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

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

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 succeedβ€”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.

Yes!

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.

If you need an in-depth course on Upwork, I’ll be happy to train you. Join my Upwork Mastery Course now.

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I'm a freelance writer, blogger, trainer, and internet marketer. My joy is to see you making money online. Feel free to browse around and leave a comment. I strive to reply to all queries. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter .

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Ann
Ann

Also, when a potential client advertises a job with a fixed rate of, say $10, yet the job is to review, proofread and edit content for 1-3 months, is it possible that they intent to pay $10 for the entire project or is it the rate per content piece? because $10 is way too low for three months- even 1 month.

Ann
Ann

This is very informative. Thanks!

Alice
Alice

Thanks Walter for such an educative and informative share.

Ronny Okumu
Ronny Okumu

I’ve really enjoyed the read, Walter!

That was a cool proposal sample you shared. Thanks for that tip. Meanwhile, what I enjoy more is touring your site– it just looks stunning!

Will it cost me a leg to get something like this for myself?

Mwangi Amos

Wow! I just love this, it’s so informative. Am looking forward to make a fortune out of writing.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mwangi Amos
David Kruger
David Kruger

Hi Walter,
Taken an interest in writing for the last two years but have not made any steps out of fear of the unknown. please encourage me

Joy Kimaiyo
Joy Kimaiyo

Hi Walter how can I deal with the fear of starting bidding in Upwork. I have written articles in my blog, done transcription training and worked in take accounts but I still feel like I am a newbie

Duncan Murangiri
Duncan Murangiri
Reply to  Walter Akolo

Thanks for this piece of manisctipt. I created my up work account about 2months ago but I almost gave up on it after submitting several proposals without a single reply. I will employ the tips to grow my up account and get more clients like a pro to boost my income. It will be all in vain if I would skim through all these post without sending my Gratitude’s. Thanks again.

Christine Lugasi
Christine Lugasi

Hello Walter,
This article has changed my thinking and made me wiser. I am a newbie yet to get any jobs on Upwork, Let me work on the readiness test, portfolio and proposal and wait for jobs like a boss. Thank you

Andreeh
Andreeh

My favourite and selfless atimes couch.

Daniel Kahara
Daniel Kahara

Hi Walter
Thank you for the knowledgeable information.
I am still pitching for jobs hope I will be lucky soon.

Johnson Gitonga
Johnson Gitonga

Still plying the trade and assisting writers with awesome writing on helpful topics.

Glad to be associated with you and to have learnt so much from you across the years!

Sam
Sam

Hi Mr Walter. Is upwork really a good platform for academic writers or it’s ideal for article writers?

Everlyn
Everlyn

Profound content here. Thankyou Mr. Walter.

WYCLIFFE
Reply to  Walter Akolo

Hi Walter how do l create an iWork account

sadique
sadique

What is needed to open a profile?
Have a company or tax details.
Please advise

Hellen Wakibia
Hellen Wakibia

Hi Walter,

I love the simplicity of your word choice.
Easy to understand and full of wisdom.

God bless.

Erick
Erick
Reply to  Walter Akolo

Assist me sir in checking the jobs posted n how to bid

Clinton
Clinton

Please help me join upwork

ammon
ammon

geting approved to work at upwork is the biggest problem can you help write a professionsal profile?

Margaret
Margaret

Hi Walter
My name is Margaret and I signed up for upwork about 5 months ago and I have not gotten any job and now my profile is switched on private how can I turn it to public and help me on how to increase my chances of getting hired.

James
James

Hello Walter,
Thanks for your informative article on Upwork. I have worked on Upwork for more than a year now. I recently decided to apply for jobs that pay more..But I received a message that my account has been suspended.This is the reason in brackets (Our decision is based on a careful review and the fact that you have submitted a high number of proposals for jobs on our site without many contracts or earnings. Unfortunately, this means the jobs posted by clients are not a good match for your skills.)
How do I go about appealing this decision?

Gladys
Gladys
Reply to  Walter Akolo

Run into the same problem, submitted all the documents the appeal team had asked for but the final decision was heartbreaking. They said the suspended accounts will remain that way for now. In case you have extra Job that you need to be done am here Walter.

Mary peter
Mary peter

Awesome content here. Thanks Mr Walter.

karanja
karanja

hi walter infact i lack courage to begin article writing training i know there is much dollars to be made on writing. i need assurance that immediately i finish the training i would make at least ksh. 200 daily. thanks

Ndj
Ndj
Reply to  Walter Akolo

I do not intend to discourage anyone but Walter, please advice people to use correct grammar, such as capitalizing the “I” article and beginning words of a sentence. Great content from you though.

