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williamtcooper
Community Member

READ Immediately - Upwork's Challenges SOLVED

The world economy has been slowing since the summer of 2022. Businesses are more challenged with their budgets. To get hired, you must offer incredible value and service.

 

There are many challenges that Freelancers are facing; however, there are some workarounds and best practices that will be helpful.

 

To increase conversion rates, I stopped giving free interviews in November 2022 and now charge $200 for a one hour Marketing Strategy Consult. 30 clients have signed up since and many have converted into clients ($4,000 to $10,000 each). When I charged for a Marketing Strategy Consult versus a chat / interview, the clients came to the call prepared to do business.

 

Following the TIPS posted in my prior posts, my profile received 83 invites in January 2023 so far. Most Upwork profiles are not optimized using the Best Practices outlined in my prior posts.

 

I did a Client Job post recently and received 90 proposals in 8 hours. 65% have earned $0 income yet the Upwork algo placed many as Best Matches for me (they were not) and the top 3 Boosted were $0 Earned. Consider Boosting a post if you are an exact match and can bid enough to stay in the top 3 spots for some period of time. Otherwise, use the standard connect fee and hope you are a Best Match.

 

On November 30th, 2022, worldwide AI changed how companies will conduct business. A 200 page novel can be written over the weekend, whereas before that was a 6 month project that was billable for $5,000 to $10,000. I saw one Job post that wanted to pay $40 for this work because of the new AI tool. At $3 to $5 per hour in some countries, $40 for a poor to average written novel might be acceptable to some clients. The same concept is playing out with programmers, law, video, graphics, writers, social media, financial, etc.

 

The changes are not only happening on Upwork, but across the Net. As a micro-influencer on LinkedIn with 36,000 business owner connections, it is obvious by the interactions that most companies are experiencing the same issues. This is a universal business issue โ€“ too many posts keep blaming Upwork. This is NOT an Upwork problem.

 

PLEASE INCREASE YOUR SKILL SET NOW!

 

In my opinion, as the year progresses, many entry and intermediate jobs will be in less demand. However, demand for experts will skyrocket as they are needed to bring everything together for Clients. For example, I had a Consult that required me to have combined expert knowledge of Economics, Computer Science, Marketing, Sales, and AI just to add value to the call. That is my background, however itโ€™s extremely rare that all these skills are tapped for one Consult.

 

This is a lot of information to take in. Do your best every day and continue to increase your skill set. ENCOURAGE one other. UPLIFT and HELP one another. Give positive comments and questions to this post. We are all going through these changes together regardless of our profession or location on this planet.

 

 

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35 REPLIES 35
25005175
Community Member

I did a Client Job post recently and received 90 proposals in 8 hours. 65% have earned $0 income yet the Upwork algo placed many as Best Matches for the me (they were not) and the top 3 Boosted were $0 Earned.


Wow. Were any of those "Best Matches" even a good match?

Hey Jonathan,

 

Yes some of the "Best Match" had some revenues and some were more experienced freelancers. However, some of the truly best freelancers were not Boosted or marked as a "Best Match", but were lost in a sea of proposals.

 

This goes back to the TIPS in my other Post about only Boosting or even applying for a Job unless there is a VERY exact match of Skills. A very exact Skill match has a higher probablity of being labeled as a "Best Match" which does stand out in the Client feed - even better than a Boost in my opinion.

 

It's going to be interesting how many of the freelancers that wanted to know what has been happening response to this post that gives the exact information.

 

 


William T C wrote:

This goes back to the TIPS in my other Post about only Boosting or even applying for a Job unless there is a VERY exact match of Skills. A very exact Skill match has a higher probablity of being labeled as a "Best Match" which does stand out in the Client feed - even better than a Boost in my opinion.


I doubt that freelancers can do anything about whether Upwork marks them a "best match" or not. Your post only demonstrates that Upwork's algorithms are useless and that they should stop interfering with the selection process by promoting some freelancers over others - they're not helping clients at all, probably just confusing and annoying them.

