0.15USD – 0.80USD. It’s not that bad considering that applying for the usual jobs will also cost you money for transportation and communication expenses for exam and interview.

Upwork charges a fee of: 20% for the first $500 billed with the client. 10% for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000. 5% for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000. In other words, the more business you do with a client, the more you get take-home earnings.

withdrawal fee plus foreign exchange fee.

Work can be:

  • Full-Time / Part-Time
  • Project-based


  • Freedom to work on ideal projects
  • Wide variety of work skills since there are 3 million jobs posted annually
  • Secured payment with Timekeeping and Escrow


  • High Commission rate at 20%
  • Very competitive market for freelancers
  • Applying for a job/project requires payment

Additionally, Upwork added a feature called Project Catalog where you can set the service details, price, and timeline of projects/tasks you can offer to clients. This is like the feature of Fiverr where seller lists their service and clients can choose the service fit for their needs.

If you have clients outside Upwork that you would want to set a contract with in Upwork, you can set a Direct Contract with them for less commission and service fees. It will not require your client to make an account in Upwork.

With direct contracts, you can request payments confidently from clients not registered on Upwork:

  • Create simple contracts.
  • Clients don’t need an Upwork account.
  • Escrow protection for both parties including disputes.
  • Immediate payout – no hold period.
  • Only 3.4% freelancer fees. No client fees.

Overall, Direct Contracts feature is functioning just like an escrow for your payment.

The time tracking app of Upwork is not available for Direct Contracts.

If you wish additional passive income while you are on your computer, be sure to check this article.

5 thoughts on “Work as a Freelancer in Upwork

  1. Hey, have you been working on upwork for a while now?
    I’ve sent like 40 proposals and I think I am doing a lot of things wrong.
    Could you be kind enough to help me out?


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