Sudeep
Sudeep

Hello,
As you mention that in No 9. –Always Use a Sample with proposal, but elance said that it is against rule of elance to add any link or sample with proposal.
I am confused with your No 9.
I am free member in elance
Thank you

David Maluki

Hi Walter,

What about Fiverr? It is a site suited for beginners yes but you can make good money here also. You simply need a great gig nothing else.

There’s no scam because clients pay to the site well in advance.

There is a time I had about 4 orders in a single day (the number fluctuates up to zero sometimes) that is $20 and I am a beginner. I know one day I will maintain that or even higher.

I know a Kenyan lady who had 100 orders in a day!

Look, at level 1, where I currently am, I can create gig extras to earn up to $60 per gig!

I have written an article on how one can make Ksh 100,800 pm in Kenya.

I think Fiverr is a great site. Don’t you think so Mr Walter?

Shiz
Shiz

Ave really been hoping to land on this internet jobs. is there something genuine that isnt hard that i can start with even if it doesnt pay so well. atleast for a start as i keep learning and advancing. your help guys will be appreciated. thanks

Esther Mungai
Esther Mungai

Hi Walter,
Thank you for the great work you are currently doing. I am a new freelancer on elance and freelancer.com and have been a member well for quite a while now. The thing is, the projects i have landed on freelancer.com on data entry have not been inspirational at all with the payment especially and have landed none for article writing.
I hope you will kindly get in touch with me through email so you can provide me details on where i need to polish, probably also train me more on freelancing.
May God bless you for the great work you doing and for being a pillar of hope to us all.
Thank you.

chege

Hi Guys.

Both Odesk and Elance and good places to get some cash however you must be patient before you start getting hired. I joined odesk in May 2013 and landed my job in Sept 2013 after that jobs started coming. In my case i started with lower rates and increased them as i got more jobs. I joined Elance in May 2013 and I got a job in Nov 2013 but didn’t finish it, the next job i got this year Nov.

For withdrawals using local funds transfer(wire transfer) is the cheapest and safest way. Both Elance and Odesk send money to my Co-op, Kcb and Equity accounts directly.

Odesk asks for a swift code while Elance asks for swift code and sort code(branch code).

https://www.odesk.com/users/~01b0162b8ad69cec79

Millicent Njue

I had a dormant account with elance since 2011 after failing to secure a job there. This year, after the training with Walter and Timothy, I decided to give it a trial. My enthusism paid off since I now have several clients there. Elance is the best, no doubt about it.

Matts
Matts

Yes Walter
I really appreciate your assistance. By the way I am always around it is only that at times I decide to read your articles silently. Remember this blog is my “safe heaven” so I cant keep off it. otherwise I am glad for your ever-good work, let me keep on bidding on elance and as usual, I will always inform you on how things work out. Once again thank you.

Matts
Matts
Reply to  Walter Akolo

hey Walter
Talking of samples, is it OK to use samples that you had previously written for other clients lets say like articles that you submitted on iWriter or can it lead to other issues and perhaps face a ban?
Thanks.

Matts
Matts

hi Walter
this is a great article right here. I am not really new on Elance because I signed up a couple of months ago though I have never been active on it. However, i have decided to give it my all and I have started sending proposals but the only challenge I am experiencing is that I don’t really know how to bid especially when the project does not have a fixed price.

Any leads on how I can better on this will be highly appreciated. And again, How do i Know that I have secured a contract? Is there a way I can get notification without necessarily visiting the site? Thanks

Mario O.
Mario O.

How I love to see other freelancers helping each other and sharing their ideas and how they started. πŸ™‚ Hi there Walter! nice article you have here. Patience really is one of the key to make it on freelance. I started with Odesk and took me a month to get my first job. I have very little knowledge with online jobs so one of the FIRST thing that I made was to OFFER my service FOR FREE in return of the TRAINING. I accepted 0.3 dollars / hour jobs at that time. Now I’m on Elance and has a couple of clients and contracts. Some would pay me $20 a day and some for part time would pay me $4/hour and all the knowledge that I have right now are the FRUITS of those free service in return of training. (I don’t personally advice this to anyone but that is how I started ). If you have that great desire to do that something that you really want, surely you’ll always find a way. God bless and Think positive!

