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sarge_
Community Member

Freelance Wasteland

After 2 weeks of no profile visits I really started to question if this website is working at all?

 

I am a top engineer with very solid background. I even applied for 5$ jobs which totally not worth my time, just to get some visibility and rating. But like I say, not even profile visits.

 

I am not asking for profile advice or anything at this point, because my profile is not getting viewed by anyone at all.

56 REPLIES 56
PradeepH
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Sercan,

 

I understand your frustration. It can be discouraging to not get any profile visits or job offers on Upwork, especially when you have a strong engineering background and skills.

 

I would suggest you not give up hope and keep trying to improve your profile and proposals. I've pulled a few resources that may be helpful to you. Check out these articles to help you create a profile that stands out and improve your profile title and overview. For some great tips on writing proposals that win jobs, check out this articleDonโ€™t hesitate to visit the  Academy and sign up for upcoming events and webinars to learn more about how you can boost your success on Upwork.

 

I hope these tips will help you to get more profile visits and job opportunities on Upwork. I wish you all the best in your freelance career.

 

- Pradeep

Upwork

How about solving our problems that we're calling for and opening topics for a long time? Do they even inspect the topics here? We want to be heard but noone hears!

sarge_
Community Member

Hi Pradeep,

 

Thank you for your template answer. It does not help.

alexandernovikov
Community Member

Do you want to do freelance just temporarily because of some life issues, or you want to do it permanently? Are you considering it as your full time employment (potentially), or a supplementary source of income in addition to your offline, brick and mortar, full time job? That defines a lot.

If you are looking to make some quick $ while moonlighting, this isn't the place. It requires consistent efforts and a lot of time invested (literally years, first year's income won't worth the effort for sure).

Alexander, with all due respect you don't work for UpWork and do not have the priviledge to decide who in what considtions work on the platform ๐Ÿ˜„ what I wanna do is all up to me.

 

If a freelancer platform is taking years to onboard people that is really really bad business plan and a flawed service. UpWork gets commision and makes money. The bigger, the better work gets done is profit for UpWork.

 

What I do is get work done, and that's what people who hire freelancers want.

Well, i don't work for Upwork but i spent decades here and i know how to build out a career here. It doesn't happen quickly. To prove yourself and get visibility, you need to be able to invest time - a lot of it. This is the passing filter, brought about by absence of any other passing filters. See, everyone can sign here. Only those who are willing to grind through for a very long time, have patience and money to sustain themselves in the meantime, get there. Otherwise, we'd be simply drowned in the endless sea of freelancers and no one will make decent money. There has to be *some* filter right, so here it is.

Unfortunately that is flawed thinking from the perspective of a company, making people grind and suffer to get a job here will not benefit this platform at all. I am just reading through the forum and its all people complaining. That says something doesnt it?

There is a chicken and egg problem. If new comers are not going to get even viewed why bother getting new user to the platform at all. The first filter is UpWork, not the employers and it seems to be broken.

I think this is natural and beneficial. You need to build out a reputation to be considered, it takes time. If there was a way to "put these and these things on one's Upwork profile, write this kind of canned proposal, and get jobs" - why won't EVERYONE do that? And it is obvious that everyone just can't get hired here. There are tens of millions of profiles and only about $350-400M of monthly service turnover: if it was split equally among everyone, it will amount to like, $20-$30 per month. In order for it to work, either 99% have to be declined from get go (never accepted to the platform), or 99% need to struggle getting a job. And this is how it works indeed: very few have stamina and money to keep grinding for months before getting first (cheap) job, then another several months before being able to get them consistently, then another several months before the rate/price can be increased to acceptable level without losing marketability. Then, you are in the open sea and the sky's the limit (some people start agencies and clock up to $1M per month, maybe more but i just don't know about them).

I wonder how else do you imagine it should work. Someone filtering people to the point 99% are discarded and disallowed to join? But that requires extremely high qualification of those people doing the filtering (and they will also start accepting bribes - massive, maybe million dollar bribes, because what you buy is immediate, steady revenue stream). Not practical and will inevitably result in corruption.

