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Notable! SinisterLex's - I Deleted My Upwork Account...

Discussion in 'Hustles, Freelancing, Bootstrapping' started by SinisterLex, Jan 30, 2017.

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  1. Waspy
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    Waspy Float like a butterfly Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    And I have no doubt you are not the only one. The thing is, if I put my actually budget, the same thing happens, I get a bunch of copy-pasters who just match my budget. I seem to get a more genuine offer when I lowball. Maybe it's foolish on my part and maybe I'm missing some great people because of it, but I'm very happy with the people I have hired so far

    Edited due to missing word...
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  2. Shamrox
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    Funny you should say that. This is normally my reaction too, though I'm currently in the blog space. And most other freelancers are probably thinking the same thing. I guess it just goes to show, you should apply anyway and quote what you think they should pay. Sounds like Opportunitiville to me :)

    I saw that client you're working on a few days back @SinisterLex and wondered if it was something you'd go for. Way above my punching weight for the time being - even if it looks like an easy client or most of you guys.
     
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  3. Waspy
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    Waspy Float like a butterfly Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Another thought I had on pricing.

    Many of your potential clients won't have strictly set budgets. So when they post a job for $5 thinking that will be enough, but all the people who apply are crap... they are going to be inclined to chance their mind. So your $15 proposal sat along side 25 $5 proposals starts to look a lot more attractive than you might think.

    For most clients it's going to be a decision based on value, not price.
     
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  4. BellaPippin
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    BellaPippin Enough snacking on mediocrity. Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hi Lex,

    Thanks for this thread. Uber-enlightening. I haven't had a chance to view the videos yet but I've learned a lot from the discussion alone. Got a newbie question for you:

    I'm pretty sure copywriting isn't the only thing you can do on Upwork (duh). Considering that -just of the top of my head-

    *I can use Photoshop and Illustrator (Graphic Design)
    *I can code front-end (simple Web-Design)
    *I can translate English-Spanish and viceversa
    *I type fast, I could transcribe too (read someone mentioned it above)

    Is it a thing to just make a profile on Upwork and pick up/send proposals to whatever comes across you like a jack-of-all-trades type of silly thing or would you recommend pick one thing and stick to it?
     
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  5. AlphaWulf
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    AlphaWulf Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    THIS is the secret to selling anything, especially online. People want value, the cost is a secondhand thought.
     
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  6. SinisterLex
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    SinisterLex The moments that define you have already happened. Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Oooh, I might have to make a video about that. >)

    I've seen some people go that route, but I don't have much experience with it. Seems like you'd spend a lot more time sending proposals to get a job and might end up with lower paying gigs unless you can upsell them in the interview. Less people will reach out to you because people who reach out are usually looking for someone who specializes in one or two things.

    When I hire people on Upwork, I usually skip the jack-of-all-trades, because I want someone who can solve a specific problem for me. That said, there are times when skills are cross-sellable. For instance, if you do basic web design, you might ask a client if they've considered hiring a copywriter (assuming you write copy). Usually that's an easy upsell.

    If you're just getting started, you can pretty much start anywhere tho. Transcription, web-design, doesn't really matter. Just pick one and get in the door. My new account started with social media, but now I'm getting interviewed at $50/hr for copywriting a week later.

    I keep my skills narrow, and limit the clients to only those who are exactly right for me, because past experience tells me anything else leads to capital M.I.S.E.R.Y. :D
     
  7. BellaPippin
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    BellaPippin Enough snacking on mediocrity. Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Great points, I'll take that into account and will be following the thread too, thanks for your advice! Happy V's Day!
     
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  8. Hyrum
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    Hyrum Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I posted a copy writing job to Upwork about a week ago and found some of the resulting numbers to be interesting. I offered $200 for what I figured would be 4-8 hours of work. I only received 10 proposals, so this is not as saturated a market as people are being led to believe. This is how I broke them down:

    3 - completely unqualified or seem to be lacking confidence in their abilities. One of the proposals was a whopping 2 sentences long and included: "Why not give me a trial and check out my work" and "I don't really talk much thank you."
    3 - I probably could have micro-managed them into producing results, but they all seemed to be missing the point of copy writing. They loaded their proposals with their accomplishments (I graduated with an MFA, I took xxx course on copy writing, I'm perfect for this job because xxx, etc). They never once told me what my benefits to hiring them would be. I couldn't care less about your credentials, all I care about is that you're going to help me sell my thing. In a way, this is what separates good copy from bad. Bad copy talks about how great the product is, good copy tells you how the product is going to solve your problem.
    2 - Good proposals, but wrong skill set. They were experts in content marketing, not writing sales copy. So not something I need right now, but I bookmarked both of them for future use when I need content.
    2 - Hit all the right points. Sold me on the results of their previous jobs. Now I have to decide which one to hire. I know someone said previously that you're not competing against the millions of freelancers on Upwork, only the ones that pay attention to the client. This is true. The 2 finalists were never a 1 in 10 chance of being hired by me.

