Upwork Review: Is It A Freelance Marketplace Scam or Legit?

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How To Find Freelance Work With UpworkThe internet has made the world a smaller place, for better or worst. In this case, it's for the better because now sites like UpWork make it possible to find freelance work at home opportunities no matter where you are based.

But you're probably wondering if it's legit and have been scouring the interwebs for UpWork Reviews. Well, if you want to know the real deal about UpWork.com then you're in the right place. But be forewarned, you may not like what you're about to read.

What is Upwork?

Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk) is an international freelance market place where independent business people hire and meet with freelancers for various web based tasks. Upwork came about after two highly successful freelance market platforms Elance and oDesk merged in December 2013 to form Elance-oDesk. 18 months later, Elance-oDesk was rebranded to Upwork. The Mountain View, CA-based company, run by CEO Stephane Kasriel and Chairman Thomas Layton, claims to be the biggest freelancer marketplace in the world.

How does Upwork Work?

Basically Upwork provides a platform where clients can hire freelancers to complete projects, and pay them.

For Clients

If you are a client requiring a certain service that can be performed by a freelancer remotely, all you have to do is create a profile with the website. You will then deposit funds to your profile and start hiring. You can also choose from three client profiles:

1. Upwork – The basic platform where you interact with all potential freelancers

2. Upwork Pro – The freelancers you will work with are hand-picked and pre-vetted

3. Upwork Enterprise – End-to-end freelancer management system where Upwork-employed professionals do most of the work for you.

For Freelancers

You can work at Upwork if you possess the skills the website facilitates and can perform the service on your computer remotely. All you have to do is create an account, specify what service you are able to provide, start looking for jobs, get hired and get paid.

Finding a job involves browsing for available gigs on the Job Feed page. The Job Feed has work relevant to your profile, as your profile determines what you will see on the feed. Once you come across a project you can do, you can submit your proposal to the client.

If your proposal is successful you will be notified and you can start working on the itinerary of the job with the client, directly. However, if your bid is unsuccessful, you will also be notified, with the reason why the client turned down your proposal.

If you have no interest trading your skills online working as a freelancer, you can check out My Top Work At Home recommendation, Swagbucks.com and Fusioncash.com as work at home opportunities.

How do I create my Upwork profile?

Your Upwork profile will be your main selling point. What you fill in will have an impact on your ability to secure clients. Upwork's profile is very detailed and could take up to an hour to complete, depending on how fast or how detailed you want to be. Let's break the process down.

Step 1: Choose the main service you will be offering clients. The services you can choose to include are as follows:

  • Web, Mobile & Software Development
  • IT & Networking
  • Data Science & Analytics
  • Engineering & Architecture
  • Design & Creative
  • Writing
  • Translation
  • Legal
  • Admin Support
  • Customer Service
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Accounting & Consulting

Step 2: Select your level of work experience. Upwork has three levels; Entry Level, Intermediate and Expert. The higher your level of experience, the higher your salary will be.

Step 3: You can now complete your profile. The information you will have to provide include

  • A professional title,
  • Your profile photo,
  • Your professional overview,
  • Education,
  • Employment history,
  • Level of proficiency in the language you speak,
  • Desired hourly rate,
  • Availability (hours of the day) and your physical location address

Step 4: Submit your profile for review. It takes up to 12 hours to get a response. After that, once your profile is reviewed and approved, you can now develop your portfolio.

Step 5: Come up with your portfolio. While bidding for jobs, you will need to submit a proposal. Your proposal will include your portfolio, a cover letter and your resume as attachments. All in all, a well developed portfolio will go a long way in enhancing your chances of getting jobs.

Step 6: Set up your payment method. You will need to have the necessary details with you, depending on which payment method you choose.

How Do I Get Paid with Upwork?

How you get paid depends on how you set up your payment system for any particular job. Upwork provides you with three ways you can choose to bill your clients.

Hourly billing: An hour worked is an hour paid. Of course, the payment system will bill the client from his account to yours after every hour. Of course, once the work is done, billing stops.

Fixed-price billing: You get paid once the work is done and approved by the client.

Pre-funded milestone payment: Sequential payments are made up until the job is done. For instance, you can choose to be paid a certain percentage of the total amount once you submit a draft and the rest after you send the complete project.

