Product Claim: To connect businesses with great talent to work without limits
.. The LARGEST global freelancing website
.. A platform to connect businesses with individuals who have the skillset for the opportunities available
Who is it for?
Anyone looking for freelance work from home jobs with the professional skills and a reliable Internet connection can use Upwork to find opportunities and build a business.
This is not a complete list but an example of the type of skill sets required:
- Web & Mobile App Developers
- Content Writers
- Email Marketers
- Social Media Marketers
- Graphic Designers
- Administrative Assistants
- SEO Specialists
How Upwork Began:
Upwork was founded over 10 years ago by a Tech Lead from a new business in Silicon Valley when he decided that his good friend in Athens was the best person for a Web Project he was working on. The team agreed with his suggestion but concerns were voiced over working with somebody based so far away, in another Country.
As an answer, the two friends developed a platform which bought visibility and trust to remote working. It worked so well that the two realised other companies could benefit from having access to a larger pool of skilled workers and individuals could also benefit from a more flexible way of working online.
- 12m freelancers registered
- 5m registered clients
- Over 3m jobs posted every year on the platform (more than 60K jobs every week)
Basic Plan – this is the entry level Plan which is free of charge to sign up to.
Plus Plan – this Plan offers more support with dedicated account managers to assist in your search for projects matched to your skill set and requirements. It also gives you:
- 70 Connects per month to use
- option to set your earnings information on your Profile to Private
- ability to view all Competitor bids on work that you’re interested in – this then allows you to price yourself lower if you want the job or enables you to walk away without wasting time preparing a proposal for a job you would have overpriced yourself for
Both Plans include Payment Protection for hourly work and fixed price payments. They also both allow you to buy Connects (you need these in order to bid for jobs) at $0.15 each.
Business Plan – this Plan is designed to cater for large business users who have hiring teams specifically looking for workers.
Enterprise Plan– this Plan is designed for large companies with large projects and teams of Managers specifically hiring. If you win one of these contracts you get put into their Talent Cloud which is a private group of selected freelancers.
Once you’re part of a Talent Cloud it will be added as an option on the job finding screen. You can click on your Talent Clouds any time and browse the available jobs from each of the Enterprise clients you have previously worked for and been accepted by.
If you want to build up repeat business with large long-term clients it is time well spent concentrating on the Enterprise Clients to get accepted on their Talent Clouds.
What Are Connects and Why Do You Need Them?
You cannot apply for jobs that you like the look of without having Connects.
This is basically Upwork currency. You use anything from 1 to 6 Connects to apply for a job – they will cost you $0.15 each if you are on the Basic Plan so it could cost you up to $0.90 to apply for one job.
If you are signed up to the Plus Plan you get 70 Connects included in the plan per month.
The only time you don’t need any Connects is if a Client invites you for an interview after reading your Profile – so if the Client comes to you there is nothing to pay.
Starting the Process:
- Create your Upwork Login – this is done by entering your full name and email address.
- Set up your personal profile – ensure that you fully outline your relevant skills and experience. Your description here is extremely important and you need to spend time compiling this information. Your profile is like your shop front, it’s your CV or resume, it’s your chance to make your first impression count – list professional skills, experience, your education and online skills. Don’t forget to add your hourly rate and a photograph (smart but friendly).
- Verify who you are – you need to upload a Government issued ID followed by a video call, which lasts only a couple of minutes.
- Next you set up your preferred payment options – Direct Deposit, PayPal, Wire Transfer, Local Funds Transfer etc.
- There is a Readiness Test which can be taken prior to going live on the system – this is not mandatory but it’s always good to test you are prepared and ready – the results can be displayed on your profile. The test is 10 minutes long with 10 questions, don’t worry it’s not an exam!
- Now you’re ready to start applying – click on Find Work….
- Search by required skills, by job type or by Country.
NOTE: If you are a complete beginner to freelancing you will almost definitely have to take on a few jobs in the beginning at a lower pay rate than you would normally. You need to prove yourself to command the higher rates and the only way to do this is to get Clients to accept you for jobs. This way you can build up your Job Success Score which is displayed on your Profile.
There are a good variety of jobs to allow beginners to get started. As you complete jobs successfully your positive feedback builds up and then you can start thinking about putting up your rates.
Top 30 Trending Jobs Menu – This shows the top 30 most popular jobs at that time and can be sorted by Most Relevant to you or Newest.
