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Significant Change to Upwork coming in May 2019... “Pay to Bid”

ZF Lee

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I've changed my mind on Upwork's fees. They need to increase. Why?

Because...what the F*ck?!

Lex D.

This dude stole my name, my business, and even my face!
WTH???

The profile write-up is 100% the SAME from the one you wrote for your old tutorial vid!

Send a report to Upwork ASAP.

Don't think raising fees can solve it 100% though.

If he's earning cash, he can spend it.
 

srodrigo

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Machine learning freelancing. Upwork is not really the best platform for it, so I'm trying to create a stronger online presence to get better contract work / sell courses.
That's awesome ;) Machine Learning was supposed to be "my thing" before I surrounded to making games. Who knows in a few years...

It's a shame that your execution thread is in the insider's. It'd be really interesting to follow. I felt like ML is one of those things that require proper (and long) training, not just a few NodeJS tutorials and become a programmer. It's such a large field that I've seen people spending years before becoming authorities, even if you can get started today.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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IDK why some of you have a problem with a 20% fee on clients served on a silver platter.

A good salesperson would laugh you out the door at that rate.
Because Upwork isn’t like a salesperson. It doesn’t sell your services for you, it doesn’t tackle objections, find needs, or create deals to get you more business.

Upwork is the flea market equivalent of sales.
 

Xeon

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Upwork's fees for clients are expensive AF.
For a project around $400 - $800, it can be anywhere from $70 - $100+.
 

NewManRising

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I am mixed on this move. On one hand I see that it will reduce competition and improve the quality of the pool of freelancers. But on the other hand, it will also drive some good freelancers off. When I got the email my first thought was to leave Upwork right away (which is something I had been planning). But, I still think that even paying up to 90 cents for a job is OK if the job nets you a few hundred dollars. But, i wonder how this will play out with maintaining Top Rated statuses, you need to be active weekly. I put in on proposal a week just to appear like I am active because I get multiple invites daily and don't really need to send in proposals.

The other thing is, once they started charging for connects they will gradually raise the rates. It could end up being $1 per connect in the future.

These clients that look for cheap $5 writers are going to get boned. Now that people have to pay, on top of the fee, there is nothing left with a $5 gig. So, these clients and the foreign writers are gonna get hit hard.
 

ZF Lee

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Upwork's fees for clients are expensive AF.
For a project around $400 - $800, it can be anywhere from $70 - $100+.
Agreed.

But if the freelancer is giving value that gives up to 3X-5X of the total project cost, why not?

It's like paying for more money.
That's why I have a value guarantee policy of sorts. If I see I can't provide value in the next few weeks for a long-term gig, I quickly discuss with my client if we should go separate ways before time and money is wasted. It's not always the case that I can't provide value though, but its that sometimes ideas and preferences clash.

I am mixed on this move. On one hand I see that it will reduce competition and improve the quality of the pool of freelancers. But on the other hand, it will also drive some good freelancers off. When I got the email my first thought was to leave Upwork right away (which is something I had been planning). But, I still think that even paying up to 90 cents for a job is OK if the job nets you a few hundred dollars. But, i wonder how this will play out with maintaining Top Rated statuses, you need to be active weekly. I put in on proposal a week just to appear like I am active because I get multiple invites daily and don't really need to send in proposals.

The other thing is, once they started charging for connects they will gradually raise the rates. It could end up being $1 per connect in the future.

These clients that look for cheap $5 writers are going to get boned. Now that people have to pay, on top of the fee, there is nothing left with a $5 gig. So, these clients and the foreign writers are gonna get hit hard.
I think it will all even out.

New freelancers should come in to take the places of the ones that left.

Come to think of it, its no different from going diesel-and-coffee to meet offline clients.
Instead of paying for connects, there's transport costs and other things to think of, and many times, it could be higher than just the few dollars one pays for Upwork connects.

Haha, then all the cheap a$$ writers will go to freelancer.com and do their crap there!
 

Xeon

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Agreed.

But if the freelancer is giving value that gives up to 3X-5X of the total project cost, why not?

It's like paying for more money.
That's why I have a value guarantee policy of sorts. If I see I can't provide value in the next few weeks for a long-term gig, I quickly discuss with my client if we should go separate ways before time and money is wasted. It's not always the case that I can't provide value though, but its that sometimes ideas and preferences clash
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Upwork charges a % of the fees to the freelancer and not the client right?
I've hired quite a few freelancers there over the years and I don't remember getting billed for it, although the freelancer themselves do get charged on their end, which is why they tack on the additional cost to their fees.

I always have a temptation to ask the freelancer off-site out of Upwork so we can all save the $$$. I mean, the $$$ pay to Upwork can be better spent on the freelancer instead.
 

ZF Lee

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but Upwork charges a % of the fees to the freelancer and not the client right?
I've hired quite a few freelancers there over the years and I don't remember getting billed for it, although the freelancer themselves do get charged on their end, which is why they tack on the additional cost to their fees.

