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Please stop asking me to skype!!

Active Member
Edward W Member Since: Apr 19, 2016
41 of 52

@Joachim M wrote:

@Edward W wrote:

God forbid someone would like a better understanding of your project goals and what you do in a more intimate setting than typing responses out.


Edward,

 

If the job description is clear enough there should be no need to use Skype. Especially as most don't want to talk on Skype but just use the chat feature. If people want to use chat, they can also use email. I've always found chat to be extremely time consuming.

 

With regards to the job description, I posted four jobs last year, 2 were a translation from German into Spanish, one was about repairing some scripts in a Joomla! website and one was the creation of a logo. For the two German>Spanish translations I also added the documents and a word count. This leaves no room for clarifying questions, especially as the two translators I hired didn't have any questions, just did the job. With the scripts I added the error message I was sent from the company hosting the website and said that I need someone speaking German. I wanted the freelancer to provide his application is German to make sure he masters the language, I also posted the job description in German. So why were bunch of freelancers asking me in English to Skype, bragging about their knowledge of Joomla! and telling me in their application that they most certainly can do the job, if I just explain to them via Skype what is written in the error message (it was in German).  Time wasters! With the logo I had one company in Pakistan asking me via Elance for some more details, they then prepared a proposal clearly explaining how they would tackle the job. No need to Skype, so why were a bunch of others pestering me to Skype?

 

As a freelancer I've also had clients already posting in the RFP that will do an interview via Skype. In the end, it always was a chat session. All they did was asking questions I had already answered in my proposal or that were answered by reading my profile. We are talking about jobs for 30-50 dollar and chat sessions that lasted for 30 minutes and more, more than the job was worth. The last client asking for a Skype interview - it's some time ago now - I told I had no problem with it provided we actually talk and don't chat. I made it very clear that if he just wanted to do a chat I'd charge the time. Alternatively he might ask his questions by email, I'd not charge for that. 

 

Edward, I'm sorry but with the low prices paid here, I have to work as efficiently as possible, Skype chats are quite the opposite of efficiency.


 

 

You do not have to work for pennies.

 

If that's what you desire to do, then so be it.

 

My issue is with clients who assume they've explained things so well, that they don't need to give the freelancer anymore clarification. Then have the audacity to get upset or agitated at a request to get a better understanding of how to effectively solve the client's problem.

 

You mean to tell me it's such an inconvience to want to actually help your client and understand the root of the issue? Too often do I come across a client who's looking for a logo, but we end up discovering that a logo is more like putting a band-aid over their leaking pipes and we have to go deeper than that and get to the root of the issue.

 

I think that's the problem with Upwork. Clients assume and believe they know exactly what's wrong but will not take the time to explore if that option truly solves their problem or not. The kind of designer I am with the values that I have, I cannot just push pixels around on command to satisfy a client for a month and then have them return because the problem has gotten worse. I like to make sure that if we're going to work on this project together that we solve the actual problem and not just run and put a band-aid on a gash with no stitches.

 

So please forgive any and all freelancers who care enough to want to dig a little deeper than, "Need logo for new business. Details only after you get the job," to truly help some of the more ungrateful clientele on this site. I get far too many anxious and timid potential clients who have been burned several times on this site because designers don't do their jobs. They go with the lowest common dominator for a price and then can't understand why the quality of the design is so poor.

 

You CAN just use the chat to talk. But more meaningful and purposeful conversation happens when you speak to one another. The dependability on not having to physically speak to each other is what I feel cripples the perception of quality with Upwork. You cannot get to the heart of someone's problem typing 140 characters or less to one another in a chat system and expect phenomenal results.

 

But carry on with the excuses and believing this is the way client-freelancer relationships are supposed to be. You forge your own success and results. If how you want to mark success as taking on pennies and not truly understanding your clients needs, by all means. But I'm going to work with those who are willing to have patience to work with me so we can solve what's really wrong.

Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
42 of 52

From start to finish - very well said, Edward!!