Mario O.
Mario O.
Reply to  Walter Akolo

WOW! I’m having goosebumps here while reading that article “How I Became an Elite Writer in iWriter Within 6 Months – Some Valuable Tips and Tricks”.. hoo!! It’s like all the principles and values that I’ve read from Napoleon Hill’s book come to life! (hold on and never give up) what a very powerful phrase!

Walter thanks a lot for appreciating my little knowledge. πŸ™‚ Maybe I was just so influenced with the books that I’ve read.

Now I’m taking my way on earning my first million! hahaha πŸ™‚
I don’t know for now how to achieve it but I now I can acquire it.

I believe there are no failures in life.. only results. πŸ™‚ once rejected it is not a failure, but an outcome. take a look at your strategy, do some changes, take action and always move forward.

“Change your thoughts and you CHANGE your world.
-Norman Vincent Peale

Hollysilali
Hollysilali

Great article, thanks for the tips.

Linda Kiende

Would be a pleasure to share my experience with the beginners. let me know how to go about it.

Linda Kiende
Reply to  Walter Akolo

I will do that in a few days. Hipefully twil help someone.

So today I just landed my first job on Elance.

Thank you very much for the inspiration here. Lovely weekend to you all πŸ™‚

Linda Kiende

I have been working on odesk. Got a few coins there. I have worked on more than 10 contracts but it doesnt pay very well though so far i got permanent clients. am now trying elance to c if i will make it. yes freelance is patience. i took 3 momths without landing a job on odesk. after getting the first one, i was goodto go. So far i have withdrawn over a 1000 dollars in a few months. its possible! All the best felllow freelancers

wilson
wilson

hello Walter patience does pay . I am new member in elance and now i have twin jobs in process Thanks for the advice

Samuel
Samuel

Hi Walter. What a nice site you run here! This is the right time for Kenyans to know what they have been missing for long, and you have done a pretty job of opening their eyes, kudos for that. Well…..I was never much of a writer myself, I don’t have the professional skills to make readers glued to my literal stuff. So I ventured on other IM means, but since this thread is about Elance, that will be a topic for another day.
Thanks again on behalf of all Kenyans

Jay
Jay

Hi Walter. Thank you for your tips. Sites such as Elance are giving Kenyan potential writers a good channel to show case their work. They are getting a chance to express their gifts.Thanks again.

elvis

Awesome article Walter, i joined elance but forgot about it.You have ignited my desire to make money using it.i will follow your guide and see if i make at least $200 i don’t want to bet on more.Am glad you mentioned Patience is key in online and internet marketing business, the prospects seem easily achievable but a lot goes into making it happen.I love our website been peeping through the window and never commenting..Thanks for the advice

emmanuel indusa
emmanuel indusa
Reply to  Walter Akolo

hi walter am new on elence i just joined yesterday av placed a proposal bt i dnt knw the way forwad from that please help me out.i av many skills and i want to utilise them well on elence

Benjamin
Benjamin

Hi, I think this is a brilliant idea. It is an easy-to-follow guide for anyone who wants to break even in their writing career. It will help to leverage other important aspects as they chart their way through the murky world of freelancing.

jorge
jorge

what’s your take on Odesk? I hear it’s equally good….

Wilfred Imbukwa

Elance is better than Freelancer. The beauty of Elance is that, their exams are free. Ironically, the same exams that Elance offers are also offered at Freelancer but are not free.

Elly
Elly

Hi Walter, thanks for the good work you are doing for freelancers in Kenya. I signed up for Odesk and Elance last year, but I never bothered to complete my profiles or bid for jobs coz I thought the sites are too hectic, and I was busy on other sites. Do you think my long absences from the sites will hurt my profiles?

eric
eric

hi Walter, thanx 4 the the message. i just got started on this sites but i haven’t really began earning since i have not found any contracts so far, any help on how i can land a project faster?

Suleiman Abdullahi
Suleiman Abdullahi

Thanks Walter, you are dedicated at putting cash in our pockets. As I mail, am in my way to withdraw my first $300 dollars I made last week on odesk.

Wilfred Imbukwa

Elance is a professional site. It has less scams compared to Freelance.com. But it takes time for a freelancer to win a bid at elance.

DOLPHINE WAITUTU KWAMBOKA
DOLPHINE WAITUTU KWAMBOKA
Reply to  Walter Akolo

Hello walter. I have been on upwork since 2018. with my connects i have been sending proposals severally but i have been unable to land to a single job. Is there any way that you can assist?

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