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Is it just me, or are other freelancers feeling a bit screwed over by UpWork's new policies?

Active Member
Adrienne M Member Since: Jul 17, 2019
1 of 26

I'm deeply disappointed with the recent changes here on UpWork.
When I first discovered UpWork a few months back it was one of the only remaining freelance sites that DIDN'T charge freelancers just to look for work. The rather steep percentage they took on the back end was acceptable because at least I was able to get work without paying up-front, which is essential for those of us who took a leap of faith on a new career path, starting from absolute zero. I took some skills tests, even scored #1 of all test takers on the spelling test, and was quickly designated "Rising Talent," an honor that gave me hope and propelled me forward through those rough early days of trying to get work with no reputation. Soon a got some 5-star reviews and was finally starting to get some momentum. People were inviting me to interview without my having to apply. I thought I was golden.

Then suddenly, UpWork decided to change the game. In addition to the percentage they take on the backend, we are now required to pay for connects in order to apply for jobs. Not a huge issue since the cost is fairly low (though the number of connects required to apply for jobs appears to be rising as well, which is frustrating), and I do understand the logic. The real issue is that quality leads went down sharply at the same time. So now it feels like we're fighting over scraps. Oh and P.S. they got rid of skills tests, too. *sad trombone*
Though I continue to apply for jobs that seem to be a good fit whenever I come across them, they seem to be fewer and farther between. Which I suppose is just as well since I now have to pay to apply to them. But to add insult to injury, I've just gotten a notification that my failure to make any money in the last month (thanks for the reminder, UpWork) means they're switching my account to "private" until I either make some money (and of course the only way to do that is to apply for jobs with paid connects, since now no one can find my profile and invite me to interview, which is how I got all my best work), or upgrade to a paid membership. This feels an awful lot like blackmail to me and definitely does NOT make me interested in being a paid member of this organization. In fact I'm strongly considering focusing my efforts elsewhere. 

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
2 of 26

Adrienne M wrote:

But to add insult to injury, I've just gotten a notification that my failure to make any money in the last month (thanks for the reminder, UpWork) means they're switching my account to "private" until I either make some money (and of course the only way to do that is to apply for jobs with paid connects, since now no one can find my profile and invite me to interview, which is how I got all my best work), or upgrade to a paid membership. 


Adrienne, unless they've changed this as well, and given the pace at which things change it's entirely possible, you can ask support to make your profile public. In fact, my understanding is there's a button to click that will do so. Once support gets your request, it may take a couple of days for the profile to be made public. In the meantime, you can still send proposals and clients will be able to see your profile. The main downside of a profile set private is clients can't invite you. However, clients now have to pay a fair sum either one time or monthly, to invite more than 3 freelancers to a job, so invitations will be scarce anyway.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Active Member
Adrienne M Member Since: Jul 17, 2019
3 of 26
Yep, I've already requested that they make my profile public again. Twice.
My objection is to the practice of making freelancers who are already
struggling suddenly invisible and then suggesting they can remedy the
situation by paying a membership fee out of the money they aren't making.
That's the opposite of support, and it's going to cost them good
freelancers.
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 26

Adrienne M wrote:

My objection is to the practice of making freelancers who are already
struggling suddenly invisible
...
it's going to cost them good
freelancers.

It is going to cost them mainly freelancers who are not earning or not earning much, which is not a problem considering Upwork has a vast, ridiculous surplus of freelancers and losing even a big percentage would make no difference whatsoever at all.

 

Losing clients is a problem.

Losing freelancers isn't.

 

Ace Contributor
Jonathon B Member Since: Jun 26, 2019
5 of 26

Petra R wrote:

 

Losing clients is a problem.

Losing freelancers isn't.

 


Thats the problem. UW doesnt seem to care about freelancers. If they loose bad freelancers, thats not a problem. But i feel they will loose good freelancers. Once i move back to the city i will be leaving this platform. I dont feel like this company cares about me so i dont want to make them anymore money. 