 

TL;DR: there are about 100x more willing workers than work here (literally!), so there is a choice between different kinds of barriers, not about having barriers or not. If there were no barriers, no one would be here because people won't be able to make any sensible money (20-30 bucks a month won't cut it), and clients will be simply drowned in endless sea of spam.

Well that is it, my reputation lies elsewhere, and I have grinded out of UpWork. Then how does it work, must being here new reduce someone's skills to nothing. If UpWork is unable verify and accredit my skills it's a bit of a problem for them too, otherwise this place is a big casino operates just by luck or with people who are stuck in the front lines. Lesson from the nature is things do not work good in that order.

 

"Then everyone would do freelance" is also a very bad way to look at it, they should if they could but they can't. Delivering quality work, meeting expectations, clearly communicating the process and progress is a skill not everyone out there has. Quality of the person defines the quality of the output.

 

I think you are really complicating this and bringing non-existent problems to win a non-existent debate here. That's not a good way to look at a problem.

Well, problem with verifying one's qualifications is that outside of a token few of first-world, rich countries, that aren't really a target market for Upwork in terms of recruiting freelancers, most university degrees are worthless (i won't be naming particular countries, but frankly, my own one is - it is issued by a diploma mill, and while it is 100% verifiable, it means absolutely nothing - i spent my young years drinking and coding, not studying). Also, i have hired people with very real degrees from top of the top technical universities and they were completely inept at actual coding - unqualified, and incapable of learning even after a lot of effort invested into them.

So, verifying one's qualifications means actually verifying skills. How? Upwork used to have skill tests - which were discontinued because there were brain dumps available all over the internet. Skill tests only encourage fraud and give advantage to fraudsters, creating a negative filter. Actual trial by coding, test tasks? It means that people doing the testing should be more qualified than the average coder who *passes* the test, or it doesn't make sense and will only put off qualified ones, again creating a negative filter. Which means, an interview process to just sign up someone on the platform will cost several thousand bucks, with a 99% fail rate (just because of what it is: as i said, given number of freelancer profiles here, and monthly revenue, 1% may have a passably-paid job). Will you pay $2-$5K simply to get interviwed with no guarantee of result? I wouldn't. 

Other ideas?

 

Again, i'm not trying to tell that things are all rosy here. Upwork is full of bugs, and full of easy to catch scam posts and the like, and people abuse it in many other ways, some are easy to catch, some not so, but in any case, it could do better. I just can't think of a better solution to the problem of "two orders of magnitude more people joining than could be served with jobs, with almost all of them being unqualified, and almost all of unqualified having no idea they are unqualified", but through what it is: trial by fire, by grinding out.

You are going to defend your turf huh?

1 - Writing a lot does not make you correct.

2 - Spinning random examples, and puling the topic out of context are known logical fallacies people use when they know they are wrong to get upper hand.

 

To the relevant part of your reply:

New problems require new solutions and it's up to UpWork to solve, which is whom I am appealing to on this forum. Not to others who work here. Again you are deciding for UpWork who are the target freelancers? Comments on your own experience is much appreciated, but please do not reply to me in UpWork's behalf.

 

Well, OK, i agree with you in one thing: if Upwork found some innovative solution for the problem of freelancer spam (and as well, client spam), they'd get a MASSIVE competitive advantage and will get whole thing on entirely new level. A fantasy world where we won't see endless scam jobs or jobs posted by clients who don't know what they want and can't be explained that; and where we won't see endless stream of useless beggars applying for jobs, would be a nice place to live in, i'd sign. Unfortunately, it's not the case here, and it's not the case anywhere else either. I am not saying this is impossible, but so far no freelance site is there, because if someone was, we'd know: every other freelance site will be dead very soon if that was the case.

This leaves this topic a rather empty discussion because we don't even have an actual idea to suggest Upwork ("why don't you just try X?"), we are only left wishing for them to invent that magic idea themselves... Or if you have an idea, i'm all ears and i have a good contact which will probably help me convey this message to the higher ups.

