Written by Azanta Rezwana Mirza
UpWork is, till date, the best online marketplace there is for freelance workers. While others may disagree to this, personally, I am more comfortable on UpWork than anywhere else.
UpWork began as oDesk, but later merged with Elance to create a new platform – combining all the old clients and freelancers from both platforms. I had accounts on both of them but only one completed job on Elance. From the very beginning, I concentrated on oDesk and till now, I only have one account on one single marketplace.
Some people – freelancers, mostly – would argue that UpWork is strict. I agree with them, but I also think that it is necessary for UpWork to be a little authoritarian if they want to maintain their good work. I also think that they are a little too lenient towards the clients than to the freelancers, but I see that they are trying to change that. In conclusion, I have no complaints towards UpWork; I have complaints towards some of their clients, though, and I think they need to be a little stricter in choosing their client profiles as they do with freelancer profile.
Coming back to the point: UpWork is till date the biggest online marketplace for freelancers to find work and for clients to find freelancers to hand them work. There are, according to the statistics from March 2017, around 14 million registered freelancers and 5 million clients working together at UpWork at this moment, of which, I am one. I started in December 2013 with one personal account, and now I also have an agency account – at a very early stage of its journey. I have worked on more than 160 projects and have around 1200 hours accumulated on UpWork, and from July 2015, have the “Top Rated” badge on my profile.
If I want to be very, very simple, UpWork is basically a hub where two types of people meet – clients who are looking for people to work on their projects, and freelance workers who are looking for work. Freelancers have an account/profile where they showcase their skills, talk about themselves, and feature their portfolio. Clients post jobs where they describe what they want and what type of workers they are looking for, when they want their work done and what they are willing to pay for it.
When freelance workers come across these job posts, they apply. They state their expertise on the job, whether they have done something similar, whether they have relative samples to show, whether they can finish the project within the time frame mentioned by the client, and whether they agree to the budget. When clients look through the applications that freelancers around the world have sent them, they choose someone, or a few, to negotiate.
From this point on wards, clients and freelancers communicate directly to complete their jobs. They can communicate through UpWork or mail each other directly, or even Skype or through phone – however they feel comfortable discussing their projects. At the end of the discussion, if the client and the freelance worker agree on all the terms, the client offers the freelancer the job. The freelancer accepts the offer and starts working, communicating with the client all through the process – if that’s what they prefer.
When the project is completed, the client pays the freelancer via UpWork – if the work is to their liking, of course. They might end the project there or continue, but if they decide to end it, both the freelancer and the client would leave each other feedback. Positive feedback are important for freelancers to advance in their UpWork career, as it is for clients for getting for freelancers to work for them in the future. UpWork holds the payment for a few days, and after everything is clear – sends the money to the freelancer’s account from where they can withdraw it anytime they want.
This – in a nutshell – is how UpWork works!