Upwork dubs itself as the world’s work marketplace. With 18 million registered workers and over $1 billion worth of jobs posted annually, Upwork is the largest freelancer marketplace in the world.

Upwork (previously oDesk) is a community of contract workers or freelancers and employers. The company has operated since 2003 and currently serves hundreds of thousands of clients worldwide. 

Upwork is a freelancing marketplace for professionals in various fields, including writing, graphic design, and web development. It is a platform where a hiring employer can find remote freelancers that would complete tasks and projects. Consequently, it assists professionals in locating jobs, communicating with clients, and getting compensated for every completed task.

Upwork freelancer marketplace

Brief Background About Upwork

Two major online freelance marketplaces combined into Upwork a couple of years ago, Elance and ODesk. The company prides itself as the leading freelancing platform for the world’s most skilled independent professionals ready to be recruited by businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide.

Over two decades ago, Upwork pioneered a new way of working, assisting organizations in gaining more freedom and connecting people with more opportunities. 

The company’s goal is to expand economic possibilities and improve people’s lives. It has brought them a long way. Consequently, the business evolved into the world’s work marketplace, bringing together enterprises of all kinds and independent individuals from across the globe daily to collaborate and do extraordinary things. 

How Upwork Works For Employers

How Upwork Works For Employers

As an employer, you can post a job and hire a professional. Just simply post your work on the world’s marketplace and wait for bids from brilliant individuals around the globe.

Upwork’s sophisticated algorithms help you list the finest choices. And before you give someone the green light, you may check profiles, portfolios, and reviews.

You don’t have to make a job post or choose a shortlist. Just explore, purchase the service, and get started immediately with clear expectations from the beginning. You’re getting what you are paying for. 

On an hourly contract, the system monitors the keystrokes and captures random screenshots from the screen of your freelancer to check their hourly work. When you agree on milestones for fixed pricing contracts, you only pay when these milestones are completed.

How Upwork Works For Freelancers

How Upwork Works For Freelancers

Set up your  profile

After setting up your freelancer profile, you’ll have your online workspace for managing your project. It is where you’ll send and receive files securely, provide real-time feedback, and process payments. You can download the app to monitor even on your mobile phone. 

Typically, Upwork will approve your profile within 24 hours, provided that it is verified and correct. After that, you may begin working.

Choose the membership plan

Upwork provides freelancers with two membership options: Basic and Plus. 

While the basic plan is free, you will have to pay to connect with prospective clients. Freelancers pay $0.15 per “Connect,” the platform’s internal tokens used to submit proposals to clients. Each month, you may roll over up to 140 Connects. The Plus package costs $14.99 per month and provides everything included in the basic plan with 70 monthly connections. 

Connect with the employers

Utilize your Connects to submit proposals for tasks that are a good fit for you. Submissions should contain an introduction letter, the price you want to charge, and responses to the client’s questions provided in the ad. Additionally, you may provide samples of any work you believe is relevant. 

Maintain communication and payment inside the site to make everything in order. Scams are discouraged by documenting both parties’ conduct since clients will be held responsible for dubious payment or work requests or making claims about your work without in-site evidence.

Set your price and start working

Upwork deducts a percentage of your earnings. The fee structure is dependent on the total amount you charge a customer over time, so the more work you do with a client, the lower the share you take. You may get paid in one of two ways: hourly or on a milestone basis. Upwork’s rates are the same for both. 

Projects on an hourly basis 

All hourly jobs are tracked in your Work Diary, a feature integrated into Upwork’s desktop application. When this feature is enabled, the app will maintain a comprehensive log of your progress on a project. Your time is tracked in 10-minute billing cycles by the app. It keeps track of keystrokes, scrolling, clicks, and currently open windows. Additionally, it captures periodic screenshots. 

Projects with a fixed price 

Payment is relatively simple for fixed-price contracts. When you agree, the person or business you are contracting with must put aside a certain sum of money. Additionally, the employer must establish milestones, which are specific deliverables leading to the completion of the project. After you reach these milestones, you’ll get a portion or all of the deposit, and the rest is paid once everything is complete.

Get paid 

Freelancers may get safe payments via PayPal, direct deposit, or wire transfers. 

All your hourly tasks are paid weekly. You get paid ten days after the billing period. If a project falls due before it is completed, hourly protection and milestones will be helpful. If you believe you haven’t been appropriately paid, Upwork has a dispute system.  

Projects with fixed prices start paying off when you reach the specified milestones. You may initiate a dispute if the customer fails to pay for a milestone or refuses to pay for your work.


Upwork has no registration cost for accessing its independent virtual assistant service provider network. You can create an account, publish your business criteria, and freelancers may bid for the task in a matter of minutes. 

By collecting a charge from the contract price of the work, the business earns money. If you agree to pay an assistant virtual Upwork $500 for 100-hour work (not an unusual fee!), they collect somewhat less.


  • No sign-up fees
  • Can get as low as $5 for some projects 
  • With lots of skilled freelancers in different niches 
  • Quick turnaround time for projects


  • Can come across with unreliable freelancers
  • Only suitable for project-based and not for long-term projects

Other Job Platform Alternatives

These online job marketplaces are the best alternatives for Upwork: 

  1. Fiverr 

On Fiverr, outsourcing is a smart business option. The core concept of Fiverr centered around people’s willingness to perform minor tasks for a mere $5. Eventually, it has turned into a global community of freelance workers and the businesses that hire them. 

Fiverr functions in the same way as any other job marketplace. Sellers or freelancers offer their services (gigs), and interested prospective buyers inquire about their services. 

If they are convinced with the gig offer, they’ll make a purchase. 

  1. FreeUp

FreeUp is a marketplace that connects pre-vetted virtual assistants, freelancers, and agencies in e-commerce and marketing, offering them to clients to assist in several projects. However, FreeUp claims to only allow 1% of all applicants into their network of top-tier virtual assistants and freelancers. 

Workers here use freelancer pricing, which sets individual prices depending on skill levels. Entry-level professionals often charge $5 to $10, whereas mid-level professionals charge $10 to $30, expert professionals charge $30 and above. On the other hand, the site charges a 15% commission.

The commission fee charged by FreeUp will add to the overall rate billed to the client. In short, the billing to the client is the total amount set by the freelancer plus the 15% commission fee,  the minimum of which is $2.

  1. TaskBullet

TaskBullet offers virtual assistants to entrepreneurs by providing buckets of hours to be drawn by an assigned virtual assistant. TaskBullet promises no contract and no hidden charges. It charges clients with a Bucket System. 

Upon signing up, you’re going to buy the number of hours required to accomplish the job, and your virtual assistant will work those hours. You will simply pay the bucket’s corresponding fees. When the virtual assistant depletes the bucket’s hours, you may either buy another bucket and continue or take a week off. It is flexible and doesn’t bind you to a fixed monthly contract.

Overall Review

Instead of hiring in-house experts, you can contract some professionals in Upwork and get your projects done in no time. You can filter based on ranking, specialization, and budget. 

However, you just need to be careful in choosing the best freelancers to get the work done for your business. Many businesses select Upwork as the most convenient platform to look for the most varied level and type of skilled freelancers worldwide. 

Have you used Upwork before to hire virtual assistants? Please leave a review below and rate the company to tell everyone about your experience.

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The VA reviewer is an avid traveler, a licensed accountant, practicing corporate and tax lawyer, and an online entrepreneur. He has leveraged his online job experience and professional qualifications to provide solutions to problems hounding businesses.

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