Is Upwork a good way to make money?

The short answer is Yes, Upwork is an excellent way to make money. Here is how to ensure you're earning and constantly growing your freelance business on Upwork and achieving your goals, whether those goals are a little extra money for the weekend or a full-time income and beyond.

Is Upwork a good way to make money?

Freelancers want to make money on Upwork and often ask whether Upwork is a good platform for earning.

The short answer is Yes. Here is how to ensure you're earning and constantly growing your freelance business on Upwork and achieving your goals, whether those goals are a little extra money for the weekend or a full-time income and beyond.


Once your profile is approved, you're ready to start making money on Upwork. But like every business, it takes a combination of both effort and strategy. Upwork has been around for years, I started using it when it was called Elance in 2001, then oDesk, and now Upwork. This platform has been a great source of fixed price and hourly rate projects and an easy way to find potential clients, work on Upwork, and get paid. All you need is a skill that can be performed online and an internet connection.

So, is UpWork worth using? For a freelancer, I can confidently say that its not worth passing on.

How to make money on Upwork

The simple act of getting started on Upwork is the beginning of your freelance career. Upwork is the client's search engine for finding freelancers; ensuring you stand out to clients is crucial to finding a gig or a job.

Many freelancers have difficulty finding work on the freelancing platform, and numerous other freelancers are always trying to get hired. Upwork offers an excellent platform for clients looking to hire, which makes it a great place to find freelance work.

Outbound sales versus Inbound sales on the Upwork platform

There are two processes to make money on Upwork, the first is Outbound sales which is the most common, and is most simply defined as you, the freelancer, contacting the client in hopes of a sale. The second and most lucrative is Inbound sales, when clients find you and request you send them a quote for your services.

You want to ensure you get to the point where you receive Inbound sales as quickly as possible. The reason is that Inbound sales significantly reduce your workload as a salesperson. So make sure your freelance profile is 100% complete, you have the Specialized profiles setup, ad an entire project catalog, and are active on the Upwork platform. All help you get found, then hired.

The Outbound sales process on the Upwork platform:

  1. Find work using the job search
  2. Refine your search based on your preferences
  3. Submit a proposal to the client
  4. Get hired for the project

The Inbound sales process on the Upwork platform:

  1. Get found by clients by writing a great profile
  2. Receive an invite to the project
  3. Respond to the invite with a proposal
  4. Get hired for the project

Your profile acts as your cover letter, except it serves multiple purposes, the first is to convince the customer that you are the one for the job (Outbound sales), but primarily it acts as a way to be found (Inbound sales).

The key you are looking for in with your Upwork profile is to be found, so use all of the 5,000 words on each of your Main and Specialized Profiles to ensure your best chance at success.

Check out How to get more Upwork connects for free? or How do I write a great Upwork profile?

How much do you want to earn per hour on Upwork?

There is always the "how much am I worth as a freelancer?" question during my freelance coaching sessions with new freelancers. This is common because A) new freelancers want to earn a living, B) they want to be competitive, and C) they want to maximize their profits.

Below I have compiled the ranges for three popular services on Upwork, freelance Graphic Design, Website Development, and Copywriting. I will be adding Digital Marketing and Virtual Assistance shortly, so contact me for those details.

Upwork jobs come in all shapes and sizes, but Upwork freelancers make the mistake of reducing their prices to ensure they are competitive without a proper digital marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, freelancers from emerging economies reduce their rates too low, making the service feel like it won't be high-quality enough. This guide below will teach you how to maximize your rates while ensuring you get the maximum number of invites for your freelance services.

The Freelance Shortcut Book - 10 Steps to Freelance Success by Scott Luscombe

Perfect Upwork Freelancer Prices

How did I come up with these Upwork Freelance price ranges? As I mentioned, you need to focus on your Customer Acquisition Cost. You are wasting valuable time if you struggle to sell a job with Outbound sales. It will be better to aim your pricing within these ranges for maximum coverage across the 3 talent tiers on Upwork.

By using strategic pricing, you straddle 2 or more tiers and are much more likely to be invited to a project (Inbound sales) which will decrease customer acquisition costs and increase your conversion rate.

A client who knows about you and is already interested in hearing from you is a significant time saving (often equivalent to 2-3 hours of work per lead).

Price Ranges for Freelance Graphic Designers on Upwork

Freelance graphic design is one of the highest ranking skill that's in demand. With web design taking the top spot of skills in-demand. Here's how you can price graphic design services: What is the right price range for freelance Graphic Designers on Upwork?

