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Tough competition

Ace Contributor
It's getting harder and harder for me to get a job on here. How am I supposed to compete with a freelance who charges 30 cents an hour for work? Freelancer like that are killing it for the rest of us. Ridiculous
Community Leader
Hi Kristen I agree that it can be very frustrating to see that other freelancers get paid next to nothing. Would you mind telling us the nationality and qualification of your competitor? In this regard, he might beat you on the price-level, but probably not on the qualification/skill level. Why would a skilled freelancer offer his skills at 0.30$/h if he could earn much more than that? ;) I can only speak on behalf of translators. I'm a English-German translator. Sometimes I see a Bosnian freelancer whose rate is 1.11$/h. Why would a Bosnian translate into German? And even if he is skilled, he would never do it for such a low payment, right? Clients are not dumb, Kristen. Some might be attracted by the low price, but they'll quickly find out that quality has its price, too.
You haven't been on odesk long enough, my friend. I've been here since 2009, and I've seen a slow decline of wages by very qualified people. They have to compete on a global scale instead of a local scale, and when you have that kind of competition the bid usually, not always, goes to the cheapest bidder. I see that you just started here in Dec. and charge $15/hr for services. Get back to me a year from now and let's see if you still feel this way and are bringing in a steady flow of work for $
How can you talk so harshly or question what others charge when you yourself are undercutting so many? $11.11 for a US writer? One with 7 yrs. oDesk experience. And what is with lowering your rate from $16 something? I understand what you are saying about competition; it just seems like you have a "do as I say, not as I do" view on the issue. EDIT: I mean, to be frank, you are the guy charging $.30/h in my perspective, so...
I had no choice but to lower my rate. It was either that, or go without work. You'd be shocked to see what my rate is now. It's not on my profile. I've had no choice but to lower my rates. It wasn't fun
If you truly believe that this person who charges $.30/hr is your competition, maybe what you are experiencing is the market setting your value at what it is worth. Looking at your work history, it looks like you pushed up and the market pushed you down. Understandably, that would be irritating. You appear to be judging who your competition is based on rate. It seems more profitable to compete on skill and other criteria and not on rate.
[quote=Robin C.]It seems more profitable to compete on skill and other criteria and not on rate.[/quote] I completely agree. I more than doubled and almost tripled my rate over the past 3 yrs, and am on track to double it again over the next two years. I compete on quality not rates though and I focus on growing existing clients rather than chasing new ones. If you see the rates in your space decreasing, specialize on something. This limits the available opportunities considerably but typically allows you work on projects long-term and on much better terms.
To add to everything that's already been mentioned: yes, the competition is tough, but if you find your niche and know how to market your skills, it won't push you that far down. Have you considered changing something in the process you deal with new jobs/clients? It seems like you're working with some pretty busy clients, so busy that they couldn't leave you feedback... You have quite the work history, and it's only expected that some of those clients won't bother to leave rating, but I don't think I've ever seen so many 'no feedback given' in any profile I've visited here. Whethere we like it or not, it matters in the hiring decision, and it could be one of the factors that deter clients looking for experienced writers from giving more attention to your applications. That, plus the fact that you're willing to lower the rate even further (as you implied) - it gives the overall impression that you consider price to be one of your main competitive strenghts and you're not confident enough in the valu of your deliverables. Top-dollar payers (here and IRL) are looking for someone condfident that they're worth the top-dollar rate they charge. Just something to think about. p.s. if you want to market yourself as a writer, specialise in a writing niche, don't dilute your profile with skills that your target client isn't looking for (logo design)
Hi Kristen, I'm based in the Philippines and I charge clients according to my skill. Meaning, depending on the complexity of the job, I charge $16.67-$33.3/hr. My base rate is for the simplest (like a bit of rewriting or just giving my opinion on something) and $33.3 is if I am using my medical background. The rate goes higher if something is really complex, one time I charged a client $50/hr and he still hired me (he was consulting me about something). There is no need to decrease your rate. I still have a lot of jobs even with those rates. In fact, even though I complain about bad clients here, I'm actually getting more clients now than last year. Clients are not that dumb you know. Who cares if some clients go for the cheapest rates? They are not the ones you'd want to be dealing with anyway. Whenever a client says "oh I see you are from the Philippines, why do you charge more than US freelancers?" I tell them to compare my past jobs and experience with those freelancers who charge less. I usually get hired within the day 🙂

❄❄❄ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines ❄❄❄
Btw I think you've been a bit rude with Andre. The way I see it, freelancers who are experienced and yet charge only a certain amount is no better than the freelancers who charge $0.30/hr just so they can get a job. Just by looking at his jobs list in the very short time spent here, Andre is more business savvy than you are imo. Experienced freelancers who devalue themselves by decreasing their rates to a non-competitive level are a bigger part of the problem than newbies who ask for a dollar an hour. If clients know that they can get someone who is well-experienced at newbie rate, the whole market suffers. There is no real competition anymore, just a worse race than the rat race, sort of being auctioned like cattle in reverse.

