The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

Upwork Flipping... Ethical?

DavidK

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 23, 2017
51
87
128
32
Hurricane, UT
I have noticed that Upwork flipping is becoming more prevalent. Basically people get jobs on Upwork, then go to Fiverr and outsource the work and pocket the difference. This does not seem ethical to me as one is basically acting as an agency under the guise of a freelancer, positioning as a middle man while not necessarily adding value. Is there value being added by these people, is it ethical?

The proponents of this seem to argue that as long as they get the job done and client is happy, that they have added value regardless or the means... thoughts?
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

ay47

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Mar 29, 2018
54
94
115
I see nothing wrong in it. End of the day, is the client delighted? If he is, you added value.

Do u know how hard it is to find quality freelancers on Fiverr?

I did just this the other day. Got a client for 150 usd, paid someone on Fiverr 50 usd. Freelancer delivered late. And it was a really bad end product. I was ashamed to give it to my client. I had to rewrite everything myself. Now, I just threw away 50 usd.

I bore the risk of quality for my client.

I am the one making sure I deliver to my client’s expectations. The client doesn’t care who I get to deliver the product. As long as I deliver.
 

Kak

Incubator Enrollment is Open for October
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jan 23, 2011
5,352
21,101
4,554
As long as you deliver quality work, on time, per the agreement I don't see the ETHICAL problem.

Now, if the work looks like shit, or you're late... No.

What I do see a problem with is the overall business model. It's bullshit.
 
Last edited:

IGP

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 24, 2015
506
1,336
426
46
Why would it not be ethical?

If you hire my company to "provide you with a service" and I give that task to one of my "employees" (permanent, VA, contractor or whatever), why would that be an issue?

Most businesses operate in a similar fashion where the one who gets the job is not the person who actually does the work. If that wasn't the case, people would have a hell of time scaling service based businesses.
 
OP
OP
DavidK

DavidK

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 23, 2017
51
87
128
32
Hurricane, UT
Seems like all can agree that good work, delivered on time, then there is no issue.

@ay47
Good point, you do take on some risk, the value I can see being added is that finding a good freelancer is hard for the client... so a flipper can step in, take some financial risk, and essentially find a good freelancer for the client which of course adds value and should be compensated. The flipper has an enhanced skill in picking a quality freelancer, especially since they put some skin in the game.

@Kak
Agree, bussiness model isn't ideal, but it may be a good way to learn some useful skills. Being able to understand a clients needs and deliver a quality product is great practice.

@IGP
True, playing devils advocate here though, usually the flipper is not forthright with the situation. They pose as a freelancer but act as an agency... For example the client may want no agencies and US freelancers only for whatever reason, and a flipper comes in, outsources the work to someone outside the US and delivers. The client may be happy with the end result but would they be as happy if they knew exactly how it all went down? That's the main point of contention for me is that the flipper may not outright lie, but they are also not completely honest...
 

IGP

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 24, 2015
506
1,336
426
46
Seems like all can agree that good work, delivered on time, then there is no issue.

@ay47
Good point, you do take on some risk, the value I can see being added is that finding a good freelancer is hard for the client... so a flipper can step in, take some financial risk, and essentially find a good freelancer for the client which of course adds value and should be compensated. The flipper has an enhanced skill in picking a quality freelancer, especially since they put some skin in the game.

@Kak
Agree, bussiness model isn't ideal, but it may be a good way to learn some useful skills. Being able to understand a clients needs and deliver a quality product is great practice.

@IGP
True, playing devils advocate here though, usually the flipper is not forthright with the situation. They pose as a freelancer but act as an agency... For example the client may want no agencies and US freelancers only for whatever reason, and a flipper comes in, outsources the work to someone outside the US and delivers. The client may be happy with the end result but would they be as happy if they knew exactly how it all went down? That's the main point of contention for me is that the flipper may not outright lie, but they are also not completely honest...
I see... Well, in that case I wouldn't condone deceiving people in any way, shape or form.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GSF

UnrealCreative

It's Only The Beginning.
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Sep 20, 2016
591
2,471
556
22
San Juan
This is no different than any other service business.

You're simply buying time from someone who's willing to sell it (subcontractor, employee, etc.) and selling it for more to a client.

The subcontractor understands that they're paid less, but they're given the promise of consistent work from MY pool of clients. They never have to sell themselves, have a trusted system laid out for them, and are protected from all the external stresses that plague a business.

