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Post-merger blues : No jobs for months, I'm about to give up :/

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11 of 18
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@Michael D wrote:

Hi all!

 

I've been part of oDesk/Upwork for a while now. The merger to Upwork never worried me, initially. However after more than 3 months of solicitations and responding on jobs, I have ended up with exactly zero clients. Well, one client who scammed me, if that counts.

 

I am getting a bit desperate, especially because I depend financially on extra income from Upwork. Some basic information about my situation:

 

- I'm a Dutch graphic designer with a Bachelor in Art & design.

- I speak four languages, of which Dutch as an native and English as near-native (raised internationally)

- I am Top-rated, have a 100% job-success score

- I am part of the Upwork Pro talent pool

- My specializations are (art)magazine and (e)book designs and corporate identities. But I also have experience designing posters, brochures, whitebooks and generally anything printed.

- I have applied various writing styles and techniques, emphasizing different aspects

- I always respond to any clue in the client's job offering to show I write tailored emails, not generic ones

- My website (which I always mention various times as a source of portfolio material) is modern and looks good

 

Last year (basically before November 2015) I would respond to 6-7 job offers and would be awarded one, or at the very least receive an invitation to interview. Right now I have written perhaps as much as 60-70 solicitations to job offerings (including on lower and lower budget ones, and lower my asking price less and less as an experiment) and have received exactly one back, which turned out to be a scam.

 

I've checked my competitors, and even on jobs that are a perfect for my skills (e.g. similar design style required, e-book or printed book / booklet design) and without any talented competition visible I still don't get those kind of jobs. Or even just an interview! more concerning is that people don't even seem to read my messages, as my website is getting very few hits in periods where I do a lot of job-searching/writing.

 

So...you can understand it's hard to bring up motivation when you've been trying to get jobs for months, writing many useless/rejected/ignored texts. I try to write every text as personal as I can, bringing in information about the customer his branch, his target audience and discuss some ideas I already have reading his job description. I've tried to go lower and lower in price too (just last few weeks), even responding to jobs that would result in an hourly wage of $5 or less. (I do fixed price-only contracts exclusively, something I might need to change in the future as a last resort. It does not fit well with my modus operandi, however)

 

Am I overlooking something really obvious? I had my profile and website checked by some professional friends. And even if there is something to be improved, it cannot be so massive that I am simply not getting jobs for 3 months whilst being extremely highly qualified/decorated and am bidding on projects that earn me perhaps 50% of what I would have asked last year. Or less.

 

Anyone else noticed the same? Anyone suggestions what I am doing wrong?

 

thanks...Smiley Sad Smiley Happy

Michael.


You can always do something to improve your performance and your profile. Recently, somebody reported about a video on his profile making him more successful. You could compile your samples in a short video presentation. However, one of the main problems at the moment is the lack of well-paying clients, especially for qualified freelancers from European countries with a higher level of income. My earnings are declining constantly for months.

afifield
Community Guru
Amanda F Member Since: Aug 8, 2015
12 of 18

Sadly, I am experiencing similar issues and I am a graphic designer. I was in the top 1% of elancers and I have a 95% job success. When I first started here, I was doing excellent. For some reason the last 3 weeks has been pretty bad. I have noticed a large increase in $5 jobs and it has really flooded the design area. There also seems to be a large increase in the # of proposals. 

 

I am not getting any responses from clients at all on the decent jobs even though before I was getting a few within 3-5 proposals. I haven't changed anything in my profile or the way I do proposals. Just no answers from clients, and those who do interview me never award the job. I am not sure what's going on. I was planning on making a video as well to see if it does anything, but I definitely feel it's very odd. I've also bid on some projects where it shows nobody is hired or interviewed with only 6 proposals for example, and then bid and 2 seconds later it shows 50 proposals, 4 interviews and 1 hire therefore wasting connects. That happened about 6 times now. 

 

Keep trying is all that can be done I guess. 

 

To add, I also have gotten so many irrelavent invites. I've at times been spammed with 20+ invites for translation and developer jobs. 