 

My niche is presentations, which is a service that I've been providing on Elance/Upwork for over 20 years. I've successfully completed hundreds of projects, been expert-vetted, skill-certified, accepted to the Talent Scout programme (along with numerous other talent clouds for Enterprise clients) and have always had a high JSS. I only ever bid on jobs that exactly match my skillset and I'm constantly looking for ways to upgrade my services. Yet, Upwork will still mark people with bad profiles and zero experience as a "best match" and have them come up first in the search results, no matter what I do. I've done searches where my profile comes out behind people who don't even provide presentation services in the first place, yet are marked "top 10% of people who provide this skill," whereas I'm not even ranked in the top 50%. (On the other hand, I've seen my own profile marked "top 10% of admin services" when I have never provided admin services!) I've opened several support tickets about it, which have been ignored (I'm not asking them to give me jobs, I only want to know why my profile is misclassified). So, you should be telling Upwork to fix their useless algorithms instead of just telling people to fix their profiles. There's nothing we can do if Upwork is determined to shoot us in the foot by burying our profiles and proposals.

 

Can I also point out that, since you're located in the U.S., you're seeing a much better quality of client and have access to a greater number of job posts than those of us outside the U.S? 74% of Upwork's clients are Americans, and I strongly suspect that most of the high quality ones are hiring American freelancers and mainly opening up their jobs to "overseas" freelancers if they're looking for cheap rates. So, let's not pretend that Upwork is a level playing field, because it's not. My business took a massive hit when they introduced the US-only job market; before that happened, at least 2/3 of my clients were Americans; after that, it dropped to more like 20%. 

 

Now, I don't want to seem entirely whiny and unappreciative, so let me say that I'm grateful for the opportunities and clients that Upwork has provided me, and if I can even get one new client per month, it's worth sticking around, but I feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle which is becoming worse and worse. I don't expect Upwork to care about me or whether I stay or go, but I feel like they ought to care more about whether clients are able to find the best freelancers or not. Lately it seems like they only care about cramming more and more freelancers onto this website so that they can sell connects.

Facing the same situation on job applications, thank you for posting it!

Abhimanyu,

 

You are most welcome and thanks for the kind words! If you have any questions, let me know. Have a great day!


William T C wrote:

Abhimanyu,

 

You are most welcome and thanks for the kind words! If you have any questions, let me know. Have a great day!


Here's a tip for you, William. If you look at where it says "in response to" beside the photo of the person who's posting, you can see that Abhimanyu was responding to my post, not yours. If you have any questions, let me know. Have a great day!

 

 

There is something anamolous about the algorithm. 

James,

 

Anamolous - standard from the norm of what freelancers and clients would expect. However, the programmers have coded the algo to work the way it's working whether we agree with them or not.

 

Following the information in the posts I have given will allow the open minded Community freelancers to use the best strategies available relative to the other freelancers.

 

See you at the TOP! Have an amazing day!

25005175
Community Member

I did a Client Job post recently and received 90 proposals in 8 hours. 65% have earned $0 income yet the Upwork algo placed many as Best Matches for me (they were not) and the top 3 Boosted were $0 Earned.

What is your solution to this? Your conversion strategy regarding initial consults is important, but is unrelated to this issue. Without boosting, approximately 1/3 of my proposals are even opened, according to my analytics. When 1 in 4 of my viewed proposals result in a job conversion, getting my proposal opened is a pretty severe bottleneck. So, I need to buy Connects, so that I can use them for Boosting. It also forced me to review the value of the Freelancer Plus membership: 70% of the price goes to Connects, so $4.50/mo for the custom profile URL and other features is significant value for me.

 

But all of that only serves me as a freelancer fighting for my loaf of bread. There is even more concern from the Client's perspective, in that a flood of useless and/or unknowns is a severe deterrence to hiring. Ultimately, that affects those who bid on the jobs, because a Client who walks away and hires nobody is a lost prospect for all involved.

 

ETA: revise Freelancer Plus analysis because 10/80 Connects are from the free Basic membership.

Jonathan,

 

Yes, we are all going to have to adapt to greater competition not only on Upwork, but in other places we typically obtain our leads, prospects, and finally clients.

 

What percentage of your proposals are opened that are not Boosted? My proposal open rate is around 50% regardless. What I observed with those 90 proposals is that the Boosted freelancers had a few disadvantages in my opinion on the client side. The first freelancers to Boost were later outbid by other freelancers. Not a big deal as to be expected, however some of those Boosted freelancers were a good match, but once they were removed from the top 3, they were placed not in "Best Match" category, but instead into a sea of $0 Earned freelancers. Basically they couldn't be found when there are 100 proposals.

