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Community Member

Am I wasting my time here?

I recently set up on Upwork as a freelancer. I have 3 decades of experience in video production so I'm not new to the industry. 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**


Upwork recommended that I submit at least 5 applications because it takes a while to get work, I totally understand this as I've worked as a freelancer for years and you win some you lose some. I get it. 


But so far I have submitted 12 applications. I've only had two replies, both of which asked me to do some work/test clip for free and then either didn't reply to me or said they'd picked someone else. The latter I actually spent half a day helping them sort out a technical problem with their footage. They still went with someone else apparently.


I'm feeling like it's a total waste of my time. I've spend about £20 in credits and not had one single penny or client back form it. 


I can't see any way to contact Upwork about this so I doubt they care or are prepared to advise me in any way. 


Is it worth presevering? I'm sure there's a possibility that I'm just **bleep** at my work or communications, but with nearly 10 years freelance experience in the market I'm guessing that's probably not the case.


At the moment I feel lik this is a total waste of time and money.

Community Member

I don't know your industry, but 12 proposals is nothing for most newcomers. I have a strong profile yet I have a hit rate of around 10%, and you can expect it to be tougher for newcomers.


It is extremely competitive out there. Probably more so than it ever has been and I think it's going to get much worse before it gets better. It's not the best time to get started.

Having said that, many people still make good money on the platform so, no, you're not necessarilly wasting your time provided you have the necessary skills and the ability to make yourself stand out. However, you might need more patience and determination than usual.

Community Member

This is a whole new ball game, David. You need to get good at targeting the right clients here. They do exist.

Community Member

A very newer here also. But based on my experience in this industry, perhaps you can upload more profils to make the protential clients trust, instead to put time to dissolve their problems or testing edtting, it takes too much time and risk de waste time and your patients.

Secondely, the clients maybe put the job on severals platforms or with the real contacts, everything is possible , and the poster do not want reply to every candidate, same as the interviews in the real world. Specially they are almost amomymous at platform. 

And  start here is just as our started works from zero in the real world, we know no one, we have to accumulate the relations, profils and experiences. Specially we can not talk and present ourself more directly. So all we need might be more patience. 

Yesterday I asked a question here, and many people help me,  feel very happy and nice atmosphere  like in a grand Co-working Coffee. Wish you can feel that equally.

Community Member

Thans folks, all good advice and reassurance. Maybe I should spend more time in the forums 🙂

Community Member

Absolutely - all these responses. Upwork has become oversaturated since the Covid (perhaps even before).

Stopped revising my profile long back, because it did no good, attracting even new potentials. The competition is rough. Many have obviously been here for years, slowly building theirs. So newcomers get nothing. Thank goodness there are other platforms for finding work. 

Of course, we were all newcomers at 1 time.  there's never been a moment in the 6 plus years I've been using upwork when newcomers were not coming to the forums declaring that it was impossible for someone without a track record here to get their 1st job.

Community Member

Quality clients do exist, but they're becoming few and far between since the platform launched its inexplicable race to the bottom last year (spend enough time on the forums and you'll know what I mean).


There are other platforms that may be better for your work area, but I'm not sure if we're allowed to mention them specifically here...

Community Member

It sounds like you are wasting your time, but not necessarily by looking for work here. Rather, by choosing to invest a lot of time in prospective clients you don't have a paying contract with. Spending half a day helping a stranger with a problem off the clock is just a bad business decision. 


As far as the proposals, 12 is nothing. I'm shocked to hear that Upwork is recommending five. I started on Upwork six years ago, when there were fewer freelancers. I had 25+ years of experience and a graduate degree in my niche. It took 36 proposals to land my first job.

Community Member

I have 100% JSS and all 5 star feedback and I regularly send out 100+ propsals and rarely hear back from most of them. It used to be better a few years ago but now there's so many unqualified freelancers on Upwork that it's extremely hard to get noticed. 

Community Member

"There's so many unqualified freelancers on Upwork that it's extremely hard to get noticed."


There sure are plenty of freelancers who will work for (next to) nothing, so the low-quality clients are likely having a field day right now. But you or I don't really want to be working with those clients anyway.


More importantly, the flood of unqualified freelancers seems to be driving serious clients away from the platform in large numbers. They simply don't have the time or the inclination to wade through 50+ terrible proposals to even find yours in the first place. I would guess that's got a lot more to do with your difficulty in getting noticed (or maybe that's actually what you were getting at).

That "flood of freelancers" (whether qualified or unqualified) is the biggest mystery to me. Under the current circumstances, with most proposals costing 6 to 8 connects to submit, how is it that SO MANY JOBS continue to receive such a large number of proposals?


I'm being extra cautious with every proposal I submit, to the extent that I rarely propose on more than a solitary job a day, often not even that. Then who are these people submitting so many proposals? Take any job category, and on the job search page, you will find the jobs with "20 to 50 proposals" to be the highest...always! What is the point of that?  No matter how qualified you are, your proposal is bound to be lost in that vast sea of proposals!


I rarely propose on any job that has more than 10 proposals, with 15 (the "10 to 15" range on the job search page) being my upper threshold. Beyond that, I simply do not consider it worthwhile.


That said, I do not expect newcomers to continually burn their pockets buying (expensive!) connects to propose, especially with little to no assured RoI. And with a free monthly allowance of a mere 10 connects, they simply do not have the leeway for multiple "no-cost" job submissions. That leaves - what I reckon, is a smallish group (its size depending on the job category) of freelancers launching an all-out blitzkrieg on every job posting, hoping to be on target at least somewhere! 


Against this backdrop, can someone from Upwork please confirm if there is any group or entity here that gets a presumably large number of connects for FREE? That is my biggest concern/hypothesis for the enormous number of proposals we are continuing to see even now, despite most jobs requiring 6 to 8 connects to propose. 


Otherwise, the purported objective behind increasing the threshold of connects for each job submission was to limit the number of proposals (rightly so, IMHO). Sadly, that is just not happening. â˜¹ï¸

Community Member

Yes. Upwork is a completly wast of time and money. 

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