Getting Untangled in Service Fee When Freelancing

Freelancing seems to be fancy but working through it is back-breaking financially.

But how?

In able to deliver quality work, one must invest in tools to meet the client’s expected deliverable work. As an Admin Support and render help to Salespeople I get to pay my LinkedIn, contact database, and email verification subscriptions. That is why getting untangled in service fees when freelancing in Upwork is so liberating.

Does it even make a difference?


cheerful surprised woman sitting with laptop
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Two years ago, Upwork has increased their Service Fee from 10 to 20%. Shocking! I know.

The intention is to create a Freelancer – Client relationship value. If you reach your first $500 earnings per new client, it will mark down to 10% and will go down to 5% service fee when reaching $10K lifetime billing per client.

And I get it. The first time I read that email I was so giggly excited. The idea that you can possibly get to work with your clients, long-term, is so inviting and challenging for freelancers to focus on applying and submitting proposals to job postings that they can surely win over. Who doesn’t want that, right? However, let us not forget that one job posting for a Web Research job runs up to 50+ proposals. Plus the fact that Upwork also launched the Connect feature before the increase of Service Fee totally makes all sense. As a freelancer on Upwork, we need to use Connect credits when sending a proposal – Upwork virtual currency. It depends on how many credits does a certain posting required. Connects can be free, can be bought, can be earned.

With all that new terms, freelancing in data space or salespeople support perspective, a 20% cut is enough to pay other subscriptions. Hear me out why.

  1. This is me asking a freelancer – does the client knows this? If yes, will they still choose me if my work is great or will they choose another one with a lower expense on their end? No matter how well the freelancer delivered the project, a client budget is also a factor. Then again, the value.
  2. I am a hero to one, I am sloppy to another. One cannot be everything to anyone. Again, the value.
  3. In my experience, as salespeople support, project manager tends to change from time to time. PM1 finds me good for the ad-hoc tasks. Then the new PM comes in but chooses the contractor s/he comfortable working with. Value, again.

With those three, jumping from one contract to another is less inviting than what I picture out in my mind especially for a one-time project with a $50 budget.

Pros and Cons on getting untangled in service fee while freelancing in Upwork

A story that cannot be untold is that Upwork helps me build my freelancing career, beyond grateful for that. Then again, at a certain point, one must make a choice. Working outside Upwork has pros and cons and just like any decision-making we make in our lives, we got to suck what consequences may come, unideal or good.


  • No snapshot. One may not be comfortable with this but congrats if you no longer doing it.
  • You get gross pay. $10/hr without a cut is honestly so liberating, gotta use the $2 to more essential. Right?


  • Delayed Payment

Truth to be told: Upwork Payment Protection for freelancers is the biggest reason why I stay on Upwork – especially for new referred clients. Upwork really aced on that aspect and as a Top Rated Freelancer on the most popular talent marketplace platform, I get to get paid earlier – expect every week pay-out. The big cons if you start working outside Upwork is the delayed payment. Each company/client has its own account payable calendar, it really matters that you discussed it with your client before saying yes to outside Upwork gigs.

I do still have clients on Upwork. There are also clients that I have worked previously and reached out to me for some support and choose Upwork in a sense of conveniency with it comes in paying me.

Outside Upwork, what’s next?

The moment you and your client comprised to continue working on the project outside Upwork; and getting untangled in service fees while freelancing, you gotta asked how can you track your hours without the snapshot or Upwork time tracker? Fear not!

Toggle Track will save you from entering your time login on Google Spreadsheet. It is software that tracks the time in everything you do by just clicking the start button and makes you idle when you’re away from your screen or keyboard.

For sending an invoice, I am currently using the free version of Invoicely. Easy to use and no need to convert the time log. Less hassle. You can upgrade to enjoy Invoicely most, like adding 4 or more clients to your dashboard and personalized invoice email.


Regardless of what you choose, it is always your preference. It’s about weighing what’s a win-win for you.

How to Win a Contract on

With so much going on these days, the pandemic and all, your uncertainties have probably magnified. The secured job you were holding onto might have come to an end. Your business might have probably at stake. You might probably be asking yourself where you can get an extra income to fuel your needs.

It is now 2021 and online job is not new anymore. You must have heard about freelancing long time ago or even knew someone is.

There are a lot of platforms or talent marketplace you can look for an online job and must have been popping around the Google search.

I have been working at home for a long time now and has been such a grace to my freelancing career.

Check my How Does Works post so you will know the basics before getting started on

In this article, I will be sharing how to win a contract on and secure an extra income.

How To Win A Contract? Things To Consider Before Submitting A Proposal

Bidding the right Rate

The last time I checked, Upwork has set $3.00/hr as a minimum rate for a freelancer. You can change your rate bidding upon applying for a job. If you are a newbie on the platform, there might some factors to which rate you’d start. Whether it is low or average, speak for your skills and pace; think your starting point. Bidding at the right rate is how you can win a contract among other freelancers.

