How long does it take to start making money on Upwork as a new freelancer?

You could get a client today.

Some people go on there and never get work.

It’s really not about time, it’s about what you do. The freelancers who do the right things and put in the effort tend to get work. And those who go in feeling like Upwork owes them something and expect work to just fall in their lap… don’t.

And, they rave about how Upwork is a “scam” or a “huge waste of time”.

When I first started on Upwork, I made every mistake I rant about, today. I blasted out a bunch of bids, didn’t spend much time on any of them, didn’t research the clients, wasn’t picky, didn’t have my profile 100% done…

And, I got frustrated and whiny when nobody hired me.

Then, I took the time to figure out how it actually worked. Learned about their algorithms. Slowed down and spend more time researching clients and bidding on projects that were a perfect fit for me. Wrote thoughtful bids.

And, what do you know… I got hired.

So, if you do things right… from the beginning… you can get hired from the beginning. And, if you don’t, you may never get hired.

So here’s some tips to approach it correctly:

Build a Profile That Ranks. Write Proposals That Get You Hired. Join 6,000 Other Upworkers Who’ve Boosted Their Results With This Template

Enter your information below and I’ll send you my training course, Upwork Essentials, free of charge. Inside, I’ll teach you the exclusive Rank and Relevance Framework, the template that’s helped 6,019 other students get clients, write proposals and build a sustainable Upwork and freelance business.

1. It’s an Asset

It’s on YOU to build your freelance business. Upwork owes you nothing. View it as one of several different ways you get work. But, you should be building your own website, producing content, using other platforms, posting on social media, networking in person, etc.

Upwork is just one of the many assets you build to bring you clients.

2. It’s Not a Numbers Game

I often get people who will tell me something like, “I bid on 100 jobs and didn’t get a single response.” My reply is always the same, “Let me see your bids.” It’s not about how many times you bid on a job.

It’s about what you put IN your bids.

3. It’s About Relevance.

Upwork doesn’t try to match clients with the best freelancers. It tries to match clients with the best freelancers for that project. It’s not just about being good at what you do. It’s about what you do being highly relevant to what a particular project needs.

And, their system for this is so sophisticated that even the time of day a client posts a project affects what freelancers get suggested to them.

So, the words you use in your title, the tags you use, what you say in your profile overview, job history, your portfolio, the tests you take, your job history… it’s all analyzed not just figure out if you’re good…

But, if you’re a good fit for a particular project.

Which is why you need to specialize, especially at first.

It cranks up your relevance to help you overcome having no job history.

When, I started doing these things, the results I got on Upwork changed dramatically. The first job I landed was $2,130. A few weeks later, I got another one over $2,000. And, it just started snowballing.

At one point, I got 30 major project job invites in a single month.

There’s people who’ve made multiple millions (3 million+ is the highest I’ve seen) on Upwork.

It all just goes back to what you do.

Not time.

Anyway, that’s more than you probably wanted to know already, but if you want to get jobs on Upwork, keep these things in mind. Also, I do have a free Upwork tutorial that shows you how to build your profile this way, if you’re interested.

Upwork can be great.

It can give you a fast start.

But, it’s just one of the many things you should be doing to get work.

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That’s been the top, so far. The highest I’ve hit on Skillshare. And that IS just Skillshare. Doesn’t count Udemy, sales on my own website,

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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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Lori Grant

John did an outstanding job on my project. I highly recommend him and look forward to working with him on future projects.

Michael Skye

Michael Skye

John is a man of integrity, who gives generously of himself to projects and people he cares about.

Daniel Mohlendick

On the Freelancing on Upwork course: “This is by far the best course i have watched on Skillshare!! Thank you so much.”

Jason Rumley

Jason Rumley

John has a habit of over-delivering on the expectations he sets up. That’s why he’s the best.

Jim DeJonge

Jim DeJonge

John has a relaxed and engaging manner. His advice is solid and the explanations are well thought out.

Chris Aitken

He significantly improved my site through his expert knowledge of PHP, CSS and Javascript. Would definitely recommend John to others.

Bob Patterson

Not only is John a very talented programmer and developer, he is also an excellent communicator. He has a talent for taking complex subjects and communicating them in terms that anyone can understand. This is a rare combination. This ability has enabled me to take my skills and knowledge to the next level. Thank you John for for all that you do.

Oliver Wainwright

Oliver Wainwright

I’m a fan. I have completed several of John’s courses. I find him very knowledgeable and he has a great delivery.

Xan Barksdale

Xan Barksdale

Very professional worker who is extremely knowledgable in WordPress and Wishlist Member. I would definitely hire again.

Ray Edwards

I recommend John every chance I get. If every person I worked with were as committed to excellence, punctuality, value, and unquestionable integrity… the world would be a better place. Highest recommendation.

Thabo Motsoahae

John is one of the best instructors I have come across, I learned a lot from his online tutorials.

Steve Dimmick

Steve Dimmick

John has provided expert knowledge and advice on multiple occasions that have helped me better serve my clients. John is a Rockstar!

Aaron Gott

Aaron Gott

John has a particular knack for the development and training of others.