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shummas
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What's wrong with the quality of jobs on this platform?

So I work in the writing category, articles and blogs to be more precise. Well, I'm not sure about other categories but I have been seeing way too many job postings having the same description over and over again. Now I do know that these clients are different because they all have a different history. But it's just weird to think of it you know. It instantly turns me off whenever I see a job description that is copy pasted.

 

I spot at least 10-20 jobs everyday that contain a copied job description. It immediately raises questions that whether the client is even serious about getting the work done? 

Are the quality of jobs in the writing category reducing? Firstly, this is because the clients seem to use copied job descriptions and secondly, they pay way too less. I've constantly been told to try and score better paying jobs but I rarely ever see a job in my news feed that pays more than $1.5 for 100 words. Most of them are low paying gigs ending at 1$ for 100 words. Is it because summer is a weird time to start or is it because good/serious clients on this platform are slowly turning away in my cateogry? 

62 REPLIES 62


@Wendy C wrote:

Teresa, I'm kind of thinking aloud here but what reputable organizations / forums / discussion boards, etc. are there for cyber security?  Participating on one or two will def. lead to contacts and they all need newsletters; white papers; PR, possibly collateral materials and so forth ....


LinkedIn groups can be a great source for this sort of niche connections. 

It's the old saw of eggs and baskets.

 

There was a certain insurance company some thirty years ago, who tempted thousands of people (internationally) to put all their eggs into their basket, with the blithe assurance that they would be protected and gain mega bucks on their investments for the rest of their lives.

 

For a while these people lived off the hog's back and then  there were some major natural disasters and (hidden) ecological catastrophes that put paid to the stay-rich dreams of their investors. Thousands of people were bankrupted and others impoverished.

 

It is never a good idea to put total trust into any one corpôration. Especially if the money (or skills) belongs to you.


@Nichola L wrote:

It's the old saw of eggs and baskets.

 

It is never a good idea to put total trust into any one corpôration. Especiallhy if the money (or skills) belongs to you.


 Nichola, you are, of course, absolutely and 100% right.

 

It is a bit of a catch 22 situation for me. I of course KNOW that it would be wise to spread my risk a little, but I literally do not have time...

 

I take on more work than I should as it is. If I went elsewhere in addition to that I could be back to where I was last winter when I was averaging 60+ hours a week. I am proud to have reduced it to around 50ish (although year on year I am still running at 55+ and have been at 50+ for at least 3 years.)

 

In the unlikely event that there suddenly was no Upwork anymore my main clients would still hang on to me anyway, so I guess I am just feeling safe enough to not waste / spend time and effort elsewhere.

 


@Wendy C wrote:

Petra, you certainly do not rely on U only ..... do you??


 I do and have done for 3 and a half years.


@Wendy C wrote:

Petra, you certainly do not rely on U only ..... do you??


I do too... partly because Upwork's what led me to freelancing. 

 

I'm slowly working on getting off the platform, but have come across some obstacles. For starters, it's a mission to get a credit card here, which I need because it's otherwise very difficult to get payments in this country. So far I've been relying on Upwork's wire transfers. 

 

Once I do get the card, however, I'm not sure where to begin when marketing myself off-patform 😞 So in the meantime, even though it's risky, Upwork is my only income source.

Teresa, I don't want to argue with you, but I also don't want to leave you with that notion. I've been making my living in whole or part as a writer for 20+ years, and I have many friends in the industry. Up until about two years ago, I'd held my rate at about $40/hour for a long time, and the colleagues I'm close with were forever pushing me to increase that as most of them were billing $60-75/hour and one of them just over $100.

 

I've also been in the position of hiring writers for two different corporations, and the absolute lowest rate I ever paid, when I was hiring for high-volume work where posts were live for a short time and I was relying on brand new writers (many of them college students) was $25 for posts of about 500 words that required no research.

 

I feel like there's something wrong in your approach or the outlets where you're seeking work. I'm not saying that to put you down, but because I know (as others in this thread have affirmed, as well as my offline colleagues) that you can make a good living in this industry.

 

I'm a single parent who never received child support and limited my work hours to 25-30/week for years while I was home schooling. I have an $800 dog, my daughter had a voice coach and we spend 1-3 weeks at the ocean every other year. I promise there is money there that you just haven't found the right bridge to. 

For other copywriters: I don't make or charge as much as Tiffany- but I'm also not full time. I've been in the game for less than a year. I am not yet at full premium rates but headed that way. I came to freelancing with pre-existing writing skills though. 

 

On occasion, I have to put up the "not available" sign here on Upwork. So, it can be a lucrative venue. However, I also don't recommend relying solely on Upwork or any other revenue stream.