However, if you are already an ace in your field but just new to the platform – bid the right rate according to your expertise. Showcase your profile or website. LinkedIn is old-fashioned. Try out – it is a platform that helps you build a free portfolio and define who and what you really do. Check out my profile at

Apply like the Flash

When you choose a job to apply for, I suggest you don’t bid on any project posted hours ago, especially if you’re a newbie. Refresh the result page from time to time to see the latest job posting and apply, apply, apply.

Applying like the flash is how to win a contract consistently.

Be Relevant

Okay. Apply, apply, apply is not just the key here. Reading the job posting comprehensively and getting on the same page as your potential client is a must. You must understand what they needed and how you can help. Then share your input in your application or cover letter. Sometimes, the client will provide additional questions to see if you’re fit for the job. Being relevant is one of the things to consider before submitting a proposal and being relevant is how to win a contract with well-paid jobs.

Make sure also when clicking a job post, you also get to check the client’s history so you can attest if it will be a good working relationship with them. Because you know, you can’t be everything to anyone.

Provide Sample

Before deciding to try Upwork, what was your job? Then take it from there. I’m sure your experience will lead you to something. Okay, I get it; you’re a newbie. You want to try Admin Support, such as data-entry or web research? Sure.

Although you don’t have experience and no sample to provide, I suggest you check job postings and try them out. Practice and take it as your learning phase. It will be the most worthy thing to know and consider before starting and submitting a proposal. Providing samples is one of the effective ways on how to win a contract on Upwork.


Picking a job to apply for is as hard as choosing a client. A long-term work relationship may seem like a rare gem, but all the hardship will be paid-off.

How To Save Yourself From Days of Encoding A Text Document To An Excel Or Word

Do you have a bulk of receipt copies you need to encode in a spreadsheet? A PDF file you need to grab text? A screenshot of data to input in Excel? Snagit 2020 would be the answer on how to save yourself from days of encoding a text document to an excel or word. 

Snagit is one of the products of Techsmith. It has many features you can use in a one-time purchase and not a monthly subscription. Yes, you read it right, that’s how cool the software is. You can install it on 2 devices per license.

Where did I hear about the Snagit?

Back in 2013, I won a contract on Upwork wherein I get paid while learning. My client needed someone who can attend marketing webinars on behalf of him. My task was to join the webinar and take some key points about the topic. To reach that goal, he recommended me to install the Snagit so I can record the webinar then make a summary on it. Snagit helped me a lot to recap and go over to videos or webinars I had attended.

How Does Snagit 2020 save you from days of encoding a text document to an Excel or Word?

Aside from screen recording, Snagit has more features that can possibly help you too.

Screenshot is way more fun with Snagit. There are two ways you can use this feature. First is the Image Screenshot, you can easily edit it and make simplified graphics right away for your presentation. The second is a Panoramic Screenshot, you can create a media pack or an infographic perhaps and save it as a PDF file. Or if you simply want to take a long detailed screenshot, Snagit 2020 got your back.

Audio Recording is definitely one of the features I am using if I have a call to discuss a project. I’ll simply hit replay if I forgot something, less pen & paper.

If you are using the Screen Recording feature, you can Trim Video Clips or make an Animated GIF through it.

Grab Text is the highlight feature of Snagit 2020. This program made me realize how to save yourself from days of encoding a text document to an Excel or Word in just one click.

I had a client earlier this year who sought help to encode all the data from a screenshot they have. A task that may take a week to work on but with the help of the Snagit 2020 program, it only took less than 15 hours to complete the project.

You can download Snagit for FREE Trial. If you already own a Snagit older version, you can simply upgrade and pay half of the price which is a good deal already. Check their pricing here.

Snagit 2020 software is simple yet powerful tool that could save your time.

How To Find Someone’s Email Address? Tools That I Have Been Using Since 2015

If you are a newbie in freelancing who specialized in Administrative Support and want to know the tricks and ways on how to find someone’s email address, this blog post is right for you. Over the years I spend on online web research and data entry, later on, I specialize in lead generation or contact list building. Here are the 4 ways on how to find someone’s email address I have learned throughout my career.


Email guessing is one of the first strategies I have learned on how to find someone’s email address. I spend minutes before getting the most possible correct email address for one contact person.

Here’s some email pattern on how to find someone’s email address. For instance, the full name of your prospect that you are needing an email address is John E. Smith.

In email guessing, the difficult format to get on how to find someone’s email address is when the email format involves the middle initial. This may happen if there are two John Smith working in the same company. Or it is just how the company preferred the email format.

There are also few companies whose email address format is unique, probably because of how large the company is – for an instance, Amazon. One company I stumbled upon too was, the email address is consist of 4 letters from their first name + last name; would be an example of that.

