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nahidrajbd
Community Member

Is freelancing really a dead-end job after age 35-40?

I am now 28 and I get so many question regarding the same issue mentioning future of freelancing. I want to hear your opinion. Specially from the senior members.

 

 

 

 

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apheiner
Community Member

A very valid question. Freelancing is most stable if you work for one company (staffing) with a fixed income. So if you see "freelancing" as "staffing" it should work.

Freelancing as interpreted by some on this platform is not sustainable, just pocket money. Some employers expect PhD level work to be done at twice the minimum wage (or less). Arguing that "that is capitalism" is like saying "slave labor is OK". Arguing "that's what they ask in India" is suggesting that cost of living in India are the same as those in Silicon Valley. 

So is freelancing sustainable: yes: you recruit short-term competence for which you do not have local resources. You pay them twice what you pay your own people, as freelancers can work at best 180-200 days a year (keep-up the competences, project acquisition). Freelancers also have employers-cost, healthcare, etc.

So it's largely up to the clients: either they want quality work and pay normal fees, or they don't care about quality and pay minimum wages or less

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27 REPLIES 27
prestonhunter
Community Member

I am not loving the Getty image.

 

Those folks at Getty are famously search-happy and litigious.

 

And why are you posting all these odd questions?

I am sorry preston. I thought these threats are common question to discuss. It helps me to keep myself out of stress during work.

Frankly what is all this "I get many questions" and "in my workshops" stuff?

 

Are you in some way "tutoring" others about freelancing? Based on what qualifications?


And yeah, stealing Getty images is rarely never a good idea.

 

I am active doing some volunteery works and I attend workshop as speaker. I have audience and I get questions based on my work areas, basically as freelancer. I am working as freelancer here for a long time and I encourage young talented people to get their skill developed to be on freelance marketplace.

 

I am not sure why you both the moderators are angry with the image I've attached. I just searched on google about old people using laptop and got this image. This image came from getty image website and I thought that would be generous to mention their name as credit.

 

I thought you would make some comment based on your freelance expereinces. I was just looking for some comments, but I am getting some hate replies from direct moderators. This is awkward.

You are not getting "hate" replies from moderators, you are getting responses from fellow freelancers. And Getty Images indeed autosearch their images and go after people who use them without permission and payment VERY hard.

 

Ooops! Learned new thing about gettyimage. Thanks for the advise. 

Nahid,

 

I think life and freelancing begin after 40. I can testify to that! ๐Ÿ™‚

 


@Nichola L wrote:

 

 

I think life and freelancing begin after 40. I can testify to that! ๐Ÿ™‚

 


 Nope....It begins after 66 it is fun then. 

actually, you learned something about copyright laws. 

Please don't be naive. 


@Petra R wrote:

Frankly what is all this "I get many questions"

 


It's a contest. With the other guy from Egypt. Whoever gets the Guru tag first gets free drinks from the other guy.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless
apheiner
Community Member

A very valid question. Freelancing is most stable if you work for one company (staffing) with a fixed income. So if you see "freelancing" as "staffing" it should work.

Freelancing as interpreted by some on this platform is not sustainable, just pocket money. Some employers expect PhD level work to be done at twice the minimum wage (or less). Arguing that "that is capitalism" is like saying "slave labor is OK". Arguing "that's what they ask in India" is suggesting that cost of living in India are the same as those in Silicon Valley. 

So is freelancing sustainable: yes: you recruit short-term competence for which you do not have local resources. You pay them twice what you pay your own people, as freelancers can work at best 180-200 days a year (keep-up the competences, project acquisition). Freelancers also have employers-cost, healthcare, etc.

So it's largely up to the clients: either they want quality work and pay normal fees, or they don't care about quality and pay minimum wages or less

petra_r
Community Member


Andreas H wrote: freelancers can work at best 180-200 days a year

 HAHAHAHAHAHA ๐Ÿ˜„ ๐Ÿ˜„

 

Where do you get that hilarious idea from?

 

 

 

re: "freelancers can work at best 180-200 days a year"

 

I don't doubt that this is the norm in your experience, but freelancing in general and Upwork specifically include many types of freelance work and many types of freelancers who aren't part of your particular niche.