Active Member
Adrienne M Member Since: Jul 17, 2019
6 of 26

Thank you so much, Petra, for clarifying exactly what kind of "community" this actually is, and how much my contribution as a new freelancer is valued. Smiley LOL

 

 

Ace Contributor
william b Member Since: Jan 3, 2015
7 of 26

AM,

 

Sorry, but not at all surprised unfortunately, to hear of your difficulties.

You've arrived at UW at a very strange, really shaky time, and freelancer support has never been a UW priority.

If it's any consolation, things are rough all over on the freelancer end and may continue to be so for a minute.

Best of luck to you but def do NOT quit your day job.

 

Work smart, work safe!

Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
8 of 26

Adrienne M wrote:
Yep, I've already requested that they make my profile public again. Twice.
My objection is to the practice of making freelancers who are already
struggling suddenly invisible and then suggesting they can remedy the
situation by paying a membership fee out of the money they aren't making.
That's the opposite of support, and it's going to cost them good
freelancers.

* Big edit - somehow I mixed this up with another post, I think. *

 

I'm going to have to disagree, and I'm not trying to be dismissive. The good (if you will) freelancers, the successful ones, are the ones who will stay. The ones who consistently - over a long period of time - aren't getting jobs are having trouble for one reason or another, and that could be anything that takes them out of the running for "best" (if you will) in the client's eyes: not very active in seeking work, or not the caliber of expertise clients want, or whatever.

 

I realize some of the reason may also simply be that the freelancer is new, but remember, that's what every new freelancer runs into. If they're getting the jobs and I'm not, I'm going to have to wonder why. Then I can either work on fixing that, or figure out whether UW really is for me. It isn't for everybody. Again - not being dismissive. This is just reality. Not everyone can freelance at all, and not everyone is a fit for UW. If it hadn't been a fit for me I'd be gone...why beat my head against a wall?

 

Another factor is that it isn't just about "good," it's about actively being able/willing to accept new jobs, and UW has to assume that if you're not regularly seeking (or getting) work then you may not be as available to clients who want you. They're really just paring things down to clients not being so flooded, either by approaches or when sifting through the many many freelancers who are active.

 

I'm not an UW lackey or anything, Smiley Very Happy and I do have my complaints. But overall it's a good fit. I was on other platforms that weren't good fits and I moved along to this one. That's freelancing. It's incredibly competitive, it's not for everyone, and even when it is, you have to know that it's not going to be a constant headache. In that case, it's not worth it, IMO. Because the freelancer who's experiencing all this - no work, constant struggle, keeps getting set to private - isn't making money anyway. The way I saw it when I started here, if that was going to be for me, I may as well work at Starbucks...at least then I'd be making money plus I'd get free coffee! Smiley Very Happy

 

 

Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
9 of 26

As far as fees: again, if you're making a few bucks on projects here, a buck or two here or there isn't going to be prohibitive. Figure it into your rates - raise yourself five dollars an hour. That's legitimate too and a pretty much normal thing with freelancing. You'll always have some expenses that you have to figure into your fees.

 

I was kind of surprised when UW started charging for connects, but apparently UW isn't operating at a profit and they want to stay afloat. They're a business just like I am. I want to make money. So do they. If I'm not making money off their platform, I'm walking. If they're not making money off me, they're sending me walking. I don't think we're any more "greedy" or somehow bad than UW, when you think about it. We're all here for the same reason. Just my $.02 and not telling anybody not to be upset or trying to shut anyone down. I do get it but you need to be logical about it, IMO.

Active Member
Adrienne M Member Since: Jul 17, 2019
10 of 26

"The good (if you will) freelancers, the successful ones, are the ones who will stay."

 

It's pretty self-evident that one can't be successful *on UpWork* if one doesn't stay on UpWork. But this isn't the only platform out there, nor is it the only way to get work as a Freelancer. Not by a long shot.

 

This thread has helped me clarify exactly why it's important to diversify. 

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