sue_gehm
Member

I Haven't Been Successful on Upwork

I really had high hopes for Upwork and have invested in my profile and have sent proposals for several jobs. What I find is that Upwork is no different than any other job board. The freelancer does all of the work, applying in good faith, sending a cover letter, answering questions, only to be ghosted by every client. I really had hoped that Upwork would be different. But it isn't. I find it to be a waste of my time. 

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Susan G wrote:

I think it's important,  but then again communication is extremely important to me.


Why would you value communication, or anything that is "important" to you, from people who don't wish to work with you? I definitely don't care if someone is bad at communication if I'm not going to take on a project with them anyways. Communication is important to me IF they sign on with me. If they don't i couldn't care less.

I'm not saying this to be snarky, I'm just suggesting you let it go because it's not worth dwelling on - focus your energy on how you can grab attention better. Submit as many proposals as you can, make sure they reflect your abilities properly, and when you get more connects just keep going. Eventually you'll get something, but the site is hardly "the same as every other job board". If there are people successfully making a great income on here (there are a lot, i make twice as much here as I do at my full-time job) then it's not a matter of what the site is doing wrong, it's what you're doing wrong. That's meant to be constructive criticism; if you aren't succeeding it is genuinely a fact that you could improve something about your process, such as not understanding which jobs are more likely to result in a hire and being aware of red flags about posts, proposals that sound too templated, etc.

Also if it makes you feel better it gets easier, I send out a round of proposals every two weeks or so, if that. Lately it's been less and less, people reach out to me on their own now and I don't even have time to apply to stuff. So the "work" is hard at first, but improves as you gain more of a reputation.

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mtngigi
Member


Susan G wrote:

I really had high hopes for Upwork and have invested in my profile and have sent proposals for several jobs. What I find is that Upwork is no different than any other job board. The freelancer does all of the work, applying in good faith, sending a cover letter, answering questions, only to be ghosted by every client. I really had hoped that Upwork would be different. But it isn't. I find it to be a waste of my time. 


Upwork is not a job board. There are many who do quite well here, because they put in the effort and understand what kind of site this is and how to make it work for them.

It's not a job board? How do you define it and what tips to you have that have helped you find success here?


Susan G wrote:

It's not a job board? How do you define it and what tips to you have that have helped you find success here?


A job board is where prospective employers and employees find each other. Upwork is a freelance marketplace where prospective clients and freelancers find each other. Working as a freelancer means running your own business. Succeeding via an online marketplace entails additional challenges. Your profile is set to Private so I can't tell whether you have freelance experience or not. I joined UW nearly five years ago having supported myself as an independent contractor for 20 years. Once I created my profile (which took a day, probably), it took me about 30 proposals to land my first project and about 30 more to land the second. Then the first client hired me for a second project and I got a handful more over the next six months. It was about a year before I started to build momentum here. I still don't have all my eggs in this basket and likely never will.

 

I saw your other comment about requiring clients to respond to proposals. What would that accomplish? Anything that introduces friction for clients is a terrible idea. The key to finding and sustaining success here is to be very selective about the projects you bid on, submit very compelling and concise proposals, and forget every one as soon as you click 'send' until and unless you hear from the client. 

Thank you Phyllis. That is helpful information. I have been at Upwork for a few months and have spent quite a bit of time on each proposal. I did hear back from one client and was able to talk to them. Another seemed interested and kept sending emails asking questions that I would answer promptly and then I never heard back. Others I have never heard anything. I appreciate your feedback. 

alysegoody
Member

You shouldn't expect a response/acknowledgment to every job you apply for. Just apply and forget about it until they message. They are not ghosting you, but simply found a better freelancer for that particular position. 

If you are doing well on Upwork, please share what roles you apply for and how you achieve success. That would be helpful to know.

I think Upwork should up their standards and require clients to reply to freelancers. Just my opinion to make this platform stand out as an industry leader.

They do. I've had quite a few projects where the clients contacted me directly. 

They already have pretty high standards compared to most other freelancing platforms, which is why many freelancers have their profiles rejected and why some who don't can't find work.

Well my case is different


Bilikisu M wrote:
Well my case is different

How?

 

So you spent "a couple of Dollars" and are disappointed that you haven't been hired from that? You are in an incredibly competitive category with a mediocre profile and a catastrophically low job success score. "A couple" of proposals aren't anywhere near enough.

Are you saying my profile isn't a hit!!!
Please can you give me a hint on this.


Susan G wrote:

I think Upwork should up their standards and require clients to reply to freelancers. Just my opinion to make this platform stand out as an industry leader.


Plot twist. If they aren't interested in hiring me, I don't want to hear from them. Too many messages and I'm busy.


