How Small to Large-Sized Businesses Use Upwork

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Upwork provides many ways for businesses to get projects done using freelance help. On Upwork, you choose the skills you need, when you need them, and for how long. It may be a quick turnaround project due the same day or a complex project that lasts for months.

For ideas of what’s possible, see how these businesses use Upwork.

Start small then build a go-to team

Many businesses start off with a single freelancer on a short-term task, then build up a bench of experts they can call on from time to time for other projects companywide. That’s what Holly Cardew, CEO at Pixc, did to scale her business. Cardew runs a tech company with employees worldwide, so she was accustomed to working with a distributed team. She uses Upwork to scale internal growth by engaging virtual assistants, accountants, lawyers, bookkeepers, content writers and anyone else she needs.

“If I didn’t have Upwork, I think my business would be in a very different position,” says Cardew because she’d have to do the work herself, or wait until the company could hire another employee. “[With Upwork] I can hire anyone, anywhere in the world, whenever I want to, which allows me to grow the business exactly how I want to do it.”

Got workers that should be classified as employees? Stay compliant and gain flexibility with Upwork Payroll.

See how Pixc uses freelancers to grow her business

Work with greater speed and sophistication

Some businesses remain competitive by pushing to produce faster and innovate better. But rapidly-evolving technology and increased global competition can make this more challenging. That’s why many Fortune 500s like General Electric (GE) turn to an agile workforce.

GE serves customers in over 100 countries and provides products ranging from aircraft engines to financial services. To continue providing top-level service and solutions, the company created GE GENIUSLINK™ for employees to quickly find qualified talent for its huge variety of projects. Then the company partnered with Upwork to multiply its talent network by 3X.

The connection to a vast workforce provides teams such agility that GE GENIUSLINK raised productivity and turn projects around 50% faster. In one project, employees contracted a team of PhDs and statisticians who helped a company uncover $800 million in opportunities. Then the specialists used predictive modeling to increase the sales department’s conversion rate by 17%.

Although your business may not need to create a talent network at the scale of GE GENIUSLINK, it’s clear that when teams have nimble access to all the skills they need, it benefits the company’s bottom line and the clients it serves.

Quickly scale teams up and down

Freelancers provide a responsive way to meet changing workloads. Whether you need one person, or in the case of Linguistix Tank, hundreds.

Linguistix Tank provides linguistics services to artificial intelligence (AI) companies worldwide. Depending on a client’s contract, the company may engage hundreds of freelancers at a time in up to 70 languages. Projects last a few days to a few months, so the company must be able to connect with available and skilled talent quickly and know they’re dependable.


Linguistix Tank doesn’t just rely on Upwork for its marketplace, but also its technology. The staff saves hours of admin time each month by using Upwork’s platform to efficiently track project milestones and pay talent worldwide.

Complete longer-term and complex projects

If you have a project that will take longer to complete, you need talent you can count on. And yes, freelancers can help with longer-term projects too. Zendesk is headquartered in San Francisco with over 1,000 employees located worldwide. When Jason Smale, product strategy director at Zendesk, sought to build an engineering team in the Philippines, he knew the first two hires were the most critical because they will spend months establishing then building out the new team in Manilla.

But Zendesk didn’t have a Manilla-based recruiter to find and vet local talent, so Smale used Upwork Pro to help source top developers for them to select. Smale says one freelance developer, Jose, is “the first engineer we hired and one of the best engineers we’ve ever had.” Jose has been with Zendesk for six months and in addition to his engineering work, he helps interview all freelancers to make sure the company contracts top quality developers.

By using Upwork Pro to connect with skilled and dedicated talent, Smale created an engineering team over 7,000 miles away without ever having to get on a plane.

See how Zendesk built out a reliable engineering team across the globe

Raise output and optimize productivity

Many businesses engage freelancers to increase productivity. But this isn’t just what the talent delivers, it’s also how employees are freed to focus on more strategic tasks.

CompuVision has a one-person marketing team that produces like a team of 12. Cara Bedford, director of marketing, does this solely by utilizing freelancers through Upwork. She created a talent bench of skilled professionals that can deliver projects quickly and produce at a level that isn’t always possible with the available local talent. Bedford’s strategy not only multiplies the department’s output, but it also saves $.70 on every marketing dollar.


With such results, other functions companywide are following her example. Employees coined the phrase, “What can I Upwork?” and ask it of themselves regularly. Doing so ensures they spend their time working on what they do best and leave the rest to freelance professionals.

When deciding how your business can use Upwork, don’t limit yourself to one-off tasks. Brainstorm with your team all the ways you can drive sales and growth with freelancers. You may be surprised by what you can Upwork.

Upwork is a freelancing website where businesses of all sizes can find talented independent professionals across multiple disciplines and categories. Ready to let freelance experts help you get more done? Start today!

Brenda Do

by - Copywriter

Brenda is a direct-response copywriter who loves sales. She is the president of BL Copywriting, LLC and enjoys helping companies increase revenue by communicating with… more