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.