Jennifer M wrote:

Susan G wrote:

I think Upwork should up their standards and require clients to reply to freelancers. Just my opinion to make this platform stand out as an industry leader.


Plot twist. If they aren't interested in hiring me, I don't want to hear from them. Too many messages and I'm busy.


ditto, if someone sends me a "rejection" (usually just letting me know they can't afford me, lol) I don't even respond. common courtesy says I should say thank you and good luck but as said above - I am busy. If we arent working together, leave me alone.

Interesting take:) Everyone is "busy" and everyone's idea of busy is vastly different. I appreciate your feedback. 


Susan G wrote:

Interesting take:) Everyone is "busy" and everyone's idea of busy is vastly different. I appreciate your feedback. 


Everyone who said they are busy here has a lot of work on their plate, coming from Upwork clients.
I have a full time job and work probably 20 hours a week on freelancing, for a total of 60 working hours per week. That's genuinely busy under anyone's definition.

I've said this before in other threads and I'll say it again, a lot of people who are not successfully using the platform are too busy focusing on how to make Upwork's platform work for them... Instead of trying to make silly rules that bend a massive publicly-traded platform to your preferences, without taking into consideration how your change would affect most users negatively, whilst simultaneously seriously damage the functionality of the site, all just to make yourself feel better (again, genuinely not trying to be snarky but that's what this is right? something to make you feel comfort that you were not chosen?), you should try to focus your attention on what YOU can do to create success for yourself.

You should begin by making your profile public and ask the Community for a quick evaluation, that would be a really solid starting point.

Again, thank you for taking the time to respond to my original comment. You may not mean them to be snarky but they do come off that way. I appreciate your take and I'll take it into consideration as I continue to assess whether or not the Upwork platform is for me. 


Susan G wrote:

I think Upwork should up their standards and require clients to reply to freelancers. 


How would they do that?


Christine A wrote:

Susan G wrote:

I think Upwork should up their standards and require clients to reply to freelancers. 


How would they do that?


As someone that both freelances and very occasionally outsources very small tasks to freelancers overseas... they would have to literally put a gun to my head.

 

Imagine the time needed to respond to 30 proposals, no thank you.

I think persistence is the key. Over and over and over applying and refining and working hard to get your ratings. After I did that for a few months, and likely spending $100 in connects I started to figure out how to refine my proposals and answer prospective clients. Sometimes I get replies or questions but sometimes I dont. Sometimes I amswer those questions and never hear back and sometimes a few months later they send me an offer saying hey...I'm ready now.

Upwork can work if you work hard. I've been here since July and got serious in October. I'm making more than I ever imagined and busy I can barely do it all! Just got to keep at it.

Well it been over months spending couple f dollars applying on upwork but no client, this is frustrating you know.

Yes, just imagine how long it would take to send a quick thanks but no thanks to 30 proposals from people who have invested their time? Probably an hour. I think it's important,  but then again communication is extremely important to me.


Susan G wrote:

I think it's important,  but then again communication is extremely important to me.


Why would you value communication, or anything that is "important" to you, from people who don't wish to work with you? I definitely don't care if someone is bad at communication if I'm not going to take on a project with them anyways. Communication is important to me IF they sign on with me. If they don't i couldn't care less.

I'm not saying this to be snarky, I'm just suggesting you let it go because it's not worth dwelling on - focus your energy on how you can grab attention better. Submit as many proposals as you can, make sure they reflect your abilities properly, and when you get more connects just keep going. Eventually you'll get something, but the site is hardly "the same as every other job board". If there are people successfully making a great income on here (there are a lot, i make twice as much here as I do at my full-time job) then it's not a matter of what the site is doing wrong, it's what you're doing wrong. That's meant to be constructive criticism; if you aren't succeeding it is genuinely a fact that you could improve something about your process, such as not understanding which jobs are more likely to result in a hire and being aware of red flags about posts, proposals that sound too templated, etc.

Also if it makes you feel better it gets easier, I send out a round of proposals every two weeks or so, if that. Lately it's been less and less, people reach out to me on their own now and I don't even have time to apply to stuff. So the "work" is hard at first, but improves as you gain more of a reputation.


Susan G wrote:

Yes, just imagine how long it would take to send a quick thanks but no thanks to 30 proposals from people who have invested their time? Probably an hour. I think it's important,  but then again communication is extremely important to me.


That's a pretty common opinion among people who have never been in that position. Lost productivity is a real thing, and a lot of people hire freelancers because they are short on time, not because they want to spend a lot of extra time not hiring someone. 

 

Beyond that, it sounds like you may not be aware that many freelancers who get a polite reaction repeatedly respond, begging, cajoling, complaining, making counter-offers, insulting the client, and so on. No contact is far and away the safest path. 

