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22 Proposals, No Contracts - Advice for a Systems and Networks Guy, Please!

Active Member
S. Jordan N Member Since: Aug 21, 2019
1 of 13

Hey gang,

 

I'm new to the platform as of a few weeks ago. I've been working on my profile, trying out various adjustments, including hourly rate. I attended the webinar for new freelancers yesterday, and I've looked at the commonly linked guides to improve your success on UpWork. I'm sure there are a few more things I could do, but I think my profile is good enough to at least get a few nibbles?

 

I was recording custom video proposals for a while, but I gave up on that because no one was ever watching them! (I'm using Loom, you can see views in real-time). Out of 12 personalized 2-3 minute videos, I got two views. Two!

 

Can anyone offer any advice?

 

Specifically for any IT-related freelancers out there:

Maybe my rate is just too high? I know it's not too high for real-world in-person contracting gigs, but maybe too high for Upwork clients? I assumed that a client might try to negotiate a lower rate if they were otherwise interested in hiring me, but is that not a common practice?

 

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks,

Jordan

Ace Contributor
Jordon B Member Since: Jun 16, 2015
2 of 13

When I first started I made sure to look for smaller jobs below my asking rate that I knew I could do within an hour to start building up solid reviews, and just made sure to let clients know I was using a temporary rate while I built up my profile.

$50/hr is too high for a profile with no reviews IMO. 

Active Member
S. Jordan N Member Since: Aug 21, 2019
3 of 13

Thanks for the advice!

Community Guru
Mark F Member Since: Jul 10, 2018
4 of 13

I am not a system or networks guy but I don't see anything wrong with your rate.  I know it is pretty common advice to lower your rate until you have "proven" yourself on Upwork but I think you already know what you are doing, to me I think you are already proven enough.   In my opinion you should actually consider raising your rate.

 

Going cheap is the easiest marketing tactic in the world and for this I don't agree with it at all.  It presuposes that all clients basic desire is to get their work done as cheaply as possible.  There are scores of people who would love to tell you that is all that Upwork is and that is all the clients want but my experience is different than that.  I think what almost all clients want is their work done well with the minimum amount of friction.  

 

Can you do that?  Then why should you do it cheaply?

 

I think what you should instead step back and do is think about the services you can provide, the services you are the best at, and how you market those on your profile and sell them in your proposals.  Think about a client coming to your profile and what they see and does it answer their basic NEED.  Do they need...an experienced IT pro with a unique blend of technical skill, big picture thinking, and interpersonal ease.  That is you describing you.  They are not buying you.  They are buying you solving thier problems so you need to find a unique way to explain how you will solve thier problems with the least amount of problems.  Those first two lines are what they see when reviewing profiles for interviews and you need to have something great to say there that catches their attention.

Active Member
S. Jordan N Member Since: Aug 21, 2019
5 of 13

Thanks, Mark, for the in depth response. You hit on a lot of good thoughts there.

 

I've read a lot and heard from a lot of successful freelancers about focusing on the solutions and the benefits I can provide to the client, instead of focusing on myself. It makes perfect sense, I'm just struggling a bit with actually implementing it. I'll keep chipping away at it. Thanks!

Community Guru
Mark F Member Since: Jul 10, 2018
6 of 13

S. Jordan N wrote:

Thanks, Mark, for the in depth response. You hit on a lot of good thoughts there.

 

I've read a lot and heard from a lot of successful freelancers about focusing on the solutions and the benefits I can provide to the client, instead of focusing on myself. It makes perfect sense, I'm just struggling a bit with actually implementing it. I'll keep chipping away at it. Thanks!


I think most of us are really.  I basically said stop talking about yourself so much but when I look at my profile description I think the word (letter?) I is in there a thousand times or something.  So it's important to realize like you have that it is a process and you are not likely to be done with it anytime soon.  

 

I think it helps to think about what an ideal customer would come to you with and speak to that.  I can tell you I don't want to be hired as just another programmer, I want customers who want a piece of software built that solves an important business need and they don't have time to mess around.  Think about what YOU want and try to make an imaginary dialogue with that person where you give them your unique selling proposition.

Ace Contributor
Jordon B Member Since: Jun 16, 2015
7 of 13

Mark F wrote:

I am not a system or networks guy but I don't see anything wrong with your rate.  I know it is pretty common advice to lower your rate until you have "proven" yourself on Upwork but I think you already know what you are doing, to me I think you are already proven enough.   In my opinion you should actually consider raising your rate.

 

Going cheap is the easiest marketing tactic in the world and for this I don't agree with it at all.  It presuposes that all clients basic desire is to get their work done as cheaply as possible.  There are scores of people who would love to tell you that is all that Upwork is and that is all the clients want but my experience is different than that.  I think what almost all clients want is their work done well with the minimum amount of friction.  

 

Can you do that?  Then why should you do it cheaply?

 

I think what you should instead step back and do is think about the services you can provide, the services you are the best at, and how you market those on your profile and sell them in your proposals.  Think about a client coming to your profile and what they see and does it answer their basic NEED.  Do they need...an experienced IT pro with a unique blend of technical skill, big picture thinking, and interpersonal ease.  That is you describing you.  They are not buying you.  They are buying you solving thier problems so you need to find a unique way to explain how you will solve thier problems with the least amount of problems.  Those first two lines are what they see when reviewing profiles for interviews and you need to have something great to say there that catches their attention.


I'd have to disagree, while the content of your profile is important, words don't mean anything, results do. There is nothing stopping people from copying your profile word for word.  Reviews are representative of results, what you type on your profile isn't.  If you have reviews and a strong presence elsewhere, sure, maybe you can get away with it, but you're also going against the grain of how Upwork works and who gets displayed regardless if it's a 'rotation'.

Given the same rate, similar experience and profile, would you hire the person with zero reviews or the person with at least one 5 star review and portfolio items that go with it?

I'm not saying toil away for cheap, or even lowering your rate on your profile, keep your rate as it is and apply to some jobs that are a little beneath to get some quick wins, and just explain that to the costumer. I'd often say the first job is half off my normal rate, following jobs are more. What a treat for them, getting your experience at a deal while you build your profile!

I have clients to this day that I got started with my intro rate.

Active Member
S. Jordan N Member Since: Aug 21, 2019
8 of 13

Thanks for your perspective! I guess (like many things) there is more than one way to crack this nut.

Ace Contributor
Jordon B Member Since: Jun 16, 2015
9 of 13

S. Jordan N wrote:

Thanks for your perspective! I guess (like many things) there is more than one way to crack this nut.


That's very true!  I don't necessarily disagree with Mark either, your profile content is important - you want it to look like you made an effort at least. I just disagree that doing some cheaper jobs has no merit.

Think outside the box, create a client account and see what it's like from that perspective, what profiles stand out to you when you look at freelancers from a job posting?  That's what I did, and I came to the conclusion that having the Rising Talent or Top Rated badges really stuck out and asked myself what would get me there fastest, and having ratings and reviews was the answer.

What do you think?

Community Guru
Mark F Member Since: Jul 10, 2018
10 of 13

Jordon B wrote:

Mark F wrote:

 

I have clients to this day that I got started with my intro rate.


Lots of people advocate it and it wouldn't be the first time I don't agree with lots of people.  Never had an intro rate so I will never know how that would have worked out.  Maybe going full bore won't work but I think his current rate is too low.

 

We can also disagree on this too...words can mean everything.

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