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PLEASE! Let Freelancer's Contact Clients for Clarification Prior to Using Connect Points!!!!

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Community Guru
Michael S Member Since: Aug 29, 2017
21 of 46

They're never gonna do that because that would be the fastest way to lose clients. Nobody will want to post a job if it means getting flooded with people harrassing them about it rather than going through the proper procedure of submitting a proposal. And they definitely won't want to have someone apply, then start badgering them constantly about "Have you looked at my proposal why haven't you looked at it justhiremealreadypleeeeeasssseeee!"

 

If you see a job that has vague information, just assume the client doesn't know what they want, and that it won't be a good fit. And if the job is really vague on everything, you can always flag it as "There is no clear, defined deliverable."

 

tl;dr You can plead all you want, but they're never going to allow people to cold-contact clients, as that would defeat the entire purpose of having connects, and drive clients off the platform at the same time.

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Community Leader
Gary Val T Member Since: Mar 28, 2018
22 of 46

Okay, then limit it to one pre-bid contact just to get the needed information. 

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Community Guru
Bill H Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
23 of 46

I see you are located in the USA. Why are you concerned about wasting connects? That is understandable in an area where a package of connects might cost three days' earnings. They are relatively inexpensive for you.

 

All freelancing sites share some commonalities. The first is that the primary source of income for the site is fees charged to freelancers when they are paid by a client. The only one bringing much money to the table is the client. The sites protect clients from being overwhelmed by freelancer messages.

 

I often represent my clients when sourcing services. I tell prospective suppliers that they may not contact my client directly. My clients have businesses to run. When invited to apply you will get all relevant information about the client, but I still prefer you communicate through me. I want to help providers deal effectively with my clients.

 

The nature of clients who use these boards is that they assume the providers need little information in order to respond. That's not intolerable, it's an opportunity to differentiate yourself. Ask smart and relevant questions at the beginning of your response. Asking questions promotes answers, and now you're in a dialog, where the work you want is done. Clients are like everybody else, they prefer to talk about themselves. You can display interest in the client with questions, and get the client to give you information others don't have. I love vague job posts, and you should, also.

 

Other than me, I don't know any client who intentionally leaves out information. I do that to find out which responders are interested in me and my company, how much they know about what I do, and how interested they are. I use that to filter applicants. The typical response is "Hire Me!!! Hire Me!!!" Anybody who asks a question gets interviewed, the others go to the bottom of the pile.

 

I have a default book cover designer/graphic artist because I have few visual skills. I tell her about the book and the audience for which it is written. She performs magic, and I'm happy. I ordered a book cover from an Indian firm pretending to be in Canada. They complained that I didn't give them a sample of the cover I wanted so they could apply their skills and tweak it. I depend on my default artist to understand what works best. I left a scathing review for the lazy freelancer.

 

You should be able to contact the client from data connected to the job posting. If s/he has posted five or more jobs, the client's name is in feedback. The company name is often in previous postings. You do look at that, right? "Need a new logo for an artist, Gary Val Tudball, LLC, in Everett Washington." That tells you what the company is. Client location is often indicated in information about the job, say, Seattle. "Need consultant for company that specializes in remediation of aardvark flatulence." How many of those can there be?

 

I have many criticisms of UW, but allowing freelancers to contact the client before submitting a response isn't one of them. If you're smart you can figure out who the client is, and address your response "Dear Mr. Tudball," Now you're ahead of the curve. You can demonstrate interest in the client with smart questions, putting you ahead of most of your competition.

 

What looks to you like a problem is actually an opportunity.

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Community Leader
Gary Val T Member Since: Mar 28, 2018
24 of 46

Good points. However, most of my customers are not businesses. 99% of them are authors needing book cover design for a one-off project. As you suggested, I do check the feedback from their previous jobs and often am able to identify the client but only by first name only. No help there.

 

Regarding asking questions of the client (after I've used my connects to bid on the project), I always do that because, like you said, clients love to talk about themselves and their projects. But most of the time my most important reason for asking questions is to get the information I need about the project, necessary information that they didn't include in the job post. All too often, the information I receive turns out to be such that I discover the job is not for me. So the connects I used have gone to waste.

 

A one-time pre-bid contact with the client would be a valuable option for freelancers who, like me, are frustrated by this situation.

