Using Upwork to Earn a Living as Freelance Writer: Part 2
Upwork is the biggest freelance platform on the web, but is it worth the hassle?
In Part 1, I discussed my experience using Upwork to gain freelance writing work. For starting out with no track record on the site, I've found the platform to be useful.
As with any activity, one must be especially persistent when beginning a commercial endeavor, in this case providing writing services for clients online. Sure, I have a decent portfolio to showcase writing samples, which is certainly better than nothing, but without a single review on Upwork, it's not easy to catch the big fish.
Upwork allows freelancers to connect with a large number of clients across the globe, and for writers, this is no different. While this is certainly useful, the platform isn't without its faults...
The downsides of Upwork
There are a few noteworthy negative aspects of the platform that aspiring freelancers need to be aware of. First, the site provides you with 60 connects per month, which is the token used to send proposals to prospective clients. Typically, a proposal costs two connects, meaning a basic account will only be able to submit 30 proposals per month.
Purchasing the $10 per month upgrade provides you with only 15 additional connects per month, though it also allows you to have unused connects roll over (free accounts don't), up to 140 connects. This limited amount of connects hasn't currently affected me, though I could see it becoming a problem once I shift to a more full-time workload.
Another aspect of Upwork that is slightly annoying is the user interface of the site itself. If you click on a job and then hit the back button on your browser, you'll be taken much further back than the page you were just on. For whatever reason, the site makes you use its own back button to go back to the previous page. This seems minor, but it's an irritation worth mentioning.
Perhaps the worst part of Upwork are the fees. While you can acquire work without paying any subscription fees, the initial commission fee is 20% of your contract. This goes down to 10% once you reach $500 from the same job, and 5% when you reach $10,000, and unlikely feat to achieve with a single job.
20% is a significant fee to charge and I think it would be more reasonable to knock the fee down based on how much you earn overall during a certain period, say per month/quarter/year. I understand this is the way Upwork earns most of its revenue, but it's a steep price to pay over time.
Overall, Upwork is definitely worth your time as a freelance writer
I've found Upwork to be a useful way to start gaining freelance writing clients. It's far from a perfect platform, as the UI isn't intuitive, the fees are excessive, and there are other quirks that could be ironed out, but it's certainly something that shouldn't be avoided if you're trying to make it as a freelancer.
The number of open writing projects for tags such as 'content writing', 'article writing' is anywhere from 1,200-2,000 jobs, a significant amount of potential clients to filter through. Compared with the other main platform Freelancer, I've found the quality of jobs to be much higher and worth my time.
In the overall picture, the ideal scenario would be to gain consistent work from multiple clients through Upwork and eventually propose to take the work off the site as a way to avoid the fees. Even if the clients decided not to go this route, Upwork is still worth your time and should be utilized if you aren't doing so already.
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