Thursday, June 24, 2021

Upwork in 2020 – How long it takes to become recognized

Upwork is the most popular website for freelancing. But, lately they made some changes that may or may not be very beneficial for freelancers. In a time where many lost their jobs, freelancing seems to be the best option.

Upwork is getting a lot of attention lately, but those who join the site usually quit after a short time. The reason for this is mostly the latest update to the connects system. Some freelancers start from scratch, meaning that they don’t have any budget, to begin with. When you force someone to spend their connects so aggressively and then ask them to purchase some more, there’s a large chance that they’ll leave the site.

The Connects Update  

They published the update with a reason, and it solved a significant issue. Now freelancers have to think twice before applying for a job, which is a good thing. This allows clients to distinguish the most determined from those who applied just for the sake of it.

Upwork faced some competition in 2020, such as Fiverr. Many freelancers migrated to this platform because it allows you to do what Upwork did in the past. You have the option to earn without spending, which is great for new freelancers. However, you still have your free connects from Upwork, so why not give it a chance before you consider other platforms?

My personal experience with Upwork

As a freelancer who reached the Rising Talent status and then Top-Rated very soon after, I assure you that it’s possible, but it takes time. The most difficult part of the process is earning your first few reviews. You see, for every job you apply, there are at least five other people with profiles that are already Top-Rated or have the Rising Talent status. Even if you are the best fit for that particular task, the client won’t give you a chance to prove yourself because of the other competitors.

Once again, this system has its advantages and disadvantages, but it forces the beginner freelancer to complete tasks that are either paid very low or buy tons of connects and “brute force” their way into a few 5-star reviews.

Life on Upwork before Top-Rated status

As much as I’m satisfied with the service on Upwork, I cannot remain quiet about the parts that I consider unfair. When your profile is not developed well-enough, clients don’t care about being professional with you. They respond once in two weeks and sometimes disappear entirely. But, they say that every beginning is hard, so I guess this is what they meant.

One “trick” that clients pull on Upwork freelancers is asking for an “example piece”, which is the real task that they needed. They’ll give you a few parameters and when you’re done with it they’ll say it wasn’t good enough, then end up using it for their website or project.

This falls in the “grey zone” of Upwork’s policy because they’ve done nothing wrong. If you agreed to do trial work for free, the support team can’t do anything about it. They played me like this a couple of times, but I didn’t stop trying.

How I reached Top-Rated

I was there before the paid connects update, but it didn’t change much before I usually was at zero before the first quarter of the month. One thing I learned is that you must write quality cover letters that sound very convincing, sometimes even exaggerating your skills. Before you say this is immoral, remember that the rest ten applicants did the same thing, so you’re evening up the odds.

Your main goal should be to collect five-star reviews. You shouldn’t worry too much about earning in the first couple of months. 5-Star reviews are a lot more valuable than funds, especially at the beginning of your freelance career.

The truth is, you’ll not be recognized without spending a lot of time on Upwork. One of the best ways to land a job is to refresh the page and look for the latest posts. When you apply amongst the first freelancers with a solid cover-letter, your chances increase by a lot.

After the first few 5-Star reviews you’ll get your Rising Talent badge, and that’s when things become a lot easier. I reached Top-Rated in about half a year, and it was one of the happiest moments in my career as a freelancer.

Suddenly, you don’t have to apply for ten jobs a day. Instead, you get twice as many requests by clients who find your profile. Oh, how the tables have turned. But, it wouldn’t be possible without my dedication and persistence.

Do I recommend Upwork?

Despite some of the frustrating moments I had on this freelancing platform, I still recommend Upwork for those who want to earn from home. If you dedicate yourself enough, you can earn quite a lot despite the twenty percent cut from their side. This number decreases the more you work with a client, so upon earning a thousand dollars from one job, the cut drops to ten percent, and so on.

The best advice that I can give you is to eliminate giving up as an option, no matter how difficult the beginning is. Purchase some connects if you have to and keep applying for jobs. If you have what it takes, you’ll get recognized sooner or later, and that’s when you’ll start earning as you should.

Bojan V
"If you feel like you're living on hard mode don't be discouraged. The reward after each level is far greater than on any other difficulty."

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