Check out my 2018 Upwork Review video, or read the full transcript below.
To get more information about freelancing on Upwork, subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Hello YouTube world and welcome to my video, My Upwork Review 2018.
People ask me all the time: is Upwork worth it as a new freelancer? Should I consider putting together a profile; is it worth the time?
And one of the reasons that I’m making this video, My Upwork Video Review 2018, is because so many people have misconceptions about Upwork and because of these misconceptions, they miss out on amazing opportunities on the site.
Now let me start with this disclaimer – Upwork is not the right freelance platform for everyone. There’s no doubt. If every freelancer in the world was bidding on Upwork, it wouldn’t be successful. Only a select few would get gigs and so on.
Furthermore, Upwork is tailored to give jobs in a very particular way, so not every freelancer is going to like that format or succeed in that format. And not every client in the world is on Upwork anyways, so it’s not right for every single person.
But for a lot of people, including beginners on Upwork all the way up to advanced users in the freelance world who have ongoing contracts, Upwork can be a valuable source of leads and new business. But you have to know how to use Upwork particularly or you’re going to struggle to succeed.
My insight comes from more than six years being on the Upwork, and then it was previously Elance platforms. I’ve generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales through both of those platforms. I am a super user of the site, I’ve hired on the site, I’ve worked as a project manager for major Fortune 500 companies on Upwork and I’ve also run it to manage my own freelance business. Several of the virtual assistants in my coaching and course creation business come directly from Upwork and I still continue to use the platform to this day.
So the reason I wanted to make an Upwork review in 2018 is because this question gets asked all the time, and even though I feel like I’m frequently talking about Upwork, I get a lot of people wondering whether it’s still worth it. Has the market become saturated? Has the site gone downhill? Because you will see so many people in the freelance space telling you not to use Upwork ever, under any conditions.
And I think it’s a major mistake to say never about anything in the freelancing world because you should never write off something entirely. It might not have been the right fit for you or you weren’t using that platform most effectively, but never is the wrong word to use.
I used to say that I never had success with cold emails or I never had success with LinkedIn, and then as I learned more about those methods, they became critical components of growing my business. So it would be wrong for me to say that you should never use LinkedIn or never use cold email, and likewise, I would be wary of anyone who says that there are never any great jobs on Upwork because simply, that is not true.
There are amazing gigs to be had on Upwork but you have to know how to look, you have to know how to position yourself with those ideal clients and you have to be able to convert those jobs into future work with that client or use the power of the feedback to open new doors for you.
Now Upwork has been tremendous in helping me build my freelance business. When I started in 2012 – let me tell it to you straight, I had no idea what I was doing. And the fact that there was a site out there that connected ready to buy prospects with freelancers who had the right skills was perfect because I had to do very little marketing work. I just had to convince the clients that I was the right one to be hired for their specific projects. It took a lot of the legwork out of it for me and made for an amazing place to land consistent leads and gigs from, and Upwork has continued to serve in that role.
Now, initially, Upwork used to be called Elance back in the day. They merged that site over to Upwork and also brought over oDesk, another popular freelance job board site. It took a while for them to sort of gain their footing in this space. I noticed they spent a lot of money on advertising when the sites first merged from Elance and oDesk over to Upwork, and it took a while for there to start being really good job opportunities. And then there was also a lull there for about six months after I got started.
I officially moved my profile in the fall of 2015 and at that time, my Elance profile didn’t even move over. It didn’t move over for three months so I had to bid as if I was totally new on the site. So anyone who’s telling you that someone who has just had a success because they’ve been there forever and have great feedback – I essentially started from zero when I merged over to Upwork and built my business up all over again.
A lot of the times the negative comments that you’ll hear about Upwork in an Upwork review are that it’s a race to the bottom or it’s all low paying gigs. No doubt you’re going to sign on to the site and you’re going to see sites that aren’t the right fit for you; they’ll be $5 for a blog post or $200 to build somebody’s website. Those aren’t your ideal clients, don’t bid on the job.
But if you simply pop in and check the most recently added jobs and you’re not using the search features, you’re not looking at the client’s feedback, you’re not spending time bidding on the jobs – you are missing out on the hidden gems that are there. They are there, they are always there.
