Upwork, It’s Time To Fix Your Shit

Day 205/365: The biggest freelancing platform on the Internet is slowly killing itself…

Gabriel Iosa
Jul 24, 2018 · 8 min read
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I’ve been on the Upwork platform for more than 7 months now. So far, things were good and great, but unfortunately, as of late, the platform is starting to show its bad parts. Which makes it harder and harder to be a full-time freelancer and to actually make money out of it.

In retrospect, I thought Fiverr was a harsh platform to work on, but it turns out Upwork is slowly turning into a product that looks like Fiverr, acts like Fiverr and functions like Fiverr.

Which is absolutely awful and makes me angry, scared, and miserable. If you don’t know why, read this book and you’ll see.

I put my heart and soul into this platform, and as of late, I get close to nothing in return. Upwork has many good parts, but nowadays it seems that the good parts are overwritten by the bad ones. I came up with 5 of the worst things that are happening right now on Upwork.

This is one of the biggest problems freelancers are now facing on this platform. Out of 10 projects I applied for in the last 3 weeks, which were the absolute worst of my freelancing year, I got a response on two of them and couldn’t manage to land a contract on any.

That’s a 0/10 success rate. Why is this happening? Because nobody actually looked after those 8 projects. Clients just posted the requirements and then forgot about them.

Freelancers applied, lost 2 Connections (Upwork has a number of 60 tokens you can use in one month, because yeah, why wouldn’t you do that?) and remained with the question in their heads about why they never get hired. Phantom projects are almost dangerously high on Upwork right now.

Upwork needs to fix this somehow, maybe by having clients pay a fee if they don’t choose a freelancer within 3 days.

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Photo by Goran Ivos on Unsplash

Another problem that seems to arise more and more on the platform is that conerning the money clients are willing to pay for their projects. They somehow expect you to do $100 bucks worth of work for $10 or less.

The number of $100-or-less projects on the platform now is simply higher than ever, which means full-time freelancers have to rather wait an eternity for a good project or slave away on peanuts money just to make it out alive at the end of the month.

Upwork should fix this somehow, maybe by asking clients to divide the work they ask freelancers to do in parts, like research, writing, editing and revisions, if they’re looking for a freelance writer, for example.

Writing a piece from scratch involves all of those 4 parts, not just the part where the freelancer delivers the final product.

For every single dollar that you make on Upwork, the site takes back 20 cents if your project is lower than 500 bucks. The fee drops down to 10 cents per dollar once you surpassed the $500-mark, dropping again to 5 cents per dollar if you get to work for more than $10000 with the same client.

The problem is, there are few clients who are willing to work with you until you get to those sums. I don’t know of a single individual from my group of freelancing friends who’d reached that sum with the same client.

Not even one damn dude!

That means that at best, you’ll get to keep 90% of your money, but most likely you’ll just keep 80% of your overall project cost. This is before local taxes, VAT and other crappy taxes, of course. The way Upwork can work this out is by charging clients a 10% fee on a set project price, leaving the price set by the client to be paid to freelancers.

After all, the way platforms make money is by having good clients, but on Upwork, if the freelancers are not well-paid and mediocre, you’ll never be able to have great-paying clients. On Upwork, we are the platform.

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Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash

I had some problems in these 7 months while working on the platform. That’s to be expected with any site and it’s normal. What’s not normal is that, after all of the phantom projects, high fees and extreme competition, Upwork simply takes customer support as a joke.

All of my emails regarding real, unexplainable situations were answered with a copy-pasted response. I had no success in finding out why a client was able to withdraw money back from my already paid project, for example.

I had no luck in finding out why my Job Success Score had dropped down below 90% even though I had but one 4,6 out of 5 stars rating out of 20 projects.

Simply put, Upwork takes its freelancers for granted. I don’t know how their customer support dedicated to clients work out, but I’m sure there are other, higher standards on that regard.

At least they might’ve used to be because today’s clients are mostly looking for low-paying jobs, which says more than enough about their standards. Not all of them, but most of them.

As I stated before, the rating system on Upwork is a joke. If you can keep above 90% for 13 of the last 16 weeks, then you become a Top-Rated freelancer and have more opportunities to get better work. Or so they say, although there’s no evidence this is actually a thing.

In my 7 full months of freelancing, I got a 4,8 rating on my third project and a 4,6 rating on my 9th one, from a girl who paid 50 bucks for a project that he said was great, and then complained the article was too funny.

That’s fine. I mean, not all clients are willing to sit down and tell you why they scored your work the way they did. Although they should, but people are not always nice. That’s life, go figure. The point is, because of those 2 lower-than-five-stars rating, my Job Success Score has now been around 89–90–91 percent. I’ve never had a 90+ percent rating for 13 weeks straight.

This makes me mad as hell. I only had a 4,6 stars rating, which means the other 18 projects received perfect scores and were better paid by thousands of dollars. Yet because of that bad score, I’ll probably never get to see the “benefits” of being a Top-Rated freelancer.

Plus, there’s a hidden review clients can give you. You can’t know what they say in that review, you can’t reply or correct your work, should they complain about it, basically you can’t do shit about it. That’s the most stupid thing possible to implement on a freelancing platform.

It’s a thing you have no control over, a thing you can’t even see, yet it can lower your JSS on the spot and leaving you to wonder about why and who rated you lower than they did on the official, public scoring board.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The whole thing is stupid, to be honest. Upwork, I had faith in you from the start. Since I started working on your platform 7 months ago, I paid thousands of dollars in fees towards you and frankly, besides some great clients, I got nothing in return. I need you to fix your shit and get your stuff together.

You are the biggest employer on the web for freelancers around the world. It would be a shame to have you abandoned by a large number of us and you becoming the next Freelancer.com or Fiverr.com in a few months. If you’re not going to fix your shit, this will, unfortunately, be the case.

We freelancers can find other clients from someplace else. You, on the other hand, are fully dependent on us to work through you and pay you those fees.

Do your part.

Work for your bucks, just as we do day after day.

Let’s work together, not against each other.

Thank you!

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Thank you for your time!

Click HERE if you want the best writing piece for you and your business!

Click HERE to buy my book on how I made it as a freelancer with nothing to begin with but a crappy laptop and about a year on a dead platform!

Follow me @gabrieliosa on Instagram and give this post exactly 44 claps!

I’m on a mission to write 365 articles in 2018. This is definitely the biggest writing challenge of my life so far. If you’d like to be part of the journey, please follow me here on Medium.com for the daily posts!

365 Days Writing Challenge: -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204

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