Getting Started On Upwork

Foundation is important, not just with relationships but as well as starting a freelance career. In my previous post, I shared how I got started and my foundation in pursuing freelance life. After two years of being a link builder, in 2013, I decided to start exploring Upwork.

If you are really taking the online job seriously, getting started on Upwork means, you need to re-evaluate your skills, choosing the right category of job you want to pursue, reading job postings, and trying to figure out what would be your starting rate.

And that’s what I did!

The whole process was challenging. It took months and nth bidding to job postings before I got my first contract. And as a newbie, it was hard to get a job, especially on an hourly basis.

How did I get it through?

Getting started on Upwork needs perseverance, enthusiasm, and focus.

I first landed a Data Entry job. It was a copy & paste task at a rate of $0.04. Yes, you read it right. That rate. But it was okay; I was a newbie and trying to get 5-star feedback.

Do I sound desperate? I’d say no. Everyone has a starting point. I took mine. Getting started on Upwork needs enthusiasm.

I got my second contract for Data Entry and Data Mining job. I remember I was tasked to collect or copy & paste data from The price was reasonable. The fifth client I had was paying a good price and even hired me 22 times for data entry and research tasks. They’re in real estate – internet industry.

These two contracts I won were a blissful moment in my freelancing career at that time. It was the turning point wherein I decided to continue doing this freelancing thing. I was able to finance myself, especially with school finances and my daily allowance. I quit my SEO job in the same year to have more time in my studies since it will be my last year in college. Thesis in 1st sem and practicum in 2nd sem is coming. But what I don’t know was I’ll still be able to find some free time during 1st sem, so I spent it job hunting.

Low point

Ups and downs in a career are always there especially if you are just getting started on Upwork. Was there a time when I almost give up before hitting the turning point? Definitely, YES!

It was even before I got my 2nd contract. I was still trying and trying to bid and win a project. So one time, I applied for a job posting where basic SEO knowledge, Google extensive search knowledge, Skype with cam, reliable internet connection, and prefer newcomer with the cheap rate was the requirements for the job.


I was confident, of course, I got all the requirements there, and I was even one of the first 5-10 people to send an application letter/bidding. I got lucky to be chosen to proceed to the next process, a Skype interview with a cam. But it turned out to be unpleasant. And by unpleasant, I think you know what I meant. The moment I knew that it was something unrelated to any work interview, I didn’t hesitate to end the conversation and withdraw my application for a reason of “Applied by Mistake.”

Yes, it happened, and definitely, this is not just a made-up story.

However, I didn’t generalize everyone. I guess that’s just too unfair, and besides, that was my first and last encounter with a potential client someone like him. And no, I am not that stupid or just being naive. Any communication platform will do as long as both parties can thoroughly discuss the project, but Upwork advises using their message platform. And who would have thought that someone with an excellent rating and feedback from his past contracts is like that? Right?!

But of course, because of my perseverance, I set my foot in the freelancing world. You really need that attitude in getting started on Upwork.

After gaining 5-star feedback from my 1st to 5th client, I successfully got my first hourly contract with the 6th client I had. It was a Data Entry job at a rate of $0.67, including the Upwork fee. It sounds simple, but every data you input must be gone thoroughly. Accuracy indeed!

From then on, I was able to find well-paid data entry and internet research contracts. Competition among freelancers before was getting higher. So from time to time, I was really looking for another project to work on.

How did I maintain good feedback on my ended contracts?

Communication. Quality work. Quick turnaround.


Freelancing may not work for everyone. It might be a long way for you to go, but once you’re into it, no doubt, it will suit you. Just get started.

Update article on November 11, 2020

Author: Shira

Shira is freelancing for over six years now. LinkedIn lead generation is her forte. She does good work but not limited in data scrapping, web research, data entry. Shira is from the Philippines but currently in Kuwait babysitting her nephews.

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