Make up to 1K a month on Upwork in your spare time

Do you have some free time? Do you have good writing skills? Do you need some extra cash? Who doesn’t? Using the freelancing platform Upwork, you could put your writing muscle to good use and earn decent dollars in your spare time. With limited experience as a freelance writer prior to setting up my profile on Upwork, I was pleasantly surprised when I landed my first client within a day, then proceeded to make $500 in my first month! I’m now earning up to $1,000 per month by writing in my spare time. I’m going to share my secrets on how to make up to 1K a month on Upwork in your spare time.

DO spend time on your profile.

Your profile is the equivalent of a resume. It’s the place where you prove your claims and provide all that valuable information potential clients need and want. It’s where you walk your talk. Spend time and make sure your profile is professional, fully developed and error free. Link any external work you might have done, even if it’s only your blog. It all goes towards making you look professional.


DON’T send a ‘template’ proposal.

When I applied to my very first Upwork job, I went in blindly and wrote a very cheery, friendly proposal that was very tailored to the specific job I was applying to. I got that job. I got it because I made a personal connection with the client. Later, I read about using template proposals to save time when bulk applying to jobs. I tried this method for a while, sending a template based proposal to approximately a dozen jobs. I got none. I got none because I was not personal, did not show genuineness or my own personality in my proposal. That’s what clients want to see; you. So do away with the template.

DO provide relevant samples of your work.

When applying to jobs, try to match the job type with samples of your previous work that closely match the job. Pitching to ghost-write a romance novella? Send a chapter from a romance novel. Pitching to write blog articles? Send one of your own blog posts. And if you don’t have a relevant piece of writing, write one just for the pitch; your client will be impressed with the effort you’ve gone to.

DON’T accept jobs that don’t ‘feel’ right. 

The new freelancer may be tempted to take on any job to make their name and gain positive recommendations on Upwork. I contemplated taking on a job that involved writing twenty 1,500 word posts for $20, in order to have a shot at an ongoing blog writing gig. However, in the end, I realised I was actually agreeing to write 1,500 words twenty times for $1 each article! I may have been desperate to make a name, but I know my worth. Don’t settle for a job that makes you feel uneasy, unethical or just plain cheap.


DO communicate frequently with your client.

I cannot stress this point enough. Clients love communication. Whether it’s to clarify what the job involves or to make a quick progress update, keeping good communication with your client tells them you value them and the job. While you’re at it, remember your manners; please, thank you and take care go a long way in creating a genuine, warm relationship.

DON’T overcommit. 

It’s tempting at first to apply to all the jobs you see. More proposals mean more chances of winning a job right? Yes, that is true. However, if you’re writing in your spare time, you need to have a very good idea of how much time you can commit to writing. You need to further realise that, unlike your day job, freelance writing can be unpredictable. Your client might ask for one blog article this week, so you apply to six more jobs to take up the slack, only to have your client ask for ten blogs next week, and four new clients agree to your proposals! Before applying to more jobs, ask yourself, ‘if they all came in can I juggle the load?’

DO stick to deadlines. 

You might not always know the extraneous circumstances of a job. The client may need a piece of writing from you to satisfy a deadline on their end. Therefore, it’s important to take deadlines seriously and stick to them. This is also where communication with your clients is critical; ask exactly when they need a piece if they haven’t said. Better to ask and know for sure than to miss a deadline, or work yourself to the bone if it’s not due for two weeks!


DON’T be afraid to set your hourly rate high(ish). 

You want to appear professional above all else. That’s why you need to spend time on your profile and proposals. But how can you appear professional if you put a value on your writing as low as $5 an hour? That reeks to clients that you either don’t value yourself or your writing just plain stinks. Set your hourly rate at what you think you would reasonably be prepared to pay for your own service. You know your own writing best, so how good are you?

DO the best possible job you can.

Approach each job for a client as though it was for yourself. Bring your A game. Don’t settle for poor grammar, mediocre structure and shoddy research just because it’s for someone else. You wouldn’t do it to yourself. Don’t do it to your clients. Give your best and you’ll create a pocketful of repeat clients and hopefully some pretty good feedback.

DON’T give up.

I made $500 in my first month on Upwork using these tips. I cannot guarantee this will happen to you, and if it doesn’t, I implore you, don’t give up. Persevere and apply these tips. If you have the talent and the tenacity, you too can make up to 1K per month on Upwork in your spare time.

43 thoughts on “Make up to 1K a month on Upwork in your spare time”

  1. I was really confused by this at first – couldn’t decide who had written it – but eventually found it was reblogged from Jessica Bakkers. Wherever, it was very interesting so I’m off to Jessica’s blog to comment on that.

    • PS. Couldn’t find it there so I guess it was a ‘guest post’. I made my living completely as a freelance long before internet and, of course, for a bit of extra income when I was a full-time journalist. Most of Jessica’s advice applied then, though copy was usually delivered on paper by hand, about 50/50 commissioned and speculative. I’m wondering whether to do a bit now but it’s not the writing which makes me hesitate, but things like tax returns!

      • Hey grumpy (nice name btw), must have been tough freelancing back before the internet, though if that’s what you were used to I guess the internet freelancing scene might now seem a little daunting. I’d suggest giving it a try; not sure how tax works where you’re from but here Down Under we’ve got a certain limit we can earn and call a ‘hobby’ which is not taxed. Bonus dollars for nothing! Good luck if you decide to get into it!

  2. Here, unfortunately, even if you do not earn above the tax-free limit which, being retired, I do not, you still have to do a tax return, now every three months. Also, now I write just for fun, what I want when I want, either on the blog or just for reading at our local writers’ club and, very recently, began something which I might want to publish, but not for monetary gain (though I might submit it to a few places just to see what happens). But some extra bucks would be good. Decisions!

    • Oh I’d advocate that if you’re in a space to write just for you and for fun then keep doing it. One negative thing i’ve found about freelancing is that it really does eat into my ME writing time. If you don’t NEED the money, i’d say write just for you!

  3. Hi Jessica, I’m interested in giving this a try, since I’m a writer and we kind of really, really need more money. You mention your first month you made $500, but what about your other months of working at this, or have you just done one month? I guess it can fluctuate a lot. 🙂 What kind of writing jobs are usually available? Thank you!

    • It does fluctuate but in my experience it evens out (one week might be 100 the next 300). One thing to be aware of is that to make a decent amount of money you need to be prepared to write in all your downtime hours OR give away some of your day job and devote to freelancing OR be prepared to sacrifice book writing time (assuming you’re writing a book). Jobs are very varied. I’ve written two fiction novels (ghostwritten), content for a computer game, resources for children to learn about historical figures and plenty of blogs for other people. Most work is ghostwriting so you probably won’t get much of an opportunity to get your name ‘out there’, but if the object is quick cash, it definitely fits the bill. Good luck!

  4. Hi, enjoyed reading.
    Not possible at the moment.
    I enjoy the start up of writing my blog with no experience of computers.
    Just started a course.
    Writing my blog on a smartphone.
    Perhaps next year I’ll write a book of my recovery.
    Cheers Mo X

  5. This is interesting, but I disagree with the fact that you can succeed on UpWork with truly limited experience. As said in the article, you have to have created at least enough material to showcase according to different jobs.

  6. This is good. I have been shying away from setting my rates. But now I feel encouraged. Thank you for writing this. I will use your tips to get my next client on Upwork.


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