I always have a temptation to ask the freelancer off-site out of Upwork so we can all save the $$$. I mean, the $$$ pay to Upwork can be better spent on the freelancer instead.
Yes, on the cut for the freelancer, of course. I guess it's their default way of keeping the lights on for Upwork.

But it's against Upwork's policies for freelancers to bring clients out.

And they'll tag your messages if they contain words like 'skype' and 'email'.

As I mentioned in my progress thread, my client invited me to talk on Zoom. I don't think Zoom has been used that commonly by freelancers on Upwork yet, so Upwork didn't tag it. So I went with it.

I just let clients have the first word.
 

ZF Lee

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I'm just following the @Lex DeVille 's 15 day copywriting course to work on upwork. I feel intimidated.
Yup, I was pretty scared myself too when I first started to write my first copy and work with a client.

What specifically do you feel scared about?

My specific fear in the beginning was if 'Lex's stuff works' lol....

Don't worry about these cost changes on Upwork. Shouldn't happen until much later.
And you won't use up all your starting connects to send out your first proposals, if you do the You-focused steps.

I've only used 10 connects max for a round of proposals before, and had 45% response rate.

So I cut down my proposal numbers, and only picked jobs I 100% could deliver on because I did something like that before.
Had 3 out of 4 folks respond.
 

ProcessPro

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Yup, I was pretty scared myself too when I first started to write my first copy and work with a client.

What specifically do you feel scared about?

My specific fear in the beginning was if 'Lex's stuff works' lol....

Don't worry about these cost changes on Upwork. Shouldn't happen until much later.
And you won't use up all your starting connects to send out your first proposals, if you do the You-focused steps.

I've only used 10 connects max for a round of proposals before, and had 45% response rate.

So I cut down my proposal numbers, and only picked jobs I 100% could deliver on because I did something like that before.
Had 3 out of 4 folks respond.
Thanks! My concern is these changes. I'm still working through the 15 day forum and some other materials.

Still need to get in some practice before I go on upwork. In the meantime I'm intermittently looking at the jobs being posted. The potential earnings keep me excited, and indeed I have noticed jobs I feel quite confident I can handle, and there are others that make me go 'wtf?'. Lol.

Thanks alot for your response and your willingness to address my fears.

If I can help enough people to merit $1k a month, I'd be happy. That can support my needs while I work on my real fastlane idea.

How long have you started on upwork and what has your experience been like?
 

ApparentHorizon

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Because Upwork isn’t like a salesperson. It doesn’t sell your services for you, it doesn’t tackle objections, find needs, or create deals to get you more business.

Upwork is the flea market equivalent of sales.
It brings in qualified clients served on a silver platter, who are ready to buy. And you only pay for a completed job (for now).

Not sure what more you want at that rate.

Check out Lex's upwork thread, and watch how he tackles objections. You can find them in the client's description and address them there. Then you get a convo going and tackle any remaining points they bring up.

It doesn’t sell your services for you, it doesn’t tackle objections, find needs, or create deals to get you more business.
You want them to complete the project for you while you're at it?
 

ZF Lee

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Thanks! My concern is these changes. I'm still working through the 15 day forum and some other materials.

Still need to get in some practice before I go on upwork. In the meantime I'm intermittently looking at the jobs being posted. The potential earnings keep me excited, and indeed I have noticed jobs I feel quite confident I can handle, and there are others that make me go 'wtf?'. Lol.

Thanks alot for your response and your willingness to address my fears.

If I can help enough people to merit $1k a month, I'd be happy. That can support my needs while I work on my real fastlane idea.

How long have you started on upwork and what has your experience been like?
Started around last year.

Earned some bucks, but progress stalled because I got pulled in by misplanned university work and bad influences.

So I restarted a month ago, knowing better, and I'm on track to hit the thousand-buck mark soon.

For clients, I've met the following:
1. Low-life scammers who steal your work or pay peanuts. They are the ones to avoid.

2. Clients who don't know much about the job they want to get done, but need to get done.
You can use even your simple, fundamental knowledge to provide value to them.

You can act like a consultant of sorts and choose not to charge them for it.

3. Clients who are actually actively looking for freelancers to train up and rope in as full-time folks.
These clients mostly already know a lot about the job and its field, and can tell you a thing or two that you might not know!

For instance, I might find myself working with a marketing manager who knows his stuff on email copy.

Pretty good if you want to get right into how a regular firm does its SOP and management processes without having to climb to corporate ladder. But expect to commit some time and effort, which may restrict you from other gigs or Fastlane stuff.
 

ProcessPro

Bronze Contributor
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Apr 26, 2018
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Started around last year.

Earned some bucks, but progress stalled because I got pulled in by misplanned university work and bad influences.

So I restarted a month ago, knowing better, and I'm on track to hit the thousand-buck mark soon.

For clients, I've met the following:
1. Low-life scammers who steal your work or pay peanuts. They are the ones to avoid.

2. Clients who don't know much about the job they want to get done, but need to get done.
You can use even your simple, fundamental knowledge to provide value to them.

You can act like a consultant of sorts and choose not to charge them for it.

