I think freelancers should get more credits - a lot more credits, actually. 60-70 credits a month might be enough for an elite few to find gigs, but for me, I need to apply to much more.
I think about 150-200 credits for the basic plan might suffice. You might think, "whoa, that's way too much," but that's just what it takes to get regular work - which would benefit Upwork too because I'd be bringing in revenue for them.
I know people are probably going to speculate that my proposals simply aren't good enough, I'm not skilled enough or my portfolio is weak. In response, I would point out that not only do I spend a great deal of time and effort on constantly improving those things, but I also have a great track record with all of my clients. I have been freelancing for almost two years now and have had barely any complaints (just a few early on, none in the recent past).
So I think that my problem is that I'm just not connecting with enough prospects. I follow up on a lot of proposals and see that many of them don't make a single hire. I need to connect with the clients that will eventually hire, and to be honest those are few and far between as far as I can tell.
Upwork seems to be making a lot of very strange adjustments, and seems to expend a lot of energy in non-productive ways. For example, they promote a lot of jobs (over email and with this new and somewhat pointless 'Interesting Job' filter that interrupts my job searches) that pay next to nothing, are several days old and were posted by clients with a very low hire rate. These posts probably won't result in a contract, let alone a lucrative one. I have no idea why they are being promoted. This is wasted effort on Upwork's behalf.
Instead, Upwork should devote effort to giving freelancers more credits. I assume they are given on a finite basis because more credits would somehow exhaust company resources (I'm not sure exactly how, maybe server space associated with storing and tracking proposals). Maybe they make credits scarce so they can sell them. But I know that if I had more credits I would bring in more business, bringing in more money for me and them.
I believe the reason (or at least part of the reason) that they are given on a finite basis is that when freelancers don't have to be selective about what they bid on, clients are inundated with crap bids and less likely to hire anyone or to return to Upwork.
If you thnk you're having difficulty now, imagine how it would be if each project you bid on had three times as many bids as now and a lot of good prospective clients fled the site because they'd received 100+ garbage bids from farmers and unqualified freelancers and never read far enough to see the handful of decent ones.
I agree with Tiffany. Clients would run away if we were given that many connects a month. 60 is more than enough.
Out of curiosity, what does your stats graph look like? The one that compares you to other writers. Can you post a pic? I bet that would tell you where you're going wrong.
You're not new but you haven't built up quite yet.
My biggest thing is customer retention. I want customers to come to me directly when they need writing, and that's a major reason why I don't use a lot of connects. They know they can ping me, I get back to them within a day, and I will get it done without hassles. Hell I have someone paying me my rate for stuff he could easily find for probably $15/hour or cheaper. He tried going cheaper and wound up pinging me to fix it. Now, he just comes straight to me and never has to worry about plagiarism, ESL writing, outsourcing, missed deadlines, or flakiness. This is the stuff you should strive for and you won't need connects.
The connect thing is to starve out the robo bidders, which is a good thing.
Jennifer M., compared with other writers I am viewed slightly above the average, I am interviewed slightly below the average, and I am hired well below the average.
So yeah, I am having some problems that I need to fix. At first I thought it meant that my rate was too high. So I lowered it. But that hasn't helped me get much more work.
And regarding me getting hired less than being interviewed: a lot of these "interviews" are just weird invites from brand new (questionable) clients, sometimes without even verified payment.
I honestly don't think I'm scaring many people away in the interviews. I just think a lot of posts are projects that are doomed to never even start. Like I said before many times, there seems to be a very low standard for job-posting on here.
And while I definitely hear your point about the possibility of too many proposals, I've actually read a client on these forums complaining about not getting enough proposals to his posts (it was just one guy, but he said it's a regular problem).
If nothing else, I think the Plus membership should be allowed more than 10 extra credits. I know you can buy more from there, but they are expensive. How likely are Plus members to be fake or unqualified? I was one up until this past month and I take every proposal and job seriously.
