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Freelancer Plus Membership - Is this worth it?

Community Guru
Eric B Member Since: Feb 21, 2017
1 of 10

Hi, 

 

Despite receiving some advices telling me to avoid getting a Freelancer Plus Membership, I was very curious about freelancers bids for any kind of jobs in my niche (webscraping) so yesterday I took the decision to go for it and get a Freelancer Plus Membership using some earnings I had left and were still on the platform. 

 

Why curiosity was stronger than me?

Because I was invited to a 1000$ scraping job and that kind of amount is not very common in the webscraping business on upwork (we see a lot of 50, 100, 200$): I couldn't resist, I just wanted to know how much freelancers bid and particularly for that same job.

 

I'm pretty ok to invest money to make more money but now, I'm asking myself if I did right. 

 

there are 2 reasons for that feeling: 

1- I thought I would see the minimum, maximum and average range and that I do but... I thought I would see each bid separately, who is the freelancer (to be able to review his profile, last jobs...) and that does not exist so I have 3 numbers: min, max, avg. That's a trend but it doesn't seem enough to me.

 

2- I see prices that make me want to kill myself. Let's see: 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Bid range - High $2,700.00 | Avg $816.03 | Low $26.99

 

can you believe it?

Now, I'm asking myself: Who scraps data from 7 sites for that price? Egypt? Vietnam? no clue at all.

 

and now it's the turn of the client: 

Why does he make a proposal with such a great price?

He hired only one freelancer and paid him 8$ for an hourly price of 10$/h so he doesn't seem to be someone ok with paying a fairprice. In his proposal, I see "I am looking for a mix of experience and value" and I think he''s really looking for the lowest price. So, why such a great price?

 

I think this is because he thinks that with a great price, he'll get more proposals, more choice and more dispersion/distribution around the average price. May be he's right? what do you think?

 

Did I do right wasting that money? 

 

May be it can be great to see those prices for a month but I'm not sure it'll go beyond that. In fact, Im asking myselft pretty serioulsy if there is a place for me here in upwork, and when I say "me", I think about any freelancer in the scraping business from european countries such as France, Spain, UK and so on...

 

And now, I'm asking myself. Do those freelancers even exist in the webscraping business?

 

Any thought is welcome!

 

Thank you.

 

 

Community Leader
Mike W Member Since: Sep 28, 2016
2 of 10

I signed up for freelancer plus for the rollover credits alone.  Being able to see bids is also helpful in certain situations where I would like to see what a client has paid previously and to get a general idea of what other freelancers are submitting so I can come in and bid twice as high (it sticks out more to clients Smiley Tongue)

 

With all this said, I think you should try to focus on increasing your skillset.  I say this because I believe you are under the impression that there is web scraping is an actual business that you can thrive in when really it's just a small skill that most web developers carry in their tool belt.

 

Good luck to you!

Mike

Community Guru
Eric B Member Since: Feb 21, 2017
3 of 10

@Mike W wrote:

I signed up for freelancer plus for the rollover credits alone.  Being able to see bids is also helpful in certain situations where I would like to see what a client has paid previously and to get a general idea of what other freelancers are submitting so I can come in and bid twice as high (it sticks out more to clients Smiley Tongue)

 

With all this said, I think you should try to focus on increasing your skillset.  I say this because I believe you are under the impression that there is web scraping is an actual business that you can thrive in when really it's just a small skill that most web developers carry in their tool belt.

 

Good luck to you!

Mike


Hi, Mike

 

Thanks for giving your opinion. 

 

I'd be happy to discuss with you about webscraping. May be you're right, may be it's not a job at all. 

 

 

I always create my own software working with Visual Studio / VB.NET and objects such as webRequest, HTTPWebRequest, webClient, WebBrowser, WebKitBrowser, GeckoBrowser and I use winforms to do so (you know that thing we called programs before the "app" revolution!)

 

I think I do a great job, a visual one which is beautiful to see but I don't think clients are very sensitive to that. I think they are sensitive to: yes sir, now sir, cheap sir. Not to speak about scripts like python and related programming language (we can discuss if what I do is source code or script). Not to speak about preestablished software meant to be used by users (I mean non technical persons at all, right?)

 

So, what are the problem: 

- studies intrusiveness

=> you don't need a college degree or even a high school diploma to compete. I have that college degree, does it matter at all? 

