Is Upwork Legit?

Is Upwork Legit?

is upwork legit thumbnail

The short answer to the question “Is Upwork legit?” is “Yes”. Upwork is a completely legitimate, one of the most trustworthy freelance platforms out there.

If working 9 – 5 under a boss and getting the same paycheck every month doesn’t appeal to you, freelancing is for you. Or if you are looking to hire someone to get your work done, this platform might be the right pick. 

Freelancing has played a vital role in this emerging gig economy. And, platforms like Upwork have made freelancing what it is.    

However, if you want to be successful on it, you need to know a lot more. 

Let’s dive in.

What is Upwork?

what is upwork

If you know what freelancing is, chances are you are familiar with the word “Upwork”. It’s a leading freelance marketplace where talented individuals meet employers.

Upwork is a merger of two companies previously known as Elance and oDesk. The merger took place in 2013 and was initially named “Elance-oDesk”.

So, the platform has been around for many years. And, the way the freelance market is growing, it’s only going to grow in popularity in the future.

How Does Upwork Work in 2021?

Upwork works as a mediator between employers/businesses and freelance talent. And, it has been doing that quite effectively since its inception.

Here is how Upwork works in 2021:

  1. Employers post projects
  2. Freelancers bid on those projects
  3. Employers award those projects to suitable freelancers

There is no restriction on who can join Upwork as a freelancer. All you need to do is, provide accurate and relevant information about yourself.

However, your profile does go through a manual review process. Once Upwork approves your profile, you can start bidding on relevant projects.

There are all kinds of freelance categories on Upwork that you can sign up for. These include:

  • Web content writing
  • Graphic designing
  • Social media management
  • Virtual assistance
  • Web designers
  • App developers

…and much more.

To join the platform, you can select any category of your choice. The best thing is, your qualifications don’t matter in this freelance world.

To get a freelance job on Upwork, all you need to do is convince a potential client or business that you are the right fit for their project.

And, once you have a few positive customer testimonials on the platform, it would be much easier to get new jobs. After all, reviews build trust, which is the number one reason why anyone would hire you.

Is Upwork Legit?

Yes, Upwork is a legit freelance marketplace; if you are thinking of starting your freelance career, you can start selling your services on Upwork with peace of mind.

However, although the platform does everything possible to keep things smooth, there can be a few instances where you need to be careful as well.

Platform’s Safety

It is completely safe to receive payments on Upwork. 

Your personal data remains safe from any breaches as Upwork uses the SSL (secure socket layer) technology to encrypt it.

Upwork hosts plenty of people, and some of them may not abide by the rules of the platform, which can lead to certain problems. 

To avoid it, keep these things in mind:

  • You don’t want to let a client pay you outside the platform for your work. There is no guarantee that they’ll even pay you. So, why take the risk? Upwork has an effective payment protection system in place; so, you should be using that.
  • Moreover, to steer clear of identity theft, never give your account login credentials to anyone.
  • A legitimate client won’t ask you for money or your personal information, so don’t fall into that pit as well.

Most Common Issues on Upwork

Fake Reviews

As a seller, you want to make sure the client you work with has a good reputation and positive past experiences.

The past testimonials of a buyer on Upwork can tell you a lot about them, only when they are legitimate.

The problem is, there is no way to know about the authenticity of a testimonial. You can alleviate that risk by working with clients that have multiple positive reviews.


Unfortunately, even Upwork can’t do anything about the clients that suddenly ghost you. When someone doesn’t respond to your messages, all you can do is wait for them to get back.

To avoid any delays, make sure you have all the information about a project before getting started on it.  

Withheld Payments

You need to satisfy your client with your work in order to get paid on Upwork. Only when a buyer approves your project can Upwork release your payment.

The buyer can even withhold your payment until they get what they want. This can be really frustrating as you don’t want a poor job success score, or worse, a negative review.

How to get on Upwork?

Getting on Upwork as a freelancer isn’t as difficult as some might think. You just need to provide the necessary information and optimize your profile.  

Here are the exact steps you can take to join Upwork as a freelancer:

  1. Go to and click on “Sign up” at the top right corner.
  2. You’ll have three options for signing up

upwork signup example

There would be one less password to remember if you sign up with a Google or Apple account.

  1. Add Your Information

In the next step, add your personal information.

4. Next, tell Upwork about your work. Before you can bid on Upwork jobs, you need to complete 60% of your profile.

Of course, we’d highly recommend completing it 100%.

Here is what you’ll need to provide:

  • A photograph of yourself
  • A Title
  • An overview about yourself
  • Work history
  • Expertise level
  • Educational background
  • Contact details
  • Hourly rate
  • Skill tags (at least one)

Your hourly rate is how much you want to charge your clients per hour. It can be anything you want, but it would be better to first observe the competition and then set your rate.

