So many changes that are coming to Upwork.
(Hopefully this helps the stock — I’ve been getting killed with it!)
Anyway, we’re going to spend a little bit of time going through the big ones that I see. There are probably others, but I’m going to focus on the ones that seem to be most impactful in the eyes of me, the freelancer.
Charging for connections
I think this is the one that has definitely caused the most chatter in the Freelancer Universe. Just about every day on Quora I’m asked whether I think this is a good idea or not. My answer has been the same since the whispers of this started many months back.
I think it’s a good idea. In the past, there have been many irrelevant freelancers applying for as many jobs as they could possibly get their names on.
I applaud their effort to get noticed, but I think this just caused a ton of unnecessary noise that the client had to sift through in order to find the right person.
If you’ve ever posted a job on Upwork, you would quickly see this problem. I think it’s great that there’s a little bit of skin in the game for the freelancer looking to get their name on there. I think this is going to force us to take each connection a little more seriously and spend time ensuring we’re trying our best to align with the job proposal.
From a business standpoint, I’m sure tons and tons of freelancers were skating by and not paying, so this is going to do a TON for Upwork’s bottom line. Imagine millions of people dropping an extra 15 cents for every proposal. Wow. And for the haters who think that Upwork making money is a bad thing… would you rather rely on a platform on the verge of bankruptcy, or with a fiscally healthy and sound company that will be there for years? I choose the latter!
Bottom line, $.15 is nothing. Paying $1.50 and having a direct route to clients with less noise and the upside of having a contract worth $10k is and always will be a no brainer.
Sub – profiles / Industry Specific Profiles
This has been a feature for several months, and I think the jury is still out on this. I’m sure they’re still working on parts of this, so I’m curious to see what this turns into.
For now… Play ball. They built this functionality for a reason and it can’t hurt. The more information you can put on your profile, the better. This will help with search, and also help potential clients understand exactly what you can do for them.
I added some of these Industry Specific Profiles to my main profile about 2 months ago, and like I said, I’m not sure it helped, but it definitely didn’t hurt.
Make sure that instead of going too wide in your services, make sure you get even more niched with your skillset. Don’t try to cast a wider net, cast a better net that’s going to catch the fish you want to eat.
Recently, Upwork has been drastically changing the way the Agency Profiles look and feel. I think this is a huge source of growth for people like myself since there are only so many hours in the day. The idea of having a team that I can outsource work to gets more and more interesting to me. Though for now, I see the same problem happening that has plagued me so many times in the past. This entails me hiring and training someone, having them work for my agency, then having them try and go off on their own and fucking me over. It’s for this reason that I typically keep the people that I work with at an arm’s length and just pass them work, just to make things easier.
Between me and you, what I would LOVE to see Upwork build is a type of referral system that would allow you to link other freelancers to a gig. Once this happens, the “partners” could arrange an ongoing referral. The contract would be between the “partner” and you wouldn’t have anything to do with it.
This way, it wouldn’t matter what the freelancer did. They could upsell services to the new contract, and it would benefit the referrer. Making residual income through the system like this would be an absolute game changer and would take away some of the confusion around how the agency part of this platform works.
As of right now, it’s stupid.
Basically, the agency gets paid, and then you have to pay the person you have in the agency by other forms outside of Upwork. I could be wrong and maybe they changed this, but that’s how it was last year. I don’t know why they do it this way, but I assume it’s for tax purposes.
Upwork if you’re listening, PLEASE build a freelancer affiliate / referral system 🙂
I do like the new look and feel though. The User Experience for the system keeps getting better and better and I’m loving it.
New Business Accounts
This doesn’t have too much to do with freelancers like yourself, but it may be important to know that Upwork is 100% trying to get bigger companies on board. While I think small businesses and solo-preneurs are their bread and butter (for now), it’s clear they want longer and bigger contracts. I think this move is to separate from other platforms like Fiverr, which are based more on smaller projects.
Again, I think this is a good idea, because the less noise, the more Upwork can make sure the people that are using the platform correctly are better served.
Let me know if you agree / disagree with any of my thoughts above. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.