    Some other thoughts.
    9 of the 10 quoted my exact price. Not sure why, as I am more than willing to negotiate. I indicated that I wasn't sure the time requirement, and that the 4-8 hours was an estimate. If one of my finalists had told me the time requirement would be twice my estimate, I would have negotiated a higher (or hourly) rate.
    0 of 10 tried to up-sell me. I wanted a few landing pages and a static sales page. I said nothing about social media or AdWords, but if one of my proposals had brought this up, I would have paid extra to get it done.
     
  9. germandude
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    germandude Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hey guys,

    so I am a freelance web copywriter for a couple of months, but I wasn't really utilizing Upwork much. I noticed Lex was doing this kickass thing again, so I hopped onto the train to Moneyville a couple of days after he did. Following some value-first principles, I landed a gig with a renown chef who needed website copy. He sent me a $15 copy test, I kicked some ass and then we were talking bigger money. Namely, I drop my price right there - $500 big boy or we ain't doing shit. I demonstrated expertise, professionalism and value first and he said yes, be the placenta to my business umbilical cord (which is what we really do).

    It's time for the website, we go around talking and he is like "fuck this shit", he needs a placenta for that too. Who's got all that Wordpress knowledge built from years of working on Wordpress? This guy right here! I tell him I can do it, we agree on $300 more and BAM, I am reaching $800 of my (Alexander's but whatever) $1000 a month goal!

    So take it easy guys, demonstrate expertise (be actually knowledgeable tho), offer value and you will get the ice cream. You got a fucking excuse now??? Thinking about how you have a myriad of problems? I am in Germany, my Upwork says I am from Germany, so all my clients (all my clients are outside of Upwork, the previous was just as an example of the fact that Upwork is still viable) know that and YET they hire me. I have no college degree at all, yet it has never been an issue. You bet your ass that my English ain't broken, I spent my childhood learning the correct ways to write so that I can compete with you, who is a native there!

    Did my head hurt from all combining all the frameworks of copywriting to get my copy as close to perfection? Did I spend 2 days working for $100? Did I have problems? You better bet I did. But through all that time, I was building my portfolio, making sense of concepts and reading business books on how to make my freelancing better.

    You literally have no excuses for not making this work. You get in life what you tolerate and if you tolerate doing bad work, you will get bad results.

    Edit 20 days later:
    Reached the $1000 mark, but Upwork's fees are killing me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  10. lowtek
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    lowtek Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    You need to go back and reread the book if you think this is slowlane. Upwork is just a market for finding clients. It's not a business model. Freelancing, by itself, isn't really fastlane - but it's just a few employees away from being such.

    Looking at it through the lens of the framework:

    Need - yep, people need copy

    Entry - the barrier to getting started is low, but the barrier to continuing is quite high. It takes fortitude to send out dozens of proposals and then wait for a reply

    Scale - yep, you can scale this. It's called "an agency" - simply document your process for delivering to the client, hire and train people to deliver, and then you've got yourself an agency. Repeat that process with writing proposals, and it's totally scalable

    Control - Lex controls every aspect of the business....so, check

    Time - charging by the hour isn't the only option. You can charge based on perceived value, which absolutely divorces your time from money. Particularly when you couple value based pricing with adding human glue. In a few months Lex could be off in Hawaii surfing while his minions execute his system.
     
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  11. lowtek
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    lowtek Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    You asked Lex specifically, but I'll toss in my unsolicited opinion... because that's what I do.

    I started out writing and did OK. I didn't really like it, so I switched to something more analytical - AdWords.

    Having the 5* feedback from writing helped get gigs in AdWords. So, there is some value there.

    Based on what you said, I would recommend either the front end design or graphic design. You could make a killing as a front end dev if you up your service game. Developers are notoriously cagey and it's hard to find one that's a good contractor (i.e. responsive and results oriented).
     
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  12. Sadik
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    Sadik Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    You lost me there. If you desire to correct someone, never start with what you think they "need".

    But I read your post. Out of respect for @SinisterLex I do not wish to derail this frankly awesome thread with this side debate. I wish you all the best "fastlaning" freelancing.
     
