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Stop shaming freelance writers for using Upwork

Unlike the majority of freelance writers on the internet, I actually love Upwork and make no apologies for it. I’ve made over $50,000 on Upwork before service fees.

Say what you want about Upwork — and there is a lot to say, I’ll give you that — but y’all, $50K is $50-frickin’-K!

One of the reasons Upwork, well, works for me is because I’m highly qualified and experienced. (I have a Master’s in writing, for crying out loud.)

So yes, I realize I’m probably the exception rather than the rule.

But frankly, I’m sick of reading articles that shame freelance writers for using Upwork.

Remember — it’s called freelancing for a reason. Because you’re free to run your business however you want.

And if you want to make money on Upwork, go for it! Ain’t no shame in your freelance game. Money is money, honey, and it don’t matter where it comes from.

“But the service fees!”

Uh. If you’re so worried about the fees, just add them to your rate. (It really is that simple.)

Plus, most clients are willing to pay them. In fact, most of the clients I’ve worked with didn’t even know about the service fees.

(That’s a tangent for another post, though.)

Personally, I don’t mind paying a service fee to a platform that provides me access to thousands of freelance writing jobs.

Then again, my fees are covered because that’s one of my conditions. So…can’t relate.

“The clients and jobs suck!”

I’ll agree that there’s a lot of low-paid jobs on Upwork. I mean… is that surprising? It’s a platform that anyone is free to post on.

But don’t paint all clients with the same brush. There are some golden eggs on Upwork who pay standard industry rates — plus fees — and are just wonderful people in general. (And I’ve been lucky enough to work with a few of them.)

In the past year or so, I’ve noticed an increase in the quality (and budgets) of jobs posted on Upwork, and I’ve also noticed Upwork is becoming more selective in the applicants they accept.

Here’s the thing, though: if you’re a total newbie with zero experience or skills in writing (or your chosen niche), you will struggle to make money on Upwork. In fact, you will struggle to land freelance writing gigs, period.

“Don’t waste your time sifting through job ads!”

Call me nuts if you want, but I’d rather sit at home in my PJs browsing freelance job boards than work a shift at Waffle House for $2.96 an hour.

(Been there, done that, never doing it again ever.)

When I started using Upwork, I was a graduate student whose only other job experience was in — you guessed it — waitressing.

I tried to find other, more traditional jobs in writing, editing, something I could use my degree for. But I had no professional experience in writing and no connections in the industry to back me up.

(Spoiler alert: my job search did not go well.)

So when I started my freelance career — which was kind of an accident, by the way — I focused on providing quality work for my clients on Upwork. I put my heart and soul in it.

Yes, I made mistakes along the way. I accepted contracts which paid way less than I was worth, and I even got ghosted by a client once.

But I also found some fun, long-term, well-paid gigs that have put bread on my table for years. (And yes, I found them while “wasting my time” scrolling through job ads on Upwork.)

“It’s impossible to be successful on Upwork!”

In just over a year, I went from writing articles on Upwork to managing my own team of freelance writers for a well-established company.

How?

In my client’s own words, I “made myself an expert in [my] chosen field.” I delivered consistent, quality work that got noticed by the company — in short, I worked for that promotion.

Oh, and I get to make dog puns in my work emails.

(If that ain’t success, I don’t know what is.)

I’m a firm believer that if you put in the work, you’ll reap the rewards. Why should it matter if those rewards come from Upwork or some other freelance client?

Again: money is money, and it don’t matter where it comes from.

Stop shaming freelance writers who use Upwork. Just stop.

Stop telling people they’re not “real” freelance writers because they choose to use Upwork.

Stop acting like you’re part of some cool, elite club ‘cause you don’t bother with freelance job boards.

Just stop.

I get it. Upwork and similar platforms have their fair share of problems, and most of the freelance writers who denounce them just want to protect the newbies.

I’m not necessarily disagreeing with some of their complaints — but I also make my living on Upwork. I love my clients and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Upwork has given me the chance to do what I love, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted out of life.

Remember, it’s called freelancing for a reason — because you’re free to run your business however you want. And if you want to give Upwork the ol’ college try, go for it.

Am I saying you should run off and create an Upwork profile? Not necessarily. All I’m sayin’ is it’s worked for me.

Will it work for you? I can’t say. Your business is, well, your business.

Which is why I encourage you, my dear freelancin’ friend, to take all the freelance writing advice you find on the internet with a grain of salt.

(Yes, even mine.)

Because at the end of the day, everyone’s vision of success is different. Everyone’s work approach is different.

It is possible to make decent money on Upwork. Like everything else in life, you just have to put in the work, and the rest will fall into place.

Are you one of those rare unicorn freelance writers who loves Upwork as much as I do? Tell me all about your Upwork experience! You know what to do, my friend.

Just getting started on Upwork? You won’t want to miss my FREE guide to upgrading your Upwork profile! This three-part series kicks off next week, so don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!

Published in Freelancing Writing

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