Every time I go back to test my Upwork strategies, they always work and I always find amazing clients. It just depends on how well you know how to use the platform, and I’ve learned a lot of hacks and tips over my years of using Upwork and Elance to land business which is why I continue to recommend it in this Upwork video review in 2018, because I still think it is a viable place for all types of freelancers, especially new freelancers.
If you’ve never landed a client before, you don’t know how to pitch, you’re not sure that you even want to be a freelancer part-time or full-time, Upwork puts very little risk on you to try it out and get started. Considering the investment you might have to make on a pro-membership – I pay $10 a month – and the potential for that to come back to you, it is much less expensive than other business opportunities. The other thing I love about freelancing, it’s very low overhead. So again, very low risk for you. You’re not having to buy a bunch of products or equipment like you would if you were launching an Amazon FBA business; you’re taking on very little risk.
So if you work on Upwork and you do a couple of gigs and realize it’s not for you, there’s very little harm done; you’ve lost some time, you’ve made some extra cash, you can close down your Upwork account. But if you’re like me and you wish you had found this sooner and you wish you knew about the endless opportunities to earn money online as a freelancer, you’ll kick yourself for not taking action sooner.
Most people who have a negative reflection of Upwork have not been on the site or have not been active in years. There are even people out there selling courses about how to make money on Upwork who have not landed a gig on Upwork in more than two years, and it blows my mind. Why are you telling people how to use the site if you’re using material that’s years old and the site has evolved since then, and you’re not actively winning business on the site?
I am an active freelancer on Upwork, you can find my profile relatively easily and see that I have landed hundreds of gigs on Upwork and that it still continues to be a viable source of leads. Now, how much a portion of my business that fluctuates from year to year, and as time has gone on and I’ve built up referrals and my own network of clients, Upwork has become less important as far as the overall revenue scheme for my business.
However, it’s still the first place I’m going to go to find new business. When I have an opening on my client roster and I’ve already checked my other private channels, I’m going to go to Upwork.
Now, Upwork also is a great source of leads for people who are established freelancers. Maybe you don’t have enough consistency in your freelance earnings and Upwork is a great place to go to find gigs quickly.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have the perception that they can get hired and get paid today. It doesn’t work like that. As part of a consistent strategy, Upwork can be really valuable for you but you have to put in the time and the energy. There is no get rich quick scheme here in the freelance world. You’re going to need to pitch, you’re not going to get a response on every pitch, you’re not going to convert every client. You’re going to take some time to figure out the right pitching strategy for you.
What I recommend to you is find a mentor who has already done it, who already knows how to use Upwork. This is how I help my students. I can figure out what they’re doing wrong because I have reviewed hundreds of proposals for Upwork freelancers, I have submitted thousands of my own.
Find someone who’s been there and done it before you to get eyes on your profile, get eyes on your samples, get eyes on you pitch. Odds are, most of the time, that’s where something is falling short on Upwork. Now if you’ve bid on 30 jobs and haven’t gotten one yet, that’s not abnormal. However, if you’ve bid on 200 jobs and you haven’t gotten a response yet, something is wrong in your pitch or your sample and we want to fix that ASAP.
So my 2018 Upwork video review final comments are that I think that it’s very valuable for new and existing freelancers proven that you’re willing to put in consistent effort, not five minutes every other week where you hop on and have a self-fulfilling prophecy of saying, “Oh look it’s low paying gigs,” and then you jump off the site.
I built my business on Upwork using consistent bidding and looking for jobs every single day. I did not spend hours doing it, I spent less than 30 minutes a day bidding and built myself up to a freelance business that has been fully booked since 2014.
So when you’re out there researching and gathering information about Upwork, make sure that you’re listening to people who are actively using the site, who are not making their decisions based on something they heard five years ago and the fact that they were never able to land a gig on Upwork. You want to get insight from multiple freelancers who are using it and figure out whether it’s right for you.
I’ve got lots of great Upwork resources here on this YouTube channel; we have a full playlist of Upwork tips, including some hour-long trainings on the subject. Make sure you subscribe to get updates on my latest videos and you can also join my Facebook group Make Money on Upwork Freelance Marketing Mastery, where you’ll get free trainings all the time. Hope to see you inside!
Want to know more about how to be successful on Upwork? Sign up below for my free guide to 9 Six Figure Changes for Your Upwork Profile!
HI, I’M LAURA!
You’ll find all my best advice about building a fulfilling and sustainable business here. It’s where I’ll give you all the juicy details about building a strong digital team or using project management to stay on top of tasks.