What is Upwork?


Upwork is a freelancing platform that connects clients to freelance talents and agencies wherever they are in the world. Upworkstemmed from two online business marketplace companies, Elance and oDesk, that merged in December 2013. Elance was the brainchild of Beerud Sheth and Srini Anumolu, founded in 1998 from their apartment in New Jersey. The Elance Small Business Marketplace aimed to connect small businesses with people looking for work.

oDesk, on the other hand, came from Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis' idea in 2003. The two wanted to work together despite one being in Greece and the other in the US and conceptualized initially as a staffing firm. The idea evolved into an online platform for clients to hire freelancers they needed for a project. In 2015 the Elance-oDesk merger was relaunched as Upwork and became the biggest online freelancing marketplace globally.

Upwork has over 10 million registered freelance talent and over 4 million clients, with 3.5 million jobs posted annually. Upwork has opened many opportunities for freelance job seekers to find work remotely and for clients to find talents outside their cities and countries.

How to find work in Upwork?

  • Job seekers should register for an account. Only one account per person is allowed; having multiple accounts can get a freelancer banned permanently.
  • Successful registration will earn 40 free connects. Connects are the currency in Upwork used to apply for jobs. The number of connects to apply for a job varies from one post to another. Freelancers can earn an additional 40 connects from passing the Upwork readiness test.
  • Freelancers can search for jobs in their chosen field from thousands of posts on the Find Work tab. Freelancers can filter for experience level, job type and price, project hours, and project length to find their ideal work.
  • To apply for a job, freelancers must submit a cover letter to the client and answer questions or provide a CV, portfolio, or previous work samples.
  • Clients interview and hire freelancers on the platform. Once a client responds to the application, the freelancer earns an additional ten connects
  • Once hired, clients will send a contract to start work officially.
  • Payments for completed work pass through Upwork and deducted 20% service fee.

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Pieter Borremans
By Pieter Borremans

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