 

My solution which was outlined in the past post and works is:

 

JOB SUBMISSIONS: Tips - Only apply to Jobs that you are highly qualified, don't Bid for the top 3 spots unless you are an exact match and have a high probability of getting the job, don't immediately apply for jobs, but instead wait at least a few hours so your bidding is more accurate, don't get into bidding wars because serious Clients will view most applicant's cover letters, don't apply for Jobs that have 20 - 50 applicants in less than 24 hours. If a Client gets 50 cover letters, there is only a 2% chance of being hired; bad odds. I set my freelancer sort to show only less than 20 proposals.

JOB SUBMISSIONS: Tips - Only apply to Jobs that you are highly qualified, don't Bid for the top 3 spots unless you are an exact match and have a high probability of getting the job


These suggestions seem to me more like an idyllic global situation - that if everyone followed these rules, Clients would have the best experience and qualified freelancers would have the best chance of converting. But that isn't going to happen, so obeying those rules will only lessen my chances of getting a job, because it means reducing the number of lines in the water.

 

don't immediately apply for jobs, but instead wait at least a few hours so your bidding is more accurate... don't apply for Jobs that have 20 - 50 applicants in less than 24 hours. If a Client gets 50 cover letters, there is only a 2% chance of being hired; bad odds. I set may freelancer sort to show only less than 20 proposals.

I agree that these are good actions, when possible. But are you suggesting waiting 24 hours to bid on a job, to see if it will get too many proposals? Some clients hire within a few hours of posting.

 

What percentage of your proposals are opened that are not Boosted? My proposal open rate is around 50% regardless


Looking at my stats page now (which is slightly distorted, because I recently bid-boosted a few jobs and the Clients may not have reviewed their inbox yet), my metrics for the past 90 days are:

  • Organic views: 35.3%
  • Boosted views: 50% (was recently between 75% and 100%)

Jonathan,

 

I set my freelancer sort to show only less than 20 proposals. Most of the proposals are submitted within the first 4 to 8 hours and the typical client is hiring within 3 days as of last year and even slower this year. If I was going to Boost and wanted to stay in the Boosted position longer, then wait the 8 hours because the first freelancers to Boost can't come back and change their bid. The early bird doesn't catch the worm anymore; it's not the design of the site in the past few months.

A lot of things have changed in the past 3 months and we are not going back to the old way of how things used to work. However, being aware of the changes and modifying our approaches does give freelancers at least in this Community a fighting chance to stay ahead and to do relatively better.


William T C wrote:

Clients will view most applicant's cover letters, don't apply for Jobs that have 20 - 50 applicants in less than 24 hours. If a Client gets 50 cover letters, there is only a 2% chance of being hired; bad odds. I set my freelancer sort to show only less than 20 proposals.


As I've pointed out before, ALL jobs in my category have 20-50 bids within an hour, and usually 50+ after that, so your strategy won't work at all.

There's also more than one reason some jobs don't get more than 3-5 proposals. Sometimes they are asking too much for too little. Other times, their ask is so specialized, only a very few people can respond to it. 

Waiting to see who has a multitude of proposals is not the best idea as a lot of these clients are waiting for answers "now" and not in 24 hours. 24 hours and they may already have chosen a freelancer.

James,

 

In the Marketing and Sales section, they are not asking too much, but instead have an misunderstanding on how the industry works. I educate my clients which empowers them and they love it. 

 

Waiting 4 to 8 hours is perfect if you are Boosting a post since the majority of freelancers would have bid. If you are not Boosting, then submitting immediately is fine. Most jobs are filled in 3 to 4 days. In my category usually greater than one week. A job filled in minutes or a few hours sounds to me like an impulse buy. Impulse buys are usually less than $100.

You make a lot of assumptions that don't apply to categories other than your own. The nature of the work that I do usually means short deadlines and has nothing to do with "impulse buys" or low budgets, and if I waited 8 hours to apply, I'd miss out. If I want to boost, I'll go ahead and toss in 50 connects, because Upwork will refund the difference if the second and third bids are lower.

TOTALLY agreed! i'm not sure where this guy is getting his info. but it **Edited for Community Guidelines** doesn't apply to my upwork world. i've had many quality, repeat-clients from folks who just needed something DONE. NOW.

i've already been doing (as a practice) effectively ALL of what's in his "tips," and like you, if i applied his logic, i'd be like 73rd in line to every job. 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

"...don't immediately apply for jobs, but instead wait at least a few hours so your bidding is more accurate."