 

Your approach and heartfelt explanation summed up my attitude. I wonder if the fact we both charge $100+ per hour is a reflection of a shared client-centric attitude?  Smiley Wink

 

The words in red are mine -

 

"Clients assume and believe they know exactly what's wrong but will not take the time to explore if that option truly solves their problem or not. The kind of designer  writer I am with the values that I have, I cannot just push pixels  words  around on command to satisfy a client for a month and then have them return because the problem has gotten worse. I like to make sure that if we're going to work on this project together that we solve the actual problem and not just run and put a band-aid on a gash with no stitches."

Community Guru
Sandra T Member Since: Nov 26, 2014
43 of 52

Hi Wendy,

 

I hope you didn't mean to imply that freelancers with a lower hourly rate than yours or Edward's pay less attention to clients' needs. If so, that would be rather condescending?

 

------------

 

Hi Edward,

 

I agree with a lot in your post, but in Joachim's defence I'd like to add that it seems you two are discussing with different project scopes in mind.

 

From a certain workload upwards, I actually insist on Skype calls (same with personal meetings with local or phone calls with national clients). For me, there are many good reasons: Not only is such a conversation a good additional sales pitch (even if the client is already sold, to either extend the volume or to underline why what has been agreed so far is the necessary path to be on). I much agree that a lot of clients' presentations of what they think needs to be done are often wide open for interpretation or missing important elements that only the freelancer perceives as relevant as they are usually the expert participant in this dialogue. I don't even want to get started on interlingual dialogues as that's pretty much self-explanatory.

 

I think it's actually a freelancer's responsibility to detect discrepancies (and to be honest, I quite regularly question these abilities when I read posts by freelancers who complain about bad clients). Getting question marks out of the way also benefits the work process: I like to think that I know what I am doing, but reassurance on the what exactly, how, for whom and why can actually be quite vital.

 

I tend to stay away from clients who perceive the translator as just the translator. I pride myself in wanting to understand and get a good feel for a client's company, product and mission, so when a client gives me the impression that they don't find this necessary, I'm becoming more and more reluctant to actually take on the work.

Community Guru
Christy A Member Since: Dec 30, 2015
44 of 52

I agree with Sandra that different project types require different communication types.

 

As a project manager, it is imperative that I speak with my potential client before taking on the job.  The majority of the time, I'm being called in after the "building is on fire", meaning that the client's project has gone off the rails and is in serious trouble.  Clients can be reluctant to disclose the full status, either because they don't know what questions to ask or because they're panicked that everything they've been working toward is at risk and they don't want to acknowledge that.

 

A 30-minute Skype call is hugely beneficial for everyone.  I can sometimes reassure them that all is not yet lost and I can provide a solid plan for moving forward.  

Ace Contributor
April L Member Since: Jun 1, 2016
45 of 52

  

My issue is with clients who assume they've explained things so well, that they don't need to give the freelancer anymore clarification. Then have the audacity to get upset or agitated at a request to get a better understanding of how to effectively solve the client's problem.

 

You mean to tell me it's such an inconvience to want to actually help your client and understand the root of the issue? Too often do I come across a client who's looking for a logo, but we end up discovering that a logo is more like putting a band-aid over their leaking pipes and we have to go deeper than that and get to the root of the issue.

 

I think that's the problem with Upwork. Clients assume and believe they know exactly what's wrong but will not take the time to explore if that option truly solves their problem or not. The kind of designer I am with the values that I have, I cannot just push pixels around on command to satisfy a client for a month and then have them return because the problem has gotten worse. I like to make sure that if we're going to work on this project together that we solve the actual problem and not just run and put a band-aid on a gash with no stitches.

 

 

------


We were initially talking about small projects with clear instructions, and freelancers who ask to skype without even taking the time to read or mention the job in question. Or even say why they want to skype! 

The kind of freelancers I was refering too, are those just send messages saying 'Hello SIR, let's talk on SKYPE. Here is my ID".  Without even mentioning the job, or why they want to skype.

 

Wanting to Skype like that, on a small job (I am not talking about a logo design, or getting upset at a request for more information) is no reflection or anyones "values", apart from the desire to send the same message to as many clients and talk to them off of the platform.

