If you have been here for some time already you probably know how to manage several projects at the same time and/or have some long term relationships with clients who keep you busy, therefore you likely have at least one "Job in progress". I don't mean the "Job in progress" that is actually a client who went MIA leaving the contract open, but instead jobs that are genuinely in progress, maybe you are working on them or waiting for the client to send you something.
Do you think that having "Job(s) in progress" in your profile goes against the possibility to get hired by someone else because they would think you are too busy? Do you think prospective clients care about that? Do you even bid when you are already busy? It happens to me that if I am very busy I don't use connects at all but sometimes when you are busy you need to get some fresh air or bid for a next gig because the current one will be over soon.
What's your take on this?
I think they do pay attention to it, and perhaps for some clients it is a deterrent if they see a FL has all these open jobs. The FL looks too busy to be able to focus on their project.
It depends on the schedule. A client may not need me to start right away, and I already know my upcoming schedule so I negotiate a start date. I also know how long most of my projects will take and when I'm going to wrap it up, so it's not a problem.
Time management skills. And the best perk of freelancing: setting my own schedule that works for me.
In my little corner of Upwork, I don't think clients pay much attention.
I regularly have 10 - 14 or more "jobs in progress" and still receive a steady flow of invitations. Maybe the flow of invitations would be even stronger if I had fewer "jobs in progress," but I stay plenty busy and sometimes turn away projects I don't think are ideal or just don't interest me.
In all my years on Upwork and Elance, I only remember one prospective client asking whether I had time for their project since I was so busy on other projects.
This is an interesting question but invariably not one that should determine how you act. You aren't going to curtail your job activity to make your profile look more available to a client just so that they invite you which you wouldn't accept because it makes you look too busy to another client... Having said that and where you would potentially want to manage this is with clients who go away for extended periods or of course those that are really over but the client did not close the contract. In the former case this is something to work out with the client based on your comfort for the length of the "quiet period". A few weeks no big deal. Many months is a different story. In that case I would let the client know that closing this contract and opening a new one is a very simply and fast process. It's good for them to close out a payment method and it's good for you in terms of work history. I've never had a client not respond well to that.
As far as bidding when you are busy. Rarely in freelancing is firing up the pipeline fast and quick. A client can stop a project on a dime for any reason at any time. There can be a host of other good reasons various projects slow or stop. As a solo act you have to do what you can to keep the pipeline active which is a difficult balancing act to be sure. You don't want to take on jobs that you cannot complete on time or with quality. However, you don't want to wait until a project(s) stop or slow and then try to find clients. This means you have to be on top of the state of your current projects and make realistic assessments of slowdown or stoppage risks. You may go after possible jobs much less when fully active, but be ready to put proposals out even if later you wind up turning down an offer because your current situation remains strong. You also may decide to pull even more hours during a week because a job comes up that either can provide a long-term client or is just something you would really enjoy. You may feel that you don't want more hours but hold that thought for the times when hours plummet and you would kill for the "problem" of too may hours. It's rare that someone will have have too many hours across an entire year.
Net, the pipeline is the lifeline for your business. Far better to be a bit uncomfortable with how much work there is than how little work there is.
I agree with Will and Scott. I juggle anywhere from 4-7 projects at a time, both on and off of Upwork, and it doesn't seem to deter anyone from hiring me. In all of my proposals, I give prospective clients a time estimate, and I've never missed a deadline. I'm sure that nobody cares about what else you're doing, as long as you give them good customer service.
Upwork is actually trying a new experiment with little symbols that tell the client how busy you are; they seem to think that this will make clients MORE likely to hire you, not less. So, we'll see what happens with that.