 

I imagine that many freelancers would not feel your figures reflect their experiences.

apheiner
Community Member

@Petra: I was under the, apparently false, impression that we have a discussion here on arguments, rather than yelling contest. If you go to any staffing company, or company that uses staffing, they will tell you that they calculate 200 chargeable days per year. Some example math using OECD data

 

US: 1780 hours/year ~200 days/year

UK: 1676 hours/year: ~200 days/year

Netherlands: 1430  hours/year ~ 180  days/year

So the difference is in chargeable hours/day, not how many hours you work

 

 

As said, we're not even talking about job acquisition time, and time a freelancer needs to stay on top of his/her game


@Andreas H wrote:

@Petra: I was under the, apparently false, impression that we have a discussion here on arguments, rather than yelling contest. If you go to any staffing company, or company that uses staffing, they will tell you that they calculate 200 chargeable days per year. Some example math using OECD data

 

US: 1780 hours/year ~200 days/year

UK: 1676 hours/year: ~200 days/year

Netherlands: 1430  hours/year ~ 180  days/year

So the difference is in chargeable hours/day, not how many hours you work

 

 

As said, we're not even talking about job acquisition time, and time a freelancer needs to stay on top of his/her game


 Upwork is not a staffing company, so your example is irrelevant. 

 

However, I am sure that there freelancers here (and elsewhere) who only work 200 days out of every 365, and for two possible reasons-

 

1) They earn enough so that they do not have to work every day

2) They are lazy, and are therefore not interested in working every day

 

petra_r
Community Member


@Reinier B wrote:

However, I am sure that there freelancers here (and elsewhere) who only work 200 days out of every 365, and for two possible reasons-

 

1) They earn enough so that they do not have to work every day

2) They are lazy, and are therefore not interested in working every day

 


 The other thing with a platform like this is the fact that once you have gained traction, aquisition time can drop to very little.

 

The last time I "spent" a connect was in late November last year. No aquisition needed.

 

@Reinier: Last attempt to not start a yelling (insulting) contest.

I agree, Upwork is not a staffing company; it is a matching platform where people offer expertise, and people who need expertise. AirBnB or Uber for competences. 

A company that needs short-term expertise, or long-term competence outside their focus area, goes to an official consultancy. Both companies know that they will a project equivalent to approx. 200 days on chargeable hours. The profit/loss is in what the two companies agree on how many hours the project takes, and the hourly rates.  

In my opinion that should be also the attitude of clients you work with. Pay decent rates; you create a good working relation. In that case the freelancer sees no problem in going the extra mile in a project, and would love to do projects again with you. If you pay lousy you will not create loyalty; more likely, the freelancer will jump ship before completion of the project, or deliver low-quality work (stop working on a project is allowed, see the fine print of Upwork). Something like an Uber driver who throws out the passenger if up front het tells you he will not give a tip.  Don't expect gold if you pay for copper

 

 

Finally, stating that feelancers in your category 2. are lazy does not contribute to this discussion at all. The original question was: can you earn enough to make a reasonably comfortable living. Let's focus on that.

petra_r
Community Member


Andreas H wrote: The original question was: can you earn enough to make a reasonably comfortable living. Let's focus on that.

 The answer is "Many people can. Most can not."

 

 

And to answer your original question - I did not start freelancing until I was over 50.  I am able to work as much or as little as I want.

reinierb
Community Member


@Petra R wrote:

Andreas H wrote: The original question was: can you earn enough to make a reasonably comfortable living. Let's focus on that.

 The answer is "Many people can. Most can not."

 

And I agree with that. 

 

 


 


Andreas H wrote: 

 

Finally, stating that feelancers in your category 2. are lazy does not contribute to this discussion at all. The original question was: can you earn enough to make a reasonably comfortable living. Let's focus on that.


It certainly contributes to the discussion in my view. It's a realistic assessment. How many threads have we all seen that complain about few or no conversions on proposals posted by people who are clearly not good at what they say they can do or aren't making much of an effort? My answer: too many to count. Those folks are never going to make a comfortable living. Hence the pertinence. 


@Melissa T wrote:

Andreas H wrote: 

 

Finally, stating that feelancers in your category 2. are lazy does not contribute to this discussion at all. The original question was: can you earn enough to make a reasonably comfortable living. Let's focus on that.


