Is Upwork Good for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide for Freelancers + The Secrets No One Tells You

Is Upwork Good for Beginners - woman with dark hair creating Upwork profile
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Is Upwork Good for Beginners? The Good and the Bad (Mostly Bad)

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When it comes to finding freelance work, Upwork is one of the first places people turn. If you’re a writer, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Upwork. In fact, many people found their first online job on Upwork.

It’s one of the most popular freelance platforms online, but is Upwork good for beginners? Well, there are plenty of Upwork jobs for beginners, but the short answer is yes, but I don’t recommend it.

But many people find it easier to start their freelance career on a platform like Upwork when they don’t have much experience. That’s because jobs on Upwork let you start finding clients and building build your confidence over time.

If you want to know is Upwork worth it, this article is a beginner’s guide to getting started on Upwork and will give you some tips for finding clients on the platform.

I’ll also share some secrets that no one tells you about finding a job on Upwork and whether or not I think it’s good for freelancers with no experience.

Upwork membership plans basic and Pro

What is Upwork?

To answer is Upwork good for beginners yourself, you need to know the basics.

Upwork is a freelance platform that connects freelancers with businesses. And I admit that it is easier to find jobs on Upwork because the platform is huge but that works against you too. There’s too much competition.

It’s one of the most popular platforms online, and it has millions of users. Of all the freelance sites, Upwork and Fiverr are the most well-known.

As we saw during the pandemic, the number of people working from home has increased significantly, so freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr will likely only get more popular.

People began taking their real-world skills like data entry and customer service and applying them to the online world.

And businesses have discovered that outsourcing work to freelancers saves them time, and money, and increases productivity. They also know that they can advertise jobs on Upwork and find people to help them with a minimal investment.

That’s because the system forces freelancers to bid lower to beat out other ones which is how you end up getting paid peanuts on the platform.

Upwork has two subscription plans, the free Basic plan and the Plus plan, which is $14.99 a month.

Basic

The Basic plan includes:

  • 10 Connects/month
  • Buy Connects as you need them for $0.15 + Tax each*
  • Unused Connects rollover up to 200
  • Hourly protection to ensure you’re paid for each hour worked
  • Fixed-price payments are secured through milestones
  • Limited reports and functionality

Plus

The Plus plan includes everything in Basic and:

  • 80 Connects/month
  • Your profile will never be set to hidden due to inactivity
  • Setting to keep your earnings confidential
  • View competitor bids for any job
  • Customize your profile URL
  • Extended reports and functionality, including grouping and sorting

You may not feel like you should have to pay to find jobs on Upwork and I kind of agree because you don’t have to on LinkedIn! But I get it, that is how they make their money and you’re paying for convenience.

One of the pros of using this platform to find jobs for beginners is that there’s a wide range of freelancing jobs to choose from.

While Upwork can connect you with millions of potential clients, there are much better ways you can use your time looking for jobs – ones that pay better for sure. 

I always teach people to avoid looking for any job on Upwork and other content mills because clients on these platforms don’t value good content and you’ll burn yourself out quickly working more hours for less money.

The same goes for other freelance jobs like data entry, transcription, proofreading, etc.

So, if you do decide to try to find your first job on Upwork, make sure you leave time for finding better-paying clients on LinkedIn. Referrals and cold pitching on LinkedIn are the best ways to find clients and make money online. And it’s the best way to scale your business.

You’ll work less time for more money! Who doesn’t want that?

With all the Upwork jobs for beginners, you will work more for less money guaranteed.

What Kinds of Jobs Can I do on Upwork?

There are three main types of jobs on Upwork.

Fixed-Rate Projects

Fixed-rate projects have a set rate for one-time projects. Setting a fixed fee for each project is usually better for writers than hourly rates because you get penalized for being quick.

Plus, the hourly rates keep you trapped in the mindset of trading dollars for time instead of value. It’s also difficult to determine your hourly rate, so you can lose thousands of dollars over time by charging hourly.

An example of a fixed-rate project would be getting paid $500 to write a case study or $200 for designing 50 Pinterest graphics.

Per word is another way freelance writers charge for writing projects that may vary in length, like blog posts.

hourly rates is Upwork good for beginners multicolored desk accessories

Hourly Rates

Many jobs on Upwork pay hourly on Upwork.

