Can You Make Money with Upwork?

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Can You Make Money with Upwork or are There Better Alternatives? Let’s Explore the Platform, the Pros and Cons, and Whether it’s Worth it.

Looking for a copywriter or web designer for your project?

I have hired online workers in the past and I must say, balancing between what you pay and getting the quality of work you are looking for can be a very tricky balance. 

You really don’t know who is on the other end so you just have to hope they are as good as they say and they are and are worth every cent they are asking for.

From my own experience, you get exactly what you pay for. Similarly, you make what you are worth depending on your training background and experience.

There are tons of online platforms these days that connect clients to members willing to offer their services on a freelance arrangement. The good news is that sometimes, freelance gigs can even go full-time for the right candidate. 

Done right, anyone can generate a solid income from the comfort of their own home.

Let’s talk about Upwork.

What is Upwork?

Upwork opened its doors back in 1998. Beerud Sheth, and Wall Street veteran, Srini Anumolu started Elance in their two-bedroom apartment in Jersey City.

They later merged with another Greece-based company called oDesk to form Elance-oDesk. 

In 2015 they rebranded to become Upwork.

Based out of San Francisco and Santa Clara, Upwork is said to be the largest freelancer marketplace in the world. The company allows you to interview, hire, and work with freelancers and freelance agencies through the company’s platform. 

The company connects workers with clients by providing services in the following categories

  • Development and IT
  • Creative and design
  • Writing and translation
  • Finance and accounting
  • Admin and customer support.

Each of these categories is further broken down to different roles

For instance, Creative and Design falls under 32 different roles which include, illustrators, photo editors, photoshop experts, 3d animators, etc.

They currently have over 12 million registered freelancers on their database. 

With those many numbers, you can expect the competition to be stiff among freelancers. 

How does Upwork work?

There are no complicated gimmicks when it comes to starting off with Upwork. Here are the steps you will need to follow

Create an optimized profile of yourself. This will help potential clients understand your skill sets.

Get your profile approved. With the large number of applicants that come in through the door, Upwork has been trying to put a filter to help curb non-qualified or underperforming freelancers. If you don’t have any special skills, you most likely will not be approved.

Applications. Once your profile is approved now it’s time to find work. You do that by applying for jobs and submitting proposals. 

Interview. If a client likes your proposal, he will arrange for an interview. If he likes you even more after the interview, he might end up giving you a job offer.

Upwork rewards you for raking in more money by offering graduated commissions to freelancers.

They will charge a 20% commission on the $500 you make on any client. If the same client decides that you are the one and gives you more work paying between $501 to $9999, Upwork will charge you a 10% commission.

Anything above $10000 will be charged a 5% commission. Getting clients with such deep pockets is a long shot.

With fixed-price arrangements, Upwork uses Escrow, a financial arrangement tool that holds and regulates the payment of funds in a given transaction.


The great thing about freelance work is the flexibility it offers. No more daily commute and you get to work on your own schedule. Nothing beats that. Ease of access to the program is also an added bonus.

Upwork is pretty much the king of freelancing offering hundreds of different job roles. It seems there is always something for everyone.  

The platform gives you access to hundreds of potential clients you can work for.


There is normally cutthroat competition on this platform given the sheer numbers of freelancers on board. To stay ahead of the pack you need to find ways to stand out if you want to get seen.

That is always a hurdle for most online marketers.  

You also need to stay ahead of your job success score. A drop in your rating could mean losing a fair bit of your revenue. 

Can you make money with Upwork?

If you read reviews online, you will notice that they are pretty mixed. There are people who claim Upwork to be the best thing since sliced bread while others are of the opinion that it’s total BS.

They say if you think you can or you can’t, either way, you are right. I still believe it’s still possible to succeed with Upwork despite the intense competition.

The question is, what are you bringing to the table?

Do you possess a skill that people are looking for, are you good at it and can you deliver?

If your answer to the above question is yes, then I see no reason why you can’t make money.

Forget the competition. Clients are looking for people who mean business and will happily pay whatever you ask for as long as you have given them the service that they are looking for.

It’s all about being prompt and efficient.

Think about it this way. People are willing to fork out over $2000 to buy the latest iPhone. Apple does not worry about generic smartphones that go for $50. 

Most people want the best, not the cheapest!

Is Upwork a Scam?

There is no shortage of netizens calling Upwork a scam so we might as well address the elephant in the room.

People who fail to make money within their respective fields will always find someone to blame. Some freelancers are reluctant to turn down even low-paying jobs for fear of getting poor ratings.

To those, I say let your work speak for itself. If you do a good job, you don’t have to worry about ratings.

Some say that the 20% percent deducted from completed jobs is a ripoff. Upwork is a business that has operations and staff to pay. Every platform that is on B2B, meaning business to business will always charge a certain fee. That is how they manage to stay in business.

There are many freelancers who make a 6 digit income from Upwork. They are not crying scam and neither should anyone.


Upwork is certainly a great place to jump start your online freelance career. 

When you become the go-to-person when one requires your service then you will make money. Write a great Upwork profile to attract clients. Update your profile as you grow to keep ahead of the times.

Be extremely good at one thing. Not many. In marketing lingo, we call it a niche. 

I am a graphic designer by profession. I would not market myself as a graphic designer because that would be spreading myself pretty thin. I love working with photoshop so I would probably market myself as a photoshop editor.

You need to narrow yourself down to a very specific skill set within your area of expertise and then grow from there. If you are good at designing logos, then stick with that. The bigger your portfolio grows as a logo designer the more successful you can become.

If you want to learn more about how you can grow your niche to become a real solid online business, check out my recommended training platform. 

Here you get a chance to learn everything you may want to know about building websites and monetising them.

Many thanks indeed for hanging out with me. Leave a comment or a share. It would mean a lot to me.

Am out!

Hi folks. Thanks for dropping by. I am a graphic designer and also build websites for local businesses. I am also a member of Wealthy Affiliate. WA is a community-based training platform that truly delivers. It offers a variety of tools, training, and support, and best of all, it’s FREE to get started with. Check it out and see if it’s a good fit for you.









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