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13 of 18
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@Amanda F wrote:

Sadly, I am experiencing similar issues and I am a graphic designer. I was in the top 1% of elancers and I have a 95% job success. When I first started here, I was doing excellent. For some reason the last 3 weeks has been pretty bad. I have noticed a large increase in $5 jobs and it has really flooded the design area. There also seems to be a large increase in the # of proposals. 

 

I am not getting any responses from clients at all on the decent jobs even though before I was getting a few within 3-5 proposals. I haven't changed anything in my profile or the way I do proposals. Just no answers from clients, and those who do interview me never award the job. I am not sure what's going on. I was planning on making a video as well to see if it does anything, but I definitely feel it's very odd. I've also bid on some projects where it shows nobody is hired or interviewed with only 6 proposals for example, and then bid and 2 seconds later it shows 50 proposals, 4 interviews and 1 hire therefore wasting connects. That happened about 6 times now. 

 

Keep trying is all that can be done I guess. 


Good luck! Your profile shows that you are an experienced and qualified graphic designer. Unfortunately, there is an armada of self-appointed graphic designers on the platform who never had an adequate education for the services they offer. 

andrea_brajnovic
Ace Contributor
Andrea B Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
14 of 18

Hi Amanda and Michael,

I'm going through the same as you are and I don't think we are alone in this. I've read a lot of discussions in the forums and I even chatted with the support team. Short answer: There's no way to move forward other than getting noticed by some third party and even that is no guaranteed

 

I personally feel like there's a missing link in a freelancer's growth here on upwork. As I see it right now there's:

1. Beginner(a place to start + a ''rising talent'' badge for those who have the skills but lacks the experience on the platform)

2. Top Rated(you have proven your skills and you have your clientele's feedback sharing their thoughts about your performance and the quality of your service)

3. Missing Link(This should be reserved for those who already have reached the Top Rated status(like upwork pro) but this could be managed by a portion of the upwork team whose sole purpose would be connecting freelancers with clients in need of a specific service)

4. Experienced Freelancer(when offers starts coming to you regularly, and I mean good offers tailored to your expertise, instead of you appliying to them)

 

I think the upwork team is doing a great job at managing the site and it was the one I chatted with that suggested I share my thoughts in the forums to see how others feel about it.

 

I hope someone with more experience will also jump in the conversation.

What do you think about this?

michaeldk
Ace Contributor
Michael D Member Since: Jan 29, 2015
15 of 18

Yes, I understand what you mean. Video is however not my strong point and I would certainly make something that would deter, rather than attract new clients  Smiley LOL

 

And yes, I get the impression Upwork is significantly more Americas-oriented than oDesk was. I have a hard time finding european clients while before it was a 50/50 mix...

chris_macartwork
Community Guru
Chris M Member Since: May 6, 2015
16 of 18

Hi Michael,

I've had a look at your profile, which I think looks great, and I can understand your worries.

 

There's one aspect that looks strange though - the keywords:

Dutch, Friendly, Punctual, Experienced, Talented

 

There's no words in that list related specifically to Graphic Design.

 

I'm not sure how those keywords are generated - I've tried editing my own profile and I can't see where I can enter them.

 

Can anyone in here advise where they come from?

 

I just thought if there were more Graphic Design related keywords in there then it might help.

 

Edited: Ahhhh - I now realise you just typed the Keywords in at the end of your overview. I thought they were inputted from an Upwork 'Keywords' prompt. No wonder I couldn't find it on my profile.

 

I'm as mystified as you as to why you haven't secured any work.

michaeldk
Ace Contributor
Michael D Member Since: Jan 29, 2015
17 of 18

Hi Chris,

 

Thanks for your reply! I will further clarify or remove the keywords Smiley Happy I'm no expert profile writer, and tend to let my images speak for themselves. Perhaps I should not expect my potential clients to do the same! Smiley Happy

 

I have a feeling that somehow I ended up on some kind of lower ranking with the merger between oDesk and Elance. That is how it feels to me, at least. I have been inactive for about two months prior to the merger and perhaps the system took that into consideration for my new, merged profile status?

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
18 of 18

If your clients were artists and spoke the language of art, they would not be hiring you. You are selling a product to business people who are looking for business related qualities: Competent, affordable, on-time. Don't demonstrate that you know what an artist thinks, demonstrate that you know how to translate art for business.

 

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