As I mentioned above, I don’t think it’s the best way for some freelancers to charge because it’s hard to calculate a rate that includes your overhead, time, experience level, and other components.

One of the most challenging things for new freelancers is knowing how long it will take you to do something. So, it’s up to you. Some freelancers LOVE hourly rates, which many people are used to.

A couple of jobs for beginners actually do work better with hourly pay, such as virtual assistants, online proofreading jobs, or bookkeeping jobs. But you can actually do monthly retainers for ongoing jobs like these, ensuring you have reliable pay every month.

Milestone

Milestone projects are a mix of hourly and fixed price projects. This type of project allows you to offer a flat rate, but you can use it for long-term jobs versus a one-off project.

If you get paid $100 a week to write one blog post, the client creates milestones, so every week or month, you submit the work for the milestone, and the client approves it and pays you. 

The issue is that some clients can be slow to approve and pay you for jobs which can be an issue. 

But there are many Upwork jobs for beginners such as:

  • Freelance writing
  • Logo design
  • Creating spreadsheets
  • Data entry
  • Proofreading and editing
  • Virtual assistant
  • Transcription work
  • Copywriting
  • Web and App Tester
  • Customer service
  • Miscellaneous tasks
  • Voice recordings

Is Upwork Worth it?

I don’t think making money on Upwork is worth it and that is coming from someone who found their first freelance writing job there.

Upwork is good for finding clients, but it’s not the best way to find freelance jobs that pay well.

There are better ways to use your time, like finding clients on LinkedIn where you can cold pitch potential clients or get referrals from connections and other people you know.

Plus, many of the jobs on Upwork are low-paying, and the clients don’t value quality content or just how a good freelance writer can enhance their marketing strategy.

You will work more hours for less money, and it’s hard to find time to look for new clients elsewhere. Plus, we start our businesses for more freedom, time with family and friends, and flexibility, and working more hours will not help you have a better work-life balance.

However, if you decide to try to find a job on Upwork, make sure you leave time for finding better-paying clients elsewhere.

woman in white scratching head with an empty wallet

Is Upwork Good for Beginners as Far as Pay?

This is a question I get asked a lot, and you already know I don’t think it pays well as a long-term solution to finding prospective clients. It’s hard to answer because it depends on the Upwork job and level of expertise.

Experienced freelancers with positive Upwork reviews will make more money from Upwork jobs than beginner freelancers. So, as I mentioned earlier, the Upwork jobs for beginners won’t pay well.

If your previous work experience is related to the type of freelance job you want to do, you can justify charging more money. 

But, there are successful freelancers that make six figures on Upwork and Fiverr because they learn this freelancing platform well and approach their job search strategically. Also, some clients do appreciate the value of a good freelancer.

If you want to learn how to be successful on Upwork, use the tips below, and focus on going above and beyond for your clients.

Also, work on keeping your Upwork job success score high, and delivering your work on time, you can see your freelance business grow on this freelancing platform.

Things No One Tells You About Finding Jobs on Upwork

As a freelance writer, you’ve heard me talk about writing for clients on the platform, but the same goes for any freelancing business. I’m clearly opinionated about Upwork, but there’s a reason.

I got my first freelance writing client on the platform when I was just looking to make extra money to supplement my disability income. They paid me a whopping $9 to $10 for 800 or 1,000-word blog posts.

And when I left them to write for Cannabis magazines that paid a whopping $0.05 a word, they told me they had never heard of anyone getting paid that much to write blog posts AND that it was the most I would EVER make freelance writing.

That is not true at all. I’ve made much more, so don’t let other people tell you that you can’t make a lot of money working from home. 

And one of the reasons I got frustrated with Upwork is there are things no one tells you that I think anyone using the platform should know. That’s one of the many reasons I don’t recommend people look for Upwork jobs to make money online.

I’m not saying that you’re going to get amazing pay for jobs for newbie freelancers off the platform. You just have a lot more control over your rates than you do with Upwork jobs for beginners.

On a side note, read this post if you want to learn the different ways you can get paid to write online.

scrabble letters with pile of change in background

You Need to Bid Consistently and Frequently

So, you may be wondering what a bid is. A bid is how much you ask to be paid for a job when you send a proposal on Upwork.