Some companies may crack your brain on how to find someone’s email address. Just don’t give up.

Use Email Permutator+ to save time guessing how to find someone’s email address. is also one of my comfort tools on how to find someone’s email address. It is very easy to use, you just need to enter the domain of the company then results will show you the most possible email format.

But how accurate is email guessing on how to find someone’s email address? Email verification tools can help you narrow down good business email addresses. was a free tool and allowed a single email verification check without requiring to sign up or log in. They started revamping their website last September 2020 and introduced monthly subscription and bulk credits pricing. The website revamped is really nice. What I like about the new MailTester is, they have options on how their users want to verify emails. Users can upload a file (CSV, TXT, XLS, XLSX) and verify the list at one click. However, on a single verification page, users can also do multiple verifications. If users will only have 10 email addresses to verify, users won’t need to worry about putting it in a file and uploading it. Which saves time for me.

I have been using MailTester since 2015, which is also an important tool on how to find someone’s email address throughout my career. So I don’t mind paying for at least a minimum of 5000 email verification credits from them. 

Gmail Profile is one of my verification tools on how to find someone’s email address, I guess nothing beats that?! If the email is in use, a 90% chance it will send through.


Using a sales intelligence product is probably the easiest way on how to find someone’s email address but comes with a good price. B2B contact databases are more likely to have higher percent accuracy. You get what you paid for. These platforms might provide direct dial contact of your prospect. Most of the B2B database companies required business email addresses to signup. was my life-saving tool early in my lead generation projects. I used this as my ace tool. ZoomInfo before gives 10 FREE monthly credits and knowing when to use it was vital on how to find someone’s email address. was my alternative when I can no longer login on ZoomInfo as a free user. I believe they updated their pricing too. is a widget that appears in Gmail’s sidebar. It is available in the Chrome browser. Clearbit gives 100 free credits to view contact details, a great tool on how to find someone’s email address.

This is one of the best alternatives for the most favorite widget Rapportive. which has been acquired by LinkedIn, then been called LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Gmail which eventually bid farewell last April 2020.

I just want to express how helpful and relevant Rapportive was. It is a Gmail widget or extension in which if you enter an email address in the recipient section in creating an email, the person’s profile shows up. I have been using it since 2013.  I will be a forever fan of Rahul. is among the alternative sales intelligence software on how to find someone’s email address. What I like about Hunter is that they provide a source where the email is found. That is their best pros. 

Below is Hunter’s pricing. You can save 30% on a yearly subscription which not bad anymore if you like a reliable product on how to find someone’s email address to use in your contact list building. also offers an email verifier. It is a one-stop-shop for your lead generation project. is the ideal tool on how to find someone’s email address for personal email addresses. If your customers are freelancers or local entrepreneurs that possibly don’t have business email yet, RocketReach is for you. You just need to input the LinkedIn URL profile of that prospect.


Facebook and Twitter are the best sources on how to find someone’s email address. If you are on the business Facebook page, go over to the About section and they usually spoon their email address there as the main contact.

On Twitter, you can either use the advance search or use this format on Google search keyword (contact email)

When in doubt use LinkedIn as your tool on how to find someone’s email address, especially if you are 1st degree connected with that someone.


Using the number one search engine would probably be one of the better ways on how to find someone’s email address. I mean, Google is Google. It has almost everything. So if you aren’t sure of the email guess you made, go to the Google search bar, type the email address, and hit the search button. It either shows the exact email address, or the results might lead you to the right page where you can grab the correct email address.

There are many ways on how to find someone’s email address; email guessing, sales intelligence products, social media, and Google search are just a few of them. But if you are going to ask me what’s the best tool out there or was there, I’d say RAPPORTIVE. I’m one of the saddest people when I heard that LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Gmail will take its sunset.

It depends on your strategy on how you reach out to your prospect. If you need help with the contact list building, feel free to reach me.

How Does Works?

This article has been updated on January 18, 2021

Upwork is already one of the largest talent-marketplace since I had known it back in 2010. It was in oDesk when I started my freelancing career. After oDesk and Elance announced their merger, they rebranded to Upwork, from oDesking to Upworking. 😉

How Does Upwork Works? Does it really help me earn an income?

These are the things to know before starting on Upwork:

  • Upwork Readiness Test
  • Verified Account
  • Types of Contracts
  • Verified Job Posting

Upwork Readiness Test

Once you are already done signing-up, creating your profile is just one of the baby steps to get into the ‘job hunter‘ status or ‘Rising Talent’ as what Upwork calls it now. One of the things to know before starting is the Upwork Readiness Test. One of the basics of how Upwork works are that you need to pass this test to start sending an application to a job posting you are eyeing to work on.

