I am posting this as a new thread because I do not want anybody to think it is about any particular new contractor.
When a new contractor signs up on Upwork, and he or she is cleary not prepared to be here, does that help or hurt Upwork?
Does that help clients, or actually make Upwork worse for them?
Does it help other contractors, or make things worse for them, or not really matter?
I'm not looking for any particular answer. I don't have any particular message. I don't propose that anything be done differently. I'm just wondering about this in a general sense.
We have all seen new contractors ask for help because they can't get their profiles approved, or because they can't find work here. Sometimes these newbies are great and it is clear they will be an asset to the community. But sometimes we see profiles that clearly indicate the would-be contractor isn't ready at all to be here. They don't understand the platform in even the most basic sense. They have no significant skills or knowledge to offer. They may be out-and-out scoundrels who simply copy other people's profiles.
A lot of us offer help, just because we're nice. Sometimes I see something so untenable that I say something that sounds rude. (It probably is rude. Sorry about that.)
And I just wonder... Do these people help in some way? Are they deleterious? Neutral in their impact?
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Great questions Preston. I don't have any specific answer to your questions because it will be a matter of guessing for me.
I will be following this thread to hear from other professionals what they think.
I got really lucky and clicked with a group of Elancers. I partied with them IRL for a weekend and we had a blast. Had it not been for them, I probably would have struggled more. I miss those girls so much!
This place is tough if you don't have the right skills. You could probably make a couple extra bucks a month if you don't have it, but to make a full time living is another deal. Sales, marketing, experience, understanding the market, being able to guide customers, collections, bidding appropriately, customer service, patience... so many skills are needed. The person who can't do even one of these things might struggle.
I don't like throwing duds at customers. It scares them away. How many customers have an awful experience and just leave? I would say it's more likely than someone who says "OK, I just hired the wrong guy and I'll try again." The bugs annoy me too because I think this really scares off customers too.
On top of that, people waste money with the duds and then ask you to give a discount.
You just get it or you don't. People with the skills will figure it out. If people are spending all of their connects in a month and they can't even get 1 job, they either adapt or fail. I don't think this place is for noobs even if you see tons of lowball bids. People who succeed have some type of experience in what they are selling.
I experienced a scenario a while ago where I was asked to fix what someone else had messed up, and the tone of the client was quite negative, as if he was blaming 'the company'.... think many clients have the mindset we all work FOR Upwork, and that if a freelancer makes a mess, the "Company...of which you are an employee" is to blame...and that is is therefore your job to fix what another 'employee' has messed up. No. I do not work FOR Upwork. Upwork is the platform I use to find jobs. Neither do I work FOR the client. I offer a service, which he can either accept or refuse. Ultimately, I work for myself. I am my own business of one, and I like it that way.
Negative impact. I see it like a singles bar. If you get a dude turning up looking in a right state, leering over all the ladies, drunk out of his head and the extent of his conversation is asking a lady if she's any good at cleaning and ironing, as those are the qualities he's looking for in a partner... then sure, that's the guy's fault, nobody else.
But if it gets to the point where that's happening quite frequently, then the singles club is going to get a bad reputation, word of mouth will get out and people will go elsewhere.
re: "The same applies to unprepared clients as well."
Okay, yes. I see that as a different topic, but it is related. Let me address this directly.
Clients SHOULD be prepared, but what it means for a client to be prepared is VERY different than what it means for a contractor to be prepared.
The main thing for a client to be prepared is that he needs to be ready to pay real money to contractors. That is the only real requirement that matters.
Ideally clients should understand stand that hiring cut-rate contractors rarely serves their business needs.
If a client does not know how to use Upwork very well, that is okay. Knowledgeable contractors can explain things. Or we can encourage clients to use client-friendly customer service.
One thing I object to is suggestions that clients must possess certain technical expertise in order to post jobs here. That is what contractors are for: to provide that expertise.
If a client lacks technical knowledge-how sufficient to write a descriptive job post, that does not mean he is a bad client. But it is very likely that a contractor must insist that this client ONLY USE AN HOURLY CONTRACT, and any time you spend communicating with the client, educating the client, you make sure you bill for that time.
But, no, a client does NOT need to know the difference between a WordPress theme and a PDF form in order to post a job. I have had great clients who know VERY LITTLE about anything computer-related, but they have a lot of money because they are experts in another field, and they are willing to pay a professional to help them out.
I agree with you Preston that clients don't know what to post and asking them to post specifics is pretty shortsighted.
Most people have no clue what to ask for. They just have an idea. That's why providers need experience before they can really be successful here. You need the right skill set to push back and guide the customer on how the process works. If they are professionals, they will understand that they need to take some direction.
Most nightmare clients who aren't willing to take guidance and criticism are those average WordPress blaaahgers sitting in their mom's basement being "Internet Marketers" peddling junk and are probably using their allowance to hire someone to build the next Facebook.