This is exactly what I am trying to bring out, new people who join do not get a chance to build that trust since platform does not take care of it. Going back to my first post, my problem is getting 0 views in past 2 weeks - even though I spent all my conencts to apply for many jobs.

 

The only medium is the cover letter section, well to be brutally honest I do not feel compelled to write a wall of text to prove myself to someone who is going to pay 5$ for hours of work. I have my all public info linked to my profile for example, I feel that confident about who I am and what I can get done - however I do not exist on this platform from the analytics perspective ๐Ÿ˜„

Well OK, there was a good rule in the old Soviet Union: If you donโ€™t agree, criticize, if you criticize, suggest, if you suggest, get it done. So far we are stuck on the step one.

Alexander,

I must applaud your patience despite your on-point advice about perseverance and grinding through that first year to establish yourself and build a solid reputation on Upwork being rejected and taken out of context no matter how diplomatically you worded it.

 

I can see why you've built such a stellar reputation and achieved so much success. Your clients probably find it a delight to work with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

sarge_
Community Member

Hi Melissa, I do not understand why everyone is tempted to drag the topic off the rail. I am totally fine if I get rejected, the problem is there is no visibility on the platform for new comers "at all". Old profiles can have as much banter as they want, that won't change a thing.

melroen
Community Member

 Hi Sercan,

 

Less than a year ago I was a new freelancer just like you. A good reputation in the real world with higher rates that reflect my years of professional experience and expertise.

 

It's tough for all of us to get that first job and build from there.

 

However, from reading your post, I don't think you are interested in other freelancers' first-hand experience on how they got their first job, invites, or profile and proposal views. So I won't bore you with my experience with using Upwork.

 

If I understand correctly, you want a moderator from Upwork to intervene and take your issue seriously, or Upwork to level the playing field for new freelancers to more quickly start earning on the platform.

 

P.S. I'm not trying to antagonize you. I know first-hand how hard it is so I truly sympathize with your frustration. So feel free to correct or chastise me if I misunderstood.

I won't muck up your feed anymore. I just complimented Alexander on his diplomacy and patience trying to give you the benefit of his insight.

 

 

sarge_
Community Member

I am open to hear first experiences and yes my purpose of starting this discussion is to get to UpWork people directly. However getting blanket terms like "it takes time" and "improve your profile" dropped on me really makes my eyes roll ๐Ÿ˜„ You can of course tell me "oh that is missing in your profile", "you need to write down this and that you worked on as well" or "look at this person's profile see what works best", I can adapt and evolve. There might be things I missed though UpWorks tells me my profile is 100% complete.

 

I am a very reactive person, this is a part of my personality. I get things done faster than many, I see issues or bottlenects before anyone else. These are skills I developed in fast moving, brutal start-up environment.  In this form I do have a very good reputation in outside world, I inspire and motivate people around me to do their best, learn and be better. I am not always a bitter person but UpWork gave me a very bad first imression, a broken system where new comers are invisible, mere data collection points for the it.

 

When I hear it takes a year, makes me feel like my hands tied. Therefore I might indeed be at the wrong place. The image I get is; this  is a "First Come First Served" place where people who has been here longer gets the bigger slice of visibility. In that regards I can strategize as if I won't get any visibility here but just keep the engine warm till I move up in the list.

melroen
Community Member

I glanced through your profile before you switched it to private. So I can tell you're a smart guy who is frustrated and needs to vent ( it's a healthy mechanism) about a broken system.

 

I haven't been here long enough to tell you how it was in the good old days  But even in the short time I've been here, there's been a downward trend over the summer in the quality of clients, scammers, tire kickers, and the number of fake jobs. Even Top-Rated Plus freelancers with significant earnings are finding it difficult to find new, high-paying contracts.

But it can be done...I have my own theory on how to do that.

 

Upwork has made it clear if you want visibility you need to spend connects. Their house. Their Rules. We gotta pay to play now.

 

But that doesn't mean you need to throw bucketloads of connects on crap $5 jobs. You're worth much more than that. Don't devalue your work. Forget about the race to the bottom--that's just shooting yourself in the foot.

