Fresher’s guide on how to get started on Upwork

You have decided to become a freelancer and want to check on how to get started on Upwork?

Indeed, it is an overwhelming space to jump into, but you need to be mindful of the steps you take. You need to consider a lot of things- your area of expertise, building your profile, fetching new clients, getting a reasonable payment, timely delivery of work, and a plethora of other things.

To help you ace the freelancing game, I have pulled together everything I know about my favorite freelancing platform- Upwork.

What is Upwork?

Upwork is a popular freelancing platform for people looking to work at their own comfort and convenience. It is an online marketplace that connects businesses and freelancers, for both immediate and long-term periods, for assignments across different categories. It is a verified platform that offers numerous options for work- right from copywriting to coding and also boosts a secured payment system.

Upwork tips for beginners: How to get started?

If you are a newbie, you would probably be wondering about how to get started with Upwork. Let us discuss all the steps to get started on Upwork.

Register and create your profile

The first step is to sign up on Upwork and create a strong profile. You can sign up using your Google account or your preferred email address. You can join Upwork in four simple steps.

Select your membership plan

Upwork offers two membership plans- Freelancer Basic and Freelancer Plus. The Basic plan is free of cost with 10 connects per month. The Plus plan comes with 80 connects at the cost of $15 per month. You can choose the plan that best suits your requirement and set up your profile.

Connects are needed to apply for jobs on Upwork. Each job can require 2, 4, or 6 connects depending on job complexity and price paid.

Upwork Membership Plans

Create your profile

It is advisable to complete 100% of your profile before applying for jobs. Start by explaining your work, skills and expertise, level of specialization, level of education, past work, awards and recognition, and other details about yourself. Make sure to write a strong introduction and add a professional profile picture because they play a significant role in fetching your first work.

Set up your payment method

Specify how you want to get paid and receive your hard-earned money. Upwork offers different payment options like Direct to Local Bank (INR), PayPal, Wire Transfer (USD), and Direct to U.S. Bank (USD) and has different transfer policies for each of them. Choose the option suiting your convenience and set up the payment option.

Upwork Payment Methods

Use Upwork messages

Upwork offers its in-built messaging service. You can collaborate and communicate with your clients easily using Upwork messages.

Finding the right job

When searching for the right job, it is important to read all job posts carefully before you decide to apply. With limited connects per month, you need to choose your jobs wisely. Setting up your job feed is important if you want to become an active member of the Upwork community.

  • Type your skills in the search bar and find projects that match your expertise
  • Use the filters to create a refined and targeted list
  • Add these preferences to your job feed to get notified with an updated list of jobs matching your needs
  • With your targeted job feed in place, you can easily apply to numerous projects and stand a chance to win them.

Submitting your job proposal

Once you have found suitable jobs matching your profile, it’s time now to impress the clients with an excellent proposal and cover letter. This would be your first impression on the client that can go a long way in getting the job. Your initial goal should be to write a stellar proposal and win an interview with the client.

Follow these tips to write a winning proposal

Be specific in introducing yourself

Tell the client about yourself, highlight your relevant skills and experience, and validate them with specific work samples. Keep it short and crisp by telling why you are the best suited for the work.

Understand the project

This is your opportunity to show that you have taken extra efforts to understand the project and demonstrate the value you can add to the work. Add questions, if any, and get your answers beforehand. This will show that you have done your necessary research before applying for the job.

Share all the requested details

Some clients might ask you questions regarding the way forward or ask for an action plan. Take some time to brainstorm these ideas and submit them along with the cover letter. This shows your genuine interest in the job and makes you stand out from the generic ‘copy and paste’ proposals.

Proofread your proposal

Before submitting the proposal, do a double-check to ensure that you have addressed all the questions of the client. Also, do a final spelling and grammar check to make your article free from any errors.

Writing a strong proposal will get you noticed by the client and can lead to the interview round and the final conversion.

Keep your price reasonable and competitive

When starting as a newbie on Upwork, it is critical to note that you are competing with numerous other applicants. So, an easy trick of getting hired is to keep your prices competitive. While you can set and negotiate your own rates, it is important to consider a few things- average market price, your level of experience, skill and quality of work, the number of assignments you have on Upwork, and others.

The first few assignments play an important role in building your profile rating. Hence, it may help if you settle with low rates, complete the project within the discussed deadline, and secure a good rating from the clients. The sooner you receive a five-stars rating, the better it is for you to increase your price.

Upwork offers two types of contracts-


Under this payment style, you are entitled to a fixed payment at the end of each milestone. You should choose this payment type when you have a clear definition of the work and an estimate of the time involved. Under this payment style, you are entitled to receive payments after the successful completion of pre-decided milestones.


You can opt for this type when you are unsure of the timeline involved in completing the project and every day you can log the number of hours you worked.

Ace your interview

If the client likes your proposal, they will notify you of the interview round. When you receive a message for the interview, you should quickly reply with your time and availability.

Sometimes, when the client is from a different time zone, you must be flexible with the timing. Do deep research about the client’s background and the concerned project so that you can have a meaningful conversation during the interview. Be honest with the client and talk about your accomplishments. This is your time to draw the project in your favor.

You should use the interview to explain your course of action for the concerned project. Ask questions and clarify your doubts, if any, and end the interview on a positive note.

Bag the project and start the work

I understand the butterflies in your stomach when you land a job, but you should not let this excitement overshadow your work. You control how the work is done, and your clients tend to rely on your expertise. You should establish a clear plan of action with your clients and work hard to deliver it successfully.

Hourly contracts

When you have chosen the hourly contract, you need to download the Team App to log your work hours and get paid accordingly. The app has certain features that help you track your progress and is also visible to the clients. The billing cycle ends every Sunday, and you get paid after ten days.

Fixed-price contracts

When working on fixed-price contracts, you create a list of milestones for the project. You will be paid once the respective milestone is achieved.

Complete your contract

The contract gets over when you have successfully delivered your work. Proofread your work twice and ensure that you have not missed out on any requirements. You should also check your work for grammar and plagiarism. Once you are 100% sure, send the work to the client via email or other mediums, notify your client about that and ask them for a final review.

Manage your reputation and profile

After completing your work, the client has an opportunity to provide feedback and rate your work on a scale of 1 to 5. You should aim to receive five stars from all your clients and show your dedication to the work. Ask your client to add a testimonial in your profile that can help you in fetching more clients. You should also add any new skills that you have learned from the work and build your profile.


Upwork follows a simple process for easy on-boarding of its applicants, but it still requires a careful thought process behind the application. Every freelancing platform is different, so you should take some time to understand the platform before applying for any job. Once you get a few initial projects and build up your profile, it becomes easier to attract more clients and bag great projects. So, get started with your Upwork journey.

Connect with me at [email protected] for any queries. I would be happy to help you! Join the Discord community of like-minded freelancers here.

  1. Great Content, can you share step by step how to optimize the Upwork account to stand out whenever client search with the keywords. What is connects and how it works?

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