My First Month Writing on Upwork

Kitanya Harrison
4 min readNov 30, 2022
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

For the unfamiliar, Upwork is a site that connects freelancers with clients. I’ve been thinking about diversifying my writing more and stumbled across a thread about Upwork on Twitter a little over a month ago. I decided to take a look. The site is clean and relatively easy to navigate, with a bit of practice. Setting up a profile takes some time, but it’s important to get that right. To save time, I reactivated a LinkedIn account I hadn’t used in years, updated it, and uploaded it to Upwork. If you don’t have a LinkedIn, you’ll have to slog it out entering your work and education history. If you’ve been on the fence about getting on LinkedIn, it might be worth it to kill two birds with one stone. You’ll also have to set up payment and tax details and verify your identity.

Once I got set up, it was time to try to find some work. I’ll admit that I found it a bit challenging, at first. The hardest part was setting a rate. Writing isn’t valued the way it should be, in my opinion, and there are a lot of lowball offers on the site that I wish people wouldn’t entertain. There are also people literally looking for someone to do their homework for them (write college application essays, term papers, presentations, etc.). I realized pretty quickly that I was going to have to develop a quick draw system to thumbs down job postings that didn’t smell right. Once I got the lay of the land, it was time to start applying for jobs.

Upwork has a bidding system for jobs that uses “currency” called Connects. You get 40 Connects when you sign up and earn more as you communicate with potential clients. The cost of bidding for a job ranges from two to six Connects, from what I’ve seen. You can also purchase additional Connects. Each job application requires a proposal — a short cover letter, your rate, and milestones, where applicable. Some clients may also have additional questions they would like you to answer. I cast a wide net in my job search (ghostwriting, editing, copywriting, etc.) and landed my first job: a paid trial copyediting English translations of Chinese romance novels. It didn’t go well, because I didn’t follow my gut instinct about the posting, which was confusing. At each step of the process, there was some miscommunication that created more work for me that really wasn’t worth it for what they were paying. I thanked them for the trial and moved…

Kitanya Harrison

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