The backwards-sounding way Upwork looks at your hourly rate (and how it can cost you clients)

A lot of Upworkers are losing clients because of this.

When I first started on Upwork, I made over 14K in the first couple months I was on there. That’s why I laugh at the “earned over 400K” people. It took most of them close to a decade to get there.

Had I stayed on Upwork I could probably write “earned over 2 mil”…

Or something close to that.

But, I had bigger fish to fry.

Yeah, I know… I sound like an arrogant a-hole right now, but facts are facts. Anyway, I took what I knew and have taught it to thousands of other Upworkers. That course has a 90%+ positive review rate.

With dozens of reviews from people who almost instantly reversed the results they were getting on Upwork. From dead profiles to “flooded with clients” (their words).

Now look…

I didn’t wake up today and say, “I’m gonna rant about how amazingly awesome and awesomely amazing I am”. I’m running through this so you know I’m not some random jacka** pontificating about Upwork.

And that’s important because a lot of people fight me on what I want to cover, today. And that is your hourly rate. The way most people approach it really screws them over and loses them clients.

And that is the extreme lowballing that happens on Upwork.

The people charging 10/hour when everybody else is charging 60.

Now, WHY does that hurt you? Because some people genuinely believe the lower price will make it easier for them to get hired. Almost never the case. Again, why?

Because you’re thinking only about the client when you do that.

You’re forgetting Upwork and its algorithm.

And, guess what? Big shock but Upwork is in the business of making the dineros. The benjis. The dough. Despite all the blabber about freelancers and changing how the world works and all that…

Which I’m sure they believe at some level.

But, they’re in it for profit.

And guess what… no matter how good of a job you do, if you’re charging 5/hour, you aren’t making them much. They’re going to prefer someone who charges more because THEY make more.

So sure, a client *might* be more likely to hire you.

But Upwork ain’t gonna wanna show your profile to clients.

And *reach* is the name of the game on Upwork.

And this isn’t just conjecture. A lotta people made a big stink when Upwork changed its fee structure a few years back. Charging a higher fee from projects that earned less overall.

And the whole point of that change?

To run off the lowballers.

To make their business model untenable.

Now, I ask you… if Upwork did THAT publicly, what do you think they’re doing with their algorithm privately? Their closely-guarded “trade secret” that they issue cease and desists over…

And won’t even let you take screencasts of their admin interface anymore. Do you think, per chance, they might be tweaking that algorithm to run off the lowballers?

Pretty safe bet, in my opinionado.

But, here’s the thing… the solution isn’t as simple as “just charge more”. Upwork is a competitive, highly-nuanced platform. Pricing is dictated by the niche you’re targeting, who your competitors are, how good you are, the specific need your client has, etc.

It takes a well thought-out approach to get it right.

So, your hourly rate is alluring to potential clients…

Without turning them off thinking you’re “cheap”.

Or making Upwork’s algorithm not want to promote you.

That’s why I spent a good chunk of the latest episode of Let’s Talk Freelance talking about your hourly rate and how to turn it into an advantage — that both gets you shown to more clients…

And makes it nearly irresistible to those clients.

It’s hardly the only thing in the episode…

But maybe one of the more important.

Anyway, because the course is up on Skillshare, you can get it essentially free. That’s because, as a teacher there, I can get you an exclusive 1-month free trial of the site (normal trial is 7 days).

With that, you get full access to all 30,000+ courses.

And, if you cancel before the month is up, you never pay a penny.

Do with that info what you will. I created page explaining the course and the Skillshare deal here:



P.S. If you’re a patron, you’ll find access info for you on that page, as well.

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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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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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