Initially, Upwork will take a 20% fee per project. Once your client’s bill reaches $500, Upwork then charges 10% on any subsequent projects with that client.  

The good thing about Upwork is that its fee reduces to as low as $5 for repeat clients.

upwork rates and fees

Preview Your Profile Before Submitting

Lastly, review your freelancer profile information before submitting it. Remember that you will only be able to apply on projects once your profile is approved.

So, you’d have to provide:

  • A valid government ID card
  • An online visual verification

Plus, there is a lot of competition on the platform in some industries. So, it’s possible that a profile doesn’t get approved because of that.

Just make a few tweaks to your expertise and resubmit for a review if that happens with you.

That was all about how you can get on Upwork as a freelancer. But, what about when you want to buy a service on the platform?

Fortunately, there are no additional steps you need to take in order to create your buyer account on Upwork. The account that you created as a freelancer can be used for buying services.

You’ll just have to switch between your profiles after logging in.

Upwork Tips for Sellers

You can start applying to Upwork jobs as soon as your profile gets approved. Keep in mind that you need a certain amount of bids to apply to a particular project.

Upwork provides 10 free bids every month, but you can buy more as needed. Let’s talk about how you can stand out as a freelancer on Upwork.

Stand Out from the Crowd

If you’ve created a profile in a relatively competitive niche like graphic designing or web development, you’d need to stand out to get your first sale on Upwork.

First, complete your profile and position yourself as a skillful, professional seller. Then, add as many portfolio samples as you can.

You might be thinking “How can I build my portfolio?” Here’s what you can do:

  • Create your own samples
  • Ask your friends for orders
  • Find and work with clients on social media

Moreover, the more variety you can show in your portfolio, the better. A broad portfolio improves your chances of getting hired in multiple industries.

Create Winning Proposals

After finding the right job to apply for, your bid or cover letter is your best chance to grab a potential client’s attention.

Just remember that a buyer on Upwork doesn’t normally read through all the proposals. As there can be so many, they tend to skim through until one of them catches their attention.

Generally, keeping your Upwork proposal to the point increases the chances of success.

Focus on The Client: Your client can see your work experience and qualifications if you get them interested in your offer.

And, the only way to do that is by telling them how you can help “Them”. Avoid talking about yourself in your Upwork proposals and keep the focus on the buyer.

Be Strategic: Clients can ask potential sellers some additional questions related to the project. Importantly, Upwork shows these questions to the buyer before your cover letter.

So, you want to put in the effort to answer those questions effectively.

Don’t Overpromise: Understanding the buyer’s needs before bidding on a project is imperative. See if you are the right fit for the project and set the right expectations from the start.

Overpromising can easily lead to client dissatisfaction as it sets the wrong expectations. Try to tone it down a little and give your best to overdeliver.

Get Prepared for Interviews:

Here are some tips on acing your first Upwork interview:

  • Learn about the client’s needs and their industry before appearing in an interview
  • Try to come up with thoughtful questions about the job posting

Stay Patient: Getting your first order will probably be the trickiest part of your freelancing journey on the platform.

Just stay patient and follow the right strategies; keep in mind that your first client is just around the corner.

Keep Improving Your Skills: Your skillset is the only thing that can make you successful on the platform. So, never settle and try to be the best at what you do.

Because, although there is an incredible amount of opportunity in the freelance world, you’ve got competition too.  

Upwork Tips for Buyers

Just as freelancers, buyers also need to be mindful of a few things to be safe and to work with the best freelance talent.

Check for Plagiarism

Using plagiarized content can lead to problems for your business.

If you want to buy services like content, graphics, images, etc., it’s a good idea to make sure that the work you are getting is original.

For instance, you can check the originality of a piece of content with tools like Copyscape.

Secure Your Data

Services like web developing/designing, Google and Facebook ads, photo and video editing etc., require that you share some confidential information with the freelancer.

Misuse of your company’s information can lead to:

  • A security breach
  • Loss of data
  • Duplication of your data
  • Loos of personal/sensitive information

…and more

What you can do is, use a tool like LastPass that lets freelancers access your information without you having to give them your passwords.

Buying on Upwork

Hiring the right talent for your project is like hiring an employee. You need to find and interview the right candidates.

But, it’s easier than you might think; the buying process on Upwork includes:

  1. Providing essential details about the project
  2. Reading the proposals from freelancers
  3. Shortlisting the freelancers
  4. Evaluating and picking the right one
  5. Conduct an interview
  6. Hire the freelancer

Final Word: Is Upwork Legit?

Upwork is one of the most popular freelance platforms out there. And, thanks to the growing gig economy, it’s only going to grow.

Upwork is safe and reliable.

Plus, your money on Upwork moves through a dedicated and secure channel.

But, you do need to stick to the platform’s guidelines and best practices to get the most out of it.  

By following the strategies discussed in this article, you can maximize your chances of success on the platform.

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