Browse Freelance Jobs by Category – This menu gives you 12 main categories broken down into a further 79 sub-categories. You can really target the exact type of work you are interested in.
Upwork Desktop App – Key features:
- Ability to log hours that you work – relevant for Hourly Contracts
- Time Tracker – just click on the contract you are working on, click the on/off button when you want the time to start or stop and it logs the time spent working on that particular job.
- You can add notes or images
- Messages Function – you can read and send messages within the app
Upwork Mobile App – Key Features:
- Browse for jobs
- Bookmark jobs of interest
- View your submitted proposals
- See your list of contracts
- Send messages
- View recent alerts – contracts starting, milestones, hours worked, payments due or paid etc.
Two Types of Contract
– Fixed Price Contract
This is for a contracted piece of work rather than a number of hours work.
Agree milestones and deadlines with your Client for each part of the project so that you both know where you are.
Request a % deposit upfront from the Client – this safeguards you and makes you look more experienced and professional.
Submit work for each agreed milestone so that the Client can keep up with how the project is going.
When you apply for the contract and submit a proposal make sure that each proposal is produced specifically for that job – do not be tempted to use a generic template or do a cut-and-paste job – compose it around the specifics of the contract.
Your client will release funds via Upwork through the licensed Escrow service (online payment system) upon approval.
Fixed price projects are pre-funded with milestone payments and secure with Upwork Fixed Price Protection.
– Hourly Rate Contract
This is a contract for an agreed number of hours worked.
The Upwork App needs to be downloaded – this includes a Work Diary which helps ensure you’re paid for the work you do.
You have to take Work in Progress screenshots every 10 minutes during billable time, providing proof to your Client that you are working on their project. Time sheets are also submitted.
Your Client is automatically billed for tracked working time via the App.
The Bad News – Upwork Fees….
Fees that apply are Service Fees and a % of earnings.
Freelancers and Agencies are charged a sliding fee based on lifetime billings with a specific client – the more business you do with the client the more you earn (across both Hourly and Fixed Price Contracts):
- 20% on the first $500 you bill your Client
- 10% total billings with your Client between $500.01 – $10,000
- 5% total billing that exceeds $10,000
For example: $1000 price billed with a new Client = $100 (20% on first $500) + $50 (10% on remaining $500) means that fees of $150 will be taken – equates to 15% of your fee!
- Easy to find varied jobs and connect with Clients
- The more jobs/projects that you do the higher your profile which means you’re more likely to get accepted by more Clients.
- You can build a repeat relationship with Clients and carry out regular work for them.
- Payment Protection is included so that you are protected against carrying out work and not being paid for it (this only works on hourly contracts rather than Fixed Price jobs).
- User-friendly platform to chat to the Community, share files, track your working hours, check on your payments.
- Freedom and flexibility to control where, when and how you work.
- On-line WorkSpace shared by you and your client to ensure everything is agreed and planned between just the two of you.
The Not So Good:
- High fees – Service fees and % of Earnings – up to 20% of your earnings deducted for each qualifying job.
- A number of Clients will offer average money and some will try to pay next to nothing.
- Some freelancers work for extremely low rates to undercut which lowers the price levels for everybody.
- You have to either pay the monthly $49.99 for the Plus Plan or you pay for Connects every time you want to apply for a job – so even though the Basic Plan is FREE it isn’t really as you can’t apply for jobs without paying money (unless the Client approaches you).
- High competition for work – especially if you are a beginner, new to freelancing.
- If you are a beginner you will need to accept lower payment for a while until you build up your experience.
- Can take a few weeks to get paid for work that has been completed.
- Scammers circulate and you need to look out for them, check each Client’s profile carefully – ask for a deposit up front for Fixed Price Contracts.
This seems to be a great platform for freelance work and once you get past the disadvantages of being a beginner I think it could be quite lucrative, as long as the workflow is there.
On the fees and charges it’s swings and roundabouts – the charges can be deemed as high but there are plenty of jobs/contracts on offer and it’s costing nothing to find them.
I think you need to be a little wary of scammers (but that’s the same in all aspects of the online World).
Bottom line – It’s definitely legitimate and it could be worth a go. I don’t think you would ever get rich out of it but you could certainly earn some extra money.
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Overall Wow Factor: