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the-right-writer
Community Member

To all freelancers looking for help

I have always had freelancers come to me for help. In the last year, the river has swelled into an enormous ocean.

 

You don't need me; Upwork provides an enormous amount of information that few ever use. If, after you have gone through all the information I provide, you still have questions, that is when you ask additional questions in the forum.

 

If you think you will make big bucks right away, you are mistaken. The majority of freelancers never land a job because they have no skills and aren't interested in educating themselves. Others believe online freelancing is a path to full-time employment. It can be, but highly unlikely on this platform.

 

Freelancing is not for everyone. It means you are self-employed and must adhere to all regulations and laws governing responsibilities, such as paying taxes. Freelancing means you are on your own. No one has your back, including Upwork. If you don't follow the rules, no one will or can help you.

 

If you are willing to work hard, follow the rules and prepared to spend a lot of connects and proposals, you can be successful, as many are on Upwork. While so many fail, it is almost always due to lack of skills and treating freelancing like employment  where the employer will make sure you do the job correctly.

 

If you want to succeed, start with the Terms of Service, then read this from Wes.

 

Then go here. Then here.  Next, check this site regularly for events such as webinars and other learning opportunities.

After that, go here for safety information, and then here. If you still need help, after you have gone through all the previous steps, you can find additional help here. This thread is dedicated to new freelancers. And here are announcements from Upwork that can help keep you up to date.

 

It will take some time to go through all the information. I'm not suggesting people should not post in the forum, I am suggesting before you ask questions and want help, you need to help yourself first.

 

 

From Prashant P: "And have relevant profile picture of your face.  Not some desks, or Mickey mouse, or full face covering." 

From Susan S: "And patience! Have patience! It takes a while to get started, even after going through all the information available."

From Martina P:  "Only one thing you forgot, namely telling people to use all 15 skills."

And with advice from Maria T, I will say, 

Refrain from personal messages, please read all the links I have added.

 

 

1,321 REPLIES 1,321

I think that rates here are pulled down by freelancers that accept work at 50 USD or less. If you see, much proposals are fixed price 50 or less.

There have always been a percentage of low paying jobs. When the floodgates were thrown wide, more unskilled freelancers flooded in that will work for next to nothing because they have no skills. Clients don't always want the best. Some want cheap and easy, and they don't care if it's spun content or just plagiarized. Or even if it's good writing. For proof, look at a few random websites. Many don't even bother to use a free spellcheck program. Clients have said to me, "I don't care how it looks or reads, just get it up, so I have a website!"

 

Upwork's minimum is $3.00, I believe. It is extremely difficult to find equitable rates between the huge range of financial and skill situations. However, new freelancers make a mistake by gutting their rates just to try and get a job. Even if they do land a job, it is usually a terrible situation and locks them into the same fee. Yes, if you are working locally, you may have to use the going rate. But for those with skills using this world-wide marketplace, they should charge going rates for their skills.

Is there a gentler way to say that?

 

I have reviewed perhaps hundreds of profiles and find a great deal of people who seem to have no clue what the word freelancer means or implies. But I would not jump to the conclusion that they are lazy. And many appear to be marginally skilled given the standards of an educated person from a modern, developed country. But you have to be dead to be unskilled. If you can talk on the phone to some employers that qualifies as skilled. I think we can raise the rhetoric to a more generous or maybe just a more polite level than lazy and unskilled. 

In addition, I'm not convinced the less skilled workers upset the Upwork marketplace in any shape or form. The less skilled workers have always been there; now, because of Upwork, they are more visible. That doesn't mean they didn't exist before.

 

It's up to the marketplace to sort out the highly skilled, the marginally skilled, the hard workers or whatever else. It's not Upwork's place to tamper with that anymore than necessary. 


Anthony H wrote:

But you have to be dead to be unskilled. If you can talk on the phone to some employers that qualifies as skilled.


๐Ÿค” So, when economists refer to "unskilled labor", they mean jobs so basic that even a corpse can do it? ๐Ÿ˜œ

I was refering to talking corpses only..


Jonathan L wrote:

Anthony H wrote:

But you have to be dead to be unskilled. If you can talk on the phone to some employers that qualifies as skilled.


