Wondering what Upwork is? Whether you can make money on it as a freelancer? Or perhaps you're a business who is looking to hire an expert for specific projects? Upwork is a great place to start. In short, Upwork is a freelancing platform for businesses and freelancers to meet and do work together on a per project or per hour pay basis.

It benefits people who want to make more money, build a business, or even just help others with projects they love doing in the first place! Here's a detailed Upwork review for both freelancers and businesses.

What Is Upwork And How Does It Work?

Perhaps the shortest and sweetest way to describe Upwork would be to use their own words stated on their homepage: “In-demand talent on demand. Upwork is how.” In other words, if you're a business who needs the help of an expert for your project, Upwork has hundreds of thousands of freelancers readily available to help you out…

If you're a freelancer who wants to build a side hustle income or start your own business, Upwork gives you access to thousands of available jobs and projects you can submit a proposal to for hire.

It brings freelancers and businesses together in a secure way and allows for both parties to do so knowing who their working with and what to expect. Can freelancers make money on Upwork? Can businesses actually find good freelancers to hire for their projects? Absolutely! Here's how…

Upwork For Freelancers

Getting started as a freelancer is hard enough to find good paying clients. That's where platforms like Upwork come in handy. It's completely free to set up a freelance profile, with the option to pay just $14.99 per month for additional benefits.

In fact, many freelancers make a full-time living using platforms like Upwork or Fiverr (or both) because they've built a strong reputation and have a steady stream of clients, as well as many returning customers. Here is how Upwork works for freelancers.

Your Freelance Profile

Freelancers on Upwork can market their expertise with a free Upwork freelancer profile. Your freelance profile on Upwork is perhaps the most important thing to showcase your work, professionalism, trust, and credibility.

When setting up your profile, you will want to write a friendly and detailed introduction to who you are, what your background is and why someone should hire you.

Other sections that make up your freelance profile include:

  • A video introduction
  • Your approximate hourly rate
  • A list of related projects that you want to showcase (also known as “gigs” among the freelance community on the internet)
  • A portfolio of past work that you have done for proof of expertise
  • A list of skills that you have acquired (such as web development, graphic design, copywriting, finance, etc.)
  • A list of any certifications that you have acquired
  • Your employment history
  • Your educational background
  • Any other experiences, projects or accomplishments that relate to your freelance services

In reality, your Upwork freelance profile is an incredibly detailed description of your resume, experience, past projects, rates, services, etc. It gives potential buyers confidence in who they are hiring and whether you are a right fit for their project.


Upwork is designed as a “bidding” freelance platform. This means that freelancers can actively search for projects that businesses have posted for hire and submit proposals for these projects.

Your proposal will include a description of who you are and why you are a good fit for the project, and you'll also answer any specific questions that business has about you for that project. You will propose an hourly or flat rate fee that you charge, and any other specific details that will help the business determine if you're a right fit.

Freelancers have a certain amount of “connects” that are used when they bid on a project. Each connect will cost you $0.15. So, you could purchase 20 connects for $3. Keep in mind that each time you submit a proposal for a job, it will cost anywhere from one to six connects depending on the total value of the project.

Different membership options

If you wish to have more account benefits and access to 70connects each month because you anticipate having a lot more time for work, then you can upgrade your Upwork membership to an Upwork Plus membership, which costs just $14.99 per month.

The Upwork Plus membership includes additional benefits like:

  • 70 Connects per month
  • Your profile is never set to “hidden” due to inactivity (which in the case of a free membership, your account is hidden if your account goes inactive)
  • You get the option to hide your total earnings on Upwork
  • You can view competitor bids on jobs that are posted to submit a competitive offer
  • You can customize your Upwork profile URL
  • You get access to extra reports, functionality, and grouping/sorting options

Building A Reputation & Finding Work

The best way to begin finding freelance jobs on Upwork without any previous experience on the platform is by maximizing your profile and submitting bids regularly.

Once you've got some experience under your belt on Upwork, you will get reviews from past clients and projects you have done which will increase your reputation to potential buyers. As your reputation grows, you will become more noticeable and you will have the ability to charge higher prices.

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For Businesses

It's not uncommon for businesses of all sizes to have projects that require additional help but may not require hiring a full time or part time employee. This applies to solopreneurs, small businesses, startups and even freelancers wanting to outsource their additional work to manage heavy workloads.

Using a platform like Upwork to find experts for your project can both save you time and money while still getting your project done right. Here is how Upwork works for businesses looking to hire for certain projects…

Membership Options

Businesses can choose between different membership options that give you additional benefits and tools to help run your business. You can set up a free business profile that gives you access to the basics like posting jobs, getting unlimited proposals, viewing work history of proposals, and access to collaboration tools and payment options.

Other businesses who need additional tools can pay monthly from any of these options:

  • Plus membership: This is $49.99 per month and gives you access to dedicated managers, project tracking and team communication tools and tailored search results.
  • Business membership: This is $849 per month and gives you additional tools like consolidated billing and invoicing with net 30 pay options, dedicated team of advisors to help hire the right talent, and detailed reporting for company insights and trends.
  • Enterprise membership: This option requires a consultation with Upwork to verify your needs and build out a custom pricing package. You get access to custom contracting and on-boarding processes, compliance services, worker classification services, project based or managed solutions as well as a dedicated account executive.

Posting Jobs & Finding the Right Freelancer

Posting jobs on Upwork is much like posting a job on a regular job board. The difference is you will get to hire people remotely and pay them on custom pay schedules, as well as hire for temporary work as needed.

Your job posting should be professionally written, concise and clear on the work you need, along with detailed deadlines, budgets and required skills. Once you post your job, you will begin getting multiple proposals from different freelancers. You can review each proposal to determine if they meet your project needs, you can decline proposals and you can even invite freelancers to apply for your listed jobs.

Once you've narrowed down your proposals, you can begin performing remote interviews with the option for video interviews through the Upwork platform.

Working with Your Freelancer

Once you've hired your freelancer for your project, you have access to Upwork messages to communicate via chat, share necessary files and discuss project details. The Upwork Diary tool allows you to view the project progress and compare the progress to your goals for that project. Should additional video meetings be necessary, businesses have the option to do video conferences or phone calls through Upwork as needed.

Paying Your Freelancer

Once you have been able to review the completed projects, the time spent on the project and approving different milestones, you can pay your freelancer after the work is approved. Upwork provides a payment protection program that makes sure you only pay for work that you authorize.

Upwork & The “Gig Economy”

The “Gig Economy” is a term often used for freelance platforms like Upwork or Fiverr that refers to gigs that freelancers post and businesses hire for. As technology advances, so does the options on how we work and build a business. Could the “Gig Economy” be the future of how we work and collaborate? Perhaps…

But one thing is for sure, these freelance platforms give businesses and freelancers options to get work done in a timely manner without having to hire a new employee full time, and allows freelancers the option to make extra money or build a business of their own.