Getting clients on Upwork is a numbers game. And honestly, it’s a numbers game whether you’re bidding for clients on Upwork or sending cold pitch emails to potential clients you found on LinkedIn.

I know, I know – this is not what you want to hear, but it’s true. The more jobs you apply for, the better your chances of getting jobs.

With lots of 5-star reviews and a high Upwork job success score, you’ll have clients coming to you.

So, don’t give up if this is really something you want to do. Bidding consistently and often is the key to getting more Upwork jobs.

is Upwork good for beginners - screenshot of upwork connects

You Need to Buy Lots of Connects

First, what is a connect? Connects are what you use to bid on jobs on Upwork.

As of December 2020, Upwork says you get ten connects for each interview you win for a total of up to 50 connects every seven days.

When you first sign up for Upwork, you automatically receive 40 connects with a chance to win 40 more once you pass an Upwork Readiness Test. 

On the Freelancer Plus Plan, you get 80 connects each month. If you have any connects left over at the end of the month on either plan, they roll over to the next month, but that tops out at 200. 

Since Upwork is a numbers game, you’ll be sending lots of proposals for Upwork jobs which means you will need to buy many because you only get ten per month on the free account, but that changed from 0, so that’s nice.

The number of connects you need to apply for each job varies, and that range is from 1 to 6. So, how do they decide how many connects are required for each project?

This question was answered in the Upwork forum. Quick freelance jobs worth $50 or less require one to two connects, while short-term jobs lasting less than a week with a budget between $50 – $600 require three or four.

If you’re applying for long-term jobs that pay over $600, you’ll need five or six connects. So, as you can see, the number of connects you need adds up the more jobs you apply for.

 It’s Hard to Find Decent Jobs that Pay Well

The Upwork bidding system rewards the freelancers who bid the lowest on a job, and you’re competing against people in other countries where the cost of living is less expensive.

This is why many other writers (like me) say it’s a fast race to the bottom because you end up working yourself to death for less than minimum wage. Again, this isn’t going to help you find a better work-life balance.

And the main reason we leave our day jobs is for a very work-life balance. So, while you may be able to find easy jobs on Upwork, it’s not worth it in the long run.

Your Experience Off the Platform Matters

When you start with no reviews or Upwork job history, it can feel hopeless and frustrating, but your experience off of the platform counts as work experience you can add to your profile under the various sections of your profile. 

Plus, it’s a good idea to mention in your description that while you’re new to Upwork, you have experience outside the platform. 

Please don’t get discouraged because every new freelancer on Upwork starts with an empty profile. Like any job, it gets better the more jobs you land and the more positive reviews you get.

woman smiling with hundred dollar bills fanned out in hands

If Your Rates are Too Low, You May Get Ignored

Setting your rates on Upwork can be tricky because you want to win the bid, and often the person who bids the lowest wins. But if you set your rates too low, clients won’t hire you because your work quality is usually reflected in the price.

So, there must be a happy medium between the two. If you bid too low, you can come off looking spammy, and often clients won’t even look at your proposal.

As someone who has hired people on Fiverr, I steer clear of them if I see really low bids. A beginner should charge no less than $10 an hour, and this allows you to bid low but not so low that potential clients don’t take you seriously.

It’s Hard When You First Start

Getting used to Upwork can be hard at first because there is so much to learn. But the more proposals you submit, the easier it gets.

So many people see little success on the platform because they give up, so the most successful freelancers say that there is less competition among experienced Upworkers.

So, if you’re serious about being successful and making six figures on a platform like Upwork, you’ll need to be persistent and keep going even if it feels you’re just spinning your wheels. Consistency is key. 

freelancer on white computer working on an Upwork proposal

You Should Continually Improve Your Proposal

Like your website or social media profile, a proposal is continually evolving. You learn through experience and testing what works, so each proposal you send is better than the last. 

If you continue to send proposals without winning any jobs, you need to re-evaluate it and change things up. Is your proposal generic or personalized to each position? Are you making your’s stand out from all the rest or giving the potential client a compelling reason to hire you? 

If you don’t have samples to send, you can create them. This is harder to do for certain freelance positions like Virtual Assistants as opposed to freelance writers or graphic designers. 

