The Upwork Affiliate Program: Payout Percentages, How to Apply (2023)

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Rejoice Upwork fans! Upwork, the world’s largest freelance marketplace, finally has an affiliate program!

They quietly launched the program in early 2022 followed by a formal announcement just a few weeks later.

The formal announcement was made via an email campaign in affiliation with PartnerCentric.

So what does this mean for would-be affiliate partners?

Well, now Upwork fans and promoters can earn a financial incentive for bringing new clients to the platform.

That’s right, approved Upwork affiliate partners will earn a percentage of a new client’s first spend on the world’s most famous talent solutions marketplace. And here’s the best news – the earning potential is pretty decent.

Want to learn more? Keep scrolling reader, keep scrolling.

Read Also: Can you make good money on Upwork? How I made $600,000 in 5 years

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woman wonders if upwork has an affiliate program
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Does Upwork have an affiliate program?

Yes! Upwork now has an affiliate program.

The program is hosted by (formerly Impact Radius). is the self-touted world’s leading partnership management plan.

Here’s how it works.

Approved Upwork affiliate partners will be able to promote the platform in hopes of referring new client signups in exchange for a commission.

The commission will be based on the client’s first spend on the platform. And Project Catalog and the Talent Marketplace both equally qualify.

But there is a catch.

You can only earn money on new clients you bring to Upwork, not new freelancers.

You see, Upwork has never had an issue with attracting new freelancers as far as user growth is concerned. But they’ve always had a bit of a client acquisition problem. Their freelancer-to-client ratio, traditionally, has been somewhat poor.

This is why they are now utilizing their best resources – their biggest fans – to bring more clients to the table.

woman uses a calculator to figure out how much money she will make as an upwork affiliate
(photo by ViDI Studio/

What is the Upwork affiliate program payout percentage?

At the time of this writing, the payout percentage is 70% of a new client’s first contract spend. The referral period – or cookie duration – lasts up to 30 days. And the payout schedule is one month and three days after the end of the month.

There’s also an important caveat – there is a payout limit of $150 per referral. So don’t get excited if your new referral spends $100k right out of the gate, you’re still going to top out at $150.

See the stats at a glimpse in the table below.

Tracker TypeOnline Sale
Cookie Duration30 days
Payout Schedule1 month and 3 days after the end of the month
Payout Limit$150 per order

So exactly how much would the client need to spend in order for you to get the full $150 payout? For those of you who don’t like math, you’re in luck – I made another table!

That’s right, this article contains not one table, but two! You’re welcome.

Customer SpendUpwork Payout

Payouts can be made by either electronic funds transfer (EFT) or PayPal.

Approved affiliate partners will gain access to brand creatives including ads, images, logos, banners, text links, promo codes and online tracking links.

Affiliates will also have access to Upwork’s dedicated affiliate team.

woman applies for the upwork affiliate program online
(photo by ViDI Studio/

How to apply for the Upwork affiliate program

You can apply for the Upwork affiliate program here. An account is required to participate.

Influencers with large social media followings and blogs with large traffic volumes have a higher chance of being approved. And it may take a few days for your application to be processed.

Common reasons for declined applications include:

  • Applicant is not a content-focused publisher
  • Website traffic levels are too low
  • Website contains inappropriate content
  • Applicant’s brand is not a good fit
  • Website is inaccessible or not live at the time of application

For reference, I was accepted into the program with over 4,000 Twitter followers and a website that produces 35,000 pageviews – or 22,000 unique visitors per month. But there are no specific traffic or follower requirements. Program acceptance is entirely up to the Upwork affiliate marketing manager’s discretion.

woman gestures: "call me"
(photo by ViDI Studio/

What is an affiliate marketing program?

Affiliate marketing is when a company or person pays a commission to another person or company in exchange for clicks, sales or referrals.

Commissions can be either flat rate or percentage based.

Typical mediums used by publishers and influencers include blogging, YouTube, social media (like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok) and landing pages.

The most successful affiliate marketers usually have a strong understanding of social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), digital marketing, conversion funnels, data science and channel optimization.

Read Also: Is it worth it to start a blog? How we made $250k in 2 years

woman is excited about upwork
(photo by ViDI Studio/

About Upwork

Upwork refers to itself as the world’s work marketplace.

Here’s what you should know about the company.

First, Upwork is the result of the 2013 merger of freelance companies Elance and oDesk. In 2015, the new eLance-oDesk venture rebranded and assumed a new name – Upwork.

Second, Upwork says they are a remote-first organization. And they frequently boast about their “exciting remote work opportunities for a global community of professionals”. 

The company has physical offices in San Francisco, California and Chicago, Illinois.

But Upwork practices what they preach.

They support the hiring of corporate full-time employees. And they currently employ full-time and part-time personnel from all over the United States and across the globe.

Finally, it’s important to highlight Upwork’s goals.

Upwork’s mission is to create economic opportunities so people have better lives.

Upwork wants its platform to be a place where businesses of all sizes can meet skilled independent professionals.

They are also a publicly traded company. Their stock symbol, in case you’re curious, is UPWK.

Are you a current Upwork freelancer or client? What do you think about the Upwork affiliate program? Do you plan on applying for this exciting opportunity? Let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to connect with me on social media using the links below.

PS: If you’ve found any of the above advice helpful, and you feel so inclined – buy me a coffee (leave a tip) on Kofi!

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Morgan Overholt

Morgan has almost 20 years of professional experience in graphic design and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Her successful freelance business has been featured in articles that have appeared on, Refinery29 and Business Insider Prime.

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