I just started on Upwork last week, and I've already had one email reply to a proposal that was pretty clearly a scam. I looked up the company they claimed to be, only to see that the email was mispelled, the time zone was +15 hours, and they wanted me to use a third party messaging app for an interview. And now I feel duped because it said to attach a resume, and I figured, sure, that's reasonable if I'm trying to get work, but now who knows who got all that information?
I also got a reply in the middle of the night last week who wanted me to do a Skype interview, but it said my application was declined by the time I saw it it. But now I see that also fit the profile of a scam. So I'm at two scam replies, and no legit proposals replies.
So here's my question - how much of Upwork going to be trying to filter out scammers, and how much is going to be actually working? I've already put a lot of time into this so far and while I understand it takes time to gain momemtum in any venture, I'm wondering if I'm going to spend more time jumping through hoops than I will building my portfolio. I'm pretty close to deleting this and moving on to something else.
"I just started on Upwork last week, and I've already had one email reply to a proposal that was pretty clearly a scam. I looked up the company they claimed to be, only to see that the email was mispelled, the time zone was +15 hours, and they wanted me to use a third party messaging app for an interview."
All you need to do is report them for trying to use an off-platform messaging contact. There is no need to check the company or try to find out the truth; the truth is that if they want you to go outside of Upwork, it is a scam.
"And now I feel duped because it said to attach a resume, and I figured, sure, that's reasonable if I'm trying to get work, but now who knows who got all that information?"
When you post something online, you have to assume that everyone sees it. Don't include your personal information, such as your address.
"So here's my question - how much of Upwork going to be trying to filter out scammers, and how much is going to be actually working? I've already put a lot of time into this so far and while I understand it takes time to gain momemtum in any venture, I'm wondering if I'm going to spend more time jumping through hoops than I will building my portfolio. I'm pretty close to deleting this and moving on to something else."
Freelancing isn't something you can jump into and make money right away unless you are extraordinarily lucky. You have spent less than seven days, and you are ready to quit? No, you have not put a lot of time and effort into it. Freelancing isn't for everyone. You don't receive assignments; you have to work independently. There are experts who have spent extensive hours and proposals and connects trying to break into freelancing. I see nothing in your profile that would make me want to hire you and plenty that would make me run away.
When you say you are a writer and editor, yet you have errors in your profile, that's a problem. You have one piece in your portfolio. Considering there are tens of thousands, if not more "writers and editors," why would you expect to have job offers immediately? Yes, it will take time and more than a few proposals for you to be hired. If you don't do something with your profile, it may never happen.
Freelancing isn't for everyone. You are going to be turned down a lot more often than hired.
Yes, the platform is full of scams, and it is a pain. However, there are ways to protect yourself. If you follow the TOS and the excellent advice of Wes, a community member, you won't be scammed. If you lose connects because you discover it is an off-platform scam, you can be reimbursed if you inform Upwork.
If you think you are highly qualified, you are mistaken. Look at your profile. As someone with few proven skills and no portfolio, you will likely have to reduce your fees substantially, as $50.00 an hour is way too high for your level. If you are not a member, you will be spending a lot of connects on those proposals. Likely more than 80 a month.
Here is excellent information from a generous community member, Wes.
Any new venture will take time and effort. If it sounds like I do not feel sorry for you, I don't. There are too many excellent freelancers who have busted their buns for years to establish themselves.
If you can't do the actual work and you won't put in the effort, you will never succeed.
Thanks for the honest reply, Jeanne. I really do appreciate it. I was feeling irritated when I posted and I should have let myself cool down first. I totally get that freelancing is a lot of work and I'm willing to do it, but I was concerned that Upwork as a platform, specifically, would turn out to be a drain on time due to scammers, rather than provide opportunties. I didn't expect work immediately and I'm not surprised I haven't gotten any hits yet, but I also didn't expect the site to be so heavy with scams that would start slamming right away, and that gave me pause to investigate further and try to feel out other people's experiences before I went forward.
And the feedback about my profile is helpful. I admit I threw it up quickly, and you're right in that I do need to put more time into it to stand out on a platform like this. I'm still trying to get a feel for how the platform works and if it's going to be the right fit for the direction I'd like to go. Thanks for taking the time to reply and hearing out my frustrations. Best of luck to you!
Frustration is ok. I'm glad you decided to reconsider your decision! Getting started is difficult. New freelancers are easy targets for the thieves because they assume you don't know the system and often offer large amounts of money for easy or nonsensical work. This forum has lots of good advice, and please do check out the link I sent to Wes and his scam posting.
You can find the common scams, and you will learn to identify other cues such as offering odd amounts, ridiculous "retyping" or "PDF to word" jobs, and those where there are few, 5, or fewer applicants. In the latter case, there is a reason no one is applying, and that can be because it is a known scam.
Bring the job to the forum if you think it might be a scam. Many people here have years of experience, and they can save you from making serious mistakes. The number of scams is frustrating for all of us, as you can read through other threads. The best way to protect yourself is through knowledge. There are also filters to use that will hide many annoying scams. Use the search engine and a basic filter to eliminate "Telegram, t.me, WhatsApp, gmail, yahoo, message me, ***@***, copy typing, copy typing, PDF to word" etc.
As far as getting started, there are many good resources. Upgrading your profile is a good start. Add portfolio material. It doesn't need to be from a paid job; write something yourself. I think you have a good chance of being successful here if you put in the work.
Please read the TOS and the information in the links, as well as reading the forum. That knowledge is invaluable in staying safe and being successful. It is nearly impossible to make a living here immediately, but many people have done so, and others have part-time work. Explore, read and ask questions.
Here are some good links -
There are two kinds of legitimate clients you will find here: the ones who recognize the professional freelancer and those who are looking for the cheapest possible job. Sometimes you have to lower your financial expectations a bit early on but don't go the other direction and bid too low. Spend some time looking at other freelancer fees in your category.
It is taking much longer than it used to for newcomers to get traction on Upwork, and even when you do, it is never certain how long it will last. Very often, freelancing is feast or famine. Don't rush your fences. Take time to establish a portfolio. Add a few more pieces on topics you are comfortable writing about and try to establish a niche centred around your areas of expertise. Always check a client's history as far as we are allowed - healthy feedback and their average hourly budget are good indicators.
If you feel you must send a CV, then do not give any contact information at all. Not only for your own protection, but also because it is against Upwork's rules and regs prior to having a formal contract in place.
If you haven't already done so, read Upwork's terms of service - a tedious but necessary task!
I appreciate the advice so far!
I think a better way to word my question is - I put in 8 proposals, and 2 were scam replies. Is 1 in 4 a normal rate to expect for scam posts, or did I just hit an unlucky week?