Meet our featured contributor Michael S.
What job category do you work in?
Voiceover / Voice Talent
When did you begin using Upwork?
Initially, back in 2011, but I took another look around the middle of 2017.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started Freelancing, or running your business online?
I got started in freelancing doing the occasional commercial voiceover for local businesses in my area. But since it's not exactly a major metropolis, I quickly discovered I would need to branch out. Luckily, recordings are easy to deliver to almost anywhere in the world.
What do you enjoy the most/least about working online?
The best part is getting to work with people from literally all over the world. I've had clients as local as Nashville, and as far away as Tokyo and New Delhi.
That does come with some drawbacks, however. With large time differences, it can be difficult to have a quick back & forth session for feedback when you're responding in the middle of the day, but your client won't be able to respond until well after you've turned in for the evening.
What was your most successful project/contract?
A lot of my clients both on and off Upwork have internal-only projects, so I generally keep those between us. But a successful contract is one where I not only get paid, but I get to work on something interesting and help my client communicate their ideas in an easy to understand manner. In that regard, I've had a few that I would consider a resounding success, and looking for more of those is what can help stave off burnout.
Do you have any advice for other users on Upwork?
Basically the usual, tried and true "keep at it." And don't let one or two difficult clients sour you on the whole thing. They're human too, and sometimes they're just having a bad day...or week...or month...or career...
But in all seriousness, I think the one thing too many freelancers forget is to charge what they're worth. That changes with industry and location, but there's always an optimal price that tells clients you're confident in your work, but can still provide a good value. Lowering your prices just to get contracts not only hurts you and others in your field, it hurts clients who come to expect too much for too little.
Two fun or interesting things about you:
I'm currently (attempting) to learn both Japanese and German at the same time. A good deal of my ancestry is German, so I feel like it's something I should be able to speak. And I plan to visit Japan sometime in the future, but I want to actually be able to speak the language so I can visit more rural areas and actually communicate with people, rather than being the typical "lost foreigner."
I guess one other thing would be that I eventually plan to get my pilot license once I can manage the time and cost. PPL first, then eventually an instrument rating, commercial rating, and, maybe some day, an ATPL. Probably won't ever fly for an airline, but the ATPL is also a "badge of honor" of sorts for pilots that shows they've put in the time and effort to become extremely proficient.
Congrats - great choice!
I always wanted to get my pilot's licence, both my parents used to fly... Just never had the time and the money at the same time (the horses always used to take up anything spare of both) so I would push you to do it!
You answered to some of the questions I had in mind and I totally agree with you to not lower your price too much just to get a contract as it will be not good for other freelancers, for the client and even for you.
Best of luck to you for your Pilot License (y).