 

How do we know what others are bidding to make our own bids more accurate?  Can we see what the top 3 have bid?  Sorry, I haven't needed to go into the open market for awhile, so just trying to figure this weird boosting thing out. 

This relates to both Boosting and price.

  • Boosts have a live table with the Connects used to hold each spot. By waiting, you can get a better feel for how invested your competition will be.
  • Freelancer and Agency Plus accounts allow you to view the maximum, minimum, and average prices proposed for any job. Since you can update your proposed price at any time, waiting is not an issue.

Jonathan,

 

Let everyone know the steps for updating a Boost once you have already submitted. Thanks!

William, AFAIK, boosts are one-time events. But the actual proposal's terms can be updated (even if the cover letter cannot).

LIsa,

 

Upwork shows the # of Connects needed to be in top 3 positions.

liquidom0092
Community Member

Good points made!

Tom,

 

Thanks for the words of encourgement and if you have any questions, please let me know. Have an amazing day!

d_samuel_udokpok
Community Member


To increase conversion rates, I stopped giving free interviews in November 2022 and now charge $200 for a one hour Marketing Strategy Consult. 30 clients have signed up since and many have converted into clients ($4,000 to $10,000 each). When I charged for a Marketing Strategy Consult versus a chat / interview, the clients came to the call prepared to do business.

 

 While this may sound appealing and enthusiastic, not all niches on Upwork can afford to ask for a consultation fee before being hired. In the first instance, Upwork marketplace wasn't this way. Upwork is by thy own hand killing the platform with proposal boosting, inexperienced freelancers are given the top spots. Their algorithm is matching wrong profiles as the best match (you confirmed this yourself).

 

Waiting for a specific time to pass before submitting your proposal is the worst advice you can ever give to anyone. Some clients want to hire instantly so how does waiting helps in this regard?


 

David,

 

After viewing your Profile, I can see that you have the Consultation also. What freelancer category can't give a Consultation? There are only 3 MAJOR categories on this site. Copywriting / Content, Marketing / Sales and Programmers. I work in all 3 categories and can perform on the spot interactive consults and create the work. I doubt that I am the only one.

 

The average Client hires in 3 to 4 days not minutes. Waiting a few hours is incredible advice because it works. Are there exceptions; always, but not the general rule.

 

If a Proposal is Boosted and the freelancer is outbid, I have seen the freelancer drop into a sea of $0 Earned freelancers not the "Best Match" section. If a freelancer can't maintain the Boost postion for some period of time, skip it and just submit.

 

The BIGGER picture in 2023 is that every freelancer MUST greatly increase their skill set and provide tremendous value and service for clients or their services will not be needed.

 

 

The average client does NOT hire in 3 to 4 days across ALL categories. Old jobs entitled "Urgent" or requests for something "needed by tomorrow" hang around for ages after their "due-by" date. Nevertheless, being quick has the advantage that clients who are online or at work may reach out to you for a first chat (call it a "consultation" if you like). Even if they only write to tell you that their company "always pays X dollars" for the requested service (rather than the budget range they cited in their job post), your engagement will have a certain effect -- one that you as a marketing expert no doubt know more about than I do. And one thing is for certain: given my limited budget, I would NEVER pay to have my application "boosted". 

Alexandra,

 

The average client hiring in 3 to 4 days is Upwork's offical numbers not mine.

 

My clients average about a week to make a decision, but of course every freelancer has different experiences. This is my experience based upon 330 Jobs.

 

Did  you have any questions? Have a great day!

No, I don't have any questions. I probably couldn't afford your answer. And I always have a great day if I make it so. 

๐Ÿ™‚


William T C wrote:

After viewing your Profile, I can see that you have the Consultation also. What freelancer category can't give a Consultation?


All of them can, but only Top Rated, Top Rated Plus, and Expert-Vetted can have a Consultation project.

Jonathan,

 

Good point!

lysis10
Community Member

For the second time this month, I boosted and bid early, the client saw my proposal and set up an interview, got 10 connects for the reply and then someone came around days later and out-boosted me so I got my connects back anyway. lol That's the most amazing scenario.

Jennifer,

 

Agreed, same here all the time. I don't think everyone understands that if you get removed from the top 3 there are some connects coming back.

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