 

Freelancing, IMO, is as much about sales and business management as it is your underlying skill. 

Food for thought -

 

Job invites that are not selected individually by the buyer are selected by U's rather bizarre and wacky algorithm. This means a lot of the 'invites' under discussion in this thread (and many others) are not really invitations as the word is commonly used.

 

What they are is an attempt by U. to trigger some interest in a job.

 

Yep, it takes a second to decline the pesky nuisances but there isn't much to be done about it unless / until the algorithms set sorted properly.

 

 

 


@Wendy C wrote:

Food for thought -

 

Job invites that are not selected individually by the buyer are selected by U's rather bizarre and wacky algorithm. This means a lot of the 'invites' under discussion in this thread (and many others) are not really invitations as the word is commonly used.

  

 


 Wendy, I would like to clarify that all invites are sent by clients themselves with an exception of those that are sent by Upwork Talent Specialists or recruiters. Invites are never sent by an algorithm.

You may be referring to recommendations, but the client still has to click the button to invite a recommended freelancer.

~ Valeria
Upwork

YAH Ela!!!!  I think you perfectly described the crux of the matter -

 

".... the "richest markets" are mainly looking for native English copywriters, editors, proofreaders etc.

I target different clients, as does Margarete. 

 

Does anybody (of the people doing so well) offer their main service(s) in a language that's not English?

 

Of the ones who do, do you charge more than approx. $30/hour? Or have succesfully charged more than $65/hour in the past?

 

Just because you are not experiencing the same issues doesn't mean they don't exist. Especially not if we are operating in different segments of this seemingly global market."

 

We all might be lumped in one cat - but we have vastly different skills. And face grossly dfferent problems.  I am, sadly, proficient on one language only and can only speak from that perspective. 

 

1. It seems to me that the ability to localize a language would be darn near invaluable to some clients - esp. larger ones. Translation, per se, is a crock of y'all know what. Just ask Google ....

 

2. Successful writing - be it journalistic / PR / Sales /Storytelling, etc. depends entirely on the ability to put effective words on paper.  And those words have multiple shades of meaning contingent on the language, dialect, and vehicle being used to convey them.

 

For all my translator / writer pals - I do agree you might be getting short changed simply because buyers don't have am adequate - let alone comprehensive - understanding of the real value you bring to the table.

 

Anyone who argues doesn't know what the heck they are talking about .....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


@Wendy C wrote:

 

 

For all my translator / writer pals - I do agree you might be getting short changed simply because buyers don't have am adequate - let alone comprehensive - understanding of the real value you bring to the table.

 

Anyone who argues doesn't know what the heck they are talking about ..... 

 

 


 I almost agree with this, but rather than "may be getting short changed" would say something like "may need to identify a better class of buyers". There's no question that there are many, many prospective buyers who undervalue these services. But, they're the wrong market.

@ Valeria, I was referring to the invites where the buyer has clicked up U.'s offer to use a 'recommended list' v. a buyer actually looking at skill sets and portfolios -

To add an update today  to the original topic here "Are the quality of jobs in the writing category reducing?".  Yesterday I wrote that on a typical day when I do a job search in this down-market I only find 1 job worth bidding on.  I did that search to day and true-to-form I found only 1 job worth bidding on today.  That's a big drop off from a few months back. Why?

 

When generalist writers here say that quality of jobs are falling off they are saying that billing rates for copyrighting jobs are down.  When, as a specialist writer, I say the same thing that "quality is going down" I am saying that for highly-technical writing there are simply fewer number of jobs.

 

I am writing in IT.  People doing engineering writing here might have the same observation.

 

So there are distinct markets within each distinct market here. For example, PR, academic, proposals, ... within writing.  I should be airing all this in another thread as the discussion here seems to be from writers who are not working any particular specialty.  I was hoping to hear some noise/complaints/feedback from people in the same boat as me.

 

Walker

 

 

 

 

Satisfied customers don't make "noise." I'm IT and software engineering and I'm happy. I only find a few gigs to bid on too each week, but with repeat business, invites and a rate that makes me comfy without needing tons of contracts each week, I'm satisfied.

 

I would still suggest having other forms of income, but I only use those as backup as Upwork is basically keeping me comfortable. Right now my other source is just paying my PayPal credit when I go on a shopping spree. wheeeee

Walker -- I am in the same boat as you, as I've been focusing nearly exclusively on cyber security for about the past six months. When I say that there is very little demand for copywriting other than on the lowest levels, I'm not just talking in general but also within my niche.