All these payments are managed by Upwork's Payment Management System.

Upwork has several payment methods including

  • Direct Deposit
  • PayPal
  • Wire Transfer
  • Local Funds Transfer
  • Payoneer
  • Skrill

It is important that the payment details you provide be the same as what you provided while creating your profile. Example, your PayPal email address should be the same as your account's email. Note that you can edit or update your account information at any time.

How do I get hired at Upwork with no experience?

Your profile will reveal your experience, success rate and overall progress report while working at Upwork. Of course, it can be hard securing your first client if your profile is amateurish. As a matter of fact, you could be skilled or experienced personally, but since you are new to Upwork, your profile may be repulsive to clients who require experienced freelancers. However, all is not lost. You can still get work if you follow these five rules.

  • Always use the ”no experience required” filter while looking for jobs, instead of competing with experienced freelancers.
  • Set your hourly rate as low as reasonably possible. Keep in mind that with Upwork, if you accept to get paid less than you are worth, you will eventually get paid more than you are worth. Work on your reputation first and with time, your reputation will land work for you.
  • Don't hold anything back. Furbish your profile with each and every skill, experience and accomplishments you have, even if you are not sure about them. In the first place, clients will check out your hourly rate, before they get to your skills.
  • Take the inbuilt proficiency tests. Each area of expertise has tests that once you pass, will improve your chances of landing jobs.
  • Make your profile as authentic as you possibly can. If English is not your native language, don't say that it is. It's easier than you think to spot a liar, and this could make its way to your public profile, from the start!

Remember, all these are based on conjecture and do not guarantee success in the end. On the other hand, you do not require any experience to get started with My Top Work At Home recommendation, Swagbucks.com or Fusioncash.com.

Upwork hacks, tips and tricks

  • Mind your time zone. If most of the clients you work for live on the opposite side of the world, adjust your working timetable to match their daily routine. For example, most clients will post jobs in the morning and before retiring for the night.
  • Avoid back and forth with clients. Be as interactive as possible with the client before starting the job. Clients hate getting half-baked work. All in all, ensure everything is in the clear before you start working.
  • Don't come across as desperate. It's ill-advised to set your rates high in the beginning. It's also misguided to set your price too low.
  • Be easy to get in touch with. Keep your email notification sounds on and always be prompt while replying to clients' messages.
  • Don't wait for work to come to you. Be reasonably aggressive while looking for work. For instance, send as many proposals as possible and don't be quick to throw in the towel.
  • Create a proven online portfolio. Provide proof wherever necessary of the skills and experiences you indicated in your resume. Showcase your actual work to clients, and remove the speculative bit of your proposal.
  • Make your profile error-free. Your profile includes your resume and cover letter. All these are the first things potential clients will see even before you get the chance to interact with them. For example, grammar, spelling and texting lingo should be close to perfect.

What we like about Upwork

Payment protection

Upwork's payment management system is designed to protect freelancers from dishonest clients. Of course, the hourly mode of payment ensures an hour worked is an hour paid.

Efficient Customer Support

You are never in the dark in case you need help. Given that Upwork has over 12 million freelancers; we have to give credit to their customer service. In any case, you will get a reply, including through social media.

It is Worldwide

Presently, the opportunity is open to clients and freelancers no matter the country they pay allegiance to.

Positive BBB

An A+ rating is something worth smiling about for people who value a company's BBB status.

Ability to work full-time

You can quit your day job and start working as a freelancer full time. We came across a good number of reviews where people commended the company for facilitating full time freelancers. Did you know you can also work full time through My Top Work At Home Recommendation? Now you know.

Upwork Complaints

It might be the biggest freelance marketplace out there, but no good deed goes unpunished. All in all, here's why you might want to hold your horses before signing up for Upwork.

It takes time to start earning

You won't start earning right off the bat.For instance, the time between your first login and first payout is up in the air. At the end of the day, you will just have to choose whether your time is a worthy price to pay. Did you know you can start earning as soon as today with Swagbucks.com and Fusioncash.com? Well, now you know.

Poor Pay

You are highly skilled; no doubt, but are you willing to get paid way below the minimum wage? Arguably, at Upwork chances are you will have to be a peasant freelancer, especially if you are a beginner. Remember, you are competing for the same job with people all around the world who are willing to be paid a lot less than you.

