Why Freelance Writers Should Avoid UpWork at All Costs (+ Where to Find Work Instead)

I have a confession to make.

I spend a ton of time creeping in freelance writer Facebook groups and the freelance writing subreddit.

And almost every day I see writers say stuff like this:

“How can I ever hope to find clients who respect me and are willing to pay more than $5 per hour?”

9 times out of 10, these writers are using Upwork – the armpit of the freelance writing world – to find clients. More often than not, they’re doing it because they aren’t sure how to find freelance writing work independently.

If that situation sounds familiar, it’s time to make a change, my friend.

Let’s talk about why you should avoid Upwork at all costs and go over a few better ways you can quickly find work.

Why Upwork Sucks for Freelance Writers


Think about it like this. If you build a website for yourself and market your freelance writing services independently, no one can take your site away from you.

And no one can randomly decide to change your fee structure in a way that costs you money.

Compare this to Upwork, where the head honchos have the power to change the fee structure at any time and the site could even shut down at any given moment.

What would happen then?

You’d probably be out of work. Not good.


Okay – I know this one sounds a little rant-y. But it’s true.

Know how I mentioned above that Upwork can change their fee structure at any time? Well, they actually did it recently, and it’s already had a negative effect on tons of freelancers.

Now, the first $500 you bill your client across all contracts is charged with a 20% fee (instead of the previous 10% fee).

They’ve dressed it up to make it seem like a positive change that rewards freelancers who work with long-term clients.

But I’m calling bullshit.

What’s really happening is that they’re collecting more money by taking away double the amount they were previously charging many freelancers.

Do you really want to be associated with a company like that?

I know I don’t.


When clients think they can get away with paying $5 for 500-words and an “expert content writer,” they’ll never be willing to pay more than that.

Instead, they start to perceive writing as work that isn’t valuable and doesn’t require enough skill to warrant good (or even fair) pay.

Pissed off yet?

I am, because I want my fellow freelance writers to be paid well for their work.

Bottom line:

Using Upwork is no way to build a long-term career as a freelance writer.

But let’s move on to some good news:

There are much better ways to find freelance writing gigs than desperately bidding for jobs on Upwork.

Here are 3 of them.

3 Better Ways to Find Freelance Writing Work


If you’re going to use a platform to find freelance writing work, try Clearvoice. Not only do they offer fair pay – they work with high-quality clients who respect writers.

One of the best things about Clearvoice is that you don’t have to bid for work when you sign up. Instead, they notify you when an assignment that fits your qualifications becomes available to you. Then, you can decide whether or not to take on the job.

I’ve had some pretty awesome opportunities sent my way through Clearvoice, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.


This is one of the best ways to find clients fast – especially if you’re just starting out and don’t have a ton of experience. In fact, cold emailing helped me land over $800 worth of work in my first ever month working as a full-time freelance writer.

But how can you make this marketing strategy work for you?

Start by using LimeLeads or a similar service to find and download your potential clients’ contact info. Then pitch your services like crazy,making sure to keep the emails short and relevant to the reader.

Also, realize that you can’t send 5 cold emails a day and expect amazing results. Try sending 25+ customized cold emails every day, and see what happens.


If you’re not using the shit out of LinkedIn, now’s the time to start.

LinkedIn landed me one of my biggest clients ever – a client who contributed majorly to the fact that I made over $5,000 in my fourth month as a freelance writer.

The best part?

I never pitched that client. I didn’t have to.

Since I had my niche (which was B2B/tech at the time) in my profile summary and headline, she was able to find me using LinkedIn’s search feature.

So, make sure you’ve got your niche clearly defined in your profile so your target clients can easily find you. You’ll also want to use keywords based on what those clients are searching for when they need to hire a writer like you.

And that’s all there is to it.

If you use these 3 alternatives to Upwork, you should be able to land some new clients pretty soon. No bidding necessary.

Not only that — you’ll be well on your way to building a profitable freelance writing business independent of a platform that doesn’t care about your success.

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