But you may be wondering, “is Upwork a good place to work?”. You may want to know if working on the platform as a freelancer is a great idea.

In any conversation involving freelance and online freelance platforms, you’d almost certainly hear the name Upwork.

Upwork is arguably the biggest and best freelance platform available today, for good reasons.

It’s got the pedigree of many years of operation and a community of millions of freelancers who sell their skills for good pay.

I’ll be discussing both possibilities in this article, highlighting the key details you need to know when you wish to work on the Upwork platform as a freelancer.

What Does Upwork Do?

Freelancers all over the world are familiar with Upwork. If you aren’t, it will help if you know what the platform does and how it does it.

Upwork is an online marketplace where people try to sell their skills to businesses and individual clients. The model involves matching clients’ service needs with freelancers with the right skills to meet those needs.

Expectedly for a freelance platform of such massive size, Upwork offers freelance opportunities across a vast selection of industries and fields. On any given day, there are thousands of job offers for which you can apply based on your skill level and experience.

What’s more, Upwork’s framework is flexible, meaning that you can work on the platform regardless of your schedule type.

For example, we have part-time and full-time freelancers on Upwork, and you can choose which suits you best. Upwork also allows you to dynamically set your rates or work hours for short or long projects.

However, you must understand the other intricacies of the platform. That includes the onboarding and approval system that lets you access the site’s offers. These features can be challenging for newbie freelancers. Still, the trick I use is to include my existing portfolios in my Upwork proposal to improve my chances of getting approved quicker.

How Good is Upwork for Freelancers?

It will help if you rest assured that Upwork is an excellent place to work for freelancers. It solves the simple issue of work availability and would get a small percentage of each completed project in return. That’s a solid, sustainable business model many people have come to trust.

Beyond that, the platform has some big numbers. About 18 million freelancers are currently active on Upwork, which keeps the skills supply and demand on a lucrative level. So you can make a lot of money on Upwork if you’d register today.

However, Upwork isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme and is just like every legitimate business model; you’d have to work hard at it, avoiding pitfalls along the way.

Essentially, you’d have to work around scam profiles, and shady job offers on the platform. Unfortunately, such unsavory occurrences are not unusual for any online business. Thankfully, Upwork handles them with their complete terms of service.

Some Common Challenges with Upwork

While I’ve given the impression that Upwork is a great place to work (and indeed, that’s an accurate impression), I’d do well to tell you about the challenges you might face working on the platform. Depending on your orientation, these issues might range from minor inconveniences to major deal breakers.

Below are five of the common challenges many freelancers regularly report:

  1. Your Stay on Upwork is Never Guaranteed

When you read through Upwork’s terms of service, you’d understand that it reserves the right to kick any freelancer off the platform anytime. This could come from a summary account suspension or permanent ban. The issue with this is that you could receive a ban, and Upwork doesn’t have to give you a reason for it.

The situation gets more worrisome when considering that it could happen to any freelancer at any stage of their career. It doesn’t matter if you only started a few weeks ago or already have a 3-year-old account with hundreds of thousands of dollars in it; you could get kicked off Upwork anytime.

However, that shouldn’t discourage you from joining the platform as a freelancer. This is just a reminder to properly read and digest Upwork’s terms of service even before you write a proposal to your first client (Read our guide on How to write a recommendation on Upwork). That’s so you can avoid actions that’d most likely get you a ban.

  • Upwork Commissions are Tough to Swallow

Upwork charges a commission on the money that freelancers make on its platform. Generally, the charge is 20% of your earnings from each completed job. For a lot of people, 20% is a lot of money. For context, you’re only going to take home $80 after completing a $100 job offers.

However, it’s best to keep a positive mentality to this issue. Remember that the platform links clients with freelancers, which means you’re getting job opportunities much more accessible than if you did without Upwork. If you look at it that way, you can tolerate the commission the more.

Clients would Constantly Undersell You

This common issue on Upwork has made many people conclude that the platform is a race to the bottom of your freelance career. Indeed, clients would try to get the most work out of you for the least money.

For instance, your standard rate sees you earning $100 for each deliverable. Sooner or later, you’d come across a client who would like to lump three or more deliverables for that amount.

In such cases, I usually decline to work for the client. It’s a vicious cycle, and you shouldn’t get it started. It would greatly help if you refused any client that made you so much as lower your rates. That’s because you’d keep lowering your earning potential once you start.


Many new freelancers would like to know if Upwork is an excellent place to start. That would help them decide if they’d stay or move on to other alternatives.

Upwork is a great freelance marketplace overall, and you can enjoy a work environment that encourages higher earning potential.

However, you must pay attention to the little concerns about the platform. It’s best to take care so that these less-than-ideal situations don’t define your entire Upwork Freelance experience.


Shalom is an experienced freelancer and author who writes about her experiences and offers practical advice on the Busy Earner blog.


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