 

- technical intrusiveness

=> you don't need to be a developer at all to compete

 

- hyperglobalized intrusiveness

=> if you can live with 80$/month, it will be easier for you to compete than if you need 2000$/month

 

You wish me luck and I thank you for that but I won't need it: it's not about luck, it's about work, increasing my skillset like you were saying. That is very clear that I know much more than simply webscraping which by the way seems to be seen as some low skill. May be I should try other niche. The question is which!

Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
4 of 10

Respectfully, I think anyone who is sweating $10 a month over a membership here isn't taking this very seriously.

 

It's noise. It's irrelevant.

 

It's like an offline freelancer worrying about how much he spends on stamps to send out bids.

 

And if you need the connects, it's effectively free anyway.

 

When you see the bid ranges they are nearly always insane. I always see bids that seem way too low and way too high. This can be a way to weed out jobs, but bear in mind that clients are not stupid, and they will discard bids that seem unreasonable anyway.

 

As for screen scraping, you've missed the boat on that. I did it a little when I started on oLance many years ago. Back then there wasn't a lot of competition, and more importantly, most sites didn't have any policy related to this. Now there are 10 zillion people running scraping scripts in third world countries, and nearly all (not all, but the vast majority of) scraping jobs involve violating site TOS to do them.

 

I recommend you work on a new specialty.

Community Guru
Eric B Member Since: Feb 21, 2017
5 of 10

@Charles K wrote:

Respectfully, I think anyone who is sweating $10 a month over a membership here isn't taking this very seriously.

 

It's noise. It's irrelevant.

 

It's like an offline freelancer worrying about how much he spends on stamps to send out bids.

 

And if you need the connects, it's effectively free anyway.

 

When you see the bid ranges they are nearly always insane. I always see bids that seem way too low and way too high. This can be a way to weed out jobs, but bear in mind that clients are not stupid, and they will discard bids that seem unreasonable anyway.

 

As for screen scraping, you've missed the boat on that. I did it a little when I started on oLance many years ago. Back then there wasn't a lot of competition, and more importantly, most sites didn't have any policy related to this. Now there are 10 zillion people running scraping scripts in third world countries, and nearly all (not all, but the vast majority of) scraping jobs involve violating site TOS to do them.

 

I recommend you work on a new specialty.


Well, you know the words, that's for sure: you began with "respectfully". 

 

All right, I will answer respectfully:

Upworks allows jobs from 5$, half of those 10$.

 

May be you haven't seen it but we leave in a "low cost world" (thanks to hyperglobalization, of course!) where a buck is a buck (I even depend on the conversion rates between euro and dollar and the other day, I just lost 10% because of that)

 

I'm not sweating on 10$, the fact is I never sweat but I'm not dumb enough to waste money if I don't have too. I'm just asking what people think, what their opinion is. It's really technical, not even about money.

 

I'm ok to spend money if it's useful to me, if it's not, I'm not. That's what we call an investment, even a small one is still an investment, right?

 

but you're right, bids are insanely high or low, the average seems wiser. May be I should stick to that amount. For example, for that 1000$ job, I divided the price by 4 and that's the best I can do (taking into account i'm dumb enough to create my own software before using it instead of using a preestablished software, done by programmers. May be I should compete on that niche: making programs for scraping users)

 

Sometimes I think I've been discarded for being to cheap. Could it be? May be they think: this guy is not real, he's not serious. Now, If I weed out jobs with low bids, I weed it all and "adios, UpWork", know what I mean?

 

I don't see 10 zillion people running scraping scripts, may be 20..50 proposals for a certain job.

 

Another specialty? I'd be happy to know which ones considering the "free globalized culture" we live in (you know: adware, freeware, opensource, piracy, CMSs, etc... do you pay something to listen to music? I bet you don't. I don't either and I don't even have to download it illegally: it's call deezer and if you're willing to bear some advertisement from time to time, it's all free)

Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
6 of 10

"I'm ok to spend money if it's useful to me, if it's not, I'm not. That's what we call an investment, even a small one is still an investment, right?"

 

But that's exactly what the $10 is. It's an investment of $10 to provide you with information to help you bid better and win more jobs. It's an extremely small amount of money, all things considered, and I'm just saying that when you are starting out it's an easy choice, especially since the connects that come with it make it essentially free.

 

"I don't see 10 zillion people running scraping scripts, may be 20..50 proposals for a certain job."

 

That's.. a lot. And most of them are going to be bidding very low. You're also competing against manual data clerk armies, though these seem to have diminished a bit in recent years.

