I Made $332.52 With Upwork – My Experience

Is Upwork Legit?

How I made $332.52 with Upwork

Okay, so first the nutshell, and then pour yourself a cup of coffee for my long story of How to Be an Upwork Success.

Nutshell: 

It will take determination, but you CAN make money with Upwork. Upwork is a content mill, but it’s definitely possible to find well-paying clients. 

Read all the juicy details below.

My experience with Upwork

You can find Upwork information all over the web. This is my personal experience (dollar $ signs included.)

So about two years ago I created an Upwork account. I created a profile for “proofreader” and submitted proposals to a few clients. Then I scouted around. I was horrified – I was read job proposals that went something like this:

“I need a talented writer. Must be able to write expert, professional, and interesting articles about finance, investments, and loans. Will pay $10/article.”

$10.00/article?! I couldn’t believe it. Clients wanted talented experts for rock-bottom prices. I lost heart and interest. My account sat dormant for a year until my dad (who knew I was interested in online income) bought me Winton Churchill’s Barefoot Consultants Freelance Program, which focuses on making money through Upwork.

I was working full-time, but I half-heartedly started going through Winton’s course.

I learned three things from Winton:

1. How to write proposals that WILL land you jobs,

2. How to make clients love you, 

3. How to look past the rock-bottom pay to find the opportunity to make more $$$. 

(Note: I am not endorsing Winton’s program, and I’m not affiliated with the company.)

Using what I learned from Winton’s course, I reattacked Upwork. I created a better profile, added more job experiences, and attached a nice, professional photo of myself with a white background.

I was working full time, so I downloaded the Upwork app to my Android phone. I’d drive to work in the morning, arrive 15 minutes early, and spend that time searching for jobs and submitting proposals.

About two weeks later, a client accepted my proposal. My first client!! I was stoked.

The guy wanted a 1500-word article about termites. He needed it in two days and would pay $12.00. (Crappy pay but I reasoned that I was just getting started.)

I was petrified. (Remember, I was working FULL TIME). In every minute of my free time, I Googled termites, wrote a rough draft, and polished it up. I included Amazon links, created engaging headlines, and cited all of my sources. I submitted my article. The client loved it. After Upwork took its cut, I made $9.60. 

A few days later he hired me for another pest control article, same rate. I started getting better at writing proposals and landed another client for similar articles.

So within two months of Winton’s course, I’d landed two clients. I started taking an honest assessment and realized something sad. I was working my tail off to write articles for these clients, and was making pitiful $$$.

I spent about 6 hours to make my 1500-word articles perfect. I earned $9.60/article from one client and $23.00/article from the other client. That averages out to $2.71/hr!

Displeased with my pay, I kept expecting my clients to get a hint and raise my rates. This is a rookie mistake. Obviously, a client isn’t going to raise the prices if the freelancer seems content.

I was new to Upwork and scared of making mistakes, so I never hinted that I didn’t feel the prices were fair.

After writing a couple more articles, one client disappeared. I dropped the other client because it just wasn’t worth my time anymore. I would get up at 4:00 in the morning, write for 2 hours, then work my full-time job. In the evenings, I came home and wrote for 2-3 more hours. I had no life.

My client wasn’t happy when I left. I did produce quality content, but it was exhausting to maintain. I felt like a rat on a wheel. 

Even though I lost my original clients, I didn’t quit Upwork altogether. Every morning before work, I kept submitting proposals.

One day I submitted a bid for a job that called for an expert proofreader. My proofreading rate was set at $80/hr. (Once Upwork gets their cut, it becomes $64/hr.)

The client accepted my rate and I proofread for them. It felt amazing to work for $64/hour instead of $2.71. 

And that is my Upwork story so far

As you can see, my Upwork success is awesome when you look at flexibility, but not-so-awesome when you look at consistency. 

In conclusion…

Upwork is a good website. They handle most of the business-stuff themselves. They make online freelancing as simple as possible.

If you have a skill that translates to online freelancing well, CONSIDER UPWORK. Look for long-term clients, do good & fast work to retain them, and don’t forget to raise your rates as your experience grows. In the beginning, don’t expect to make a lot of $$$, but if you hold out and get experience, raise those rates and clients will pay.

What do you think? Have you made any money off Upwork? Did my experience excite you or scare you off?