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Active Member
Denise T Member Since: Jan 11, 2016
25 of 46

Although I'm not an illustrator, my field--editing, mostly books and articles--is close enough to Gary's that I have similar concerns, because I frequently encounter similar problems in posted jobs. Specifically, clients say they have a book or article they wanted edited, but don't reveal how long the project is. Sometimes they say how long the book or article is--but in page numbers, not as a word count--without revealing whether they mean single-spaced manuscript pages, double-spaced manuscript pages, book proofs, etc., all of which take vastly different amounts of time to edit. They rarely reveal whether a manuscript is in Word or is a pdf--and a pdf typically takes two or three times as long to edit as a Word doc with the same word count does.

 

In short, I am sympathetic to Gary's concerns. Since the consensus seems to be a generalized worry that clients will be inundated with questions from clueless freelancers and backdoor bidders, the solution might be better education for clients. This may require a different "educational text" for each type of job posting (text editing, translation, coding, etc.), perhaps a paragraph for each type/field. (I don't know what guidelines, if any, Upwork typically provides clients...I haven't created a client account for myself or researched yet.) If Upwork ever considers doing this, I for one would be happy to write an "educational" text for clients posting jobs for text editing. For free.

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Community Leader
Gary Val T Member Since: Mar 28, 2018
26 of 46

OMG! Not only a sympathetic ear but someone with an excellent idea to boot! Be still my heart! A sure sign that everything is going to be okay or that the world is about to end! I can't decide which! 

 

I hereby officially announce my availability to join Denise in volunteering to write an "educational" text for clients posting jobs for Book Cover Design. 

 

Thank you, Denise, for that brilliant suggestion!

Ten Thousand Kudos to you!!!

May you live long and prosper!

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Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
27 of 46

Gary Val T wrote:

OMG! Not only a sympathetic ear but someone with an excellent idea to boot! Be still my heart! A sure sign that everything is going to be okay or that the world is about to end! I can't decide which! 

 

I hereby officially announce my availability to join Denise in volunteering to write an "educational" text for clients posting jobs for Book Cover Design. 

 

Thank you, Denise, for that brilliant suggestion!

Ten Thousand Kudos to you!!!

May you live long and prosper!


Two things:

 

1) Asking for fields a client would have to fill in on a job post for more clarity is nothing new and has been suggested many times in the past, and like all good suggestions, always fell on deaf ears.

 

2) Using connects to bid on jobs is never a "waste". You're self-employed, a business-owner. All businesses have expenses. That's what a connect is, it's a business expense. Perhaps not using the word "waste" will make it easier to bid on vague RFPs including any questions you may have. We can't say "connects are free" anymore, but we can still say they're the cost of doing business.

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Community Leader
Gary Val T Member Since: Mar 28, 2018
28 of 46

"We can't say "connects are free" anymore, but we can still say they're the cost of doing business."

 

That may be true but the infuriating part of it is that they could achieve the same goal of reducing the number of spammy proposals by simply letting the connects remain free but reduce the number of them alotted to each freelancer. When the connects are a limited resource then the freelancers would be more discriminating in their use of them. But no, UpWork had to go and implement the option that would bleed more money out of the freelancers. I mean, c'mon. We're already taking a huge hit in the wallet from the outrageous 20% fee they take out of our pay. What's next? A fee for posting in this community forum? Honestly, I would not be be surprised. Smiley Wink  

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
29 of 46

Gary Val T wrote:

"We can't say "connects are free" anymore, but we can still say they're the cost of doing business."

 

That may be true but the infuriating part of it is that they could achieve the same goal of reducing the number of spammy proposals by simply letting the connects remain free but reduce the number of them alotted to each freelancer.


Not really, the spammies then just buy connects or create multiple accounts.

 

The only other option would be to radically weed out the marketplace and kick out 50% +++ of the freelancerbase.

 

Anyone under 90% JSS? Out you go.

 

Anyone without earnings in the past 60 days? Suspended

 

Not top rated? ByeBye....

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Community Guru
Bill H Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
30 of 46

outrageous 20% fee

 

Getting a website (your profile), marketing, getting leads, getting an invoicing and AR capability costs businesses more than 20% of revenue in most cases. And, most of the costs are incurred before any revenue is received. Twenty percent is not outrageous.

 

@Petra, you are the number one expert in the platform and your domains. Under your suggestions, because not all freelancing is alike, many excellent and productive freelancers would be removed. I believe you sub-consciously chose retention characteristics that would benefit you.

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