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9cab7c35
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 ยฃ20 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.

23 REPLIES 23
moonraker
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.

If this is true then upwork should support newcomers until they get their first job or something. Otherwise who in their right mind would waste 100$s of dollars on proposals for nothing? I wouldn't. Also you are kinda wrong, cause I have a few projects completed here with a couple of thousand of $ earned, and I have the same experience. I did ~30 proposals and only 1 was even viewed and 0 replies. Around 2019 everything was fine, things changed on the platform since then and not in the right direction.

We were all new, once. No one helped any of use get jobs, why would the new people recieve jobs?

 

It's the farmers, bots, and unskilled who throw connects like spaghetti at a wall, sure that if they throw enough, a job will stick.

 

Things changed because Upwork removed all limits, including for the platform and categories, then they removed all Upwork tests and skills tests. Then they allowed anyone to pretend to be a freelancer.

al_hayes
Community Member

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

e9e39fae
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.

9cab7c35
Community Member

Thans folks, all good advice and reassurance. Maybe I should spend more time in the forums ๐Ÿ™‚

nettiegurl16
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.

c18f1786
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...

tlsanders
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.

motoyen
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. 

c18f1786
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. โ˜น๏ธ

sousahaz
Community Member

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

skovran
Community Member

I share your feelings, I applied to around 30 projects. Projects that were EXACTLY what I specialize in with ~10 years of experience and 1 out of that ~30 was viewed, no replies. This platform is a waste of money and time straight up!

Were these your first 30 proposals? I can't tell because your profile is private. If they were, that is nothing because freelancers usually have to submit dozens if not a hundred, and that is if they have marketable skills.

No. I already completed ~10 projects ~3000$ in total 2-3 years ago. I came back this year and everything is worse. Before I had replies and commucation with project posters. Now it's just feels like it's a ghosttown with fake projects.

9bc4a03f
Community Member

I don't know how many proposals I've put in, but I've put in a signifant amount. I REFUSE to pay for additional connects just to submit more proposals that will land me nowhere. I've gotten about ten or so offers for nonsense jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with my skills. I'm not even sure if they were legit. For example, I got a request to order a specific type of energy powder from Amazon, take pictures of it, and then send those photos in. Another request was to measure the dimensions of a birth control compact. I declined those and several more. The pay for most of those weren't even worth the time. 

 

I've gotten a couple requests to submit proposals for decent opportunities but I didn't get any offers. As mentioned above, this is an oversaturated platform as is the job market in general. Doesn't matter how many years of experience you have. Doesn't matter how many skills you have. I've made $30 doing some quick survey jobs over the last few months I've been on this platform. I'm going to go ahead and close the account in a few days. I gave it a shot. 

Yes, it's very difficult to get work here, but I think that your profile isn't doing you any favours, frankly. For one thing, the title. I doubt that clients do searches for "office associate" - maybe try "executive assistant" or "admin assistant" instead? Then your profile overview reads like a cover letter that somebody would submit when seeking a full-time job, not freelance work, and it's just full of fluff and hardly anything about what your actual skills are, or any unique qualities that you have. You could also get testimonials from past clients and add certifications, case studies or work samples to your portfolio.

 

You need to look at this from a client's perspective - they're looking at your profile thinking "what's in it for me?" and if you can't answer this question, then you won't be able to sell your services. 

Thank you for the insight. I really appreciate it. ๐Ÿ˜Š

 

The reason why I went with a generic title was because I didn't want to limit myself to an assistant role. I can do all kinds of administrative work, but I can also do HR, communication, project coordinating... I didn't really want to limit myself to one kind of role ya know. I probably could spruce up the overview, and honestly it is my generic cover letter lol. I get more specific when I submit proposals depending on the job. I wanted to provide, just that, an overview of my skills and experience. 

 

Unfortunately I don't have any testimonials. I've only worked with one client and that was for quick survey work. I'm fairly new to this platform but not doing freelance in general. I've been on here since July. I know that's probably not enough time to really get things going but I only get 10 free connects a week. I think there's one spent everyday to keep my avaialble status. Then most of the decent jobs are 12-16 connects. And as I stated, I'm not spending money to look for work. So it just doesn't seem like a good option for me. 

 

I totally get what you're saying though about the need to sell myself more. I told myself I'll make one last effort this week. 

27976d7e
Community Member

It can be a hard slog just getting anywork on UW. Being relativley new I joined about 1.5 years ago I had a few jobs out of it.  Video editing is very over saturated at the best of times. You'll probably notice 20-50 applicants per video job so even if you're really good, ask youself can you really afford to come second? 

 

Don't just apply for everything. What I have found is that 'speed' is the key with proposals, if only 7 applicants have applied on a recent  post, and the job looks to be a perfect fit, why not give it a go, and do a half hour sample, or submit a simular style work, that proves your skills.  The chances are a few of those applicants are just throwing mud at the wall.  

 

I now avoid low value fixed rate jobs. There was always the hope that doing a couple of them might improve my rating. The trouble is that there arn't enough of those jobs and long term it get a bit tedious biding over them. 

 

The more worrying problem is that veteran UpWorkers are also getting lost in the ocean of freelancers (not getting resposes on new bid). So I am not really sure it is worth bidding for most of the video jobs on this platform.  If past UpWork clients needs something I will help them (I have done a couple of times) , but I don't want to waste too much time on bidding. I won't buy connects at all because it is obvious that it is a waste of money. 

 

It isn't just an UpWork problem, remote video editing , motion graphics jobs are competitive. Look at LinkedIN video editing jobs,  200-300 applicants per job. It's a bit like sticking it all on black ๐Ÿ˜…

 

If I'm honest, most of my projects comes from people I met in the flesh, from past employments. About 10% is from UpWork or cold emailing. The latter is like getting blood out of a stone.  Definatly don't help clients with tech problems until they look serious about spending with you. 

 

It's a love hate relationship Upwork. It isn't doing me much good but still I come back for more pain (abuse). ๐Ÿ˜…

sulmanqamar
Community Member

It's frustrating to hear about your experience. Given your extensive freelance background, it's unlikely that the issue lies with your work or communication skills. Upwork can be competitive, and sometimes it takes persistence. However, if you've already submitted 12 applications without success, it might be worth exploring other platforms or networking channels to find potential clients. Consider diversifying your approach. Remember, your time and skills have value, and it's important to find platforms that appreciate that. But I recommand to stick with upwork

12 applications mean nothing. New freelancers are reporting 100 applications before hiring. Of course, everyone is different. Most freelancers never have a single job. Others may do very well.

 

Everyone, no matter their success, should have other options and never put all of their eggs in one basket.

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