Once you are all set, searching for jobs may sound complicated, but Upwork has made it as organized as possible. You can sort category by category.

Verified Accounts

Upwork wants to verify your identity for a good reason. This is one thing to know before starting on Upwork, and you must comply so clients could see that you are not just a random worker spammer.

Types of Job Posting

One thing to know before starting on Upwork is the type of job posting you are applying for. How does Upwork works in terms of job posting? There are two types of contract or project you’ll find in Upwork, fixed-price and hourly projects.

Fixed-price is what you and your client agreed to the price of a project. For example, $30 for checking if the 500 lists of business names s/he provided are verified on Goole Maps. The client may pay upfront or pay the whole amount after you delivered the entire list. Note that payment for fixed-price projects was not guaranteed before. But thanks to the new Fixed-Price Protection for Freelancers, contractors may not worry if they’ll get the payment or not anymore.

On the other hand, an hourly project is the safest contract you’ll ever have. Both parties, I guess. On this contract, there is something called tracking time. You can download it here. It records your work activity, from the number of keystrokes, to the number of mouse-click you made and to a snapshot of your screen every 10 minutes. Payment is secure because of the ‘Upwork Hourly Protection.’ Even before, I do prefer hourly projects.

How You Get To Choose The Right Job?

Verified Job Posting

One of the most asked questions in the online job space would be, is the job posting on Upwork legit?; which leads to one of the things to know before starting Upwork. How do Upwork works to protect both the client and the freelancer?

This is quite ambiguous to answer. You may trust your gut about it because some clients are still new and couldn’t add any payment method yet. If the contract is hourly, Upwork will notify you to stop working until the client adds their card or payment method to pay their freelancer. If you are still skeptical about it, pick the job posting where the Client section has a blue check, which means payment verified.


How Do You Get Paid on

Once you started a job, you will get your pay every week. Billing cycle resets every Monday 12:00 GMT. If you won an hourly contract, make sure to wrap up your time before that.

If you are a Top Rated Talent, one of the perks is the fast payout. A calendar example would be last week’s billing cycle, which started Monday, January 11 – January 17, 2021, 11:50 PM GMT. The invoice or bill will now be in your In Review account fund Monday, Jan 18, 2021. Because you are a Top Rated Freelancer, you can then have it Available in your account by Friday and be withdrawn any time you want. does work pretty simple. Like in a real-world job, you need to be determined and be patient to land a pretty damn good paying job.

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

My Foundation in Freelancing

Working at home wasn’t my dream job. I don’t think I have any – yet back then. However, I was considering creative writing, thanks to my English teacher in junior high school’s influence. She appreciated my work in every quarter project she gave us. I was also considering to be a Computer Engineer, in fact, I took up this program back in college. But what I have in mind as a career wasn’t just for me.

What I do today is entirely not inclined to what I have graduated from. I guess that doesn’t really matter at all when you start juggling in the real world, huh?!

But so much of my unfulfilled dreams. How did I get to the Z and end up freelancing?

It was in the middle of the semester when I started my first job. I just changed my course from CPEG to Public Administration, and I have so much vacant-time in school. It is a perfect opportunity to look for a part-time job.

I was referred by a friend back then. And I welcomed myself to the web ranking world where quality is best than quantity links, organic search outstand and backlinks matter most.

As a link builder, or calling ourselves as SEO (off-page), blog commenting, directory submission, article posting, and my most favorite, local-listing are just a few of my task. For over two years, those were some of the strategies I’ve practiced. But note, you may find it easy but it was not. I’ve done those strategies for different accounts, and it means different topics. Jumping from gardening to web design to non-profit org to logistics to travel to cosmetics and so on. Not just a basic overview of what our client’s services (keywords) but also how we can effectively share knowledge or ideas to the right audience to successfully get backlinks to make their website appear in the first-page result in search engines. You can’t just comment “nice facility you have there” in a logistics or warehousing blog post, it must be something relevant. I’m not sure if the admin will approve your comment, especially on DoFollow sites. 😉

This is the previous field I was in. Does the DoFollow site still make an impact on web rankings? Does Bing still relevant? Yahoo? Do the strategies I’ve mentioned even helps quality link building? Does Social Bookmarking yet exist? If so, does it still the same as how it was five years ago? Pretty sure, not.

And yes, I am so left out of the SEO-world and I am sure I have a lot to catch on to. Imagine, the last algorithm update I’ve heard or at least aware of was Google Penguin. Oh my!


I’ve learned a lot from being an SEO, from submission to web research to being resourceful in the most effective way. In fact, this job brought me to wherever I am now. Thanks to the people who help and bold me, to Urle’s Best. 😉 Although it is entirely different from what I am focusing on now, still, it leads me to this point.

Over the years, I’ve encountered different tasks that able to enhance my skills with foundation knowledge of link building.