How to work on Upwork without special skills?

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Upwork attracts remote workers with high skills and even encourages people to change their profession to get a bigger salary working remotely. You will read whether it is possible to work on Upwork without special skills or experience at all.

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


A lot of people want to work on Upwork to achieve high earnings. But the problem is that people often don’t have enough skills, so I have identified several categories of jobs on Upwork, which can be done without special skills.

More about professions on Upwork (with niche examples and average hourly rates) and how to get the first job on Upwork.

Writing text (copywriting)

Anybody can write texts, of course, you should have a lot of skills to create really good text (sell, SEO, ASO etc), but some clients need simple and cheap texts. The only thing is that you should have good English language skill. But if you even have basic English, copywriting is a good way to start a remote job and improve English during work.

Another problem is the competition. There are a lot of people on Upwork who can write bad text, so it could be quite challenging to get a job without knowledge of ASO, SEO, marketing and other text writing skills.

Virtual Assistant

In most cases it means performing routine work on the Web: searching for information, systematization, structuring, communication using template phrases, writing comments, posting something on forums etc.

Manual text entering from image/photo

A lot of clients need to get text document from a photo or image. If the text is not handwritten, special software for digitizing text can be used, but it does not work perfectly and requires additional manual checking by a human. Again, problems with this category are English level and high competition.

Creating a text version of an audio/video file (transcribe)

Similar to the previous category: make a text version of an audio file or audio track of a video.

Software manual testing

Software testing (Quality Assurance) is a very difficult profession, required a lot of technical skills such as creating algorithms for automating testing, writing reports and much more. But often clients need testers who will manually search for bugs in their software or game. In most cases, they want to save some money, but sometimes the reason for manual testing is related to the location, device or language of the tester. This is a good way to make the first step in the QA profession.

Manual extracting of information from online sources

Such type of work is usually related to the analysis of the online website of a competitor of your client. For example, it could be creating a collection of users contact information from profiles on an online shop. The result of such work is usually a structured data table.
In most cases, this work could be done automatically with help of software engineer, but if the amount of data is not very big, it is more efficient for a client to hire a non-qualified employee.

Homework for students

In this case, special skills will be required, in particular, good theoretical knowledge taught at universities and colleges, but many people do not regard such skills as good potential. In addition to this you should create reports in good English, also it is necessary to understand the foreign measure units, which may be different from the familiar to you.

An hourly rate for a job without special skills

Professions mentioned above should not apply my advice about the choice of hourly rate. Freelancers without special skills can expect $5-$10 per hour maximum. I don’t recommend to work with lower rates so in this case, you will have a huge competition with other freelancers in this price category.

You should know how to work with PC

Another required skill (except English language proficiency) is a basic level of computer skills: text typing, installing software, searching for the necessary information on the Web.

You need professional skills

It is possible to start working on Upwork without profession and skills, but it is much more difficult: lower hourly rates and a chance to be banned, as there is a huge competition in the category of work without skills. Anyway if you’ll start working on Upwork without skills, you can research market demands and choose a profession which will be interesting for you and have good potential in freelance.

Work with minimal professional skills

Freelancers who have already chosen a profession (university or online courses students), but are not sure about their skill level often can’t find work on Upwork, because they don’t have enough confidence and clients feel it when reading your cover letter and messages.
I personally think that you can start with basic skills and raise your level during your work on Upwork. But it is dangerous because you can easily ruin your reputation on Upwork and you can’t create a new account. If you don’t have any experience, you can start a small hobby project related to your profession and continue working on Upwork after several weeks working on it.

However, I believe that success on Upwork largely depends on self-confidence, and even a freelancer without experience can quickly find a good project if he knows what client needs. You can learn everything during work.

Communicating in English

If you are not a native English speaker, English may be a problem for you.

If you want to work on Upwork, you should communicate in English, so you need at least minimal English level. It is possible to communicate on Upwork with a translator (Google translate) and improve your text with Grammarly. But if your English is not very well, you will spend more time communicating with a client, for filling in your profile and writing a cover letter. You should also keep in mind that some clients will ask to communicate in English verbally.

If you have a fear of chatting in English, this is the first thing you should improve before you start working on Upwork.


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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