You are not the only one. You are easily in the majority. It might be even the vast majority.
Being a freelancer is scary. It is something I would only advise someone to do if they are prepared for it and understand what they are getting into. You have to market yourself all the time and will likely have to invent new ways to market yourself on a constant basis.
The way Upwork is you will likely have to pay to find a project to work. I think it is important, for our mindset, to not to call them jobs (I still do sometimes). You don't work for your clients, you work with them. You are your own employer.
For me, Upwork is not a reliable source of income. But nothing else is either. If I wanted a reliable source of income I would go work for someone. What I want is control. With Upwork, right now, I believe I mostly have control. I can bid on projects that make sense for me and I can choose what I bid. If UW becomes more of a burden to me, I will leave it behind.
Because your profile is private I don't know what you do or how long you have been doing it. If you have something you are really great at though, I suggest you look for projects that when you see them, you think I can absolutely destroy that, and you apply only to those. You want to use your connects strategically but not sparingly.
You want to write a proposal that tells that client that you are not only great for the job but you are the only person for that job. You need to catch their eye with the first two lines so that they see that on the review screen. Your profile needs to back that up completely, this is the THING Akhera does and she is awesome at it.
The reason that connects are paid is that there are too many people on Upwork that, no matter how awesome they are, cannot sell themselves at all. They are just inundating the client with pointless proposals. There are a lot of people who are not awesome at the thing they are selling themselves about. You have to be different than that.
My biggest problem with the new paid connects is that it could be a barrier to someone who is new but is also awesome. I don't have an answer for it, I just hope that if you are awesome you work you way through it.
Loved your reply, it is very comprehensive and very objective
Yet, there is one factor i disagree with: charging for applications.
I even escalated this situation to the highest company member possible (yes, it went high) by the end of 2019; and that man was very smart, listening, and caring enough to understand the argument and help fall back that policy as soon as he could.
It is understandable that having a lot of people may confuse the offerors, but while it is true there will be many freelancers with not enough skills, there is also the fact that "talented" has a very subjective element to it, one person may be good enough though one contractor may not feel it so whilst that very same freelancer could be the best for other similar (or even equal) jobs, and how can you tell whether a newcommer is good?
There is also the fact that becoming "good" requires not only having a grading, trayectory, and advertizing yourself properly but making an insane amount of tests, what happens when a professional is good at many things? responding to all of them would make hi/her look either a cheater or overprofiled, I know this person who attained 99% on a hardcore mathematical exam requiring him/her to respond 200 questions within 1.5 seconds each.. and he was dismissed anyway.
There is a limit to what should be considered "good policies", charging applicants (and by extension: those who just joined, needing money) was not one of them.
The different amount of connects is a better solution, yet, it must be improved, you will find jobs with $5 payments charging 6 connects whereas $35 jobs will only chage one. This clearly aims to a desire of oversquishing the frelancers' pockets rather than taking measures to prevent "poor performers".
upWork is a great place, but the objective of every company is making money; nothing else. What do you do when you're leading the market, charging up to 20% comission to freelancers (which is considered usury in many countries) and exploited every single profiting alternative?
Make no mistake: There is a difference between understanding their policies and justifying everything they do. Users as a community should stay vigilant; whoever said it: "the price of freedom is perpetual vigilance", so know when the change is good and know when they're going too far..
Upwork has said a reason for making connects relatively more expensive for freelancers is to reduce the (sometimes overwhelming) number of responses clients get when posting jobs.
According to Upwork's quarterly filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission...
...these new fees were not significant relative to the fees freelancers pay based on their payments from clients.
If the goal of reducing freelancer proposals is achieved, freelancers who focus on in the lowest-priced projects on Upwork are likely to find their net earnings drastically reduced due to the new connect policy. But if that's what it takes for Upwork to eventually report profits to its shareholders, the new connects policy is here to stay.
The problem is that 20 connects are not enough for a newbie to learn what he/she needs to do in order to win projects. It's something that takes time as it was already explained. You need to be great but also you need to sell yourself, you need to scan jobs carefully, and then also scan clients before sending proposals. If your career is really unique like translating into a language only few people can then you have an advantage but it's not a guarantee. A job post may sound perfect for you but the client may not have previous history or the description may be vague with a "more details later"... Are you willing to take the risk? Some people can and some others cannot. Unfortunately it takes time to learn and meanwhile clients are prone to hire freelancers who already have experience here and reject the others unless the others are way too cheap.
All in all it's a long and hard road. It was hard before and it's harder now for newcomers. But it's also clear why Upwork do this: the place is overcrowded. There are way too many freelancers in comparison with the number of clients, so it makes sense that limits are imposed. I guess that sooner or later they could even stop taking new applicants or giving those 20 free connects.
Tlale B wrote:
I am also new here and noticed we going to have to spent money to be able to apply, and also without any reviews it is still going to be difficult for new freelancers like us to get the first gig.
I agree with you, starting on Upwork is getting extremely complicated. If I were you, I would not spend too much time trying - there are other freelance platforms that might be more suitable. You have to understand that there are too many freelancers on Upwork, so Upwork is sort of trying to discourage newcomers.