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How to register on Upwork? Step-by-step guide with screenshots

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Step-by-step instructions about how to register on Upwork as a freelancer. I also describe a lot of possible issues with Upwork account in this artcile: ban and Upwork’s rules violation. You can also find my advice about how to fill in your Upwork profile. You should write some information about yourself during registration otherwise Upwork can refuse you to create an account.

More information about freelance on Upwork you can find in free eBook “Upwork Tips & Tricks“.

Start registration

Go to upwork.com and click the button “Become a Freelancer”.

If you plan to use Upwork as a freelancer and as a client, you do not need to create two separate accounts. You can create a client account which will be based on a freelancer account after registration.

Start Upwork registration

Moreover, creating two accounts is a violation of ToS (Terms of Service) and lead to a permanent ban for both accounts. So if you already have an account on Upwork, do not try to create a new one (for example, if you have a bad reputation in your previous profile). If you’ve lost access to your old account (for example, forgot your password), you should contact support – support.upwork .com

Name and email

Upwork Registration: Email & Name

The next step is to enter your name and email.
First and Last Name should be written only in Latin characters (English letters). They should match your name in the passport. Upwork can ask you to provide documents to confirm your identity in the future.

If you don’t have a document with your name written in Latin letter, it is necessary to determine exactly how to transliterate your name into Latin alphabet correctly. Each country has own transliteration rules, so you should google it.

You should enter an existing and valid email. After the first step of registration, you will receive a verification email and you can’t proceed without it.

Also, email should be a well-protected (with a password of 16 characters without shared access, 2-factor authentication is preferred). Don’t forget to set up phone number for email, so you will restore access if something will go wrong. You can find a lot of stories on the web from people who lost Upwork accounts with all earned money because they have bad email protection.

Upwork recommends using a work email for registration. For example, if you enter mail with the domain gmail.com and press “Get Started”, you will not go directly to the next step, otherwise, you will receive a warning that you must use a work e-mail, not Gmail. You shouldn’t register mail on another domain, just press on “Get Started” again and Upwork will accept your “non-working” email.

Login and Password

Upwork Registration: Email & Name

The next step is called “Complete your account”

It’s important to include valid information about your address. Usually, this is the country of your citizenship, if you are not in the process of obtaining another citizenship.

The password must be 16 characters long with LARGE and small symbols of the English alphabet and numerals. Special characters (% # @! …) are not recommended to use, as they are difficult to enter on mobile devices. You can use online services to generate a password, for example, passwordsgenerator.net . You should enter a unique password that you did not use on other sites, otherwise when hacking third-party services your Upwork account may be compromised.

If you find it difficult to remember such a password, you can use a long phrase with symbols and numeric, for example, “ !L1keNewY0rk “.

If you think that I’m paranoid, then you can use your favorite password “Qwerty1990” or something like that. But when you can not log into your account after years of work and earned reputation and with several thousand dollars on your account, you will definitely remember my advice. This situation is similar to a joke “System administrators can be divided into two groups: those who do not make backups and those who’ve already done them.” It’s important to use a good password before you find out pain of hacking your accounts.

Password generator

After specifying a password Upwork will ask you again about a role that you want to perform on the platform – a client or a freelancer. Click on “ Work as a freelancer ” and go further.

Next, you need to specify a username. Usually, it’s better to take a username the same as your email, so you can easily remember it. For example, if your mail is bond007@gmail.com , then your login will be bond007. In general, login is not displayed anywhere and is used only for logging on to the Upwork platform (although you can use email for login). But, after several years on Upwork, I think it is impossible to predict what changes freelancers should expect from the platform in the future, so it is better to insure yourself and create a login that you can remember.

Checking the field Receive news emails is not necessary, but highly recommended. You will receive spam from the platform, but sometimes useful news and suggestions will come too.

The last checkbox is related to rules, that you agree with the Terms of Service of the platform. I would advise not just to press it, but read at least table of contents of ToS in your free time because you can find some unobvious moments there.

Email Confirmation

The next step is to confirm your email.

Upwork Registration: Email confirmation
To do this go to your email and click on the link.

Upwork Registration: Email confirmation

Filling the basic information in the profile

After clicking on the link, you will be asked to provide information about your profession. So it is a start of filling your profile.  To finish registration and get the approval of your profile, you need to specify basic data during registration. You can change and add more information in the future if you want.

Upwork Registration: Filling base information

Specialization

First, you need to choose your specialization. For example “Web, Mobile & Software Dev “.
After that, you need to select several categories that you are engaged in, like “Mobile Development” and “Game Development”. Although you are allowed to choose up to 4 categories of work, I think it is better to choose 1-2, which are more relative to your skills. Some freelancers say, that a lot of categories reduce the chance to find work (magical Upwork’s ranking algorithms).

Skills

Additionally, you should specify your skills. Start writing the name of the skill and select it from the drop-down list. Usually, these are names of the technologies, software, techniques which are relative to your work. I would recommend you to choose 5-6 skills most related to your specialization.

Experience level

Experience level (Entry/Intermediate/ Expert) is related to the level of payment. Upwork recommends clients pay up to $ 15 per hour for freelancers with Entry level, from $ 15 to $ 30 – with an Intermediate level, from $ 30 and above for Expert. I would not recommend you choosing an Entry level, because clients often associate this level with poor quality of work. Choosing between Intermediate and Expert level depends on your confidence in your skills.

Additional profile information

Click “ Save & Continue” and go to the next step.

Upwork Registration: Additional information
I advise you to look at the example profiles, which Upwork recommends, this will help you create a profile that will pass the approval procedure.

