I wrote about working through Upwork on this blog not once and not twice. Recently, however, there are more and more questions: does it still make sense? And if so, for whom and when?

What’s new on Upwork

The first issue that is the subject of lively discussion on  Upwork forums is the so-called “Connects”. Some time ago, we got an opportunity to put our to the top offer using our “connects”. And here comes the theory, not at all conspiracy in my opinion, that the company decided to improve profitability at the expense of freelancers.

Well, if someone is on a free plan, he has only ten “connects”, which allows you to make one offer a month. Let’s move on…

We are on a plus plan, which makes sense for those involved in the work by Upwork ($14.99 / month), then we have 80 connects. At this point, in addition to submitting an offer, we can raise it so that it appears to the customer in the first place. As you can see below, for 56 “connects”, we can jump to the first place. And to be precise. Freelancers had to bid up their offers with 100 connects and more to be 1st. So what? Nothing…

Working through Upwork

We still do not get the contract even after being the first and having a perfectly matched offer and profile. But we are fierce, and we will keep trying. Oh wait, I don’t have a “connect” anymore. It does not hurt Upwork in its kindness allows you to buy them. 10 for $1.5+VAT

But so what? It turns out, and that’s what the whole fuss is about, that in most cases, we get contracts when someone invites us to the project. And now it supposedly happens very rarely. And I’m not talking about people on minimal rates. Recently, a man from France, who is a translator and marketing specialist, complained that he did not know what to put his hands in some time ago, and now silence …

Therefore, a very justified question arises whether working through Upwork still makes sense or, more precisely, whether it really pays off…

Working through Upwork is not cheap anymore.

I wrote you about “connection”, but this is not the end of the changes. Well, at the beginning of May 2023, a change in the commission was introduced, which is charged on the money we earn. Now it’s as much as 10%.

Someone will say, previously, I paid 15%, so it’s excellent (up to $500). Not so fast… Those for whom working through Upwork was the primary source of income focused on having many long-term clients. Then, after exceeding $ 10k, the commission dropped to 5%. On the forums, shit blew up on the platform, and people quite unequivocally threatened that they would take their long-term customers and let them do what they wanted. Will this happen? It’s hard to say; we’ll probably discover it in some time 🙂 – if the old rates return.

Working through Upwork

Money, money, money

Why such a bold thesis on my part? Well, because if you do not know what’s going on, it’s about money … Of course, we do not know everything, but various events in the United States show that easy money for startups is over. What’s more, Upwork went public some time ago, and investors want their money back.

We all hear that various companies in the US are slowing down, and let’s face it; this will undoubtedly translate into the freelance market. Did you know that one of Entrprise’s significant customers on Upwork is Microsoft – they’ve laid off the last few thousand people. Working through Upwork for them was also offered to me some time ago.

And one more thing. You have probably seen or will see the posts of a few people from the States, how they ride at the rate of $ 100 / h, and even more. They’ve already made a few million there, and in general, it’s fantastic. Yes, because they are from the United States, and you are not! And these are not Top people. A lot of you are definitely better than them in your professional field. But so what…

Some time ago, when there were still Upwork events in Poland, there were discussions on this subject (and tests 🙂 ) about what a freelancer from the US sees and what offers he can count on. Some even registered as people from the US. I do not recommend that; you can get banned quickly on the platform.

In general, they were offered much higher rates and more offers. I dare say that is still the case.

Working through Upwork is not for me anymore. What choices do I have?

First and foremost: PERSONAL BRANDING – by the way, I have to update this post 🙂 . If you want to continue to be a freelancer, digital nomad, or as he called it, this is the most important thing for you now. When it is excellent on the market, we do not care too much about it; if we are good at what we do, there are plenty of projects. However, our recognition is essential when the market is not suitable for us. In recent weeks, I have been doing this lesson quite painfully…

Cost optimization is also not insignificant. If you earn $1000, Upwork will take you $100. Well, the Polish State is also reaching out for its fate. Depending on the form of taxation, about $ 100 disappears again. I assume other countries also want their taxes back…

So what do we do? At the moment, LinkedIn makes the most sense to me. Building an image and network of contacts is essential. At the moment, for me personally, it is the most valuable platform. And so most of us have companies, so cooperation directly with the client saves us 10% of our earnings.

If this is a problem for us, use something called Direct Contract. You have security in the form of Escrow, and the commission is 3.4%, at least for now.

If you have a question, let me know in the comments.

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