Yesterday at an airport my gate was very far from all services except one food and drink vendor. I noted Fiji Water, a wide selection of wines in small bottles, every California Hippie frou-frou salad one could imagine, and perhaps 40 or so assorted sandwiches. I consulted the menu and asked for a ham and cheese sandwich. "We always run out of those first thing every morning."
I think there's a business opportunity in there, and sure wish I could figure out what it is.
Of course I know the opportunity; it's just too small and I'm busy. Upwork offers freelancers the chance to open agencies. There is a connection. At least twice a day I find a business improvement opportunity and do nothing. I have an agency, and could share these daily with the members, but again most are too small or don't fit the group profile.
There is nothing prohibiting a new freelancer from opening an agency, inviting members, discussing a dozen new opportunities a day, and submitting unsolicited proposals. Bring the new client onto Upwork so that you have a structure, communications and payment support, and get to work.
Post your successes in the community, welcoming new freelancer applicants with other skills or abilities. This isn't rocket science. The advantage offered by Upwork is access through the community to a wide variety of skills and knowledge, getting a structure, and communications and payment support as part of the package. Upwork provides your "business website," an e-commerce services platform, and everything you need except your brain and internet access to start a business.
I did this on my own starting about twenty years ago, without an "Upwork" platform for support. I'd have grown several times faster had I had that available. Today I do not use Upwork much, more than 90% of my income is offline as are most of my freelancers. Upwork isn't just a source of leads and talent, and freelancers complain frequently about the quality of clients. Upwork offers, intended or otherwise, an incubator and structure for entrepreneurs.
Don't worry about the fees. 20% of revenue for a structure, website, communications and payment capability isn't outrageous. When you bring your own client, you don't even pay that. I'm surprised there aren't 500 new agencies starting every day.