Clients who don't get enough proposals usually have problems of their own. They have a bad history of rating freelancers too low, no valid CC on file, low hire rate, poorly written RFPs... I wouldn't take what a random client says to heart because to get good providers, you really need to put effort into your RFPs and you can't have a history of being a massive doooohickey.
If you're sending out tons of proposals and getting interviewed less than average, then I would start there. It can be that your proposals are weak, you're targeting the wrong jobs, or your rate is too low and you're not getting viewed. I guess it could be more but those are some obvious ones. If your'e going for the lower end jobs, these are the flakier ones that don't last long and it's probably some farmer posting on several platforms.
It might seem like robo bidding is the way to go here, but the money is in targeting and being an expert in something specific and customer retention. The lower end jobs are shortlived. At least as an individual... the farmers make their money bidding very low and then sending it off platform at an even cheaper rate but they can't win the better contracts.
I don't think my rate is too low and the jobs that I target are usually well within my scope of expertise (though sometimes more than others). It could be my proposals, I suppose.
Can anybody with a high interview/hire rate give me any advice on proposals? Do you use templates at all? I do what I thought was the normal thing - I keep a huuuuge folder filled with old cover letters that I use as templates, but I make plenty of modifications for each bid. In fact, I'd say about one in five bids is a brand new letter. But they all look very similar. I usually start with my credentials, give plenty of external sample links, and end with a few more credentials and a little 'call to action.' Sometimes I'll make it even more 'salesy' and add an opening paragraph in which I try to hook them in by addressing what I assume to be their pain points (this may sound lame but it's the exact tactic that got me my best gig ever).
If anyone can share their method I would appreciate it. I know it's probably weird to ask that of my competition, but it's worth a shot and you folks have always seemed to give good advice in the past.
Also, I mentioned how I compare in my stats to other writers... anybody else care to share their stats? (if you don't want to give exact figures, maybe just a general overview?)
Re the "how likely are plus members...", I would say quite likely if it's profitable for them. $10/month is a very small investment.
I think that you would probably find greater success if you focused in on a particular niche within writing, made your profile more targeted and pitched jobs that called upon skills in that particular area. When I look at your profile, I think "oh, a writer." One of thousands, with nothing that particulary differentiates you from anyone else with good ratings.
I know that my success on Upwork has been largely dependent on pitching why I'm the best choice for THIS JOB, not just a good choice generally. I have seen other writers make similar statements.
On a side note (because I know it hasn't always been there and so isn't the root of the problem), opening your profile with a statement about what's wrong with other contractors on Upwork is probably a mistake. As someone who has hired a lot of writers over many years, the message that would send to me is that you don't have enough positive material about your own skills and experience and so feel compelled to make negative generalizations about your competitors. You should be able to sell me on what's good about you, not what's hypothetically lacking in others.
Tiffany, yeah the current description on my profile is one of many continuous attempts to get clients' attention. I did a pretty thorough analysis of my Upwork income a few months back and arrived at the conclusion that the most steady income was in copywriting (not necessarily the best jobs, or even highest paid, but the most consistent on this site). So I tried to write a description that would demonstrate that skill. I've actually been meaning to change that this weekend, but have other priorities at the moment.
I have been working on finding my niche, but it's hard when I'm pretty much a jack of all trades, master of none. But I would even say that I have almost mastered some niches, but they seem to be the less popular ones. Further, I also sometimes get work on here that isn't even writing work (since I have backgrounds in other fields). And it's not like that work is scarce enough to not even be worth looking for. I had a video editing gig, for example, that paid a lot and the client was a dream to work with. So it becomes hard to market myself when I dabble in that many different trades.
Yeah, I've not heard anyone say that they successfully target multiple markets on Upwork. I think maybe that's just not a viable strategy for this platform. Clients seem to come looking for a particular skill, and when given a choice between someone focused and someone offering multiple services, seem to assume that the targeted provider is the "expert".
ETA: I sent you a private message re proposals.