Test different things to see what works, and then adapt your pitch, proposal, or samples based on the results. Trust me; you will continue to revise your pitches and proposals throughout your freelance career.

How to Set Up Your Upwork Profile

Like profiles on other platforms, optimizing your profile significantly increases your chances of getting jobs consistently. One of my best tips is you must fill out your complete profile.

Plus, Upwork has said that everything on your profile must be filled out to be considered a rising talent or be top-rated.

Upwork has a great resource on getting started on the platform, including some tips on setting up your profile.

examples of Upwork top rating talent

Verify Your Identity

Verifying your profile identity is vital to gaining the trust of potential clients. Upwork provides directions on how to do it with a government ID.

It usually only takes a few minutes, but sometimes Upwork may ask you to submit additional information or do a video chat with an agent there.

Make Sure Your Title and Overview Illustrate Your Expertise

Your title and overview should reflect your expertise. For example, my title could be “Freelance Security Writer,” and then your overview would explain that expertise. In my case, I would make sure I explained that I had over 20 years of experience as a police officer.

Other examples:

  • Freelance Beauty Writer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Customer Service VA
  • Project Manager
  • Certified Medical Biller

And so on. 

Fill Your Profile Out 100 Percent

I already touched on it, but it deserves to have its own heading; fill out your profile 100 percent. It’s the only way to get the rising start and top-talent badges on Upwork.

Pick a High-Quality Profile Image

You need a high-quality photo. I had a grainy one I used forever because I hate taking pictures. But as a freelancer, you are the face of your brand, so people need to see you.

Plus, it helps them see that there is an actual human attached to the profile, and it makes you more trustworthy.

laptop with optimization on screen and black coffee cup

Optimize Your Profile with Keywords

Just like profiles on social media, you want to make sure your profile is optimized with keywords so more people can find you. Consider it as a sales page to market your services.

Be Sure to Fill Out the Portfolio Section Even as a Newbie

Make sure you fill out the portfolio section of your profile, even if you’re brand new. If you don’t have any portfolio samples yet, read my article on creating an impressive freelance writer portfolio that teaches you how to make one as a new freelancer.

This article is specifically for writers, but you can apply the same tips to other freelance jobs. 

Include Your Educational Background

Make sure you add your educational background. It can really help with jobs or niches that require you to have a certain level of expertise, like a freelance writer in the aerospace industry. Businesses hiring writers may want someone with a degree in this field.

List All Your Certifications

Check out the certifications under that section to see if any of yours fall under this category. It has primarily professional certifications such as:

  • Accredited Tax Advisor
  • Adobe Certified Expert
  • Certified Paralegal
  • Certified Translator
  • Hubspot Marketing Software Certification
  • Linux Professional Institue Certification

And more.

Screenshot of upwork other experiences section

Include Other Experiences

The Other Experiences section is a great place to put certifications that can’t be included in the certifications section.

I have my law enforcement certifications here, as the business ones are in the certification section. I have a few of my law enforcement certifications so that if someone needs a security or law enforcement writer, they’ll see more evidence that I indeed work as a police officer.

I also included my Microsoft Excel Certification because I am not a Microsoft Certified Professional, but I did take a college class on Excel.

So, it’s an excellent section to add miscellaneous certifications.

Be Sure to Include Your Employment History

Make sure you fill out your employment history, and this is for several reasons. First, it shows you have a work history and that you are employable. Second, it can help prove that you’re an expert in your niche. 

upwork article - amira testimonial screenshot

Add Testimonials

If you have clients off Upwork, you can request testimonials in that section of your profile. I wish there was a way to add your own from clients because I don’t want to bother clients that have already given me a testimonial. 

I’m sure they do it this way to verify the testimonials, so I understand why that’s part of the process. Testimonials are social proof that other people like your work and this can help you win more jobs on Upwork.

The Best Tips for Finding Upwork Jobs for Beginners

Here are some of the best tips for being successful in finding Upwork jobs. I know I keep beating a dead horse here, but it’s so vital not to spend too much time on this platform when you can get better-paying clients elsewhere.

BUT, if you are determined to go this route, I want you to succeed. Here are some helpful tips if you want to learn how to be successful on Upwork.