  13. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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  14. Sanj Modha
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    @SinisterLex - what do you sell on UW? I'm looking to do a case study on this for a blog/podcast I'm about to start in 2017. I want to sign up too and make at least $1000 with no capital to prove it can be done.

    Just looking for some ideas about skills I can sell.
     
  15. Waspy
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    Waspy Float like a butterfly Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Not sure if sarcasm... or just didn't read thread
     
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    snappyhappy Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Yeah, probably need to challenge my own assumption and start applying to a few lower budget gigs. The amount of detail in the job description is usually a better indicator of client quality.
     
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  17. J.Sark
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    I am not particularly interested on focusing too much effort on these types of platform but I have watched two of your videos and sent a few proposals and for the moment I got replies and interest. Nothing solid yet but it is obvious for me that this works.

    Not a lot of value in my comment, but just wanted to appreciate your help.
     
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  18. Shamrox
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    Not trying to hijack your thread Lex but I wanted to support what you're saying, give those naysayers even less of an excuse.

    "Yeah but you've done it all before Lex, so you know what to do. You got experience. It's different for us newbies!" (I just realized that I read nayser/excuse maker talk in MJs sarcastic tone - who knew listening to the FLM audible would have that effect?)

    Update: I'm running another two jobs, $150 and $100. Together they add up to about a day's work, which I'm spreading over a week since I work 8 - 7 and have a million other responsibilities outside of work, including two kids under the age of 3.

    upload_2017-2-15_15-16-40.png

    (pic is coming out huge, not sure why...)

    Anyway, I did a tiny little job ($5) in between, which involved translating an electrical safety label for a company in Belgium from English into Gaeilge. She needed it the next day. It was 46 words and took me five minutes (Gaeilge is my first language). She was impressed with my level of service and gave me a five-star review before I even had a chance to ask. $5 = $5 but my first 5-star review = priceless.

    I get at least one invitation to interview a day now without sending out proposals.

    Out of about 10 a week, I turn down 6 as they aren't suitable. The other four I apply for, though I have to admit I haven't taken the time to write a decent response.

    Generally they all reply, and one accepts (current trend after less than two weeks of trying).

    Not too bad for my first 10 days. I'll not be far behind you over that $1000 finish line.

    This also isn't my be all and end all.

    I'm a full time IT consultant so I'm still in the slow lane. I work for an AMAZING company and my boss is one of the soundest fellas around. But I still want that freedom. My Fastlane business is in e-commerce, but this Upwork stuff is a handy wee side number to help me get my e-commerce product out the door sooner rather than later. Between you, ICK, Biophase, and others on here my mind is blown.

    Enjoy the rest of the week folks!
     

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  19. SinisterLex
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    SinisterLex The moments that define you have already happened. Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    This morning I got invited to a gig. A couple pages of web copy for $250. I accepted the invite, and set my rate at $500. I sent a couple questions, then waited for a response, and refreshed the project page a couple times. I noticed the interview count increasing. First to 3 then to 4 then to 5.

    So I withdrew my proposal and sent a message saying I don't compete for bottom dollar so I'm withdrawing. A few seconds later I got a response. Now we're discussing his project.

    Though I haven't decided to work with him yet, I wanted to mention it because this is part of why I withdraw from so many jobs. Anytime I withdraw I get a chance to send a message. That's 1 more message than every other person who applied. 1 more chance to get attention and stand out. 1 more chance to be in the right place at the right time, with the "right stuff."

    At this point he's made several small commitments. He's responded to my questions, and feels like I'm someone with standards (by the way you should totally read Seth Godin's blog on standards from this morning) and that sets me apart from everybody else. Now he's having to prove to me why I should work with him. Not the other way around. Just the way I like it.
     
  20. Tiago Ladeia
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    Just resurrecting the thread fight – I believe everybody is smart enough to create its own path to the Fastlane. Since our initial conditions are all different, it is very naive to believe that there is only one way or another. Otherwise, we would all create limo companies just as MJ did.

    For example, right now I'm opening my own business and searching for investors. Yet, I'm doing some freelance financial advisory services for SMEs to help fund the initial start (and give less equity to investors as possible). After reading the Lex's experience, I decided to give a try at Upwork and have noticed that there is a relevant demand for my profile (investment bank analyst) with payments WAY better than I can find here in Brazil. So I'm preparing my account with the objective to work and generate more money to fund my business, without being confined and time-constrained by a full-time job.

