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:

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.

Who else wants to build a thriving freelance business?

I’ve helped 39,413 other freelancers start and grow thriving freelance businesses. Are you next? Subscribe to my Freelance Secrets newsletter and I’ll show you how.

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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.

Who else wants to build a thriving freelance business?

I’ve helped 39,413 other freelancers start and grow thriving freelance businesses. Are you next? Subscribe to my Freelance Secrets newsletter and I’ll show you how.

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Tim Covello

Tim Covello

75 SEO and website clients now. My income went from sub zero to over 6K just last month. Tracking 10K for next month. Seriously, you changed my life.

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Michael Phoenix

By the way, just hit 95K for the year. I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve taught me. You’ve changed my life. Thank you!

Stephanie Korski

Stephanie Korski

I started this 3 days ago, following John’s suggestions, and I gained the Upwork Rising Talent badge in less than 2 days. I have a call with my first potential client tomorrow. Thanks, John!

Jithin Veedu

Jithin Veedu

John is the man! I followed his steps and I am flooded with interviews in a week. I got into two Talent clouds. The very next day, I got an invitation from the talent specialists from Upwork and a lot more. I wanna shout out, he is the best in this. Thanks John for helping me out!

Divyendra Singh Jadoun

Divyendra Singh Jadoun

After viewing John’s course, I made an Upwork account and it got approved the same day. Amazingly, I got my first job the very same day, I couldn’t believe it, I thought maybe I got it by coincidence. Anyways I completed the job and received my first earnings. Then, after two days, I got another job and within a week I got 3 jobs and completed them successfully. All the things he says seem to be minute but have a very great impact on your freelancing career.

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Sarah Mui

I’ve been in an existential crisis for the last week about what the heck I’m doing as a business owner. Even though I’ve been a business for about a year, I’m constantly trying to think of how to prune and refine services. This was very personable and enjoyable to watch. Usually, business courses like this are dry and hard to get through…. repeating the same things over and over again. This was a breath of fresh air. THANK YOU.

Waqas Abdul Majeed

Waqas Abdul Majeed

I’ve definitely learnt so much in 2.5 hours than I’d learn watching different videos online on Youtube and reading tons of articles on the web. John has a natural way of teaching, where he is passionately diving in the topics and he makes it very easy to grasp — someone who wants you to really start running your business well by learning about the right tools and implement them in your online business. I will definitely share with many of the people I know who have been struggling for so long, I did find my answers and I’m sure will do too.

Scott Plude

Scott Plude

I have been following John Morris for several years now. His instruction ranges from beginner to advanced, to CEO-level guidance. I have referred friends and clients to John, and have encouraged my own daughter to pay attention to what he says. All of his teachings create wealth for me (and happiness for my clients!) I can’t speak highly enough about John, his name is well known in my home.

Sukh Plaha

John is a fantastic and patient tutor, who is not just able to share knowledge and communicate it very effectively – but able to support one in applying it. However, I believe that John has a very rare ability to go further than just imparting knowledge and showing one how to apply it. He is able to innately provoke one’s curiosity when explaining and demonstrating concepts, to the extent that one can explore and unravel their own learning journey. Thanks very much John!

Mohamed Misrab

Misrab Mohamed

John has been the most important person in my freelance career ever since I started. Without him, I would have taken 10 or 20 years more to reach the position I am at now (Level 2 seller on Fiverr and Top Rated on Upwork).

Who else wants to build a thriving freelance business?

I’ve helped 39,413 other freelancers start and grow thriving freelance businesses. Are you next? Subscribe to my Freelance Secrets newsletter and I’ll show you how.