Choose a Niche

You need to choose a profitable niche or specialize in a skill. For instance, your niche could be security, or you could decide to write only blog posts or case studies for clients.

You could be a graphic designer that only creates logos or social media templates for bloggers. But choose one in demand that people are hiring for now.

And don’t limit yourself just because you don’t have a specialized skill. If you’re set on doing something specific like creating graphics or managing social media for businesses, and you don’t know how to do it, go learn it.

I love learning, and as a freelancer, you get to learn all the time! Course platforms like Udemy and Skillshare offer professional courses at affordable prices. 

Sometimes Udemy offers sales on courses for $12.99, and I think new people might get their first courses discounted,

Once you choose a niche and/or skill, let that be the focus on your profile. Meredith Hill’s quote says it all, “When your speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” 

If you focus on being the very best in a niche or skill that allows you to showcase your expertise, you can charge higher rates.

Upwork knows this, too, so you will have much more success if you focus on specializing in one thing. It’s the foundation for your whole Upwork job strategy and a way to get paid more for Upwork jobs.

Also, defining your ideal avatar (client) can help you choose a niche and it’s very important for your messaging.

cover letter and resume balled up

Create a Cover Letter Template for Jobs

Create a basic cover letter or script template that you can customize to each job position. It speeds up the application process and helps you maximize the time you allot for looking for clients.

This cover letter serves the same function as a cover letter that goes with your freelance resume.

Don’t send generic proposals or cover letters! It shows that you spent ZERO time learning about the client and people are less likely to hire you if you don’t do your homework. 

You only need a couple of paragraphs to show the client you’re the right one for the job. People are busy, and they don’t have time to read a novel.

*Pro Tip – ALWAYS send a cover letter to every job you apply for and make it helpful. ALWAYS customize your proposal and cover letter.

One of the easiest ways to personalize both is to tailor them to the job description. Use the terminology they do and adapt your skills to the wording the client uses in the ad.

Also, always close your script with a CTA (call to action). Have them send you an email or give you a call. Tell them what you want them to do next, much like a CTA in a blog article.

Use Keywords to Get Specific Job Leads

Every time you log into Upwork, you’re taken right to a feed with Upwork jobs that matches your profile, or you can look at the most recent jobs. You can add keywords to your profile that will help personalize your job feed.

For instance, you may be a copywriter that only writes newsletters and emails for businesses. Be sure to include keywords like email marketing, copywriter, etc. 

is Upwork good for beginners - screenshot of job success score

Focus on Getting Positive Reviews Fast

Getting positive reviews on Upwork jobs is one of the most critical factors of success on the platform. Your Job Success Score (JSS) is important too. The JSS measures your clients’ overall happiness with your overall work history on the platform.

The downside is that just one bad review can torpedo your score and affect your overall success on Upwork.

In the beginning, you want to focus on getting positive reviews to increase your JSS as it is the way to become top-rated talent on Upwork. 

So, in the beginning, you need to take low-paying, easy jobs that you can do quickly and get positive reviews on. It will help you get better clients in the future and make you stand out.

Communicate often with your clients and go above and beyond for every job. Always meet client deadlines, and you can even say you’ll give the client a reduced rate if they give you a positive review.

Another perk to doing your best work, no matter how small the job, is that these clients will likely come back to you every time they need a similar service.

For example, if you write an awesome blog post for just $40, the client may come to you for all their content.

All the hard work is worth it in the long run. 

Is Upwork good for beginners - payment verified

Only Apply to Jobs Where Payment Has Been Verified

You should only apply to Upwork jobs where the client has a confirmed payment method. This is one of the many ways Upwork vets clients so you don’t end up working with a scammer who won’t pay you.

There’s more of a chance you’ll actually get paid for your work if they have a confirmed payment method.

Apply to Jobs with Detailed Descriptions, Not Vague Ones

Don’t apply to Upwork jobs with vague descriptions. You want ones with enough detail that shows the client put thought into the tasks that need to be done.

As you’ve learned in this article, you only get so many connects each month, so you want to be smart when deciding which jobs to apply for.

Jobs that are vague and lack vital information sometimes never get bid on because there isn’t enough information to explain what they want you to do.

upwork small jobs examples

Start by Applying for Small Jobs

The biggest hurdle to cross when you’re trying to make money on the platform is getting your first job on Upwork. Once you complete that first job and get a positive review, more potential clients will look at you as you’re less of a risk.