Horrible Clients

Some clients string you along only to drop you after hours of negotiations and deliberations. All in all, it's not easy to sail through deals, especially urgent ones.

Is Upwork A Scam?

No. Upwork is a legitimate work from home freelancing platform by its own merit. You will get paid to do what you are skilled at, get to set your own rates and choose when to work.

However, the truth is to get started you will have to serve your time on the sidelines as the big boys play. In addition, theoretically it's possible to start earning on your first day, but that's a hypothesis that's yet to be debunked. In any case, eventually you will work your way up. Get it?

In conclusion, you might also have to sacrifice the weight of your paycheck for the sake of a glamorous profile. You might have to charge less to offset the competition. The clients you work for determine your success rate and progress report.

If relying on people to write your work at home success story is not appealing to you, I would recommend you head over to Swagbucks.com and Fusioncash.com. Alternatively, you can also always check out My Best Work At Home Recommendation.

Do you have an experience with Upwork or any other freelancing website? We would love to know your side of the story. At the same time, feel free to drop a comment or question below!

Stay gold!

Eddy with a Y

26 thoughts on “Upwork Review: Is It A Freelance Marketplace Scam or Legit?”

  1. Upwork commits fraud “international wire fraud” on a daily basis.
    Let me know if you ever hear of a class action law suit against Upwork.


  2. Yikes! I have used Upwork for months as a freelancer. I never felt scammed. The work is sporadic and unpredictable, but nice to make cash once in a while. I’ve made a little over $300. If I’d been more serious, I could have made more.

    Thing is…the pay for writing isn’t so great. It took me about 6 hours to write a quality article, and I got paid $9-$23/article. Not so good.

    Proofreading pays better than writing, I’ve found, because it doesn’t take very long. I’m guessing if you offer services like website development, you could make WAY more $$$.

  3. I try to hired a freelance through upwork, I gave my bank information, it took 2 payments of $4.47 and 2 more payments of $4.43, the same day, but I was not able to hire the designer, because my bank card was “not authorized”, they are a scam, a fraud, do not do business with upwork, they take your money, and you can’t talk to a person

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. Not sure why this happened to you. But I’ve been using Upwork for years and never been scammed. But clearly your experience was different. But I don’t think it’s the norm.

  4. Hi: I was in the middle of creating and UpWork profile. Before I had finished but AFTER I gave detailed banking information, they rejected me. Then they sent an email suggesting ways to improve my profile. A few seconds later they sent another email rejecting my profile again. I can deal with rejection – but I am concerned because I provided banking info and their site says nothing about them “approving” you before they ask for that very personal financial data.

  5. Odesk (old name of Upwork) became lousy after being merged with other freelancers site. You can’t get a job easily if you don’t have any earnings yet. And if you apply for let’s say 10 jobs, they do suspend your account INDEFINITELY for the reason that your application is high. Below is an example of their email after suspending an account:

    We are contacting you to let you know we have suspended your access to Upwork indefinitely.

    Our decision is based on a careful review and the fact that you have submitted a high number of proposals for jobs on our site without many contracts or earnings. Unfortunately, this means the jobs posted by clients are not a good match for your skills.

    I know this news is likely disappointing to you. But our goal at Upwork is to enable freelancers to successfully connect and collaborate with clients who need their skills and expertise. Unfortunately, this means we must part ways with freelancers whose skills are not in demand in our marketplace.

    If you want to appeal this decision, you can email us at marketplace-appeals@upwork.com. Please note each case will be manually reviewed by our Trust & Safety team to decide if your account can be reinstated.

    Please know we don’t make decisions like these lightly and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

    Upwork Trust & Safety

    Now, you may want to open an account to them. BUT don’t be shocked if one day, they will suspended your account too for unprofessional reasons.

    Upwork is such a waste of time. Either you’ll wait forever before getting a job which pays very low OR you get suspended INDEFINITELY. Lol! Try it!

    Good day! 🙂

  6. Upwork is an unscrupulous operation with scans and backed by mob interests. Just look at Stephane Kasriel’s history of stealing people’s money at PayPal by freezing their accounts. Upwork is rife with criminal activity.

