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Why isn't Upwork working for me?

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Active Member
Juliette E Member Since: Apr 15, 2019
1 of 12

Hello all,

 

Not sure if this is a topic worth posting here, but I'm gonna try anyway.

I've been on Upwork for several months now, and I consider myself well qualified in my areas of expertise.  However, so far, I've blown through almost 80 Connects by sending proposals to jobs that interest me.  Not once, I repeat not once, have I gotten any kind of reaction from the job posters.  

And it's not even that the jobs were awarded to someone else, because I always click the option to be notified if that is the case.  It just seems that the jobs are fake or something.  Eventually I get a notification that a job that I have send a proposal to has expired, just like that.

I specialize in writing, ghost-writing and translations.  There are so many opportunities on this platform.  Yet not for me for whatever reason.  I won't sell myself for cheap and under the going rate, but propose a reasonable rate for the required work, but that can't surely be the reason?

By now, I don't qualify for a public profile anymore due to this, and of course, I don't have any credentials to show.

Has anyone else experienced this?  And what can one do in order to be more successful?

Greetings,

Juliette

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Community Guru
Wassim T Member Since: May 29, 2015
2 of 12
Hi Juliette,

There are many factors so one cannot pretend why is this the case, but I believe that you shouldn't give up on this platform.

Since you mentioned that most of the jobs nobody is hired for, then I would suggest that you apply to jobs posted by clients with previous paid contracts.

I understand that you don't wanna sell yourself cheap, but I also think it might help to lower your rates for the first couple of small gigs. You know just something to gige you a push and some review.

Lastly, you may need to revise the way you are writing while submitting for a job. Some people prefer to copy/paste for common jobs but Upwork doesn't like that and may filter out your application. Something else I personally noticed is that when I use specific terms I feel like my application is archived or buried somewhere the client can't see. This often happens when I mention money-related terms or when I use something like "I can give you a call to explain". There seem to be some filtering mechanism in my opinion, so you need to constantly experiment with different writing styles until you bypass that. Again, this is from personal observation and I am only mentioning it in the context of answering your questions, but this doesn't necessarily have to be very accurate.

Wish you the best of luck.
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Community Guru
Sergio S Member Since: Dec 19, 2017
3 of 12

Well, I can't see your profile because it's not public. To recover the public status you can follow the steps in the e-mail they sent to you when it was turned private. I believe you can ask CS to switch it back. Sometimes it takes a couple of days.

 

To land jobs in a platform like this is not really easy, especially when you are a newcomer, because clients naturally tend to go with experienced freelancers. You can be a genius with 20 years of experience outside but here you are considered a newbie, until you cut your teeth. So if you don't have anything in your portfolio I suggest you create a piece and include it as a sample. It doesn't matter if it's a real job you did or a blog of yours. Once you land your first job and get the ball rolling things will be easier.

 

Besides you need to vet clients carefully before sending proposals. It's not only that you need to be perfectly qualified, it's that you have to check if those clients are reliable enough. How? Upwork give you some information about the client. Some people are prone to publish something and never hire, or hire people way below your rate, etc. Don't worry about your rate. You decide your rate according to what you think you deserves, your education/experience, etc. That's it. A very low rate may get you a first gig, but you know what? Then it will be hard as hell to get out of that box tagged "Cheap freelancers." Also you need to be careful with your writing both in profile and proposals, especially because you are a writer. Don't use canned templates to write a proposal, instead tailor it specifically for that client's needs, but also try to be brief.

 

And finally, have in count that some clients post here and also in other platforms so if they find what they need somewhere else they hardly ever come here to close their post.

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Ace Contributor
Brian S Member Since: Aug 9, 2019
4 of 12

Hey Sergio,

 

Ok so about the private and public portolio/profile....if we keep our portfolio private, the job we're submitting to, "Only" the client can see our profile right? Is that how it works?  I want my profile/portfolio kept private for only upwork potential client. (safety reasons)

 

- Brian S.