It certainly contributes to the discussion in my view. It's a realistic assessment. How many threads have we all seen that complain about few or no conversions on proposals posted by people who are clearly not good at what they say they can do or aren't making much of an effort? My answer: too many to count. Those folks are never going to make a comfortable living. Hence the pertinence. 


 There is also nothing wrong with being "lazy."

 

If you get to the point where you can make more than enough money working less hours, why not take advantage of that? "Lazy" is not a bad thing. Having the chance to be "lazy" and still live well is a proof of success, not failure.

Work smarter and more profitably. Working "more" is not necessarily the way forward. Working "smarter" is.

 

Andreas has never worked on this platform, so he doesn't understand how it works and what is and / or isn't working here.

 

 

 

 

 


@Petra R wrote:

@Melissa T wrote:

Andreas H wrote: 

 

Finally, stating that feelancers in your category 2. are lazy does not contribute to this discussion at all. The original question was: can you earn enough to make a reasonably comfortable living. Let's focus on that.


It certainly contributes to the discussion in my view. It's a realistic assessment. How many threads have we all seen that complain about few or no conversions on proposals posted by people who are clearly not good at what they say they can do or aren't making much of an effort? My answer: too many to count. Those folks are never going to make a comfortable living. Hence the pertinence. 


 There is also nothing wrong with being "lazy."

 

If you get to the point where you can make more than enough money working less hours, why not take advantage of that? "Lazy" is not a bad thing. Having the chance to be "lazy" and still live well is a proof of success, not failure.

Work smarter and more profitably. Working "more" is not necessarily the way forward. Working "smarter" is.

 

Andreas has never worked on this platform, so he doesn't understand how it works and what is and / or isn't working here.


Totally true - but those aren't the people who tend to ask the questions about why they're not landing work (the ones I was referring to). Working smarter is... well, smart. Working more doesn't always constitute earning more. I work less when I can afford to and feel great about it. 

 

I don't take issue with Andreas' newness. But, dismissing out of hand someone else's contribution doesn't a good contribution make. 

@Melissa, Petra

 

Maybe some background helps understanding my position

No, I've never worked on this platform, but have done plenty of other high-tech jobs outside a regular employer-employee relation. My input to the discussion was based on the experience that I had when asking for a normal hourly rate for the type of work asked ($118/h). The rate was based on the average salary of an average employee for that position in that area of the US.

When invited to apply I gave more info, including (on my initiative) some proof of competence in the area they were interested in. I ended up in the top 3 for the position, but received the comment that other candidates had an average quote of 30USD. Based on that, and the fact I was new on the platform, I decided to halve my rate (60$/h), even though the client was a 7-year old, well-managed and profitable company within the space I applied for. I did not receive a reaction to that yet.

 

Regarding leads and conversion rates: I'm on the platform since March and based on profile, received some 8-10 invitations to apply. I always ask details about the job, and make an assessment if their project and my competences are a good match. I decline the invitation if I believe I could not provide sufficient bang for their buck.

So far my experiences with this platform. I do an assessment whether I'm a good match or not (essential in high-tech fields like AI and Natural Language Processing); the minimum you could expect is a decent hourly rate. No more than professional courtesy of client and freelancer

@Nidal, if you are writing SEO-driven "artikuls" or doing "Gugull Surschez" at three dollars an hour, you cannot make a living freelancing. On the other hand, entrepreneurism is the surest route to upward mobility. The key is finding a niche you can serve at a living wage. That takes time to find, understand the needs, and develop a reputation.

 

Little of my income is derived from UW and another board. Most comes from private clients who run their own companies and use me as a sounding board. I'm never going to be top-rated on an internet board because I was born without the give-a-crap gene. I only respond to job posts that sound interesting, and frrom which I can learn something.

 

@Reiner, @Andreas,

 

When I did freelancing full-time, I worked about six and a half days a week, or about 3000 hours a year. Ten percent of that time was devoted to professional development, ten percent to reputation-building (writing professional papers, speaking at conferences), five percent to administrative stuff, five percent to Board of Drectors/Advisers meetings, and thirty percent to targeting, qualifying and selling. I had 1,200 hours a year available for billed work.

Thanks bill. You explained it well.

@Bill,

 

1200 billable hours sounds familiar. Working in academia or industrial research is'n that different: 1700 billable hours, double the amount of effort. Key to my argument was that you can expect that clients pay decent per billable hour, otherwise you cannot survive on 1200 billable hours

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