 

You need to be strategic about boosting your visibility. I'm not a $ 2 million freelancer like Alexander. But I figured out how to feed the beast and get profile views daily while spending the least amount of connects.  I got 14 views yesterday. Receive invites weekly; turn most of them down.

 

If you really are interested in my strategy that seems to be paying off while adhering to Upwork's T of S, then message me privately. I'll share with you what seems to be working for me.

 

You say your superpower is to anticipate and solve problems. You can't give up that easy and throw in the towel.

 

sarge_
Community Member

I turned off my profile to fix it up, I was also discussing this with a friend and got a very good feedback which was that I made my profile look like a CV where as it should be more striking from the beginning to capture attention. I made profile private to edit it but I cannot turn it on now due to unsuficient conects - my god, had no idea I had to pay to turn my profile on and off.

 

Thanks to this polarizing thread here I got quite some visits today, but that is not what I want really. Search appearence by people who are looking to employ others are much valuable. New people should be filtered, and quality batch should get some organic visibility. Does not matter if I have the best profile, if I get no views I don't exist.

 

I might end up writing a bot, that comes and opens a thread every day in the forum to farm views to get visibility maybe ๐Ÿ˜„ That can share AI generated freelancing tips, profile improvements etc to make me look like someone engaged.

 

Seems like this platform do work for some, but it's not great and could have been great if these feedback were received by UpWork.

melroen
Community Member

Now look at you getting all creative. Tech bros, you'all think a bot is the solution to everything ๐Ÿ™„  You do realize that bots are the bane of most Upwork freelancers' existence. One of the major reasons why your proposals aren't getting viewed is bots spamming 50 Al-generated proposals from unskilled freelancers within the first 15 minutes of a new job post going live. ๐Ÿค” Many clients abandon their job posts and don't hire because they can't deal with wading through all the crap proposals.

 

You are right the more engaged you are with Upwork's system the more the algorithm will bump up your profile's visibility.

 

Kidding aside. I'm glad to see you're not giving up just yet. You're a smart guy and a problem solver--my prediction is you'll figure out Upwork's system and be scoring good contracts in no time!

 

Hang in there, Sercan. Best of luck.

 

tlsanders
Community Member

That's absolutely false. Where did you get that idea?

 

Clients are simply less interested in newcomers.

It's actually interesting to brainstorm this collectively. Try thinking of something.

I am all up for advocating to brainstorm and make collaborative suggestions to lift the quality of service up. However without being aware that these messages are actually being conveyed to decision makers of this company there is no point in it. In the forum only Moderators who post template messages to people as far as I can observe.

sarge_
Community Member

Also I would very much like to hear the experiences of newcomes like myself rather then people who have established precense here. How this system looks to us, and threats us might be very different.

Ummm, no offense, but no one's comments here get to the "decision makers." They don't care what we say. Upwork is a business. The freelancers are the nameless, faceless, interchangeable cogs in the wheel, at least that's how Upwork sees it.

 

Why would a business care about one person's comments? I don't understand why you think you will reach anyone who gives a fig through the forum?

Hi Jeanne, I work as a Software Engineering Lead at a company and I even check social media messages about the platform and help reply people on the spot as much as I can. This is why people love the product, support it and use it. When there are issues or complaints, we dicuss them internally to find solutions and fix them if possible. I can understand the number of complaints they receive might be too many, but those can be classified into groups and be approached discretely.

 

At UpWork freelancers are the source of revenue for the company, they better check and consider improving upon suggestions. Otherwise this will turn into a rotting platform and some other company will emerge, which does better on such issues and both employers and freelancers will be happy to move there to get good service and find good work.

yofazza
Community Member

Imagine your platform has been running for almost a decade. Your users are happy on all those years. But, the platform never once made a monthly net profit

 

You (the management) will start to think 'out of the box'. Users complaints will still be read, although most of them are 'stale' for sure. Already known, nothing new, ignored.

 

The goal is to get profit, not to satisfy the 'resources' which happened to be oversupplied anyways.

 

 

I glanced through your profile before you switched

I think I also read your initial post before edited and I can understand the need to vent.

