Hey, great article.
I started out on Upwork back in 2016, way before I even knew that Medium was a thing.
I think it's a great platform for beginners, but once you have the credibility, it's more lucrative to move past Upwork and do stuff on your own.
I never worked for an hourly rate, since I mostly am really quick and have fast turnaround times. Working for an hourly rate without setting a minimum would cost me more than it pays in that regard.
For example, I finished a $2500 contract in about 3 days of around 5 to 6 hours each. To get the same money for just the hours, I'd have to set an hourly rate of over 160 $ per hour, and I doubt any client on Upwork would pay that.
So I rely on a price per word instead. When I started out, I worked for about 1 cent per word, since that seemed to be what most beginners take.
I quickly learned about a median pricing, together with a growing portfolio and better clients. I now exclusively work for $0.10 and upwards, which increased my overall income with a factor of 10. Also, since I receive my clients directly now, I save on the 20% cut Upwork takes.
The downside is that I have to source my own clients. But it's a lot more rewarding.
I'd recommend Upwork to any beginner who'd like to start out freelance copywriting. But use it mainly to build up a portfolio. Upwork Clients on average pay way less than you deserve. There are only few high profile companies in between the usual clientele. And they are heavily sought after by any competing freelancer.
One client tried to bid me into working for $0.006 per word. That's unacceptable.
- Easy to source work if you have no credentials
- Assists with payments and offers support
- Offers a portfolio to build up your reputation
- Most job offers are cheapskates
- Competition is pretty big
- A 20% cut of your earnings (10% for amounts over $500, 5% for amounts over $5000)
- Payments are locked behind a 5-day cooldown AFTER your client has hit the "I'm happy" button, before you can access the money. Worse if clients take their sweet time unlocking the payment, to begin with.
- If you have no idea about pricing, Upwork can give you a wrong impression. For the longest time, I believed that earning 10 or more cents per word is incredibly greedy and next to impossible because the average pricing on Upwork rarely goes past 3 cents per word (and many people will undercut your bid without a second thought).
If you never heard of Upwork before and are new to freelancing, it's definitely worth getting your foot into the door.
But be ready to move on and grow past it once you build your reputation. I haven't used Upwork in a year or so, except for 2 long time clients that I still support there.