 

"Another specialty? I'd be happy to know which ones considering the "free globalized culture" we live in (you know: adware, freeware, opensource, piracy, CMSs, etc... do you pay something to listen to music? I bet you don't. I don't either and I don't even have to download it illegally: it's call deezer and if you're willing to bear some advertisement from time to time, it's all free)"

 

Look, I know how you feel, believe me. I've had the entire way I make a living set on its ear not once but multiple times over the last 20 years. I've had to constantly adapt and find new things to do and new ways to carve a niche out for myself.

 

You seem like a smart guy. You seem pretty young (younger than me, for sure!) And you have a CS degree.

 

Look through the job listings, and I mean really sort through them, thousands of them, filtering based on "$$" and "$$$" -- find what clients are looking for... and there are a LOT of things clients are looking for. Try to branch out.

 

Adapt or die. That's freelancing.

 

PS I just saw a job with a client who wanted an "expert level" person to scrape 10 websites for $50. Of course all fields have clients with unreasonable expectations, but I wouldn't be surprised if he got that. You don't want to be in this area.

Community Guru
Eric B Member Since: Feb 21, 2017
7 of 10

@Charles K wrote:

"I'm ok to spend money if it's useful to me, if it's not, I'm not. That's what we call an investment, even a small one is still an investment, right?"

 

But that's exactly what the $10 is. It's an investment of $10 to provide you with information to help you bid better and win more jobs. It's an extremely small amount of money, all things considered, and I'm just saying that when you are starting out it's an easy choice, especially since the connects that come with it make it essentially free.

 

"I don't see 10 zillion people running scraping scripts, may be 20..50 proposals for a certain job."

 

That's.. a lot. And most of them are going to be bidding very low. You're also competing against manual data clerk armies, though these seem to have diminished a bit in recent years.

 

"Another specialty? I'd be happy to know which ones considering the "free globalized culture" we live in (you know: adware, freeware, opensource, piracy, CMSs, etc... do you pay something to listen to music? I bet you don't. I don't either and I don't even have to download it illegally: it's call deezer and if you're willing to bear some advertisement from time to time, it's all free)"

 

Look, I know how you feel, believe me. I've had the entire way I make a living set on its ear not once but multiple times over the last 20 years. I've had to constantly adapt and find new things to do and new ways to carve a niche out for myself.

 

You seem like a smart guy. You seem pretty young (younger than me, for sure!) And you have a CS degree.

 

Look through the job listings, and I mean really sort through them, thousands of them, filtering based on "$$" and "$$$" -- find what clients are looking for... and there are a LOT of things clients are looking for. Try to branch out.

 

Adapt or die. That's freelancing.

 

PS I just saw a job with a client who wanted an "expert level" person to scrape 10 websites for $50. Of course all fields have clients with unreasonable expectations, but I wouldn't be surprised if he got that. You don't want to be in this area.


 You're right: 10$ is not a lot. I created a post about that earlier this year and some freelancers really think it's not worth it and others think it is.  Of course, 10$ is not the end of the world and that is why I did it. I will use it at least for that 1000$ job, still thinking that proposing a great amount of money increases the number of proposals and more choice. I really think that client does not want to pay that amount. 

 

20 to 50 is a lot? well, when you think they apply in 5-10mn, yes, it seems a lot, that's true. but I will tell you what: I will break some markets here and I've already begun.

 

manual data clerk armies? I see what you mean, loud and clear. I have another one: data user clerk armies? I create software and use software, they just use software. on on hand, what I do is more clever but on the other hand, it's dumber.

Community Guru
Wassim T Member Since: May 29, 2015
8 of 10

Hello Eric,

 

I think I have to disagree with Mike. While I can see his point about the importance of spreading your skillset, I still think that focusing your business on a specific skill and be very good at it has its own advantages.

 

First thing first, you asked several questions so I'll do my best to address as much as I can. Before I get started on this, kindly spend some time reading the Community Guidelines to avoid falling into having your posts edited by moderators. One of the things you fell at this time was posting private information about a client's account or a job post. Bear in mind that while you may still have access to the job post, clients have the right to mark a job as private after hiring a freelancer, and the only thing you can do is to review the information without sharing after such a thing happens.