Of course on a logo, branding, or whatever larger project you want to refer too, it is acceptable to want to disucss and ask questions. I don't think anyone dissagrees with that. 

But on any small projects, I see no problem with using the Upwork chat to discuss quickly and clearly. When I have needed help with a smaller project, I have always gone with those who don't ask (or add me automatically!!) for skype, and the projects have gone very smoothly. So clearly instructions were given well and there was no need to waste any time.

I am a client and a freelancer on here. As a freelancer I only take on projects that require a discussion, and an actual working relationship, but we have to recognize that this platform is also (mainly?) used for small projects on which the client just needs the freelancer to take direction on a small project.

Community Guru
Joachim M Member Since: Mar 23, 2015
46 of 52

Edward,

 

We are talking about different kinds of projects. Whilst I don't work for pennies the price level for translations is low on Upwork. I get twice that outside of Upwork and most of my business is off platform. 

 

Even with translations I get in touch with the client if what I'm supposed to translate doesn't make sense or is wrong. Most clients appreciate that, but Skype chats for that? Not necessary, especially considering that most of my clients live in a different time zone and business hours hardly overlap. I just had such a situation this week, client in Russia aiming at the German market and in his marketing leaflets talking about tax savings on taxes that don't exist anywhere in Europe and also showing that they haven't understood how VAT works. Yes I pointed this out to my client and they got in touch with their client in the US. Now they got the job of re-writing all the material and adapting it to the German and European market. Well, they handed the job down to me again. A Skype call (not chat) might even have made sense but not with my client in Russia but with their client in the US. BTW, the bottom feeders from Asia would have pointed this out to the client as they wouldn't have been aware of it. A situation also ocurring often with the small translations of Amazon listings for clients in China and elsewhere. 

Community Guru
Evelina H Member Since: Jan 29, 2015
47 of 52

In my case, which isn't translation, but design, I've decided to create a questionnaire. I know some designers on Upwork are already doing it, but can't it be applied to other job categories as well?

 

In this way, you take the time to think of the crucial questions before you met the client. So when you meet via Upwork (or not), instead of discussing first-time on Skype, you give the client the questionnaire. The questions are well-structured and carefully planned. When you read the answers, you will know what you're dealing with. No 'hum' or 'errrrr', or 'What do you mean?' etc. on Skype. Just straightforward questions.

 

In case something isn't clear when you receive the answers, you merely clarify on Skype for like 5-10mins.

 

You can be ready to start working after that. So far it's working like a charm for me. Sparing me so much time in asking the same questions over and over again. I'm also setting up a document (well-designed Smiley Happy so it's pleasing for the eye) to explain my overall work process and what type of clients I work with (and other things).

 

So, instead of talking about how I approach the job every time, I just hand the client this document. He reads it and in 5 mins he has an idea about me. Again, sentences are short, presentation clear and no time-wasting skype calls. I feel like a schizophrenic explaining myself over and over and over again.

 

In any case, like I said, it may not work for every type of job, but I think it's possible for any freelancer to prepare a few docs and use them for clients on Upwork. I know that most clients don't read (or it's just in minor occasions) our profile overviews (where I've briefly explained myself), so I can't possibly count on that. I need to make sure they are prepared before we discuss a contract.

Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
48 of 52

@ Evelina - Excellent suggestion.

 

I have used such a doc on numerous occasions and, depending on the circumstances, have found it invaluable.  Mamy of the designers / artists and web developers I know do the same; probably more so than writers.

 

 

Ace Contributor
April L Member Since: Jun 1, 2016
49 of 52

Yes, great idea Evelina! That comes across as a very professional and time-saving approach Smiley Happy 
Off to turn my question list in to a nice looking PDF!

Community Leader
Lindsey G Member Since: Jul 28, 2015
50 of 52

I don't ask for a client's Skype - that's weird. But I do let them know that I'm available for a consulting phone call or Skype call if it's relative. More often than not, the clients who were close to hiring me are the ones who request phone calls. It's important to know who you're working with if it's a large project or an ongoing project. So I don't mind it. But I never say, give me your skype.

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