❄❄❄ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines ❄❄❄
Ace Contributor
There is a good meme going around LinkedIn right now that says "If you think it is expense hiring a professional, try hiring an amateur" Granted I don't have the most expansive time on oDesk, but I have some pretty good experience working in advertising agencies and I'll say this: If a client wants a cheap price they'll receive cheap work. When you price yourself at honest wage you'll do honest (good) work. If I took a job for $5 I'm going to try and knock it out as fast as I can so I can move on to the next $5 job. But if I take a $100 job I'll take my take to make sure it's right. Furthermore, and this comes from my experience in New Product Development, people, all people, associate price with quality. Think about when you buy soda pop. They're all essentially the same, but most people will assume the $5.00 soda is better than the $2.00 cola simply because of price. What I am getting at is there are some people on here who will pay the honest wage because they want better work and those who won't work for cheap will find that the work they receive is just that.
Community Guru
You could just be one of the contractors that is being thrown into the hidden pile.
Community Guru
I'm sorry, but I think stating that this contractor is better than that contractor is terribly wrong. What gives the right for another contractor to be a judge? Kristin has been here going on 5 years, whereas Andre has only been here a small 3 months. How one can say he is a better example of a professional freelancer versus someone who shows a serious, hardworking track record for the past 5 years is craziness. I took a look at both profiles, and have my own opinion, but I"m not going to sit here and bash away. The facts are relevant, this platform is sinking to an all time low, PERIOD. I totally disagree about the comment claiming contractors like Kristin are hurting this platform. She is simply trying to find a way to fill in the gaps. She hasn't lowered her rates to a level that is preposterous either. It appears to me that others are working for far lower rates than what she has on her profile. Assumptions are always going to leave you face down in the dirt.
You will be surprised, but I claim that the time spent hardly matters at all. I could play football for 5 years when a new player joins my team and plays for 3 months with us. Would you consider that I am automatically better just because I have gained more experience? No, the individual skill of the new guy can be much better than those of the old guy. The same works the other way around, too. Of course there are players with vast experience and skill who outrun newbies. It highly depends on the individual skill, motivation and approach/tactics. Not on time. More "experienced" freelancers may be "better", but it is not guaranteed. And no, I am not talking about Kristen. I haven't even checked her profile, so no idea. Greetings, André with the 3 small months craziness-experience
I don't like the fact that you don't seem to have a problem with someone else being put down and your own self being raised up? I'm sorry, but I just see this judging wrong, and now you appear to have the idea to insinuate that you're somehow more able than the someone who might have the knowledge of years in behind them? It would have been nice to see you come back and say, "WE ALL work hard, I don't think I'm better, and I know there is a lot to learn in this...," that would have been the decent statement to make. My goal isn't to insult you, but I'm just taking a stance here that this business takes a great deal of time to gain a foothold. It takes years of experience to really be great in a competitive market. Football has nothing to do with freelancing, so I'm not going there. Listen, you've been here three months and in my opinion, this business is all about learning and growing. You can't compare 3 months to 5 years PERIOD. That is insulting. I've been freelancing for 16 years now/professionally writing for 19 years, and I can say that I continue to learn and improve myself. While one might have a different style than someone else, I beg to differ on who is superior, or better, or more organized, etc. And, when someone apparently seems to "gloat" because a positive comment was passed, well that is not in very good taste either.
I cannot tell where you have gotten this interpretation of my comment from. All I am saying is that time alone does not provide enough room to connate a specific knowledge/skill with it. There are way more factors that have to be taken into consideration. That's not insulting, that is just common sense. See, I have just watched an episode of "German Idol" (for having some entertainment, Mexican television is just amazingly stupid). There was a guy who had 11 years or so of vocal coaching. And then there was 16-yrs old girl singing way better. Sure, it has nothing to do with translating, developing business plans or whatsoever. All it says is that time (call it experience if you wish) does not say a thing. There can be a newbie who is much better than you - always and in all branches. Maybe a more vivid example will help. Imagine you are a professor of physics teaching for 40 years. Suddenly there comes a newbie student and develops a brilliant machine/concept or whatsoever. Do you feel insulted now because you had more experience? I'll say it again: there can always be a newbie who is much better than you - always and in all branches. Time does not say a thing. I did not say that I am better nor that she has no idea of what she is doing. I have not checked her profile, I have not even an idea what she is exactly doing. How would I be able to judge anybody else? I can only present you my opinion of the matter and this is actually very similar to what Dianne has said above. [quote] "WE ALL work hard, I don't think I'm better, and I know there is a lot to learn in this...," that would have been the decent statement to make.[/quote] Why exactly should I write such a comment? I don't feel better than anybody else. I'm just a simple freelancer trying to make some extra money. None of you is my competitor, I don't even know what you are doing on oDesk. How could I actually feel better than somebody else? Just because someone (who I don't know either) praised my rather short stay on oDesk? Man, that would be very sad if that would let me feel so much better as to insult others. Nope, I'm just trying to make a point here. And I cannot make a point if you propose to state such empty phrases like "we all work hard" or "there is a lot to learn in this". Again, why should I write such a comment? It does not make sense in such a discussion. We are trying to get the point accross that: 1) there is always someone cheaper (probably with less skill/quality/communication/...) 2) rating yourself cheaper won't help anyone + is directly influencing the whole community as clients get a false idea of "true value" 3) and my personal argument: experience does not matter so much I still cannot see why you are attacking me now. By the way, I would not consider myself as a "hard working freelancer". I invest 3-4h daily in doing my translations and that's fine. There is no hard work for me, I don't fight for jobs. Everything is easy-going. Do you now see that such general empty phrases which you have suggested do not make any sense? Freelancers are never homogenous. They all have different languages, different skills, different expertises, different qualifications, different attitudes, different rates - and also different expierence. All a freelancer has to do is to find a niche in this global market to feel comfortable. And that's exactly what Kristen should do: find a speciality in her specific work and to literally "deal with it" at a higher rate - not going lower and lower.