 

Web Scrapping is such a potential business. While it's a thing I don't regularly do, I have gotten the chance to land almost 10 scrapping jobs last year, most of them on Upwork. Most of these were Chrome Extensions and often times the job was to scrape just one website. My quote ranged from $500 to $1,500 per site, and as you are aware, it all depends on the complexity of what you are trying to accomplish. I can see you do more advanced scrapping mechanisms with the help of Python and other languages. I can also tell from your profile that you also can scrape databases and search engines. This is something beyond my skillset personally. So I'd say if my scrapping skill is average in front of your scrapping skills, and I was successful landing these fair paying jobs which were relatively easy for someone like you and me, I believe that there's a good chance that you can do the same as well. I would say hang on there and don't give up.

 

On the matter of "Freelancer Plus", it depends on every person whether they can see a benefit for it or not. You might think it's funny, but I do keep my "Freelancer Plus" membership despite the fact that I don't even look at competitors' bids stats, neither do I care about my Connects. I barely use 20-30 connects every month, which is already covered by the free membership. So why do I have a "Freelancer Plus" membership? Because I can set the vanity URL for my profile. I think this is a great addition. All I have to do is to remember my unique vanity of my choice which happens to be in my case simply my first name "wassim". Then, when someone asks me to share my profile with them I don't really have to think about it. It'll be upwork.com/fl/xxx where "xxx" is the name that you picked. Another important reason is what Upwork introduced recently where your profile is marked as private after 30 days of the most recent payment, which a lot of the members in the community disliked because it makes you lose opportunities, since your profile won't be suggested to clients while they're inviting freelancers to their job proposals when it's marked as private.

 

Almost a year or so ago, Upwork decided to take away the individuals' bids and made them available only to the client who's posting the job. Just like you, I enjoyed browsing the bids and see what people are bidding, and it was kinda annoying at the beginning when this has been introduced because I have gotten used to this from the old Elance days, however, a month or two later I realized this is a good thing. Thanks to making these bids private, I no longer spend time seeing what others are bidding to go above or below someone else and browse their profiles to determine whether they are skilled to know whether their bid make sense or not. This saved a lot of my time. Right now I don't even look at those max/min/average. Quite honestly I don't care anymore about what others are bidding. I bid what "I" think is suitable for the job. I don't really want to compete with anyone and I think that the values I am providing to my clients are second to none, so I think of my skills being unique and don't find a need to even care about what others are doing. It's all about trusting yourself. I think you've got some incredible skills so I believe you should do the same.

 

Lastly, some clients put a random number in their job proposals only because they don't actually know what the cost should be. They might also have a "mix of price and skill" or "paying higher to more skilled people", however, if they find someone suitable for the job and they were offered a lower price, well why not? I mean if you were the client and felt confident with someone's services and their price was lower than others, would you say no? Again, the price isn't the only factor here but you never know what's going on in the mind of the client.

 

Have a good one.

 

Best regards,
Wassim

Community Guru
Eric B Member Since: Feb 21, 2017
9 of 10

@Wassim T wrote:

Hello Eric,

 

I think I have to disagree with Mike. While I can see his point about the importance of spreading your skillset, I still think that focusing your business on a specific skill and be very good at it has its own advantages.

 

First thing first, you asked several questions so I'll do my best to address as much as I can. Before I get started on this, kindly spend some time reading the Community Guidelines to avoid falling into having your posts edited by moderators. One of the things you fell at this time was posting private information about a client's account or a job post. Bear in mind that while you may still have access to the job post, clients have the right to mark a job as private after hiring a freelancer, and the only thing you can do is to review the information without sharing after such a thing happens.

 

Web Scrapping is such a potential business. While it's a thing I don't regularly do, I have gotten the chance to land almost 10 scrapping jobs last year, most of them on Upwork. Most of these were Chrome Extensions and often times the job was to scrape just one website. My quote ranged from $500 to $1,500 per site, and as you are aware, it all depends on the complexity of what you are trying to accomplish. I can see you do more advanced scrapping mechanisms with the help of Python and other languages. I can also tell from your profile that you also can scrape databases and search engines. This is something beyond my skillset personally. So I'd say if my scrapping skill is average in front of your scrapping skills, and I was successful landing these fair paying jobs which were relatively easy for someone like you and me, I believe that there's a good chance that you can do the same as well. I would say hang on there and don't give up.