 

Some things:

 

  • No views even on your perfectly crafted proposals are "normal".
  • Newbs are given an advantage, mods said it, people experienced it. So...
  • Keep trying, but don't do things like spending hundreds of dollars on connects without knowing if it can generate a greater return. That's gambling.
  • If you're that experienced, you should have former clients out there. There's no harm in sending some  non-demanding notes like, 'just to let you know I'm free right now'. It's better to work for them than do a $5 job here.

I can understand the number of complaints they receive might be too many, but those can be classified into groups and be approached discretely.

 

How will that reduce the numbers?

 

At UpWork freelancers are the source of revenue for the company, they better check and consider improving upon suggestions. Otherwise this will turn into a rotting platform and some other company will emerge, which does better on such issues and both employers and freelancers will be happy to move there to get good service and find good work.

 

Freelancers are not providing revenue. Oh, sure, Upwork is making a lucrative amount from connects, but the clients bring in more.

tlsanders
Community Member

I'm pretty sure that they're not allowed to actually engage. A few years back, the mods here were the best source of help and answers--much better than CS. But then they made some changes and the very same mods who used to be awesome turned into bots spitting pre-programmed responses at us. Don't hold it against them. I'll bet they're as frustrated as you are.

tlsanders
Community Member

Would you be interested in paying a couple of hundred dollars/month just to be here so Upwork could hire the army of experts you would like on staff to verify your skills? They just made a massive cut in staff and are barely providing customer service--they're definitely not interested in hiring a giant staff to do your bidding.

I agree with most of what you say, but there are excellent platforms that don't have scammers, and I use two of them. Most freelancers would never pass because there  are random, excellent and hard to defeat tests for categories and all skills. It's great!

Yep, a lot of complaints. Many of them from immature people who think they are freelancers. They want to be handed jobs, for free, given the help to complete them, and not have to pay for anything. Oh, and they don't want to bother to learn anything, just scam the clients.

 

There are legitimate issues, but most people whine about the unfairness of it all. If you don't have marketable skills, money to conduct your business, including connects, time, patience, motivation, and again, marketable skill, you will fail. If you aren't interested in making your profile and proposals stellar, then don't bother. There is a tremendous amount of competition here, and if you don't put effort into everything you do, you will fail. If you don't learn and follow the rules, you will be scammed.

 

We were all newcomers once. Is it harder now with millions of people throwing proposals? Yes. Is it impossible? No. I know plenty of successful freelancers all over the world. But they have skills, and all of the other critical items in place.

 

If you want to be viewed, then take the excellent advice people are giving you. Use the Academy and learn.

tlsanders
Community Member

How do you imagine Upwork is "making" people grind and suffer? There are hundreds or thousands of freelancers on Upwork for every job posted. Most clients will choose a freelancer with Upwork ratings over one who has none. It's the reality of the market. You seem very unprepared for freelancing.

tlsanders
Community Member

What an incredibly rude response to someone trying to help you by sharing the realities of how the platform works. 

 

You are, of course, correct that you are free to invest a bunch of time and money here without earning a dime, but it was certainly reasonable of Alexander to assume that was not your goal. 

joansands
Community Member

Sercan - How long have you been on Upwork? You are in a competitive niche and it does take quite a long time to get started on Upwork and a lot of proposals need to be made. You might not want the advice, but your profile does need improvement.

Bingo, that's what i was trying to explain all the way. Also, profile is really not all that important. After more than a decade on Upwork at one point, i have realised i had completely no category picked for mine (stumbled upon it entirely by chance). Now it is impossible to register a profile with no category, but i registered such a long time ago that it was possible. As a result, searchability of my profile was nearly nonexistent - but i already made more than a million bucks by that point. 

What matters is Very Good cover letters. Individually written with ideally at least an hour spent to write each. And persistence. A lot of it.

A profile IS important if you are new, and want to attract clients and deter scammers. You have worked here for some time. Things were quite different back then, and there weren't scammers actively searching profiles for victims.

OK, maybe you are right. I remember i almost never faced actual scams. Maybe once there was a blatant attempt to phish away my Upwork account itself.

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