What I said: "Andre is more business savvy than Kristen (by how he is managing his VERY short freelancing here - 47 jobs in less than 3 months with 4.99 rating)" Just that. If I need to explain what business-savvy is, then WOW. As for the rest, others commented the same so why someone is making it into an emotional something else is beyond me. Idk where all the other stuff is coming from, but someone sure has an 'over' active imagination and has not read everything in the whole thread :) Personally I have no problem with newbies being really good. It just means I have to keep up. If someone can't handle the same then that is their problem not mine. Everyone has been a 'newbie' at one point and the way newbies make it to the big league is by performing at par if not better than old timers. Some individuals have a big problem understanding this concept and I don't get why when its so simple. In my business, a newbie came up and introduced a way to creatively market the same product my company sells. We are over 30 years in the business and this 'newbie' just comes along and steals our customers! How dare she do that? Anyway, what we did is we brainstormed and devised a better means of marketing our brand. So yeah, for a while the 'newbie' almost killed my business. Was she better? Perhaps. Was she more business savvy than my team? Yes, even just for a while. That's life, no need to get all crazy with it. Chillax 🙂

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[quote: Misty Keith ]Football has nothing to do with freelancing, so I'm not going there. [/quote] It's called an analogy, and imo it is a pretty good one. [quote: Misty Keith ]You can't compare 3 months to 5 years PERIOD. That is insulting. I've been freelancing for 16 years now/professionally writing for 19 years, and I can say that I continue to learn and improve myself.[/quote] I find that comment just as insulting. Just because one is new to freelancing does not mean that one has less "business savvy" or less common sense or less active brain power. Someone who has been doing the same thing for 20 years may just plod along and be missing a brain cell or two. Someone who joined yesterday may have a better approach and, yes, more "business savvy". And before Misty gets back on her horse, I am not referring to the freelancing experience (or lack thereof) of anyone on this thread.
My only point is this: I think that Kristin was really put down by specific comments that were aimed at her, while her profile clearly shows she is professional and understands the business. I don't think it is right to tell someone their skills might not be good enough and that is why they have to go cheaper. Who is anyone to say that? And I don't think it is right to raise another contractor up and make it appear they are more professional--when actually neither is. They don't know what the other is doing, and neither does anyone else here, but people like to assume. That was my whole point. Kristin was told she was being a little rude to Andre, and I don't see that either. She didn't say anything rude at all. So, I came to put my opinion on there as well. I think this whole thread is pretty damn rude really. I'm sorry my opinion differs, but thats life folks. Move on. People here have always made comments about someone having been here longer than the next and therefore having more knowledge and skills.
The perceived rudeness was the response to Andre's first comment. This is sarcastic at least - "You haven't been on odesk long enough, my friend. I've been here since 2009,.... " Generally the threads can get rude - or just opinionated - that's what makes them interesting :cool: [quote: Misty Keith]What features would I change: 1. Make sure repeated refunds show up on profiles 2. Take away these new roll outs that hide good contractors which are useless 3. Have an escrow 4. Have improved support for contractors and clients 5. Ensure credible payment methods consistently 6. Take away that hourly guarantee that is abused too much[/quote] You are so right with this lot. Have a few of my own to add 1. Get back to efficiently dealing with spam/fraud jobs 2. Get rid of spamming freelancers 3. Implement a global minimum hourly rate If they do nothing else though, they need to get rid of the auto hide feature. I'm not actively applying for jobs at the moment, but will be when I get back from holiday ... really hope they have sorted out some of these issues by then.
You got a couple that I would have mentioned had I been thinking 🙂 They are great: "Implement a global minimum hourly rate" is especially really good. This could change everything and make the environment much better here. I'm like you, while I have a few long-term jobs in place at the moment, I never know when those are going to decrease. I've been actively searching for jobs that are similar. I do get interviews, but when rates don't want to be met I don't hear back. It is so frustrating, but no way am I going to lower my rates for specific pieces of work. Now, I will offer clients flexibility depending on their individual work needs. Still, if someone wants something like a PR, my base rate for that doesn't change. I do think that if more freelancers/contractors stood by their merit/worth and didn't budge in rate/fee then it would force clients to pay what they should. I doubt that is going to happen across the board though. It is disappointing, and very much frustrating!! It's a wonder I haven't ground my teeth to powder by now. 😞