3. Clients who are actually actively looking for freelancers to train up and rope in as full-time folks.
These clients mostly already know a lot about the job and its field, and can tell you a thing or two that you might not know!

For instance, I might find myself working with a marketing manager who knows his stuff on email copy.

Pretty good if you want to get right into how a regular firm does its SOP and management processes without having to climb to corporate ladder. But expect to commit some time and effort, which may restrict you from other gigs or Fastlane stuff.
Thanks for the detailed response! I'm excited to get started! I notice that alot of people are looking for SEO optimized content. Did you learn SEO?
 

AlexVilch

MVP Development || StartupServices.ca
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Wasn't this used way before Upwork, on Elance - oDesk. Freelancer would buy "bid packages" and use those to bid on projects. I mean it only worked to make those just starting out feel intimidated. Scammers still scammed, big guns still did bids. There were a lot less bids, but maybe because times were different.
 

ZF Lee

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Thanks for the detailed response! I'm excited to get started! I notice that alot of people are looking for SEO optimized content. Did you learn SEO?
Not yet. Will take a look at Moz's guide if I have time.

I did notice some clients asking for that.

Still, for copywriting, the actual human customer's response counts far greater than SEO.
And clients know that. So most of the time, they do not ask for it, or need it.

It also depends on the medium of your task. If you are doing email or sending case studies directly to people, then SEO not needed! :)
 

ZF Lee

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Wasn't this used way before Upwork, on Elance - oDesk. Freelancer would buy "bid packages" and use those to bid on projects. I mean it only worked to make those just starting out feel intimidated. Scammers still scammed, big guns still did bids. There were a lot less bids, but maybe because times were different.
Haha....I have an account on freelancer.

Conditions still the same. Even on Reddit, the folks bitched louder about freelancer than Upwork.

I have used a few You-focused proposals on there, but prospects are simply blind to it.
Out of 5 proposals, 0 response.
And around 70% of clients are dangerously not payment-verified or have sketchy details for jobs and profile.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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It brings in qualified clients served on a silver platter, who are ready to buy. And you only pay for a completed job (for now).

Not sure what more you want at that rate.

Check out Lex's upwork thread, and watch how he tackles objections. You can find them in the client's description and address them there. Then you get a convo going and tackle any remaining points they bring up.
Lex is still the one to sell the client through the proposal and subsequent conversations.

You want them to complete the project for you while you're at it
Nope, I don’t expect a salesperson to either, and they’ll charge a much higher fee.

Upwork is an excellent tool and opportunity to to connect with potential clients.

I just think a 20% fee in perpetuity is a little steep for platform that merely connects people.
 

ApparentHorizon

Gold Contributor
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Lex is still the one to sell the client through the proposal and subsequent conversations.


Nope, I don’t expect a salesperson to either, and they’ll charge a much higher fee.

Upwork is an excellent tool and opportunity to to connect with potential clients.

I just think a 20% fee in perpetuity is a little steep for platform that merely connects people.
It's not in perpetuity. People who do volume and/or high tickets get special treatment. It's true for any platform you go on on, not just UW.

The fee is upon a successful connection.

Which you can use to either expand your network or pad your portfolio.

You don't have to use it as a main source of income. That would be insanity.

Try looking at 4-5 figure contracts. Your perception will quickly change.
 

moneytree3006

Contributor
May 10, 2019
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I actually love using Upwork to find freelancers to hire. Actually just hired 2 this morning...

I will admit you do have to sort through the candidates pretty carefully to make sure they're actually able to complete the task they claim to be able to.

However I have never tried looking for work on Upwork so I can't really comment on what bidding will do to opportunities.
 

itfactor

Contributor
May 18, 2019
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I just think a 20% fee in perpetuity is a little steep for platform that merely connects people.
As much as I HATE the big chunk of fees Upwork skims from my hard work, I think this is a move in the right direction.

Why?

Because the fees are tier-based. Upwork takes 20% for the first $500, then it drops to 10% at $500.01 until you reach $10,000 (where it stays at 5%).

This encourages the freelancer to start charging higher fees from the get-go (which they should if they are competent) to cut Upwork's fee in half.

Another benefit is that both parties will work towards getting into a more trusting relationship in order to cut out Upwork as a middleman.
 

itfactor

Contributor
May 18, 2019
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45
99
For clients, I've met the following:
1. Low-life scammers who steal your work or pay peanuts. They are the ones to avoid.

2. Clients who don't know much about the job they want to get done, but need to get done.
You can use even your simple, fundamental knowledge to provide value to them.

You can act like a consultant of sorts and choose not to charge them for it.

3. Clients who are actually actively looking for freelancers to train up and rope in as full-time folks.
These clients mostly already know a lot about the job and its field, and can tell you a thing or two that you might not know!

For instance, I might find myself working with a marketing manager who knows his stuff on email copy.

Pretty good if you want to get right into how a regular firm does its SOP and management processes without having to climb to corporate ladder. But expect to commit some time and effort, which may restrict you from other gigs or Fastlane stuff.
Would love to hear what is your thought process in filtering out clients from group 1 out from the rest.
 

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