 

And, as Jennifer pointed out, a lot of us really hate pointless messages cluttering things up with "Thanks, your samples look great but..." 

 

Making Upwork work for you is all about streamlining and efficiency. Target, send your proposal, and go on with your life without ever giving it another thought unless you hear back from the client. 

 

I don't know what field you're in, but unless it's quite technical I would not recommend ever spending "a lot of time" on your proposals. 2-3 short paragraphs will typically suffice. I've won jobs with as little as three sentences. 

 

When you look at job postings, ask yourself, "Why would a client hire me instead of the other 50 people who will likely apply?" Focus on the ones where you have a clear answer to that question. 

What you are forgetting is you aren't the only one that applied for the same job. They already go through a ton of crap cover letters just to find one person that is a good fit for them. Imagine having to send "no thank you" to everyone.

Also dont know how much research you did beforehand, Upwork has 18 MILLION freelancers. You are bit a needle in a haystack. So of course most times you wont get jobs or replies in the beginning.


Nemanja R wrote:
Also dont know how much research you did beforehand, Upwork has 18 MILLION freelancers.

Upwork don't have 18 Million freelancers, and of the rather large base of registered freelancers, only a small minority are active.

 

That said, the sentiment is a valid one. Every job post gets dozens of proposals, most clients don't even read all of them (what's the point of wasting time on proposals that will never stand a chance) and certainly don't respond to the "Thanks but No Thanks" candidates. Why would they? It wastes their time and the freelancer's.

I had to laugh at your comment on a ton of crap cover letters! I have read through hundreds of resumes and cover letters so I understand what you are saying. Thanks for taking the time to respond.


Susan G wrote:

Yes, just imagine how long it would take to send a quick thanks but no thanks to 30 proposals from people who have invested their time? Probably an hour. I think it's important,  but then again communication is extremely important to me.


You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and in service industries communicating with those you serve remains important. But, I would also suggest that you research inbox overload, the attention economy,  and other current topics regarding business and other communications.

Most professionals complain that they spend far too much time each day engaged in communication or admin work and it inhibits their productivity and focus. So, the latest trend is to reduce unnecessary communications. Some of the traditional business communication forms are now considered unncesseary or even rude because they tax people's time. 

Balancing providing customer service while not overdoing it a a delicate process. 


Susan G wrote:

Yes, just imagine how long it would take to send a quick thanks but no thanks to 30 proposals from people who have invested their time? Probably an hour. I think it's important,  but then again communication is extremely important to me.


Spend a little time looking a various RFPs in different categories - many have 50+ proposals. It is not realistic (or necessary) for clients to respond. They don't expect it, nor do professional freelancers, who leave their bids and move on. As I think someone pointed out, there are many unprofessional people who will harass a client who may reply with a "not interested", because they do not understand how to conduct themselves. Replying automatically opens a message room, and leaves a client open to this sort of behavior.

 

Successful feelancers practice good communication when they've been awarded a job and are working with a client ... that's when it's important.

I agree it is nice to get an answer when you spent time on your proposal. But, to be honest, you are wasting time trying to bend the platform to your standards and it will only make you miserable. You could be investing this time in something more productive and/or pleasant.

 

In my experience, the "Thank you, but we chose someone else" does not happen at Upwork, but it doesn't happen anywhere else either. Try sending CVs to a bunch of companies around you and see how many answers you get. Maybe you did answer all of them when you hired someone, but then I think you are the exception that makes the rule, at Upwork and outside of it.

 

My aim, as a freelancer is to get hired, not to make friends. It's best when I can do both, but the hiring comes first, by far. It is not a perfect world and I have enough troubles on my own to worry about how nice other people are, especially if they are not my clients.

 

And If you really want advice I also think you should make your profile public so the successful freelancers can have an opinion and actually give you advice on what you could change to have a more attractive professional profile. Only pointing your finger at Upwork and making your profile private may make it difficult, close to impossible.

I know but will you keep doing that until you are stranded with no more funds to apply for a job?
tlbp
Member


Susan G wrote:

I really had high hopes for Upwork and have invested in my profile and have sent proposals for several jobs. What I find is that Upwork is no different than any other job board. The freelancer does all of the work, applying in good faith, sending a cover letter, answering questions, only to be ghosted by every client. I really had hoped that Upwork would be different. But it isn't. I find it to be a waste of my time. 


Success as a freelancer requires building on your foundational skill by adding marketing and sales abilities. You cannot see yourself as a talented person looking for someone to place you in an open role. You must see yourself as a business owner who provides a specific service. Then, you must package, price and promote that service.