Photo

Upwork Registration: Photo

Let’s start with a photo:

  • You should upload only your photo: images, logos etc will not work
  • A photo should be without obvious signs of photo correction, otherwise, it will not be accepted
  • Your face should be clearly visible on the photo and centered so it will look good when Upwork frame photo into a circle;
  • Photo must be of good quality;
  • Use photos without complicated background because accent might be on you.

Title

You must specify your Title . Upwork recommends something similar to “Expert Android developer”, but as for me words like “Expert” are not necessary for title because they are not useful. Almost all freelancers on Upwork put “Expert” in profile, so clients don’t recognize it. I prefer something like “Android developer”. But do not use an abstract title e.g. “Web developer”, it’s better to write a specific technology, framework or area/functionality of work.

Overview

The next is Overview. Writing overview is a hard and long process, so it is a topic of a separate article. But at this stage you need to write a small overview, otherwise, Upwork may not accept your account. My guidelines:

  • Recheck your text for mistakes several times;
  • Don’t put your name. It is already in you Profile header;
  • Don’t put abstract phrases, which you can find in almost all profiles, like ”Hello, I have 5 years experience in …”. Tell clients how you can be useful for them instead;
  • Don’t put any link (forbidden by ToS);
  • Don’t use lists. Convert all information in several sentences;
  • Tell about your past experience related to current Upwork profile specialization. Don’t put information about design if you have developer profile;
  • Describe software, technologies, which you use for work;
  • At this stage make overview at least 500 letters length.

Education

Add Education and Employment History. At least one option in each.

In education it is better to specify university (if it is not in the drop-down list, then just type in its name as text). If you did not study in any university then indicate your school instead. Describe name of the educational institution, year of study and degree, which you must select from the drop-down list. For students who have been studying for 5 years, this is usually “Master of …”. Area of Study is optional but highly recommended. In the description you can add information about the courses and areas that you have studied, but this is not necessary at this stage.

Work experience

Upwork Registration: Employment

Describe only related to your current Upwork profile specialization work experience:

  • Company name in English
  • City and Country;
  • Position and role of your business in the company
  • Years of work;
  • In the description, you can add technologies and projects you participated in. But at this stage, you can skip this.

English

And finally, you choose your English skill. In the future, you may be asked to confirm your level of English through video chat (you will need to say your name, perhaps the address and profession). It is very easy to confirm even fluent level of English because interviewers often do not know English well. I would not recommend choosing the Basic level, because clients think “Basic – don’t know English at all”, anyway this choice depends on your self-confidence: if you are not ready to communicate with clients through video/audio chats, then it’s better not to put the fluent level of English.

Hourly rate

You can choose an hourly rate depends on the work experience (Entry – up to $15 / Intermediate $15 – $30 / Expert from $30). But I don’t recommend you to choose less than $15 per hour because a lot of clients don’t work with low-rated freelancers.

Availability and Location

Finally, you need to provide information about availability and location.

Upwork Registration: Availability & Location
How much you can spend on work:

  • Up to 30 hours per week, if you have another job
  • More than 30 hours, otherwise.

You will negotiate with each client individually before starting a project. So do not worry that you will be forced to work 30 hours immediately after registration.

Projects duration: in most cases, you should choose “Both long and short-term projects”. In some situations, when you know exactly what you want to do on Upwork you can specify long or short projects.

Address and Phone

Please write not fake and existing address in English letter. It is not required at this step but could be asked to confirm your address in the future. In order to indicate the city, in the first column we write the region, and in the second – city itself. If you suddenly do not know your address zip code, then it’s time to take your mind off the computer and go to the nearest post office or search it on the Internet, of course.

The last column is phone number. It’s better to specify a real one so it will be easier to restore access to your account in an unexpected situation.

Click on “Review Application & Submit “. Congratulations, this is the end of registration. But you cannot start working right now, you should wait until your account will be approved. You will be notified by email. Usually approving takes 24 hours.

Payout options

Upwork allows you to withdraw money in the following ways:

  • PayPal;
  • Payoneer (you can earn additional $50 bonus);
  • Direct transfer to any bank (Wire Transfer – SWIFT);
  • Direct withdrawal to the US bank (ACH).

All the options are good depending on your requirements and location. For example, PayPal is easy to use for freelancer from Europe and USA, but it usually takes high fees. Wire Transfer is profitable only for large amounts (fixed fee per action). Payoneer is easy to use for freelancers from any country like USA, Europe, Asia (Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India) and others. It takes reasonable fees but has some limitations.

Using my Payoneer affiliate link is one way to support me and say thanks. Once you earn first $1000 to your Payoneer account, we (you and I both) receive the $50 bonus. I, however, have an open mind and will share all the pros and cons of Payoneer.

Tax Form

In order to withdraw money from Upwork, you need to fill in tax information. To do this, fill out the Tax Information in the profile settings.

  • Upwork Tax Form: Legal Name of Business

For non-residents of the US, it is tantamount to complete the W-8BEN form in a simplified online format.

Otherwise, the Get Paid button will not be active.

  • Settings. (Your name at the header)->Settings
  • Tax Information.
  • If you are not a US resident (do not live there and do not have citizenship), then choose “I am not U.S. person “. In the column Legal Name of Business repeat your first and last name in English or your organization name. Left your address unchanged and click on the check mark so you agree with the rules. For US citizens you should provide detailed tax information, including name, address, SSN and other documents.

Afterwords

More information about freelance on Upwork you can find in free eBook “Upwork Tips & Tricks“. For example:

  • How to fill a profile?
  • How to write Cover Letter?
  • How to achieve Top Rated?
  • Much more.

If you have questions you can join our freelancers Facebook community.

If you like the article, you can support the author:

Mobile developer from Ukraine. Work on Upwork from 2013. Share experience about freelance from 2014 (jff.name blog in Russian). Wrote book about remote work "How to freelance on Upwork" and free eBook "Upwork Tips & Tricks"

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