๐Ÿค” So, when economists refer to "unskilled labor", they mean jobs so basic that even a corpse can do it? ๐Ÿ˜œ


That must be why Upwork uses zombies in its advertising.

"Is there a gentler way to say that?"

 

Yes, I can play semantics. However, why should I? I am being totally honest. I don't care if I offend the unskilled, lazy people.

 

 

There are a range of freelancers.

 

- Scammers, here to cheat just like the scammer clients. These are the ones setting up fake jobs, gaming collects and purposely trying to steal. They steal profiles, portfolios, and spend all their time on stealing. They will do anything they can to rip off clients, other freelancers, Upwork and anyone or entity with a shred of money. There is no end to the extent they will go. These people could find work, but why bother when it's so easy to steal? And no need to set up a profile. There are cheats online about how to fake interviews and everything else on Upwork, and probably every other platform.

 

Upwork has changed. Since the decision to allow anything that could use a keyboard to be a freelancer, the number of scammers increased exponentially.

 

 - The unskilled lazy, who could have skills, but really aren't interested. They put up a picture of some favorite fantasy, object, sometimes unidentifiable object. Or weird effects. Or a photo of their cat, iguana, tattoo, or body parts that say a TOS violation kind of seller. Their profiles are terribly written in their native language, there is nothing there, and they go on about their lives and how they like to do stuff. Then they whine they are unable to get a job. They don't like to hear they need to start at the beginning and get their act together before they throw up a profile and declare they are an expert. The people who do this will fail.

 

- The desperate are the ones I feel for and wish I could help. I try, but I can't change the essential socio-economic structure of the entire world. For many people, they have no marketable skills. I understand desperation and why these people come here. They are the ones that I hope we can reach to let them know this is not the heaven they have been led to believe. It takes time, money, and connects to make it here. For someone who may only have a dollar for many needs, spending money on boosts and proposals will only leave them much poorer. I think it is cruel to tell people in this situation to send in more proposals, make videos, boost, boost, boost, when they will never ever get a job and only be scammed. The people need to know there is no quick, easy, money here and for the x millions in dire poverty with no way to earn without spending an enormous amount of money to their detriment. It is horrible when someone contacts me or posts and says they are out of food or need medicine, but Upwork is not a way out of poverty if you have no skills and/or no money.

 

- The lazy skilled are the ones who do have some skills, but feel that they should be given everything, from jobs to connects, to extra help because they are new or special. They are like children who don't want to go to school or work until someone drags them out of bed. This category warrants no sympathy or assistance either.

 

- The rest are legitimate and may be new or experienced freelancers. There are plenty of successful freelancers from extremely poor parts of the world. Many in this group are struggling for a variety of reasons, including the open floodgates for anything calling itself a freelancer.

 

"But you have to be dead to be unskilled. If you can talk on the phone to some employers that qualifies as skilled. I think we can raise the rhetoric to a more generous or maybe just a more polite level than lazy and unskilled."

 

No, there are plenty of people who have zero marketable skills. They need an employer or the determination to establish real skills and return. I do not play word games to sugar coat the truth. Whether you want to believe it or not, there are plenty of lazy people, who don't want to work, or expect the clients to accept their garbage.

 

Yes, they need an employer, a job where they are told what to do and made to do it. If you have access to a library or the Internet, you have the ability to learn. And talking on the phone is not a marketable skill. That is exactly the problem. Some person decides because they can talk on the phone, they are a personal assistant.

 

"In addition, I'm not convinced the less skilled workers upset the Upwork marketplace in any shape or form. The less skilled workers have always been there; now, because of Upwork, they are more visible. That doesn't mean they didn't exist before."

 

Where do you think all those garbage proposals are coming from? The clients are not upset over receiving 50+ quality freelance proposals to choose from. No, the flood of unskilled, scammers, and every other kind of creature that can use a keyboard minimally is now a freelancer. Upwork removed every single test and qualifier for freelancers, so everyone would join and sped connects. Now there are 18 million or more cheats who are driving clients away. It is not visibility, there are millions and millions more freelancers than before COVID and the drive for connects.

 

"It's up to the marketplace to sort out the highly skilled, the marginally skilled, the hard workers or whatever else. It's not Upwork's place to tamper with that anymore than necessary."

 

Upwork sets all kinds of rules that are not allowed in the marketplace. It directly controls the activity on the site. Upwork had good policies with test for Upwork information, skills tests, and specific requirements for the skills claimed. Additionally, there were hard rules about everything from photos to profiles. If you didn't do what you were supposed to do, you didn't use the platform. In addition, there were limits to how many freelancers were allowed in the categories. The platform functioned professionally and as fairly as possible for every freelancer. Now, it's a race to sign up anything, much to the detriment of clients, genuine freelancers, and Upwork.

 

 

 

 

Didn't mean to rattle ya.

I provided you with an in-depth response. I do this for every freelancer that is not asking for or demanding a job.

Every freelancer WHO is not asking for or demanding a job ... not "that."

 

Who  is for people ... that is for things.

Pet peeves aside, Jeanne, you have another convert on your side. It seems I'm getting noticeably more cynical day by day.  This thread has been a painful eye opener for me.

Oh, no! Please don't take one of my little badges away!

We use:

  • who and whom for people
  • which for things
  • that for people or things.


https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/english-grammar-reference/relative-pronouns-and-rela...


Douglas Michael M wrote:

We use:

  • who and whom for people
  • which for things
  • that for people or things.


**Edited for Community Guidelines**


Um, I give a source for the text quoted and it gets "Edited for Community Guidelines"? So now it looks like I'm trying to speak with the voice of God and lay down the law?

  • I'm not.
  • I gave a source.
  • This is a longstanding feature of English, so sources are readily available.

Hi Douglas, 

 

I'm sorry for the mistake. I've reinstated the link. 

 


Douglas Michael M wrote:

Douglas Michael M wrote:

We use:

  • who and whom for people
  • which for things
  • that for people or things.


**Edited for Community Guidelines**


Um, I give a source for the text quoted and it gets "Edited for Community Guidelines"? So now it looks like I'm trying to speak with the voice of God and lay down the law?

  • I'm not.
  • I gave a source.
  • This is a longstanding feature of English, so sources are readily available.

 


~ Avery
Upwork

Thank you, Avery!

 "That" certainly can be for people. I stand by my post.

Jeanne,

Of course, you stand by your post, Jeanne. That's a given. 

I stand by my post. If it is wrong, post your evidence or send it to me privately.


Anthony H wrote:

In addition, I'm not convinced the less skilled workers upset the Upwork marketplace in any shape or form. The less skilled workers have always been there; now, because of Upwork, they are more visible. That doesn't mean they didn't exist before.


I would have to disagree with that. It used to be a lot harder to fake your way into freelancing than it is now. People can pretend to be translators using machine translations, people can pretend to be writers by using ChatGPT or by spinning articles that they find online, people can pretend to be graphic designers by stealing templates and other designs from stock websites.

 

Upwork used to also have some minimum standards, in that they didn't approve profiles that were barely filled out or filled with nonsense; now, they accept anyone and everyone. If clients are being inundated with proposals from people who don't know what they're doing, do you think that creates a good impression of Upwork as a place to hire professionals? If I were a client who posted a project and the first 10-15 proposals that I read were crap, I wouldn't keep reading - I would go elsewhere. So yes, bad freelancers do impact the marketplace as a whole.

Mostly, I agree (although I do think design templates have their place). The point is that it's a lot easier to look qualified than it is to be qualified. But many freelancers don't even seem to achieve the former.

Yeah, good points Christine. I have vaguely wondered about translators. I purchased a translator for my son who is headed to Europe soon and it translates 150 languages or something like that. I hadn't given it that much thought, but it certainly could be a quick moneymaker.

 

But is that so terrible? People in all kinds of work use gadgets and tools. Why should translators not have the option to do that? Robotics isn't only scaring translators, after all.

 

As far as marginally-skilled workers diluting the standards around here, that makes sense. But, and I'm just a guy who thinks out loud, what about the clients who want a 0.1 cent a word writer and come to Upwork only to find all these high-quality writers who charge $1 a word, driving them to seek freelancers at another site because Upwork is too high-brow?

I'm just thinking out loud. I always think the answer is to let the market sort itself out, because I think manipulating the system provokes unexpected consequences. 