 

In my experience, most tech companies don't put much value into writers. They see copywriting as unskilled work to be done by the receptionist or a low-wage ESL writer located in a developing country. Programmers are the people they see as being valuable. Notice I said "most." Obviously, the clients I have don't feel that way, but I don't have enough of them to earn a living. It is part-time income at best.


@Teresa R wrote:

Walker -- I am in the same boat as you, as I've been focusing nearly exclusively on cyber security for about the past six months. When I say that there is very little demand for copywriting other than on the lowest levels, I'm not just talking in general but also within my niche.

 

In my experience, most tech companies don't put much value into writers. They see copywriting as unskilled work to be done by the receptionist or a low-wage ESL writer located in a developing country. Programmers are the people they see as being valuable. Notice I said "most." Obviously, the clients I have don't feel that way, but I don't have enough of them to earn a living. It is part-time income at best.


oh ur my competitor. I'm probably beating u 2. 

@Teresa,

 

Thanks for the comment.  I am in an odd situation, perhaps you too, I think as I worked as a programmer for 30 years before I started writing freelance full time 4 years ago.  So I look for those situations where the tech company does need someone who can learn the program that they are writing about.  For example I have one client now where I am configuring their log processing tool and then writing about that.  So I spend a large part of the day trying to make the software work and writing code.

 

I also worked for 12 years in cybersecurity.  People, other than yourself, who have no knowledge in this field are now bidding on that kind of work against me.  I know the details of shell code, network penetration, C++, etc.  So I have backed away from cybersecurity a little as those jobs have more proposals than the others.  Most tech jobs I bid on only have about 5 proposals, presumably because only people who understand the material are bidding on that. (Maybe not.)

 

I really find it difficult to understand how people without a technical background can write for some of these companies.  I have and have had several clients where my blog posts are accurate and easy to read and interesting.  And the client fills out rest of their writing team with people whose work is hardly readable.  What I mean is the people obviously do not understand what they are writing about.  So they rewrite other material that they find.

 

When I have time I can spend several days just to earn a small about of money actually trying to install or code what I am writing about.  That interests me plus it goes my skills.  Those other writers obviously do not have enough IT background to do that.

 

As for being in a developing country, I am.  I am an American living in Chile.  My target is to make just $2,000 per month.  Anything above that is just gravy.  It only costs me $1,300 per month to live here.  Of course I spend a lot more on trips etc.  So I a trying to boost my income to $4,000.  That's still just a fraction of what I made in the USA.

 

I am also waiting for LinkedIn Profinder too to get off the ground.  They charge no comission and are vetting freelancers by hand and even reaching out to freelancers manually and sending work their way.

 

ciao.

 

Walker

To know the 1337 h4x0r is to play with the 1337 h4x0r.


@walker R wrote:

 

When generalist writers here say that quality of jobs are falling off they are saying that billing rates for copyrighting jobs are down.  When, as a specialist writer, I say the same thing that "quality is going down" I am saying that for highly-technical writing there are simply fewer number of jobs.

 

Walker

 

 


 Walker, I noted the same drop-off in legal jobs earlier in the summer, and it lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of eight weeks, but they are back in full swing now.

Summers have always been terrible for writing. You'd think people would be able to pick up on the pattern after several years but nope.

The first week of August I saw an increase in job postings. Today I woke up to requests that I'll have to schedule rather than get to right away.

 

I would recommend that anyone who is usually able to find jobs clear the decks as after U.S. Labor Day we are probably going to see an influx. 

 

 

Got a bunch of invites too. Won 1 continuing small contract with a fellow coder and then hoping to win another that will keep me busy for like 10 days. 

 

Invites for me have increased in the last couple of weeks. I'm sooooo freakin close to the 500 hour mark. I just did another 3 hours yesterday. I'm officially at 493 I think, and I want to hit the 500 mark because I'm hoping invites will include me for that filter. wheeeee

Some clarity, please ...

 

First bit from me:

The week to 10 days leading up to Labor Day are traditionally slow - in the B&M and virtual worlds.  Vacations / back to school shopping, etc. People aren't 'in the mood' to address work ...

 

Second bit from you:

When you all say "I've recieved X number or more invites" are you referring to

1. New buyers who actually went thru profiles to find Y-O-U vs. issuing a public RFP?

............................ OR ...................................

2. Return buyers who would have sought you out based on a past working relationship?

............................ OR ...................................

3. Buyers who have checked the box U. shows on the RFP format asking if a buyer wants to receive 'suggested good matches'?

 

The three are vastly different ....

 

And, IMHO, only one of these truly qualifies as an Invite ... #1 New buyers who actually went thru profiles to find Y-O-U vs. issuing a public RFP.