    So my point is that over-analyzing and staying faithful to established principles (such as don't work for the hour) is simply bad business since you can't be flexible enough to adjust. Even worse, you can lose a lot of future opportunities for not wanting to do dirty jobs in the beginning. For example, I've seen Lex's first videos and what he have been sharing right now and the improvement is amazing – I truly believe in his skills and personally think he's more than apt to start an agency for himself. Maybe, in the future, he meets with another person who is equally savvy and then they eventually create a hot advertising agency.

    Guess who turned into a millionaire now? Sometimes it all starts with entry-level gig that nobody wants to do because it is too "slow lane"

    Cheers and success to Lex,

    Tiago
     
  21. Raoul Duke
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    Raoul Duke The Horrendous Space Kablooie Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    The big thing that is jumping off the page, imo. This is putting you in CONTROL. You are now dictating the terms, etc... I could be reading way too much into this.
     
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  22. SinisterLex
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    SinisterLex The moments that define you have already happened. Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    No, that's exactly right.
     
  23. lifese
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    Since Lex deleted his account, I wanted to add my experience as someone who just opened up an Upwork account as well.

    Disclaimer: I had an old Upwork account, made a few hundred in less than a week, but got banned. I'm also one of Lex's students (paid the genius to teach me his copywriting ways - worth 100x what I spent).

    Anyways...

    I've sent out 6 or so proposals. I only have a bio on my profile. The bio is catered towards my skills and written well, but it isn't even niche specific. I have absolutely nothing else on my profile. No work history. No feedback. Zero test done (no time for that shit).

    But what I do have is knowledge of my niche and the skills I've learned from Lex.

    And this is what I've accomplished in less than a week on Upwork with only 6 proposals:

    I'm in an interview for a $500 job that amounts to about 3 pages of writing. And I just landed a $100 job that amounts to about 1 and a half pages of writing.

    $100 made with minimal effort. Potentially $600. AND one of my clients is shaping up to be a great f*cking resource for referrals and connections (dude worked with Bill Gates for 16 years).

    Whoever said Upwork is saturated and a game of chance is well....dumb

    Looking forward to learning more from Lex as he levels up his Upwork account.

    Edit: Forgot to add in the main point of why I wrote this - Lex got jobs on Upwork with nothing on his account. His student got jobs on Upwork with nothing on his account. Listen to the man and you can get jobs on Upwork (or anywhere) with nothing on your account too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  24. Chema
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    Already made +300$ with the first client @SinisterLex :bullseye:
    Now I have some more money to invest in my projects :fistbump:

    P.S: I'll try to focus on clients that would have more than just a one-time project :eyes:
     
  25. Dark Water
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    Dark Water Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    I just read the entire thread, very much appreciate it as its quite inspirational. Here are my thoughts on Upwork and how it relates to the fastlane.

    My take from The Millionaire Fastlane and reading others' thoughts on this forum, is that being slowlane or fastlane is simply a mindset, an accumulation of your actions you are taking to be where you want to be.

    You can make $200k a year in a job but have the slowlane mindset very thoroughly ingrained in your thought process and lifestyle. Perhaps you work 80 hours a week for the man, are worn down, spend your weekends trying to escape and hit the bars, have very large mortgages and debt, etc... money doesn't denote whether an endeavor is fastlane or not. In this example you could make 200k a year or even amp that up to 800k/year but you're still in the slowlane.

    On the same note, you can make $40k a year in a "slowlane" job yet be well on your way to the fastlane - by limiting your expenses, creating plenty of time and energy to work on or execute your fastlane plans outside of your job, saving that money to create your own systems and levers which will soon enough help you escape your day to day job - as we have seen so many people do on this forum.

    Upwork is simply a platform, and using it doesn't equivocate to you being "slowlane". If all you do is take the bare minimum approach and transcribe for $5/gig and do that over, and over, and over, for the rest of your life, working 45 hours a week for 30k a year barely getting by... sure, you turned a platform with a lot of potential into your personal slowlane endeavor.

    I don't think anyone is here to do that though. Upwork isn't the final destination, the end all, be all goal. It is simply a stop in the journey, and that stop can mean different things to different people. It could be your first time pitching to potential clients your skillsets and value you can offer while negotiating prices and projects. Or maybe you need to support yourself for x amount of months or years while you work on getting your own thing off the ground.

    I think its awesome that Lex is not only showing that it is possible, but basically outlining for all of us how to beat competitors and showing the value of a personalized approach to clients. And whether you use a platform like Upwork, freelance on your own website, or pitch to clients in your 9-5 while you work on your fastlane on the side, the lessons are uniform there's plenty of little gold nuggets to take away from all of this.