Look for small easy jobs that don’t carry a lot of risks for the client in case you royally screw it up. Those would be the jobs under $50 but remember, don’t go too low. Between $20 and $50 is a good range to aim for.

Replay Quickly to Any Work Invitations

Once you have a few easy jobs under your belt, you’ll start getting invitations for more jobs, and the key is to reply to them quickly as they get snatched up quickly. Also, Upwork ranks you based on how fast you respond to clients, whether it’s job invitations or communication.

*Pro-Tip – Turn on email notifications on your phone and download the Upwork app, so you get notified when you get job invitations, and you can reply fast.

Other Experience is Helpful Too

Being able to communicate well, how to deal with certain situations, and other life experiences can help your profile too. So, other experiences can help you make money on Upwork.

Being able to list experience you have outside of work and positioning yourself the right way can help you land your first few easy jobs until you have more positive reviews.

Always Vet Clients Before Applying to a Job

Always vet clients before applying for a job. Some clients make a lot of noise and can slow down your progress. Look at how long the client has been on Upwork.

Also, read reviews from freelancers to see if they mention things that would make you suspicious. You want to check out the reviews they’ve given freelancers, too, and don’t apply if they frequently give bad feedback.

Look at how many people they’ve interviewed or the number of jobs they’ve advertised because frequent turnover could signal a big problem.

woman creating a video for upwork

Set Yourself Apart with Video

Since video is so huge now and clients want to see a real person behind your profile, consider making an introductory video. It allows you to show off your personality and can help a client choose you over another freelancer.

Don’t worry if you don’t like being on camera; you could create a video that shows some of the projects you’ve done for clients. I’ve seen this a lot with graphic designers on Fiverr.

Take Your Job Relationships Off the Platform

One of the huge reasons I say no to making money on Upwork is the hefty 20% fee they charge you. You already get low rates, and then the platform takes 20% of your pay for each one of your Upwork jobs – ouch!

That’s why my first client and I moved off Upwork. I teach all my students to get off platforms like Upwork and find clients that will value your work and pay you better. The sooner you find a client that loves your work and appreciates you, the better.

Upwork is strict and doesn’t want you to communicate off the platform, and you can’t exchange contact details in messages as it will get flagged.

The best approach is to set up a video or phone call with the client where you exchange emails so you can talk about taking your relationship off the platform. 

It will save you both money. I talked with my client over the phone, and that’s how we got off Upwork.

follow your instincts written in chalk

Always Go with Your Gut

This tip is huge. ALWAYS go with your gut. Often you’ll get a gut feeling that something isn’t right. People are often quick to dismiss this feeling, but DON’T. 

Don’t take the job if your internal alarm bells are going off. 

Check a Client’s Average Pay

Once you have a few jobs with some good reviews under your belt, it’s time to switch strategies. You no longer want to go after those quick, easy, low-budget easy jobs.

You’ve proven your work stands for itself, so you want to be more selective with the jobs you take. Upwork allows you to see data that can help you, like the average rates companies pay freelancers.

The way to avoid those crappy clients that made me get the hell off Upwork is to take jobs with clients that at least pay an average wage as they are likely to continue to hire you for more projects if you do well. 

Whenever I need a spreadsheet done, I go to my favorite freelancer on Fiverr, who does a great job. Even when she took the break, I waited until she returned to get a spreadsheet done and I usually end up tipping her more because her rates are super low.

Cheap clients don’t pay a lot and are often the pickiest about their jobs on Upwork.

A Portfolio is Important

I mentioned how you should add items to your portfolio on Upwork, but I can’t tell you enough how important a portfolio is to your success. People want to see your past work even when you are bidding for easy jobs on Upwork.

So, I’ll reiterate it – a portfolio proves you know what you’re doing! Only put your best work in your portfolio.

*Pro-Tip – Keep a freelance writing portfolio in multiple locations. That increases the chances of possible clients finding you. I have one on two of my websites and one on ClearVoice. If clients find your portfolio, half your work is done!

Can You Get Scammed on Upwork?

This isn’t the main reason I answer no to the question is Upwork good for beginners, but you can get scammed like any other freelance platform.

