Is Moving Your Upwork Contract Off-Platform a Genius Move or a Dangerous Gamble? (The Insider Secrets Every Freelancer Must Know!)


Hey there, fellow freelancers! I still remember when I first joined Upwork, thrilled and eager to land my very first gig. It was a rollercoaster ride, for sure—exciting yet nerve-wracking all at the same time. Just like you, I experienced ups and downs while navigating the platform, and trust me, it was quite the learning curve!

Recently, I stumbled upon a post from a newbie freelancer, who also happens to be a member of the Upwork Philippines group. They shared their experience of a client suggesting to move their contract outside of Upwork. The idea of pocketing their full salary without those pesky fees sounded appealing, but they were unsure whether it was the right move or if it could impact their account.

I can totally relate to the author's dilemma, and I know many of you might face the same situation. So, I've put together this blog post to help you make a well-informed decision. We'll explore the ins and outs of taking contracts outside Upwork and how it could affect your blossoming freelancing career. So, grab a cup of coffee, and let's dive right in!


Understanding Upwork's Terms of Service

Alright, let's get down to business! When I first started on Upwork, I have to admit, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the rules and regulations. But, trust me, taking the time to read and understand Upwork's Terms of Service (ToS) is totally worth it. I remember feeling like I was back in school, cramming for an exam, but this was one study session that paid off big time.

So, what's the deal with contracts outside Upwork? Well, the ToS is pretty clear: freelancers and clients are required to use the platform for all their communication, project management, and payment transactions. This means that if you move your contract outside of Upwork, you could end up in hot water. I'm talking about potential account suspension or even a ban. Yikes!

Now, I know it can be tempting to bypass Upwork and score that full salary, but it's crucial to weigh the risks against the rewards. After all, you don't want to jeopardize your hard-earned success on the platform, right? In the next sections, we'll explore why sticking to Upwork can be a smart move and how to make the most of your freelancing journey. Stay tuned!

Treating Your Upwork Account as a Virtual Store of Services

So, now that we've touched on Upwork's Terms of Service, let's talk about another crucial aspect of your freelancing journey: your Upwork profile. Think of your profile as your very own virtual store, showcasing your unique set of skills and services. It's your chance to show potential clients what you've got and why they should hire you over the competition. And just like any physical store, reputation, integrity, and legitimacy are crucial to attracting and retaining customers.

I remember when I first started out on Upwork, my profile was, well, let's just say it was a work in progress. It lacked the essential elements needed to effectively market myself as a freelancer. It was only when I learned the importance of treating my Upwork profile as a virtual store that I started to see significant improvements in my client acquisition and project success.

Here's what I've learned along the way:

  • Craft a power introduction: Begin your profile description by addressing the client's issues and pains. Relate to them and position yourself as the solution they need.
  • Write with a marketing and sales angle: Your profile description should be engaging and persuasive. Each paragraph should lead to the next, guiding the reader (e.g., the client) toward a call to action.
  • Include an effective call to action: Encourage clients to invite you for an interview or get in touch with you. Make it easy for them to take the next step in working with you.

So, as you can tell, investing time and effort into crafting a top-notch Upwork profile that serves as your virtual store is a game-changer. From your power introduction to your call to action, each element plays a crucial role in presenting yourself as a credible and trustworthy freelancer. I can't stress enough how important this is in the long run!

Fostering a positive reputation is key for any freelancer looking to succeed. When you're known for your integrity, high job success score, and consistently delivering quality work, it all adds up to creating a strong reputation. And let me tell you, this positive reputation helps attract more clients and grow your freelance business like you wouldn't believe!


The Importance of Reputation on Upwork

You know what they say, "reputation is everything," and in the world of Upwork, it's no different! When I first started, I didn't quite grasp how crucial a strong reputation could be in my freelancing journey. But, boy, was I in for a surprise!

I remember having a heart-to-heart with an experienced freelancer who explained how their impressive reputation paved the way for a constant flow of clients and better-paying gigs. That was the moment I realized I needed to shift my focus to building a reputation that could help me soar.

Here's why having a solid reputation on Upwork is essential:

  • Clients can see that you're dependable and deliver top-notch work, making them more inclined to choose you.
  • Your job success score and client feedback heavily influence your ranking in search results. A strong reputation can put you in the spotlight for potential clients.
  • You'll receive more invitations to interview or submit proposals, which means less time chasing projects and more time doing what you love.

When considering moving contracts outside of Upwork, keep in mind the possible impact on your reputation within the platform. 

If a substantial part of your work is done off-platform, your profile may have fewer contracts and feedback, which can negatively affect your job success score and make it harder to attract clients down the line.

However, if you continue cultivating your reputation on Upwork through successful project completion, you can enjoy the perks of being a top-rated freelancer. So, before making the leap to take a contract outside of Upwork, carefully weigh the potential consequences for your hard-earned reputation. After all, it's the key to unlocking a thriving freelancing career!

Benefits of Staying on the Upwork Platform

So, you might be wondering, "Why should I stick with Upwork when I can just work directly with my client and avoid those fees?" Well, there are actually some pretty cool perks that come with staying on the platform, and I'm here to share them with you.

First off, let me tell you about the time I was just starting out, and my profile wasn't as polished as it is now. I struggled to land clients, but once I began treating my Upwork account as a virtual storefront, showcasing my skills and experiences, things started to change. The platform allowed me to:

  • Build a solid reputation: Positive reviews and feedback are crucial for attracting more clients, and Upwork makes it easy to showcase your success.
  • Receive personalized job recommendations: Upwork's algorithm sends you job postings tailored to your expertise, making it easier to find the right opportunities.
  • Connect with a global client base: Upwork gives you access to a diverse pool of clients, helping you expand your professional network and explore new niches.

Upwork is not just a place to find work; it's a valuable tool to help you grow as a freelancer. By staying on the platform, you'll enjoy:

  • Payment protection: Upwork's Escrow service ensures you get paid for your hard work, giving you peace of mind and financial security.
  • Dispute resolution: If you ever face any issues with a client, Upwork's support team is there to help mediate and resolve the problem, keeping your best interests in mind.
  • A sense of community: Upwork offers a network of fellow freelancers who can offer advice, support, and even friendship, making your freelancing journey less isolating.

Let's not forget that as you keep working on the platform, you'll reach payment thresholds that'll result in lower fees. Yes, you heard that right! The more you earn, the less Upwork takes from your hard-earned money.

So, before you jump ship and take your contract outside of Upwork, consider the long-term benefits of sticking around. After all, having a thriving profile and a strong presence on a well-established platform like Upwork can go a long way in securing your success as a freelancer.

The Risks of Moving a Contract Outside Upwork

Now that we've talked about the ins and outs of Upwork, let's dive into the risks associated with taking a contract outside the platform. I've had a few friends who made this move, and some of them learned the hard way that it's not always sunshine and rainbows. So, let me share their experiences and shed some light on the potential dangers you might face:

Upwork's investigation, suspension, or even termination: If Upwork finds out you're taking contracts outside their platform, they may conduct an investigation, and you could face some serious consequences. A friend of mine got his account suspended and he had to do some major damage control to get it back. Keep in mind that when your account is terminated, it's not just your account that's affected—you as a person are no longer welcome to do business on the platform.

  • Loss of Upwork's protection: When you move a contract outside Upwork, you're essentially stepping out of their safety net. This means you won't have access to the platform's payment protection system, dispute resolution, or customer support. A fellow freelancer once told me how she didn't receive payment for her work after moving a contract outside Upwork, and there wasn't much she could do about it.
  • Impact on your reputation and Job Success Score (JSS): If you take contracts outside Upwork, you might see a decline in your JSS. As we've discussed earlier, your JSS is essential for attracting clients and securing future projects. I remember a colleague who took a contract outside Upwork, and it took him months to rebuild his score and reputation.
  • Missed opportunities for long-term success: By moving a contract outside Upwork, you could miss out on the chance to build a strong reputation on the platform, which can lead to more projects and a steady stream of income. A friend of mine decided to take a few contracts outside Upwork, and while she enjoyed the short-term benefits, she later realized that she had missed out on building a solid foundation for her freelancing career within the platform.

Moving a contract outside Upwork might seem like a good idea at first glance, but it's essential to weigh the risks and potential drawbacks. After all, your freelancing success depends on making well-informed decisions and maintaining a strong presence on the platform.

Deciding When to Move Outside Upwork – Tips and Considerations

Before you consider moving a contract outside Upwork, it's crucial to evaluate your current standing on the platform and weigh the potential risks and benefits of taking such a step. Here are some key points to bear in mind:

  • Establish yourself on Upwork first: Before even thinking about transitioning a contract outside the platform, ensure that you have a strong presence on Upwork. This includes having a verifiable work and client history, a top-rated badge or higher, and a solid earnings record. Doing so will give you a sense of security and credibility in the freelance market.
  • Diversify your client source: Moving outside of Upwork can be a strategy to diversify your client base and ensure the continuity of your freelance business. However, it's important to remember that this move is a violation of Upwork's Terms of Service, as it takes business away from the platform. So, always be cautious and consider the possible consequences.
  • Avoid discussing off-platform contracts on Upwork: Never engage in conversations about moving contracts outside of Upwork within the platform's chat system, as these conversations can be monitored. Instead, find other ways to communicate with clients privately if you decide to explore this option.
  • Explore other legitimate freelancing platforms: While it's true that moving outside Upwork may expose you to more opportunities, it's essential to ensure that you're doing it through legitimate means. Look for alternative freelancing platforms where you can connect with clients without violating any terms.
  • Proceed with caution if you're new to Upwork: If you're still a new freelancer on the platform, it's best not to entertain the idea of moving contracts outside Upwork. Focus on building your profile, client history, and reputation first. Once you have a strong foundation, you can then explore other avenues for diversifying your client base.

Remember that taking a contract outside of Upwork is a decision that should be made with care and consideration. As a first-time freelancer, your primary focus should be on establishing your presence and credibility on the platform. However, as you grow and gain experience, you may choose to explore other options to diversify your client source – but always be cautious and aware of the potential risks.


Putting it all together

To wrap it up, if you're a new freelancer on Upwork, you've got to really think about the pros and cons of moving a contract outside the platform. Sure, it might be nice to get a bigger paycheck but don't forget the importance of having a strong profile on Upwork. It's like your own little shop for clients to find you, and it gives you access to all the cool tools and protection that the platform offers.

Always remember, your reputation on Upwork is a big deal when it comes to landing new gigs and clients. So, stick to the rules and make the most of what Upwork has to offer, and you'll be on your way to a successful freelance career. Just take a moment to think about what's best for you in the long run before making any decisions.

In the end, it's all about making choices that work for you and your freelance goals. Everyone's situation is different, and what works for one person might not be the best fit for another. As long as you're aware of the risks and rewards, and you're working well with your clients, you'll be able to find your own path in the freelance world. So, whether you decide to stay on Upwork or give it a shot outside, focus on what helps you grow and makes you happy. Best of luck, and enjoy the freelance adventure!











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