Make Money on Upwork: 10 Easy Steps to Earning $1000+ Per Month

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If you’ve read my previous post on Upwork, I’m sure you’re now convinced that it is one of the best freelancing websites in the world. It is more professional, pays better, and has fewer cons.

In that post, I talked about how I was once scared of using the site, but decided to go hard on it, and I have absolutely no regrets.

If you were to choose only one freelancing website that will sort out all your needs, choose Upwork.

Here is a screenshot of some of my Upwork jobs:

2021 Upwork Jobs in Progress

…but note that it may take you a while before you get your first job, so don’t quit whatever you’re doing till you get a reasonable job on Upwork. If you follow the tips in this post, you may get there faster. Some have used these very tips to get a client in a matter of days.

Also, read on for bonus tips on whether you should use only one freelancing site. Let’s start!

If you need help to succeed in Upwork, join The Upwork Mastery Course. Here, I’ll show you everything you need to succeed—from optimizing your profile to getting high-paying clients who leave 5-star reviews and give you consistent income.

1. Complete Your Upwork profile

Yes, go through everything; including the identity verification when prompted to do so.

Being that it is a professional site, the best clients value freelancers who have a complete profile and a good portfolio, even if you’re a new freelancer. So, make sure you take this painful, onetime step and you won’t regret it.

Note that Upwork support is usually awesome. It even has a live chat option. If you get stuck anywhere, just contact them and you’ll have a quick answer to get you going.

2. Take the Upwork Readiness Test

The Upwork Readiness Test is very easy. Take it now. It will help you to become eligible for a Rising Talent badge. That may help you score more clients, even if you’re a beginner. What’s more, when you pass this test, you’ll get 40 free connects to help you bid on other valuable jobs.

3. Add a Portfolio Item

This is another important part of your profile. Make sure you have a great portfolio item.

For example, if you are a writer, no matter how confident you are in yourself, allow someone else to check out some of your favorite articles and let them inform you which ones would best fit into your portfolio. In short, put a lot of thought into what you add to your portfolio.

4. Don’t Quit Your Job First

Whether you do a day job or are a freelancer in other platforms, don’t quit first. This is because you don’t want to get into Upwork totally hungry and desperate. It is better to join this site when you already have something else running but want to up your game.

Those who have no jobs or other sources of income are still free to join, though. You can still succeed fast if you play the cards right. See how Martha performed here.

5. Send Proposals Consistently

Upwork gives you 60 free Connects per month. Most proposals will cost you 2 Connects. Therefore, make sure you use all your 60 Connects each month. I advise you do 3 proposals a day there but give careful thought of what you put in your proposal.

Make sure you each proposal is persuasive and professional. Upwork bans people who send too many proposals without getting hired.

6. Don’t Bid Too Low (Even if You’re a Beginner)

Once upon a time when Freelancer used to be great, I would advise people to start by bidding low there. That’s because it’s one of those sites where most clients are up for the lowest bidders.

Upwork is different. You’ll be dealing with many professionals who will also expect you to be professional.

A very low bid may show desperation and some people may not choose your proposal, fearing you are not serious, you give low quality work, you don’t respect deadlines or just have some hidden flaw that is making you bid so low.

7. Ask for Escrow or Use the Upwork Desktop App

This is self-explanatory. To protect your payments, make sure you ask your clients to fund an escrow for fixed price jobs.

For hourly jobs, make sure the client has a verified payment method. Also use their Upwork Desktop App so that you stay protected by the site.

I always warn freelancers not to work outside Upwork or any other site for that matter since working outside will get you less protected and make it easy for you to get conned (take it from me, I was conned off a lot of cash this way when I was still green in online business). Upwork will also ban you if you’re found working outside with a client you found from its site.

If you want private clients, consider reaching out to them through other means, not from Upwork and other restricted freelancing sites.

Back to the point, stay safe by using their escrow system or hourly protection (using Upwork Team App).

8. Have a Brilliant Proposal

Don’t just wake up and do a proposal.

Make sure your proposal is well thought out. Feel free to bounce it off someone else to make sure its convincing enough to the clients. Note that this is one of the most important parts that will enable you to get good jobs.

Let’s look at a possible scenario:

Let’s say you’re good at product descriptions. Yes, you’re new, but you’ve mastered the art and have amazing samples. Some even published in easy-to-post sites like LinkedIn and Medium.

You also know how to pitch like a pro (lots of free information on how to do that).

Someone posts that they’re looking for someone who will create amazing product descriptions.


You know how to do them like the back of your hand. You have samples. You’ve been practicing.