One nice thing is that Upwork does its best to vet clients, but scammers are tricky. So, you need to always be careful when looking for freelance jobs on Upwork or anywhere else online.

One of the issues you can run into is payment scans. That’s why it’s essential to ensure the client has a verified form of payment; otherwise, you may not get paid. It’s also one of the reasons Upwork doesn’t recommend you go off the platform because their processes and regulations significantly reduce the number of scams.

Some things to look out for include:

  • If someone asks for credit card or bank account information
  • If someone asks you to pay a processing fee
  • If a client asks you to work without a contract

I use a freelance contract with all my clients as it protects both of us. I can legally recoup any money owed to me if I have it in writing. I think all freelancers need to use contracts, especially when you don’t use platforms that provide a paper trail.

frequently asked questions

FAQs

Which Freelancing Job is Best for Beginners?

One of the best Upwork jobs for beginners is freelance writing, specifically blog posts because you can start without any experience. It’s the first content I started writing, and many freelance writers I know did the same.

Now writing SEO-optimized blog posts is a whole other thing, and it takes experience and a solid knowledge of SEO to write well-optimized content Google loves. But it’s an additional service to offer, and you can get paid well to do it.

You can also do beginner tasks like data entry. Many businesses need help transferring data from one spreadsheet to another or from one platform to another.

I’ve written about several ways you can make money working from home like getting paid how to read books aloud, non-phone work from home jobs, and earning money typing.

I’ve even written a post on how to make money with WordPress in 48 hours. So, there are tons of ways you can make money without bidding for jobs on Upwork.

How Hard Is Upwork for Beginners?

Upwork can be confusing because there is a lot to learn. So, when you’re trying to find easy jobs on Upwork – learning the platform is important to your success.

There are many things beginners don’t know, like you have to buy connects and send proposals to clients where you can end up being one of hundreds of applicants. 

Just learning the platform can be stressful, but that can be an issue with any freelance platform.

Plus, you have to give Upwork 20 percent of each project you do! But it’s a numbers game, the more proposals you send, the better you get, and you are more likely to hear yes. 

laptop with freelance website on it and rainbow pencils in pen holder

Can You Work on Upwork with No Experience?

Absolutely, and although I teach to avoid it, many beginners feel more comfortable building their business on Upwork and getting writing samples.

I think many new freelancers feel intimidated by setting their own rates and better about finding easy jobs on Upwork because people know there are a lot of beginners on the platform.

You’ll find many ways to make money on Upwork like doing data entry, virtual assistant work, writing, and more.

Though it helps complete newbies build their confidence over time, there are definitely better ways to spend your time and make much more money.

How Much Can a Beginner Make on Upwork?

It’s no secret that the pay for beginners is abysmal on Upwork. I got paid $9 or $10 per blog post with my first job there, and that was before they took 20 percent of my profits.

So, when you set your rates, make sure to factor in that 20 percent because if you charge $20 an hour for data entry, for instance, you’re only going to make $16 an hour after Upwork takes its cut. While you may find more jobs on Upwork, you won’t earn as much as you could even if you have no experience.

Final Thoughts on Is Upwork Good for Beginners

Now you know the ins and outs of making money on Upwork as well as my feelings on the subject as someone who has been there. I feel like you can make a lot more money applying to jobs on job boards and cold pitching than wasting time on this freelance marketplace.

But I understand that sometimes your confidence is low, and finding jobs on Upwork is a way to gain more confidence the more jobs you have under your belts. And I also know that sometimes you just need jobs to get by.

The nice thing is that there are so many freelance jobs on Upwork for beginners like data entry, graphic design, writing projects, and much more.

But if you do choose to work on Upwork, please make sure to find time to look for better-paying clients on LinkedIn or Twitter. 

When you can make more money for less work, wasting your time on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork doesn’t help you escape the feast or famine cycle.

Do you have any Upwork tips to share? Let me know in the comments below.

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Is Upwork Good for Beginners? Now You Know the Facts

Is Upwork Good for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide for Freelancers + The Secrets No One Tells YouIs Upwork Good for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide for Freelancers + The Secrets No One Tells YouIs Upwork Good for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide for Freelancers + The Secrets No One Tells You

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