Written by Megan Ryan

I began my freelance editing career on the Upwork platform, and I am a top rated freelancer there. While the platform offers many opportunities, it has its drawbacks as well. Here are some of the positives and negatives of using Upwork as a freelancer.

Pro: Payment processing and protection

One of the biggest advantages is having Upwork handle payments. You and your clients don’t have to share financial information, and you have a very good chance of getting paid.

On an hourly contract, there are payment protections when using the Upwork time tracker. For fixed price contracts, the client makes the payment into an escrow account before you begin work. When the work is done, the client can ask for revisions or release the payment to you. In either type of contract, Upwork can help settle any disputes.

Con: Fees

Upwork takes ten percent of your earnings in fees. It used to be twenty percent for many contracts, so this has improved.

Pro: Access to a new pool of clients

Many potential clients are already using Upwork to hire freelancers of various types, and you may connect with authors or small publishers you wouldn’t come across through your current network.

Con: Scams and inexperienced clients

Clients may try to get free work or get you to send them money. Most scams can be avoided by watching for red flags and keeping communication and payments on Upwork.

There are also many job posts from people who offer very small budgets, such as $0.003 per word or $100 for 50,000 words. It’s not impossible to find clients who understand the value of good editing, but you have to spend some time looking for them.

Pro: Ratings and reviews

When you have finished a job, the client can leave you a rating and review, which factors into the overall success score Upwork gives each freelancer. The feedback is shown on your profile so potential clients can learn about your work.

You can also leave feedback for clients. This allows you to share helpful information with other freelancers, and you can often gain insight into whether you want to work with potential clients based on reviews they’ve received and given.

Con: Difficult to break in

If you are new to Upwork, you won’t have the ratings and reviews that established freelancers have. There are ways to include praise from non-Upwork clients on your profile, but it won’t be as visible as the Upwork success score. That can make it hard to compete for good jobs.

Upwork has provided much of my (part-time) work for the last few years, so it is possible to be successful with it. Knowing the platform’s good and bad can help you make an informed decision about trying it yourself.


Megan Ryan provides copyediting and proofreading to help authors feel confident about sharing their writing with the world. She has copyedited and/or proofread more than 140 books for self-publishing authors and hybrid publishers.

She lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. You can contact her at mryanediting@gmail.com or find more information at https://mryanediting.wixsite.com/mryanediting.