Upwork, formerly known as oDesk and Elance, is currently the largest freelance marketplace you’ll find online and it’s got both good and bad sides. For many, this freelancing platform seems like a good place for a beginner to get their feet in the water.
Whether Upwork is worth it or not is something we need to look at from different perspectives. Because that experience may differ for:
So let’s try and approach the question of is UpWork worth it through these lenses!
Naturally, the experience on this freelance website is going to differ for new freelancers and those who are experienced at this line of work. What makes this freelance website worth considering are features such as:
What makes us question whether this site is worth it are Upwork fees, the number of low-paying jobs you’ll find on there, and the fact that you need to meet certain criteria to get a chance at higher quality gigs (we’re talking about your job success score).
So, is UpWork worth it?
Well, it depends...
You need to have a skillset that’s high in demand in order to make it on Upwork. Some of the most in-demand skills include SEO, copywriting, content writing, graphic design, web and software development, and digital marketing. However, there’s also lots of room for virtual assistants and those who are looking for part-time administrative work.
If your skillset fits into any of these categories, then you’ll have plenty of room to grow on Upwork and find new clients consistently. If anything, you can always work toward gaining new skills and expanding your abilities.
Whether or not your attempt at Upwork freelancing will be successful depends largely on your previous experience. If you’re absolutely new to freelancing and you’ve never had a single client before, then don’t expect this ride to go smoothly. You’ll need to go out of your way to build up your experience and collect impressive reviews.
Previous experience in freelancing (or using the same skillset at a full-time job) will help you get clients more easily. You’ll have a portfolio and a list of previous projects to showcase in your cover letter and during project interviews. If you’re absolutely new at this, your chances of landing high quality gigs with zero reviews and work samples will be minimal.
Now, don’t get this the wrong way. We’re not here to talk you out of using Upwork to start freelancing. We’re just letting you know what to expect so you don’t back out of the battle at the first disappointment. Even if you don’t have any previous experience, you can always create something around your skillset to use as a portfolio or work sample.
The next question that makes it easier to decide whether Upwork is worth it is where do you wanna go with freelancing? If you’re just in it as a side hustle to make some extra money, then Upwork is a great place to find a few gigs to fill up your schedule.
However, if you’re trying to make a career out of this whole self-employed situation, then you might want to look less toward freelance platforms and more toward creating an independent online presence. While Upwork is a great place to expand your client base, they do charge you a hefty fee per milestone, which goes as high as 20% of your entire earnings.
For someone looking to build a career out of their freelancing venture, paying a 20% fee doesn’t seem like a good deal. If you’re in it for the long run, consider hosting your own website and using LinkedIn and other social media networks to market your services and find potential clients.
Last but not least, your experience with Upwork jobs will depend on your geographical location. While that’s not always the case, there is a significant difference between freelancing on Upwork from the US and from third world countries such as India.
Unfortunately, there are many clients on Upwork who look for freelancers from third world countries in order to get cheap labor. Upwork jobs that target freelancers from India and other less developed areas of the world are usually very underpaid.
That’s why many people think of Upwork as a scam because it seems impossible to get high paying jobs. That is unless you’re a professional from the US or another developed country.
To sum it all up, Upwork is one of the best freelancing sites out there but it might not be a good fit for everyone. If this is your first time giving freelancing a shot, keep in mind that it will be very difficult to gain traction on Upwork (even with all the free connects you can get).
Professionals with plenty of experience who are looking for high paying jobs may have more luck but the Upwork fee structure may get in their way. With that in mind, Upwork seems to be the best option for mid-range freelancers or freelancers in transition freelance marketplaces to full independency.
Upwork features such as the time tracker, freelancer profile customization, payment protection can help experienced freelancers take some weight off their shoulders when running a small business. However, the service fees are really not worth it.
If you can maintain a high success rate on your Upwork account, then you won’t have trouble growing your freelance business. Just keep in mind that the first few projects may be a struggle depending on how in-demand your skill sets are.
Legit Upwork alternatives such as Fiverr and freelancer.com will certainly offer a similar experience. It all depends on how ready you are to fight for freelance jobs and maintain a high success rate while you’re at it. With that said, Upwork is definitely not a scam. After all, many successful business owners started from a simple Upwork account.