With all the above in place, you go ahead and pitch! Don’t be like:

“Hey, I’m a new writer, no one hires me, please let me do your product descriptions, I’ll take any payment.”

Instead, be like:

Hi {Client’s Name},

I create stunning product reviews that give readers a powerful mental picture of the product I’m talking about. This increases their probability of making a purchase decision.

Check out my Samsung S21 review on Medium [Link].

I’m looking forward to writing for you.

Thank you so much,

{Your name}

Here, you’ve not told them you’re new and that no one’s ever hired you. You’ve told them you can do it and showed your worth by giving a stunning sample.

I’ve made it this vivid so that you can see that your success depends a lot on the preparation phase.

Therefore, as a new writer, make sure you:

  • Know how to write
  • Have samples that prove you can write
  • Pitch like a pro (don’t just say “interested” or use any other amateur method)
  • Deliver PURE GOLD once hired

[Note that there are many who have used the exact proposal template I’ve shared above to get jobs. They just tweaked it to fit their profile.]

9. Always Use a Sample

This is sort of an unwritten rule in all freelancing websites. Upwork is no exception.

Make sure you use your best samples when you send out proposals. For example, if you are a graphic designer, use 2 or 3 of your favorite graphics.

A little secret that always works for me is I choose a sample that fits the client’s niche. If the client wants a writer to do weight loss articles, I pick 1-3 of my best weight loss articles and use them as my samples.

10. Be Patient

Patience is a virtue that many people don’t possess. Keep honing your skills as you patiently apply for jobs every day. Soldier on even when you feel like it’s taking long.

Remember this:

If you land high-paying Upwork jobs, you have a guaranteed number of articles that you can write per day and ALL of them get accepted depending on how much your clients believe in your work.

This does not just apply to writing. There are over 8,000 skills you can freelance in Upwork, such as transcription, graphic design, web design, accounting, name it.

Be very patient in Upwork. Note that even experts sometimes send proposals for days before they get their first jobs. The best news is that when you start getting jobs there, you can easily forget about other freelancing websites and just focus on Upwork as you build your list of direct clients.

$1,000 Per Month Plan for Freelancers in Upwork

I’ll use the example of writers.

From my personal experience, there are many clients in Upwork who pay between $10 and $50 per article. Therefore, you can use $10-$50 as your minimum proposal amount. If you’re a pro, go for a figure that suits you! There are pros here charging even $200+ per hour!

So, as a writer, once you get your $20 per 500 words job, make sure you write 5 articles or 2,000 words a day. Assuming you work 5 days a week, that will give you $100 per day, meaning $500 per week and $2,000 per month on a perfect month.

And that is how you can make $1,000+ per month on Upwork.

Of course, strive to get clients who pay you way above $20 per 500 words. Always deliver quality work, otherwise, none of the above will work.

Once you get the hang of the site, strive to keep increasing your income.

Bonus Tips

  • You can link your Payoneer account to Upwork and use it to withdraw Upwork cash for negligible fees. Since Payoneer is one of the best withdrawal methods from online sites, make sure you take advantage of this.
  • Some clients may ask you to print and sign some Non-Disclosure Agreements or other contracts then upload them. If it’s a great client, sign. Click here for more on how to succeed in Upwork.
  • Unlike Freelancer, you can withdraw your cash any day via MPESA, Payoneer, PayPal, or Direct to Local Bank Transfer.
  • Never leave your day job or other freelancing jobs till you’ve secured one or two good clients on Upwork.
  • In freelancing, never depend on one site only; make sure you still work on other sites such as Fiverr and PeoplePerHour, just to make sure you have backup earnings.
  • Of course, the very best option is to have a list of awesome, high paying private clients (not gotten through any “middleman” site). In the Kenyan social scene, we refer to these as direct clients or DCs. Here’s how to get them.
  • Avoid writing unpaid samples. For example, if a client asks you to write a sample on “5 Foods That Kill Fat”, turn it down since they may use it and never pay you for it. But if they say, “Give me samples of your past work I see your writing prowess”, give them those past samples.
  • Still on samples, note that links trump attachments. Therefore, consider publishing on your blog, LinkedIn Pulse, Medium or other top publications and give clients links to your best published works.

Upwork Takeaway

$1,000 per month is less than average pay on Upwork. If you follow these 10 tips, you can start earning this amount through your freelancing efforts. So sign in to Upwork and apply the above tips. Make sure you also do your own research to get more tips on how you can increase your Upwork earnings.

Did I miss a tip? Are you having challenges with Upwork? Drop a comment below to share your thoughts on this post. Also, before you leave this page, use the social sharing buttons to share this post.

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