It's never been unethical.
It's in fact Extremely Valuable to provide employment to someone who needs it.

As a side note, I've included a clause in the Service Agreement that discloses the use of Subcontractors:

"We often subcontract work, but use of subcontractors will not affect our responsibilities to deliver.

We take full responsibility for work done by subcontractors within the scope of services, as it is for work done by its own employees. We will have written agreements with subcontractors that contain, at a minimum, clauses that are the same as or comparable to the sections of this Contract regarding ownership rights and confidentiality of your materials."
 

barman

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Apr 14, 2018
35
43
115
Upwork > Fiverr is absolutely not unethical. It is some form of arbitrage. What difference does it make that the person doing the work is an employee, a dedicated virtual assistant, someone on Fiverr, the kid down the block, etc.

Now Upwork > Mturk ... not so much.
 

Kak

Incubator Enrollment is Open for October
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jan 23, 2011
5,352
21,101
4,554
@Kak
Agree, bussiness model isn't ideal, but it may be a good way to learn some useful skills. Being able to understand a clients needs and deliver a quality product is great practice.
You didn't agree. It's a good way to operate in mediocrity. For anyone who makes this the plan, don't quit the day job. It's a total cop out.

Why "practice"? This is real life. Everything we do is real.
 

Fastlane Liam

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Feb 10, 2018
275
379
187
22
United Kingdom
Its a good idea, but doesn't always go smoothly. You gotta find a reliable cheap freelancer.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

G-Man

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 13, 2014
1,840
9,767
2,186
Step 1: Do upwork "flipping" until you make $5k
Step 2: Make $100k selling a course on how to make $5k flipping on upwork.
 

UnrealCreative

It's Only The Beginning.
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Sep 20, 2016
591
2,471
556
22
San Juan
Step 1: Do upwork "flipping" until you make $5k
Step 2: Make $100k selling a course on how to make $5k flipping on upwork.
Step 1: Relabel "Employment" as "Flipping."
Step 2: Sell Course

:rofl:
 
OP
OP
DavidK

DavidK

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 23, 2017
51
87
128
32
Hurricane, UT
Step 1: Do upwork "flipping" until you make $5k
Step 2: Make $100k selling a course on how to make $5k flipping on upwork.
Genius, and pure fastlane...

You didn't agree. It's a good way to operate in mediocrity. For anyone who makes this the plan, don't quit the day job. It's a total cop out.

Why "practice"? This is real life. Everything we do is real.
I am in agreement that the overall business model is BS... But for those who have never sold anything and are still developing a product... it could be useful "practice" to submit proposals, identify client needs, and deliver high quality work while the stakes are low. Then when your own product is on the line, one has some experience getting clients sold on their offering.

BTW I do not do this... I still believe it is unethical unless you are completely upfront and honest with the client about what you are doing :)

The reason I brought this up is that I am looking to start hiring freelancers and would personally be upset if I choose to hire someone posing as an experienced freelancer... when in reality they had no experience and just outsourced at a lower price, even if the end result was acceptable! The main point is whether they are honest about their role or not.
 

ApparentHorizon

Gold Contributor
Speedway Pass
Apr 1, 2016
829
2,391
553
Greenville, SC
it could be useful "practice" to submit proposals, identify client needs, and deliver high quality work while the stakes are low.
That's like saying, I want to play the US Open, but instead of picking up a tennis racket, I'll start with Ping Pong.

Perfect practice makes perfect

"practice" while the stakes are low
I still believe it is unethical
I choose to hire someone posing as an experienced freelancer... when in reality they had no experience and just outsourced at a lower price
It sounds like you're afraid of the consequences. If the deal happens to go south, the result was out of your direct control, but you still have to take full responsibility for it. And you're masking the excuse with morality, so you don't have to leave your comfort zone.
 
OP
OP
DavidK

DavidK

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 23, 2017
51
87
128
32
Hurricane, UT
That's like saying, I want to play the US Open, but instead of picking up a tennis racket, I'll start with Ping Pong.

Perfect practice makes perfect
No lol, it's like saying I want to play the US open but have no tennis experience so will start training at lower level before thinking I can play like a champion. Also, the point was if you have never sold anything and are currently developing a project but have nothing to sell, it could work as practice so you can utilize time better. Was just trying to see the benefits from the flippers perspective.