 

On the matter of "Freelancer Plus", it depends on every person whether they can see a benefit for it or not. You might think it's funny, but I do keep my "Freelancer Plus" membership despite the fact that I don't even look at competitors' bids stats, neither do I care about my Connects. I barely use 20-30 connects every month, which is already covered by the free membership. So why do I have a "Freelancer Plus" membership? Because I can set the vanity URL for my profile. I think this is a great addition. All I have to do is to remember my unique vanity of my choice which happens to be in my case simply my first name "wassim". Then, when someone asks me to share my profile with them I don't really have to think about it. It'll be upwork.com/fl/xxx where "xxx" is the name that you picked. Another important reason is what Upwork introduced recently where your profile is marked as private after 30 days of the most recent payment, which a lot of the members in the community disliked because it makes you lose opportunities, since your profile won't be suggested to clients while they're inviting freelancers to their job proposals when it's marked as private.

 

Almost a year or so ago, Upwork decided to take away the individuals' bids and made them available only to the client who's posting the job. Just like you, I enjoyed browsing the bids and see what people are bidding, and it was kinda annoying at the beginning when this has been introduced because I have gotten used to this from the old Elance days, however, a month or two later I realized this is a good thing. Thanks to making these bids private, I no longer spend time seeing what others are bidding to go above or below someone else and browse their profiles to determine whether they are skilled to know whether their bid make sense or not. This saved a lot of my time. Right now I don't even look at those max/min/average. Quite honestly I don't care anymore about what others are bidding. I bid what "I" think is suitable for the job. I don't really want to compete with anyone and I think that the values I am providing to my clients are second to none, so I think of my skills being unique and don't find a need to even care about what others are doing. It's all about trusting yourself. I think you've got some incredible skills so I believe you should do the same.

 

Lastly, some clients put a random number in their job proposals only because they don't actually know what the cost should be. They might also have a "mix of price and skill" or "paying higher to more skilled people", however, if they find someone suitable for the job and they were offered a lower price, well why not? I mean if you were the client and felt confident with someone's services and their price was lower than others, would you say no? Again, the price isn't the only factor here but you never know what's going on in the mind of the client.

 

Have a good one.

 

Best regards,
Wassim


Thanks, wassim for taking time to respond the way you do!  such a great answer. 

I agree with you, not with mike, may be we're both wrong. Mike is a great freelancer, he earns money, does it mean he's right? I read exactly the contrary from a great freelancer. 

 

Everything has its pros and cons: I think like you do. Right now, I scrap data from straightforward sites only in VB.net creating desktop applications. I don't work with PHP, javascript, python and being specialized should mean exactly that, using the right technology in the right moment or just depending on the client wishes. So, skillsket can be increased but in the same niche.

 

OK, I will right those guidelines. I'm all about honesty and transparency but... well, you know! In the future, I'll try not to give urls and I'll try to be generical.

 

About webscraping, thanks for considering my work, you're doing much more than most of potential clients, That's always good to hear. I know that part of my problem is that I still believe in programs as we knew it before the internet: desktop application software. I have to move into python, scrapy, php, javascript, ruby... cross platform technologies are important because not everybody work with the windows operating system and telling them to use mono (for linux) or install a virtual machine for mac seems to complicated or time consuming for them. 

 

Vanity URL? that's a new one! I read an article yesterday about a guy saying something like: "I've never seen a guy saying: what a beautiful freelancer URL". Do you really think clients give some kind of importance to it. I will tell you what: I would but clients don't usually do, specially in the scraping business. I am a client here in upwork and once I asked the freelancer who did a great job how much bonus he wanted. Let's be clear: I was playing to the good client here to think "may be clients are like that", well, they're not!

 

But ok, for now, I have my vanity URL and I don't know if I keep wasting that money. If I earn, I will surely do the same as you. I've recently applied to 10-15-20 jobs, I had a few answers, there was some work I just couldn't do (I don't know it all...yet) but some clients are interested: I lost one because he was on mac and wouldn't want to play with a virtual machine and I have 2-3 others that just don't know what they're doing (and tell me exactly that, that they don't even know what they're doing) and I have one who disappeared 2 weeks ago, reappeared today and wants me to wait 2 weeks for him (I just have to push a button to see how beautiful that software works).

 

bad luck? sure

I don't sell myself very well? I'm convinced (that big nose on my profile? uhmmm!!! may be)

I isolate myself in a beautiful but somehow dead technology? very likely

 

 

 

 

 

Active Member
Kateryna K Member Since: Jun 30, 2017
10 of 10

Hi Wassim,

 

Just came across you detailed answer but still don't get the benefit of having the vanity URL for your profile. Is it just easier for you to type the link by heart? Are there any other benefits?

 

Many thanks in advance

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