For example, there's the successful pizza shop on Main Street and a second pizza shop opens up across the street. The owner of the first shop is furious. But over time, it turns out that the area becomes known as the place to get good pizza and more customers flood in because of that. Business at the first pizza shop actualy goes up. And I didn't make up this example, it came to me thorugh a business class  way back when.

 

I don't have any way of quantifying my remarks here; just speaking off the cuff here, as it happens. No research -- just guesswork.

I have no problem with freelancers who charge low prices, or with entry-level freelancers who bid on entry-level jobs. I'm talking about blatantly dishonest freelancers who misrepresent their skills and bid on projects for clients who are seeking experts, thinking that they can scam their way into making money here. That's the real problem.

 

What do you think happens when somebody hires a translator and finds out that they paid just to have somebody copy/paste their text and automatically translate it, and that it makes little sense as a result? What happens when somebody hires a logo designer and finds out that they don't own the copyright because it was stolen from a stock website? Do you think that clients like that will ever trust Upwork or hire here again?

Christine,

I don't know what happens when someone hires a translator who uses a translation device. I know that most chain restaurants simply microwave their meals, which they pawn off as made in the restaurant ... and most people don't complain about that. Many franchise restaurants with a bank of freezers and a wall of microwaves in the kitchen do pretty well. 

On the other hand, sure, you could have a mess with someone who steals intellectual property and resells it here on Upwork. I can imagine that happens and is hard to stop. How often this happens, I have no idea, but just knowing it happens doesn't propell me to believe it's rampant. 

 

On the other hand ... I review profiles and about a dozen or so new members ask for profile reviews each day. That can only be a small-ish percentage of new members, I imagine. And, yes, many of those new profiles are people with 2-3 years of experience that they say is enough to call themselves experts. I highly doubt this is true. Their write-ups are not very credible and their portfolio images are frequently very questionable. (Writers often post photographs in their portfolio instead of writing samples, for example.)

 

If Upwork is shooting themselves in the foot, there isn't much we can do about it. I've read complaints for five years and more on Upwork that include the idea that Upwork turns a blind eye to problems when they are brought to their attention by freelancers. Clearly, Upwork sees the market value of flooding its membership with unchecked "experts." They have their own profit-oriented motivation; that's been clear from the start.

 

 

Yes i need work

 

Uzmaumer,

 

Please complete your profile and use your photo. Click the  Academy link on the top of this page for instructions and success tips.

Go back to the top of the page, read the post, and follow every link. Currently, you are going to be scammed, because you haven't done the work. You must go through everything to learn how to use the platform safely.

 

Freelancing requires marketable skills. I'm not trying to be mean; I'm trying to help you. You don't have any marketable skills, and your one sentence introduction is garbled.

 

If you don't have those marketable skills, you will fail. You have to bring skills with you, not develop them on the client's time. You won't find work, but only scammers.

 

Please give freelancing some serious thought. It takes marketable skills, money for job access and to run your business, time, patience, and again, marketable skills. In your situation, you may find employment more suitable.


Anthony H wrote:

Is there a gentler way to say that?

 

I have reviewed perhaps hundreds of profiles and find a great deal of people who seem to have no clue what the word freelancer means or implies. But I would not jump to the conclusion that they are lazy. And many appear to be marginally skilled given the standards of an educated person from a modern, developed country. But you have to be dead to be unskilled. If you can talk on the phone to some employers that qualifies as skilled. I think we can raise the rhetoric to a more generous or maybe just a more polite level than lazy and unskilled. 

In addition, I'm not convinced the less skilled workers upset the Upwork marketplace in any shape or form. The less skilled workers have always been there; now, because of Upwork, they are more visible. That doesn't mean they didn't exist before.

 

It's up to the marketplace to sort out the highly skilled, the marginally skilled, the hard workers or whatever else. It's not Upwork's place to tamper with that anymore than necessary. 


Actually, it is Upwork's place to "tamper with that." The primary ROI for FLs using UW is expediting payment transactions and providing access to qualified leads, by which I mean prospective clients who are actively looking for specific services I offer. The better quality the FL pool is perceived to be, the better caliber clients the platform will attract. Welcoming anybody who can fog a mirror to plunge in and start trying to be a FL serves nobody, least of all the aspiring FLs who lack both marketable skills and the business perspective and know-how to establish a professional practice. At best, they waste their own time and energy with no return; at worst, they fall prey to scammers and thieves. And they provide useful camouflage for scammers operating on the FL side of the table. 