It sounds like you're afraid of the consequences. If the deal happens to go south, the result was out of your direct control, but you still have to take full responsibility for it. And you're masking the excuse with morality, so you don't have to leave your comfort zone.
Not sure what you mean, leave my comfort zone? I didn't say the presence of flippers would stop me from hiring freelancers. The whole point is that I want direct control because if the deal goes south it is 100% my responsibility since I choose the freelancer. However, if the freelancer I choose claimed to have skills that they don't actually have, and showed me examples from a portfolio that was not actually their work... It is still my responsibility since I hired a liar so obviously my screening process failed.

The ethical issue arises since I don't think a flipper that lies about their skills and portfolio just to get a job in order to flip it is ethical, even if the work quality is fine. If I buy a box advertising a coffee maker on the outside but when I get home the box actually contains a blender, I would consider that a dishonest sales practice.

Just wanted to get the forums thoughts regarding the issue... Can now see the flippers side better, but still think flippers should be upfront about what they are doing and make sure the client is OK with it, they are selling a service, why not be honest about it?
 

ApparentHorizon

Gold Contributor
Speedway Pass
Apr 1, 2016
829
2,391
553
Greenville, SC
No lol, it's like saying I want to play the US open but have no tennis experience so will start training at lower level before thinking I can play like a champion. Also, the point was if you have never sold anything and are currently developing a project but have nothing to sell, it could work as practice so you can utilize time better. Was just trying to see the benefits from the flippers perspective.
A serve in tennis is a serve at any level.

The difference between a low monetary value pitch and 5-6+ figures, is vastly different.

Check out Spin Selling by Rockham

The ethical issue arises since I don't think a flipper that lies about their skills and portfolio just to get a job in order to flip it is ethical, even if the work quality is fine. If I buy a box advertising a coffee maker on the outside but when I get home the box actually contains a blender, I would consider that a dishonest sales practice.
Those aren't even remotely parallel comparisons lol

I don't think anyone is arguing that lying is unethical.

But for some reason you're putting so much emphasis, on this one particular (yet common), business practice. One which anyone hardly considers, cares, or impacts them in a significant way.
 

Kak

Incubator Enrollment is Open for October
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jan 23, 2011
5,352
21,101
4,554
Tennis analogies aside...

Why not just practice your pitch on a real business? I don't understand this mindset at all.
 
OP
OP
DavidK

DavidK

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 23, 2017
51
87
128
32
Hurricane, UT
Tennis analogies aside...

Why not just practice your pitch on a real business? I don't understand this mindset at all.
I agree, and that isn't my mindset lol, just trying to see the upside from a flippers perspective... playing devils advocate, it may not be an accurate perspective...

Was just looking for opinions... Clearly people don't see it as an issue which is fine. The only belief of mine that I've inserted is the belief that misrepresenting what one is selling is unethical. Again that is MY opinion in that I would not do that, others can do what they want. It is MY screening process that is to blame if I hire a liar or buy a misrepresented product.

On to the next thread lol

@ApparentHorizon
Thanks for the recommendation, will check it out.
 

Leo Hartas

New Contributor
May 17, 2018
3
11
14
United Kingdom
I don't see it as a problem, except perhaps that if the hired freelancer screws up and your client thinks you were doing the work.. double deep red face and reputation down the pan. My wonderment is why are there any good freelancers working for peanuts on Fivver? They should read Fastlane and Unscripted, dump all clients and middlemen and build their own businesses.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

eliquid

( Jason Brown )
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 29, 2013
1,413
6,804
1,496
Louisville - Kentucky
When I worked a J-O-B, I sometimes hired people off Upwork to do the job instead.

I see this as no different.

I got paid a pretty high salary, but there were parts of the JOB I didn't like... such as reporting and making slides.

I also hated checking in on the budgets daily to ensure we were on trend for the month and making the adjustments if needed.

So I paid someone else to do it while I managed the campaigns and did the things I liked, like ad copy, LP split testing, bidding, etc.

This also helped me go from working 8-10 hours a day, to just 2-3 hour days and it only cost me a few hundreds bucks a month.
 

DST

Contributor
Speedway Pass
Nov 19, 2013
58
96
128
Norway
The "unethical outsourcing" is actually you doing the sales-part of the job, finding a customer and investing in another other creator and taking the risk for their work (in case its bad). Perfectly ethical.

