Is Upwork Good For Beginners? Part Two!

Published on: 08/10/2022
Is upwork good for beginners

Last week I reviewed the pros and cons of using a freelance marketplace to find freelance jobs, and if Upwork is good for beginners. You can listen to the episode by clicking here

For this episode I am answering the most asked frequently asked questions I receive from listeners: 

  • What are your rates? 
  • How did you find good clients? 
  • What are the red flags to watch out for? 
  • What was your favourite type of freelance work?

Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with Upwork in any way. The stories, experiences, and recommendations I offer in this episode are solely my own. I advocate for Upwork as a starting place for Dietitians because I had a very positive experience and I believe you could to.

Season 1 Episode 5

Freelance Reality Check

You should not join Upwork with the expectation that you will match your dietitian’s salary. You should use this marketplace to gain experience, earn some side cash, and build your portfolio. Upwork is great for beginners because it is a risk-free environment to see what types of freelance work you enjoy doing. 

In my first year on Upwork, I earned ten thousand dollars on the platform. It helped me to: 

  • Boosted my confidence as a new freelancer
  • Learn valuable marketing skills
  • Create a great portfolio of published work 
  • Learn the language of business and freelancing 
  • Lean on Upwork to handle contracts and payments 
  • Build awesome client connections 

The hard work I invested in my freelance journey set me up for success later on in my career. Upwork won’t make you financially wealthy but it can be a useful tool in your freelance belt. 

The Rates Will Be Low

The majority of projects on Upwork will offer low compensation compared to off-platform pricing. Many freelancers start low, get the experience, and then transition away from Upwork. This is what 99% of my freelance writing guests on the podcast have done (including myself)

Beginner Freelance Jobs I Completed 

  • Created a meal plan following the autoimmune protocol 
  • Edited and ghostwritten a book about a client’s journey of improving psoriasis through dietary changes  
  • Ghostwrite a book about a client’s journey of improving rosacea through dietary changes 
  • Creating food and mood blog posts for an online magazine  
  • Copywriting advertising material for a new supplement brand 
  • Content about yoga (I am a licensed yoga instructor) 

After every project, I asked the client to leave a review. Once you build credibility in your Upwork profile, higher-paying clients begin to notice you and will send you job invitations. 

Not all invitations will be worth your time, but it is a welcomed change of pace. Instead of you having to pitch to clients, they start coming to you. 

Raising Your Rates On Upwork

Every new client is an opportunity to raise your rates. Sometimes you will have clients who you started working with a year ago who are paying you significantly less than your current roster. If you like that client and that arrangement it’s okay to let it be. 

My earliest Upwork clients are some of my favourite clients. They are laid back, the work is interesting, and the demand is light. I could ask for more money because we’ve worked together for so long, but at the moment everyone is happy with the current setup so why mess with a good thing? 

When It’s Time To Let A Client Go

Letting a client go can be a necessary step in your business. It can happen for several reasons: 

  • You don’t get along and it’s stressful working together 
  • They can’t pay your new rates 
  • They are guilty of scope creep (assigning you more work outside of the agreed-upon deliverables, without paying you more) 
  • You don’t enjoy the type of work anymore 

Freelancers and clients part ways every single day. It can feel like a big deal to let a client go, but if you know it will help your business (or mental health) in the long run, let them loose! You’ll be thanking yourself later. 

In the episode, I share a story about a client I held onto for four months when I knew it would have been better to part ways. Four months of suffering is way too long, don’t do what I did. 

Ready to learn if Upwork is good for beginners? Hit play, kick back, and listen to the episode now. 

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Julia Zakrzewski is the host of the Freelance Dietitian Podcast. She is a clinical dietitian turned freelance writer and now she can’t stop talking about freelancing!

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