Spot on. In all this talk about large numbers of low-quality proposals, I realised something. It's not even necessarily about the proposals.

 

If a new client comes to Upwork for the first time and searches for freelancers in their work area, what are they going to think if they see a raft of poor profiles? Corporate clients will likely perceive Upwork as a Mickey Mouse operation, perhaps within minutes, and quickly take their business elsewhere.

 

On many levels, it is incomprehensible why the platform has taken the course it has over the past 12 months. Just a couple of years ago, Upwork was regarded as one of the best places to go to find freelance professionals. That's what brought me here in the first place. Now, it's rapidly becoming Fiverr 2.0.

 

They can't seriously be offsetting those losses with Connects purchases, can they?

It certainly seems the connects are the thing. Why let in an opposable thumb only to let them buy as many connects as possible? Revenue is one thing, short-sighted cash grabs are another. Upwork is quite aware the clients are drowning, but they apparently will push until something breaks.

 

Raise the cost of connects - but how much would they have to raise it to make up for 17 million that won't or can't pay?

 

If you multiply 18 million freelancers x unlimited connects, that's a lot of revenue.

Actually, it is Upwork's place to "tamper with that." 

 

I did say "any more than necessary."

 

Anyway, I have no way to run into, observe, discover, unearth, all those freelancers who are outright thieves, crooks, frauds, scoundrels and scofflaws as seems to be obvious to so many others. This kind of hits me sideways.

 

I do see lots of profiles, as I've indicated, and I have been curious lately about profiles that say "I have 5 years experience," but the write up doesn't discuss any of those past experiences. I rarely see these profiles spell out "My local customers love my work," or things you might expect to see. And then I see long lists of software applications and, sure, you have to start somewhere, so I'm sure they aren't absolute pros at each of those programs. But it is expected that people reach a little to get some jobs; it's just a matter of how much and trust is at a premium here. Hard to operate Upwork without clients trusting freelancers and visa versa. 

 

I did know someone (still do) who had a remarkable track record obtaining jobs and when I asked her once how she did it (my ex-wife), she said two words: "I lie." I was stunned -- a very good liar, it turns out. But then, invariably, six months after landing a job the employer would find out she ddn't really know what she was doing. She never got canned, but she got demoted once or twice. 

 



 

 

 

Kindly check my profile and give me honest feedback!

 

https://www.upwork.com/freelancers/~01c40339962b2ea14c

I have spoken with you before, and you haven't made the changes. The photo does not look real. If I recall, you drew this, and that's fine, but not on Upwork for your profile. No drawings, no colors, just a basic photo of your face. It doesn't matter how nice, it's not a photo. It does not look professional, no matter what your career.

 

You still need to use the top post and learn about your profile. There are multiple steps you can take that's freelancer 101, right in the post. There is an abundance of information on Upwork that you could use to have a stellar profile. The choice is yours.

 

 

And when you have an hourly project but the client makes you pause work for 9 days, and you get no new invites NOR any job applies answered after spending hundreds of connects, but you at the end of month have the car mensuality and the rent, you are off.

After spending the communications, I was invited to enter the clientโ€™s Telegram and arrange work, but outside the scope of the Upwork website, so the work was rejected. I requested that any work be done through Upwork.

Make sure you report this to Upwork and you will get your connects returned. Good for you! You avoided a scam and losing everything.

More to the point, the boosting system has complicated the hiring process for clients and seems to have driven some of them away from the platform.

I agree with Andre๐Ÿ‘

2ea1954c
Community Member

Wow, this is a great piece of advise to beginners like me and I find it very helpful.

 

c88fc64c
Community Member

absolute truth that Freelancing is not for everyone.
0773d74e
Community Member

Hi Jeane,

I've been on Upwork for a while,I tried to build my present organically. I kept updating my profile, now it shows 100% and yet I've not gotten a job. I need to know if selection of freelancer are base on location.... Especially been a Nigerian,Africa.... And yet to be verify.

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