How to Make Money on Upwork – Fast!

Want to make a few quick bucks, or maybe hundred or a few thousand extra dollars freelance writing? It’s not that hard…

Everyone could use a little extra money, but it can take a long time to earn anything by sending query emails to magazines. That’s why I started going to where the customers are, waiting for you, with cash in hand! You guess it– That’s right, using only your laptop, working anywhere in the world, you can make money using Upwork.

Let me explain how I do it…

Like a few people, you love to write. And perhaps, like even fewer people, you’re actually pretty good at writing!

But you aren’t making any money at it. Welcome to the club!

Except…actually I do make a little side cash from my freelancing! I don’t do much of it; too busy on other little projects I’m working on, such as this website and my other site, Scum Hive. Plus starting in March I’m about to kick off my biggest indie project ever, and am bringing an assistance on board to help me this time. I’m calling it Mad English Laboratory, as a working title for now… But I’ve digressed. Let’s get back to how I make money freelancing!

The main way I make money using Upwork is writing.

Upwork has got a lot of pros and cons, but in general I recommend it. Why? Because you can absolutely make extra money on the site, and it pays out through Paypal.

I’ve made over $7,000 from 64 jobs), all of which were done from my laptop, most of which were fairly easy, fun, and relatively quick (shortest was a few minutes, longest was several hours, but the average was around 2 – 3 hours per).

how to make money using upwork
Upwork screenshot

Most writers will start looking for magazines to pitch their stories or articles to, and may never hear back or they get a blanket rejection notice from the editor, like, a year later.

With Upwork, the customers are basically coming with cash in hand to the site and telling you what they want.

All you have to do is build your profile, then submit a cover letter and bid amount explaining why you are the best person for their job.

I say ‘all you have to do.’

It does take work to make money on Upwork, crafting that perfect profile to highlight your experiences, background, portfolio. But most crucially, perhaps, is making it stand out from the pack. That’s why I recommend reading other writers’ profiles! No need to reinvent the wheel. Read some, see what pops out to you, and don’t mirror it, but find a creative way to take those best elements and customize them to suit your style.

Once you’ve got your profile, do a few of the Upwork tests, so show you can prove your skills. I didn’t do many, maybe one or two. But in part that is because I came to the table with a decent background already… I have a MFA in Creative Writing, I’ve been writing governmental correspondence and guides for years, and also, for some jobs, it looks good that I have a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (that helps for clients who need ESL-related content).

make money using upwork

If you want to see my full Upwork profile, you can visit it here…

Actually, before I continue, let me point you what is possibly the best article about making money on Upwork, by a guy named Danny Margulies, on his site I am not in the same league as this man. Few are. And that’s not some affiliate link above; I never met or talking to him. But I read his article, and it’s amazingly helpful.

Here is another similar post by Jake Jorgovan, and he really breaks it down for you, step-by-step. My goal is to be efficient and not reinvent the wheel, so I am not going to spin their pieces here. Just go visit their sites! I’m not trying to suck anyone into a customer funnel here, and the only product I have for sale in my eBook, Why Are You Still Working?

So what they do is very different from what I’m doing, because I doubt they are still actually writing much on Upwork. Instead, it was a stepping stone for them, I believe. And it can be for anyone. I still make money using Upwork, though. It’s not just a stepping stone for me.

Here are the reasons why I freelance write to make money using Upwork!

For one, it keeps me engaged with a variety of clients and projects. You can really learn a lot from working with others, seeing what they are up to! There’s other ways to make money freelancing, too, of course.

You get a security net to ensure you’re paid. I once had a customer kill himself before paying out my fee for the work I had submitted. It was tragic, and I found out only after Googling his name, since he’d dropped off the radar and wasn’t talking to me anymore. Prior to that, he’d been very communicative and friendly, so I was genuinely wondering if something had happened to him. Something had. He’d committed suicide.

That’s an extreme example, but the point is that Upwork ensured I received the payment from escrow.

It builds your portfolio. Unless you are doing a ton of ghostwriting, which I don’t recommend, you will start getting writing credits to beef up your personal resume. Looks good when querying those other magazine articles, to show you wrote for X, Y, or Z.

You can create long-lasting business contacts. Upwork does not want you to take your business offline, meaning if you met a client through Upwork, you are locked in by their terms of service to keep using Upwork for I believe two years. But of course they cannot keep you from talking to the person and sharing ideas, collaborating on topics which do not involve them paying you.

Want to make money on Upwork? Here’s a screenshot of just a couple sample jobs sitting on the site:


make money using upworkThe feed just depends on the filters you wish to apply, so that you’ll only see jobs related to what you want to do. You can also filter according to the price range. For example, if you don’t want to see any jobs under $50 or over $1,000, just filter it down.

We hope this article about how to make money using Upwork helps you!

Aside from making money using Upwork, I do also offer my freelance services on this very site you’re reading!

Matt Cates

Matt Cates is the co-founder and creative director of Mad English Lab.

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