"No, simply owning a computer doesn't make you qualified to work here."
Exactly. It was only once I had a computer and a tablet that I was truly qualified to become a freelancer
You're right though and I'm not sure about Upwork, but Elance may have had a small hand in making people think that a computer was all you needed to become a successful freelancer. I remember they ran a whole series of ads and although I can't remember the exact wording, they were along the lines of....
"Earn money in your spare time!"
"Work today, earn today!"
"Become a billionaire overnight!"
Maybe not the last one, but you get the idea. Some of them kind of gave the impression that freelancers sit at the beach with their laptops sipping mojitos and overseeing their empires for a couple of hours a day. I guess they want to market themselves to anybody and everybody, get as many bodies through the door, than focus on attracting high calibre professionals.
I'm convinced that a lot of the low rates that we see people are willing to work for has less to do with what country they are from, and more about their lack of understanding of the freelance marketplace. Sure, location is a factor that affects rates, but I think a lot of people new to freelancing think something along the lines of "right, I made $10 an hour in my last job, so if I charge $11 then I'll be doing great!"
What they've probably not considered is that they're now going to have to pay for their software, hardware, subscriptions, health care, sick pay, holiday pay, stationary, training time, certifications, furniture, Christmas party, pension contributions etc etc. Those can soon add up. Combine that with the fact that no new freelancer is going to have 40 hours of work out of the gate... and reaching 40 hours a week, every week, even for the 'old-timers isn't always a stroll in the park.
So you have the new and the uninitiated charging rock bottom rates for a month or so until they realise they can't afford to live on the hourly rate they've specified, and they either head back to the 'real world' of full time employment, or they up their rates. But by then, a whole new batch of new people have come along charging rock bottom rates and the cycle starts over.
Anyway, just thinking out loud.
^ yep, that's exactly what I think too.
My most frustrating job loss once that I'll never forget was losing a tech writing gig to a fellow software engineer in the US for $3/hour. I think what made it frustrating was that I was talking to the customer, so I thought I had it in the bag. This guy came along with 0 history and grabbed him from me. Mannn, I was pissed. lol He plundered my booty! ::insert inappropriate joke:::
Anyway, that's the name of the game and I knew what he was doing. But, I also knew that he'd either starve and go back to the real world or raise his rates once he figured out that it isn't a long-term thing. So, he'd be back into a level competition with me and then I will crush him with my superior proposals.