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Is Upwork Right for You? How to Know if it’s a Good Fit

upwork Mar 14, 2024

As a freelancer who’s built my business on Upwork, I often get asked, “Is Upwork really worth it? Or will I just be wasting my time?”

It’s a fair question.

Upwork isn’t the right fit for every freelancer. But it can be an amazing lead source IF it aligns with your skills, experience, and preferences.

After 4+ years of helping freelancers on Upwork, I have a good sense of who tends to thrive on the platform — and who will probably find it frustrating. Here’s an overview of what makes a good Upwork fit:

Already Freelancing But Seeking More Clients

If you already have a few freelance clients but need to fill your pipeline with more high-quality leads and opportunities, Upwork’s sheer size and visibility can help you gain tremendous momentum.

It provides freelance marketing on steroids when used strategically.

Corporate Experience But Now Freelancing

Former corporate professionals who recently went freelance after years of developing in-demand skills tend to thrive on Upwork.

You likely have a strong portfolio from work projects and know how to communicate credibly. This helps you stand out.

Side Hustler Seeking Bigger Pay Days

Are you tired of doing $50 gigs for friends and want to access more serious clients ready to invest in quality services?

Upwork allows you to present yourself as a premium provider versus being seen as an amateur.

But you do need some portfolio pieces from real-world work.

Strong Portfolio + Solid Skills

Upwork favors those who can tangibly prove their abilities upfront.

A portfolio with great examples of finished projects and positive client feedback is key.

You also need fundamentally strong skills in your niche. Clients have options, so you have to demonstrate credibility.

Willing to Sell Yourself

Many freelancers dislike the sales process. But as a solopreneur you have to sell your services to secure clients.

If promoting yourself and having sales conversations makes you recoil, Upwork may not be a comfortable environment.

Being able to confidently pitch yourself is KEY.

Upwork Isn’t a Fit if:

Unsure What You Want to Do

If you aren’t yet sure what niche you want to focus on, it’s best to hold off on Upwork for now. The platform works much better when you have clarity on your core offer and can niche down. Explore options first before creating an unclear profile.

Zero Relevant Experience

With no relevant projects completed yet that you can showcase in a portfolio, you’ll struggle to compete on Upwork. The top providers have years or specialty training demonstrating deep expertise. Build skills first through practice projects or courses.

Dislike Sales Conversations

If you want to entirely avoid promotional activities like selling yourself, having sales calls, sending proposals, etc., consider being a white label freelancer for an agency instead. But working directly with clients does require sales skills.

Need Money Quickly

It takes consistency and time to build momentum on Upwork. If you need to start making money immediately, try local networking events, word-of-mouth referrals, or reaching out to your personal connections first. Upwork involves an initial learning curve.

The key is being realistic about your skills, experience, preferences and goals.

Evaluate if Upwork is the right vehicle to help you achieve your aims as a freelancer before diving in. It can work amazingly well for some, but the fit matters.

Need more help building a compelling portfolio? Check out my free masterclass on How to Create a Standout Profile on Upwork. No matter where you’re at in your freelance or business journey this FREE training will help you feel confident creating a standout profile and landing more clients on Upwork.

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