How to convert from being a freelancer to an agency

How to convert from being a freelancer to an agency

Launching an Agency on Upwork

Are you an Upwork freelancer and are curious about what it takes to launch an agency? Upwork is an excellent place for getting jobs for independent contractors and agencies, but there are some significant differences between working one way or another. You might need to consider some things before switching your freelance profile to an agency. For example, working as a freelancer is more accessible as it only requires you to verify your identity and link your payment account and are ready to go. On the other hand, with agencies, you need to build up a team and be in charge of paying your co-workers without Upwork’s mediation.

What is a non-agency freelancer on Upwork?

Non- agency Freelancers on Upwork are independent workers who handle all the jobs themselves. They are in charge of creating their personal profile, setting their hourly rates, creating their own portfolio, project catalog, etcetera. When it comes to applying for jobs, they send a proposal on their own terms and timelines. Non-agency freelancers are in complete charge of their earnings and withdrawing their funds.

What is an agency on Upwork?

An agency on Upwork is a group of freelancers who provide their services as a team. Upwork agency members can apply for projects, but the agency managers are responsible for handling all the contracts, editing the terms, accepting or declining job invites, and withdrawing proposals. When an agency member bids on behalf of the agency, the client can know it’s coming from an agency. And when a payment is released, the agency owner in charge of the banking account is responsible for withdrawing the funds and paying each agency member outside Upwork. Perhaps this is the most critical aspect to bear in mind if you’re launching an agency; you have to manage all of the incomes and payments to other agency members.

Freelancer vs agency

These are the main differences between working as a freelancer vs working as part of an agency on Upwork:


— Personal Profile —

— Personal Niches —

— Sets a unique hourly rate —

— Own portfolio —

— Personal Project Catalog —

— Free to apply for any job —

— In charge of incomes —

— Needs to verify identity —

— Personal connects balance —


— Agency collective profile —

— Agency catalog —

— Agency hourly rate range —

— Multiple member roles —

— Personal Project Catalog —

— Agency managers control proposals —

— May need to provide business documentation —

— Agency owner is responsible for paying other members —

What should I consider before converting to an agency?

If you’re serious about turning into an agency on Upwork, there are some vital aspects you might want to consider before making your decision:

1.- Define your niche

Is the niche you’re planning to exploit a good fit for agencies? It might be that your current freelance niche is better for working solo rather than working with a team. A good niche will get you more profits in the long term than working solo.

2.- Will it be profitable?

Can you earn more money working as an agency than as an independent freelancer? Remember, working as an agency means paying your team members, and, depending on your jurisdiction, you’ll need to pay certain taxes as a business entity.

3.- Think about the reasons for launching your agency

Although establishing an agency might seem like an exciting road, it’s not easy if you don’t have clear goals: List the reasons you consider turning into an agency the smart move.

4.- Contrast the reasons with facts

Try to define if such reasons are realistic according to your experience on Upwork. For example, it might be that one of your reasons is getting more jobs. Agencies don’t always get more jobs than independent freelancers. If that’s one of your reasons, it’d be best to perform market research and see if there are clients in your niche willing to work with agencies. You can also find some established agencies and see how they’re going.

5.- Can you offer something better?

As you probably know, when it comes to business and competition, a company’s success relies on the differentiator of its products and services—offering something that multiple competitors are already offering might be too risky for new agencies. Define if the services you’re planning to sell offer something unique. If you can’t find anything, you should innovate or perhaps change your niche.

6.- Who will you be working with?

To invite freelancers to join your agency, you must be in touch with them outside the platform. You should trust the people you’ll be working with, as Upwork won’t arbitrate any issues with payments or your team members. The agency owner will carry out all payments outside the platform without Upwork mediation.

7.- Define a method for applying

As with standard freelancer profiles, you can get jobs by applying for them and through invites from clients. You have to decide which members of your teams will be in charge of applying and handling the proposals. This can be agency managers or freelancers themselves.

How to create an agency account on Upwork?

If you have decided to create your agency on Upwork, follow these steps to complete your profile. Consider you’ll need to create a personal profile first before starting your agency:

Creating Agency Account

1.- Go to your account and click on “Settings” and “Contact info”.

2.- You’ll see an “Additional accounts” window. Click on “New Agency Account” to start creating your agency account.

3.- Type in the name of your agency.
4.- Click on “Continue”.

5.- After creating your account, you can start setting it up, building your profile, and adding members.

6.- Bear in mind that in order to add unlimited team members and get a reduced fee for your connects, you have to subscribe to the Agency Plus plan.

Need More Help?

At DigitalME, we’re committed to helping any freelancer willing to succeed on Upwork. Our CEO and founder, Ross Jenkins, a freelancer himself, has created a Facebook group to provide any help to freelancers like you. He also runs a mentoring program to train freelancers to become experts like him. Click on the following button and complete the form if you’re interested. Ross will get back to you as soon as possible.