    • Nick

      That’s some strong accusations without any 3rd party proof of these allegedly mob interests you claim. I definitely agree that they have some complaints and areas of improvement which I mentioned above. But if they did what you claimed, they would have been shut down or have tons of lawsuits against them. Maybe there are and if so, seeing links to that would be useful. I get you’re upset and they may have screwed you over. So it’s probably better to share your own personal experience and the reason you’re upset with them rather than making blanket statements.

    • I have been on Upwork/Elance/oDesk since 2010. Now they FROZE my own hard earned money until I give them a “government ID” which would be my own driver’s license with my HOME ADDRESS!!! Not only are they blocking me and stealing my money I earned by freezing it and taking it, they are making new rules which I will not comply. All these years I stayed with them, loyal, never going off site. What is my reward for loyalty to a company? Yep…they are taking my money and my clients and I am in the middle of writing a book! Luckily yesterday I informed my main clients or I would really be screwed over by Upwork even more. Upwork had said I had “seven days” but I did not trust them. Sure enough, today I cannot even sign on to their damn platform after ALL THESE YEARS!!!! Who wants to work on a platform like that? Beware!!!! Any company who can freeze your own hard-earned money cannot be trusted!!!!! Find another company to work on their platform. I was so loyal and one of their trusted people and look how they treated me. I know one thing, what goes UP must come down….and once the word gets out about their dishonest policies people will stop using them. And the fella who owns this platform here, he sounds loyal, well, beware!!! (and if Upwork is paying you to host this site, be even MORE aware)

    • Ka, thanks for sharing your experience. I have definitely seen all the changes happening with this platform. And clearly some people are getting screwed over during these changes which is never a good thing. This is why I always preach people should own their own platforms. Don’t depend on sites like this or social media, etc to build your business. Create your own site where you can control what happens.These companies aren’t loyal to you. You have to be loyal to yourself.

      That said I know there are two sides to every story.But I doubt we’ll hear from them. In either case, no I’m not paid by Upwork to write this review. Even if I was it doesn’t change my ability to lay out the good and bad about a company which I’ve done above. And it’s also why I allow comments like this on my site so people can have a full picture.

  7. Hey Eddy!

    I listed myself at upwork a month ago as a mainframe engineer. I wasn’t aggressive in the freelancing search as I found my priorities shifted elsewhere.

    I prefer exploring ways to make money that does not tie to an hourly wage/hour. 🙂 All the best and very glad to know about WA helped you quit your day job and focus on things that you love the most.

  8. Hey Eddy,

    I’ve heard quite a lot of good things about UpWork, and it does seem like a legitimate business model for freelancers! I’ve never tried freelance works myself, but I’ve been on the buying end a couple of times, and I have to say that it’s such a relieve to have a good service for transactions and payement protection, and UpWork seems to be doing that very well. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!


    • You’re welcome. I’ve used them a lot as a client and have always had great experiences. So I agree with you.

  9. I have seriously considered using upwork, both as a customer and to post my own writing skills, however, the time now is just not there. I have heard of great reviews by Tim Ferriss, and I know that people can make some serious money once they get established.

    Maybe once my business is further along the road, I will use it. Awesome review though Eddy, I love your content!

    • I’ve used it as a client and found it to be great. But never really used it as a freelancer because of the stiff competition. But I know freelancers are making good money because I’ve hired many of them many times over. lol

  10. Interesting review of Upwork. I’ve heard of Upwork before and actually know a few people who have done work with them and it seems like it worked out alright. But I don’t really know all the ins and outs of exactly how Upwork works so this review is pretty helpful in getting that info. Thanks.

  11. Hey Eddy with a Y,
    Nice review of Upwork. I checked on BBB and they have been around for 19 YEARS. Wow That in itself gives them a great reputation. A company that’s been around for that length of time must be doing something right. I also like the fact you can set your own hours but I suppose, it’s like anything else, you need to put the effort in to get a result.
    Cheers and thanks for the artilce

  12. Thanks for making me aware of this site. Before I got to Wealthy Affiliate, I landed on so many scams promising me to work at home and earn money. I am glad you are helping people avoid these scams with reviews like this. It is really helpful to people like me. 

  13. Hi Eddy, I like your review of Upwork. It seems like this could be a great freelance opportunity if a person was willing to put in a lot of time and be very patient. Thanks for giving some other options to make money as well. I think I will check out Swagbucks. Thank you again for your work.


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