Price Ranges for Freelance Website Developers on Upwork

If you're wondering What sells most on UpWork? This is your answer. Web development skills are in the highest demand on Upwork, so much so, that its top 10 sub-services make the most in-damand skills on the platform. Here's how you can price yourself as a web developer: 

What is the right price range for freelance Website Developers on Upwork?

Price Ranges for Freelance Copywriters on Upwork

I often hear the question, is UpWork good for beginners? It is, beginners often take on jobs for a freelance writer before any other skills. Thats not to say that there aren't advanced levels to copywriting, with top freelancers earning more than $50 an hour: What is the right price range for freelance Copywriters on Upwork?

Defining your Goals for earning money on Upwork

When you aim to make money on Upwork, it is vital to set an initial goal of whether you want to maximize your income or your time. Every freelancer has their own goals, and I hope to help you define them to help give you direction when applying for jobs.

These goals can change as often as you would like, but it is a best practice to choose one to start, achieve the goal, and make adjustments as your life circumstances warrant.

Most of my freelance coaching students have a particular income in mind, usually $100,000/year. This is a great barometer for financial success and gets you into the six-figure club we all hear so much of on social media.

How much money do you want to make Freelancing?

Upwork makes it easy to earn money regularly. If your focus is mainly on achieving a particular income per week or year, it is essential to set an achievable goal, then once that goal is reached, expand from there.

PRO TIP: One way to achieve high financial success is to quickly reduce your overall rates and onboard new clients. As you max out your workload, you simply increase your rates for new clients. You repeat this over and over, and eventually, you can earn well over $100/hour, making your $100,000/year goal easily achieved.

I have found that if I get near the 100 hours per week of work range, I get burned out quickly if I don't make earning money my sole priority. We all have choices, and focusing on financial achievement is perfectly fine. You hear "hustle culture" vilified on social media as something terrible, but this depends on your perspective.

There is nothing wrong with working 100 hours or 10 hours per week. You can be happy with both. If your income goals are high and your experience is low, you will have to commit more daily hours to achieve these financial goals. However, you will also learn and grow your experience much faster as you work at something.

Professional athletes are pros because they can handle a high level of stress. As a freelancer with high-income goals, you will have many potential clients, projects, and conversations at once. You will experience more problems and have to develop better solutions faster.

There are pros and cons to both high and low-income goals, but deciding on one and working hard to achieve it is the most critical part. If you have a high-stress tolerance and plenty of time, you can make vast sums of money on Upwork. I have earned almost $500,000 on the platform within a few years as an independent freelancer. It is difficult to earn $100,000/year, but it is also possible. There are thousands of potential clients out there looking for your services.

How long does UpWork take to pay you?

Payments on Upwork are pretty straight forward. Fixed price contracts allow you to withdraw funds after 5 days of project completion.

Hourly contracts have a 10 day waiting period between the end of the week and payment availability. With one week complete, the client gets one week to dispute any work done in the previous week. At the end of week 2, after a 3 day hold, funds get released. 

Upwork charges commissions on payments which reduce in percentage as your project value increases.

How much time do you want to spend Freelancing?

Remote work on Upwork is a great way to supplement your income. Whether you set a particular goal each week or decide on a particular consistency per month, Upwork makes one of the most potent side hustles that can turn into a full-time career if you like.

Upwork is also an excellent freelancing platform when you only want to work a few hours at a time. I scale up and down the time I want to work based on whether I want to travel or not with my family and certain life events. You can choose how much or how little you want to work.

A straightforward calculation to choose what will work well for estimating how to make a time-focused budget work for you is this:

  1. What are your monthly fixed costs (bills)?
  2. Multiply that number by 3
  3. This is a reasonable monthly budget

    For example, if my monthly bills cost $1,000, (3 X $1,000) = $3000/month

    Now divide your monthly budget by the number of hours you want to work:

    For example, your monthly budget of $3000 / 80 hours (20 hours per week) equals $37.5/hour.

    Now simply choose your freelance career that will match those targetted earnings. This is how to make sure you make money in the amount that fits your time-focused goals. By correctly judging what you are charging per hour, you can have a realistic target to aim for.

    Using the above equation, you know that you need to find jobs that fit within your targetted hourly rate. Remember that this is simply an estimation, as you will also need to consider flat rate or fixed rate projects, but it will allow you to easily quote these flat rate projects to hit your target per hour rate.

    If your client wants an article written for a $150 flat rate, you need to ensure you finish the project within 4 hours. This turns making money in the correct amounts much simpler when you find a job and want to budget it to balance the benefit between you and your client.

    I would love to help you expand your freelance career, if you are looking for a freelance business success coach, look no further!

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