Every freelancer loves Upwork. Well, I do anyway.
Let’s face it, every freelancer just starting out is getting their first clients via Upwork to build their portfolio for their offered services. Well, that’s how I started out.
Upwork is all fun and games, but obviously, there are some downsides, and it’s not Upwork as a company directly. It’s the jobs that Upwork allow to be posted by ‘clients’.
I’ve been using Upwork now for just over a year and I’ve built a pretty solid profile, in which, I’ve paid for the monthly membership to increase the amount of connects I get, to increase the likeliness of receiving extra work.
But after this year of working for clients all over the globe, the rage has built up and I need to let it out. Let’s rant.
1. Job value
One thing I find with clients posting their tasks and projects on Upwork, is that they think anybody in the right frame of mind is going to apply for a job that’s listed as $5 for ~10 hours work.
Clients need to understand that if the person who is applying for to undertake that task for them, is either:
- Incredibly unskilled and uneducated in that field
- Seeing the job as a starting point
- Not knowing their value
- Underselling their services
For example, if the client posts a job ‘complete WordPress build from scratch’ for $100, I hope everyone else that knows how to build a WordPress theme from the ground up will not apply.
Seriously, are you drunk?
Building a WordPress theme from scratch, depending on requirements is easily a 10 hour+ job. Not just for myself, but for most developers.
2. Not hiring a freelancer and leaving the job open
I’ve encountered this so many times and it’s such a waste of Upwork connects.
Clients will post a job with an in-depth description, speak to 5 freelancers about the job (including me) and then be unresponsive, leaving the job open and incomplete.
This is one of the things that annoys me the most because I like to follow up with the tasks I apply for and become an active candidate. I follow up twice until I just give up and search for other work.
The thing is, when I apply for a task or project on Upwork, and the client replies, I immediately stop applying for other jobs to ensure I don’t take on 2 tasks at once. Although I can multitask (duh, I’m male), I don’t think it’s right that each client gets divided attention.
Simples, don’t leave the job open for more people to waste their time and connects on if you’re not willing to continue recruiting for that task.
3. Contract terms and additions
Last week, I was in conversation with a prospect for creating a better version of a WordPress theme that had been built bespoke, in which the client was constantly sending over extra lists of work to carry out – although, he hadn’t stated this is the contract. I mean, the whole reason I applied for this job was to carry out the work you had asked initially.
This is the thing with clients who expect more for what it’s worth. I’ve had this problem numerous times in the past, and I’ll probably have it again next week. 7/10 jobs that you apply for, there’ll be a client who wants more, more, more – the thing is, from a freelancers perspective, the only reason we took that job is to earn the money and build a portfolio.
There will always be clients like this, and there’ll be freelancers who are silly enough to fall for this. It’s called underselling yourself.
Don’t be that guy.
Even though I’m publishing 3 nags to the public about Upwork, it’s still an amazing platform for freelancers making money and clients receiving work from great freelancers. It’s just you need to be careful with the jobs you apply for, if the job description doesn’t specifically state the work you’ll be doing, don’t apply for it – only god knows what you’re getting into once you do.
Furthermore, don’t undersell yourself, it’s really not hard. If it breaks the bank to turn down a full WordPress build for $100, then there’s something seriously wrong with you or your coding skills aren’t up to scratch. It’s pointless spending X amount of time on doing X if there’s not enough income to pay for your time. Time is money, remember that.
From my perspective, all I can say is, don’t waste your connects on a job that you know further down the line will be shit. Use your instincts.