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Community Guru
Sergio S Member Since: Dec 19, 2017
5 of 12

Brian S wrote:

Hey Sergio,

 

Ok so about the private and public portolio/profile....if we keep our portfolio private, the job we're submitting to, "Only" the client can see our profile right? Is that how it works?  I want my profile/portfolio kept private for only upwork potential client. (safety reasons)

 

- Brian S.


Right. If your profile is private only the client who receives a proposal from you will be able to see it. You will be hidden in searches and in the community as well.

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Ace Contributor
Jennifer V Member Since: Jan 31, 2018
6 of 12

Hi Juliette, I can't answer your question really, but can share my experience.

 

As a caveat, I'm in a role (data visualization - Tableau developer) that probably has less competition than writing and seems to be hot at the moment (I tell my friends I have to enjoy my freelance lifestyle now, because with how quickly technology changes what I do may not be as in demand in a few years).

 

In my first 8-10 months on the platform, I sent many, many more than 80 connects worth of proposals, and nearly none of them were answered. I got a few projects during that time period, and I did charge less than what my goal was to eventually charge, because I wanted to get some reviews and establish some kind of reputation. I didn't charge ridiculously low, but low in comparison to my goal. I did also refuse a few offers during that time period because the rate offered was a bit insulting.

 

At any rate, once my Job Success rating kicked in (it takes awhile to get this) and I got client reviews, I began getting more job invitations. I've still had some spotty periods (over the winter) of not enough work, but I have been paying the bills based on freelancing alone.  I now (a little less than two years since I started) hardly ever send a proposal, because I have invitations to interview rolling in fairly steadily.  I'm so glad I stuck with it through the initial dry period. I give myself regular raises Smiley Happy, and am now charging even more than my initial target.

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Active Member
Merin M Member Since: May 6, 2015
7 of 12

Hi Jennifer, 

 

I am trying to learn Tableau as well. Which version do you use for doing the projects ? And is there any free version? 

Thanks in advance. 

 

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Ace Contributor
Jennifer V Member Since: Jan 31, 2018
8 of 12

Hi Merin, I have multiple versions of the software and use whichever version my client is using. Tableau does allow folks to download a free version of their product - just google Tableau Public. Have fun with it!

 

Best,

Jennifer

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Community Guru
Kelly B Member Since: Jan 1, 2016
9 of 12

Jennifer V wrote:

Hi Juliette, I can't answer your question really, but can share my experience.

 

As a caveat, I'm in a role (data visualization - Tableau developer) that probably has less competition than writing and seems to be hot at the moment (I tell my friends I have to enjoy my freelance lifestyle now, because with how quickly technology changes what I do may not be as in demand in a few years).

 

In my first 8-10 months on the platform, I sent many, many more than 80 connects worth of proposals, and nearly none of them were answered. I got a few projects during that time period, and I did charge less than what my goal was to eventually charge, because I wanted to get some reviews and establish some kind of reputation. I didn't charge ridiculously low, but low in comparison to my goal. I did also refuse a few offers during that time period because the rate offered was a bit insulting.

 

At any rate, once my Job Success rating kicked in (it takes awhile to get this) and I got client reviews, I began getting more job invitations. I've still had some spotty periods (over the winter) of not enough work, but I have been paying the bills based on freelancing alone.  I now (a little less than two years since I started) hardly ever send a proposal, because I have invitations to interview rolling in fairly steadily.  I'm so glad I stuck with it through the initial dry period. I give myself regular raises Smiley Happy, and am now charging even more than my initial target.


I would say I'm pretty much in this same boat, with a few differences. I'm a graphic designer... a very competitive field. So I searched for either jobs outside the norm where I thought I had a good shot of being chosen, or jobs in my field of expertise... print book design. I went for fixed rate jobs so my "rate" didn't really play into things, but I sure made less than I had been making at my previous job.

 

I also took random jobs like hand writing letters because I have nice handwriting. Some of my proposals were *really* unique. I figured I had nothing to lose so I experimented to see what kind of letter might get a response.

 

I will say, when you DO land something, make sure you are attentive and responsive and do your absolute best, because building up your job success score will be really helpful in the beginning.

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Active Member
Yetunde O Member Since: Jul 30, 2020
10 of 12

Jennifer, your response has inspired me.  Thanks.

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