Why Freelancers Are Using More Connects to Bid on Upwork?

In the ever-evolving landscape of the gig economy, Upwork has emerged as a prominent platform for freelancers to connect with clients and secure a wide range of projects, including website development. For years, freelancers on Upwork relied on a system where they submitted proposals for projects using “Connects,” a form of virtual currency allocated to each freelancer on a monthly basis. However, a significant shift has occurred in recent times, with freelancers now using more Connects than ever before to bid on Upwork projects. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the reasons behind this trend and explore how it is reshaping the freelancing experience on Upwork.

The Connects System: A Brief Overview

Before we dive into the surge in Connects usage, let’s start by understanding what Connects are and how they function on Upwork.

Connects are essentially tokens that freelancers use to submit proposals for jobs posted by clients. Each job posting on Upwork requires a certain number of Connects to apply. Freelancers are typically provided with a specific number of free Connects each month as part of their membership or as a result of purchasing additional Connects.

In the past, Upwork used a different system where freelancers could apply for jobs without any Connects, and this led to a flood of applications for some projects, making it challenging for clients to find the right talent. To address this issue and enhance the quality of job applications, Upwork introduced the Connects system, which introduced a cost to applying for jobs and encouraged freelancers to be more selective in their applications.

The Shift Towards Increased Connects Usage

Over the last few years, freelancers on Upwork have noticeably increased their usage of Connects. There are several key factors driving this shift:

  1. Increased Competition: Upwork has experienced exponential growth in the number of freelancers joining the platform. This heightened competition means that freelancers often need to apply for more jobs to secure projects, leading to higher Connects consumption.

  2. Reduced Free Connects: Upwork has made adjustments to its membership plans, which have resulted in a decrease in the number of free Connects allocated to freelancers. As a result, freelancers are compelled to purchase additional Connects or be more strategic in their applications.

  3. Premium Job Listings: Clients now have the option to feature their job listings as “Premium.” These Premium listings often require more Connects to apply to, enticing freelancers to invest in Connects for a chance at higher-paying projects.

  4. Project Categories: Some project categories on Upwork, particularly those with higher earning potential, demand a higher number of Connects to apply for. This has led many freelancers to allocate more Connects to these categories in pursuit of better opportunities.

The Impact on Freelancers

As freelancers on Upwork use more Connects to bid on projects, the dynamics of the platform are evolving, and this has both positive and negative implications for freelancers:

Positive Impacts
  1. Higher Quality Proposals: With the cost associated with applying for jobs, freelancers are generally more cautious and selective in choosing the projects they apply to. This results in more thoughtful and tailored proposals, which can increase their chances of landing the job.

  2. Reduced Competition: Higher Connects usage has deterred less committed freelancers from applying to multiple jobs simultaneously. This has created a more level playing field for serious professionals who are genuinely interested in the projects they apply for.

  3. Enhanced Earning Potential: While investing in Connects may seem like an additional expense, it can lead to better-paying projects. Freelancers who target premium listings or projects in high-demand categories can significantly boost their earnings.
Negative Impacts
  • Financial Burden: For freelancers who heavily rely on Upwork for their income, the purchase of additional Connects can become a financial burden, particularly if they need to apply for numerous jobs regularly.

  • Pressure to Bid Aggressively: The increased competition and Connects expenditure can put pressure on freelancers to submit low bids to stand out, potentially leading to a race to the bottom in terms of pricing.

  • Unequal Opportunities: The Connects system can disproportionately affect new freelancers or those with limited resources, making it challenging for them to compete with established professionals who can afford to purchase more Connects.

Strategies for Maximizing Connects

Given the evolving landscape of Upwork, freelancers need to adopt strategies to maximize their Connects usage effectively:

  1. Optimize Your Profile: A well-optimized profile with a professional photo, relevant skills, and a compelling bio can increase your chances of being invited to projects, reducing the need for excessive Connects usage.

  2. Selective Applications: Prioritize projects that align with your skills and experience to ensure that your Connects are invested in opportunities you are well-suited for.

  3. Strategic Purchases: If you choose to buy additional Connects, do so strategically for projects with higher earning potential or those that match your expertise exceptionally well.

  4. Networking: Building relationships with clients and fellow freelancers can lead to direct invitations to projects, saving you Connects.



The shift towards increased Connects usage by freelancers on Upwork reflects the evolving nature of the gig economy and the platform’s response to the growing demand. While this trend presents both advantages and challenges for freelancers, those who adapt by implementing effective strategies can continue to thrive in this competitive landscape. Balancing Connects expenditure with smart bidding practices and portfolio enhancement will be key to success in securing valuable projects on Upwork.


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