I've spent thousands on fiverr the last few months alone. IDGAF what happens under the hood (who does the job) as long as I'm satisfied in the end, all that is just unnecessary noise to me


I also think this worrying about ethics is one huge cause of friction and a cause of downfall in entrepreneurs (ie "I can make money... by just doing this? that easy? But my parents have worked hard for their money all their life, how can it be that easy then? Doesn't seem right"
 

ApparentHorizon

Gold Contributor
Speedway Pass
Apr 1, 2016
829
2,391
553
Greenville, SC
I also think this worrying about ethics is one huge cause of friction and a cause of downfall in entrepreneurs (ie "I can make money... by just doing this? that easy? But my parents have worked hard for their money all their life, how can it be that easy then? Doesn't seem right"
Entrepreneurs walk a fine line..It's comically easy to scam a few people out of a few bucks. And there's always the temptation looming to reach for millions.

However, most people keep themselves in check.

Why?

How long do you think you'll last lying, cheating and stealing? You get away a few times, then you try it on bigger and bigger fish. But it's never enough, and you get fed to the fish instead.

The reason business people are viewed as, less than ethical, is because negative news proliferates.

It's on TV. On social media. It's everywhere. (See Madoff)

In my experience, I've had 2 clients who were bluntly questionable.

One in particular asked for testimonials and instructed his acquaintances what to say. Make sure you write I'm ethical and trustworthy. I'd never seen that before and made me uncomfortable. A year later, things aren't going well for him.

What causes friction in people like David, is how they weigh their ethics. He feels, lying by omission is still lying, because he would like to know if the work he's getting is outsourced. A valid concern, and lying by omission is still lying when the final product is not as described.

But you can extend that to every part of the business. Why didn't you tell me you don't drive an electric car? Don't you care about the environment? - Why didn't you tell me you use Apple products? Don't you know they manufacture in stressful and inhuman conditions?

And then you have the trolley problem:



What do you do during a recession? You have employees with families. You have a fiduciary responsibility to your shareholders, who trust you with their money. Cash is running low. Venture capitalists are fleeing. The banks won't give out loans. You don't have a reliable source of income...

What's ethical in this situation? (See the 08 bailout - granted it was caused by bad ethics in the first place)
 

The Racing Driver

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 20, 2015
118
206
165
Hong Kong
As long as you deliver quality work, on time, per the agreement I don't see the problem.

Now, if the work looks like sh*t, or you're late... No.

What I do see a problem with is the overall business model. It's bullshit.
I used to do this. Get hired on Upwork for a ~$100 writing job, outsource it for $40-$50. Sometimes it went ok, sometimes had to spend hours rewriting the entire thing. A pretty bad business model as you take full responsibility for the final product. You can never detach yourself from the business and the upside is really limited.

@Kak Curious to understand your mindset better. Are there other reasons you consider this business model bullshit? Should we avoid working on Upwork and doing this service arbitrage?

Tennis analogies aside...

Why not just practice your pitch on a real business? I don't understand this mindset at all.
When you say practice your pitch, you mean start your own business and then start pitching your own products/services right?
 

Kak

Incubator Enrollment is Open for October
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jan 23, 2011
5,352
21,101
4,554
I used to do this. Get hired on Upwork for a ~$100 writing job, outsource it for $40-$50. Sometimes it went ok, sometimes had to spend hours rewriting the entire thing. A pretty bad business model as you take full responsibility for the final product. You can never detach yourself from the business and the upside is really limited.

@Kak Curious to understand your mindset better. Are there other reasons you consider this business model bullshit? Should we avoid working on Upwork and doing this service arbitrage?



When you say practice your pitch, you mean start your own business and then start pitching your own products/services right?
What is your end goal? You read the MILLIONAIRE Fastlane right?

How anyone can read MJ's book and then land on anything related to upwork for a business model is beyond me.
 
Last edited:

The Racing Driver

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 20, 2015
118
206
165
Hong Kong
What is your end goal? You read the MILLIONAIRE Fastlane right?

How anyone can read MJ's book and then land on anything related to upwork for a business model is beyond me.
My end goal does involve making millions and yes I've read The Millionaire Fastlane. It really doesn't make sense and I feel quite stupid about the way I've acted. But no more... Thanks for your input @Kak !
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kak

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.



Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe to become an INSIDER.

Post New Topic

Please SEARCH before posting.
Please select the BEST category.

Post new topic

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom