A Freelancer’s Journey to Earn $100,000 on Upwork

Mike Albert
May 10, 2017 · 5 min read

Hey — if you’re just stumbling upon this, I’m Mike. I’m documenting my journey to hit $100,000 in earnings on Upwork. I’m sharing the EXACT strategies that I use so you can build a side or full-time income as easily as possible. I hope this helps you. EVERYTHING I learn along the way will be shared here: medium.com/@mikealbertdotco

There’s never been a better time to be a freelancer. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to find someone who needs help with the exact thing that you’re awesome at. Thanks a lot, Al Gore!

Because of this, many are opting to leave the traditional workplace for the “gig economy”. In one aspect, I love it. Breaking out of the rat-race to reclaim your independence and time is something I’ll always support. But it’s not always as sexy as it’s portrayed. Having been a freelance CFO since 2015, I’ll be the first to tell you, the journey is not easy, but the freedom to choose how I spend my time is worth every struggle.

So… I’m documenting my journey to hit $100,000 in earnings through Upwork.

*Please note: I’ll still continue to serve my local clients and other interests, but those earnings will not be tracked here. The figures I report will be sourced and serviced 100% through the site.


Many people love the idea of going in to the same job every day. Others need variety. No judgement either way; I wish I could maintain my sanity in Corporate America, but it’s just not in my DNA.

Early in my career, I spent nearly a decade in Fortune 500, Corporate America. I hated it. I knew it wasn’t for me, but didn’t know how to transition out. I want to create the playbook that I wish I had back then.

It’s my belief that given the right strategies, anyone who has a skill that business owners need (marketing, finance, programming, writing, design, legal, administrative, and many more) can earn a full-time income by using Upwork.

Why $100,000?

Because goals matter and it’s nice round number. It’s also somewhat of an aspirational income target for a successful first-year freelancer. I hope that by hitting this target, I can inspire others to believe there is a real opportunity to earn a respectable, full-time income through the platform.

Again, to be clear, I will only be reporting earnings that were sourced and serviced directly through the platform. I will not be reporting any local clients or other income through this process.

I am not super comfortable with publicly stating a specific dollar target because it feels a little douchey, but unfortunately I think it’s 100% necessary to accomplish the goal of helping someone truly believe they can build a full-time income.

Following Along

Whether you want to supplement your current income or replace it, I’ll be sharing EVERYTHING I know and learn about making money through Upwork. I’ll talk about the exact strategies that I use, and give you real examples. I’m going to share everything for free, because I want to help shorten your learning curve so that you can get to your target income sooner.

My Current Status: Playing Catchup

I started using Upwork in 2016 with very low expectations. At the time, I thought that if I could find a way to earn an extra $1,00o per month, it was worth a shot.

I had some early success on the platform by securing a nearly full-time gig with a freshly-funded, Silicon Valley tech startup. Things were amazing for a the first few months, but as the adage goes, “never place all of your eggs in one basket”. Almost overnight, the startup shut down due to issues gaining traction in the marketplace.

Because I was relying solely on that one client, I put myself in a bad position and when I lost them, it was a big blow. Following that L, I took a break from Upwork. I stopped prospecting for new clients and just focused on serving local clients and the small amount of work I had with other Upwork clients. I was relatively passive from January 2017 until early April 2017. Honestly, I briefly considered quitting freelancing and finding something more secure. Thankfully, in April, I decided to try some new strategies and tactics in the hopes of creating a better situation.

These revamped strategies are paying off. I currently have enough momentum to consider the goals I’ve set for the year, very very doable. Over the last seven weeks, I’ve gone from one client to nine.

Also, over the last four weeks, I’ve averaged just under 50 hours per week at a rate of just north of $50 per hour. Annualized, that equates to $130,000. So even though I’m starting a bit behind, I’m confident I can catch up before year’s end.

Below is a chart that I’ll update every week to track my progress. The grey area represents where I should be to hit my annual goal. The blue line represents where I am at the moment. If everything goes according to plan, the blue line will pass the grey line and stay above it for the remainder of the year; meaning I’ve met my goal!

In the next post, I’ll be sharing some of the steps you should take to get started and how to shorten the time it takes to land your first client. Stay tuned!

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