I joined Upwork in the year 2011 when it was called Odesk. That was before it merged with Elance to form Upwork. I only had one mission, to find freelance work and attain financial freedom. I knew that if was financially sound, other things would fall in place like love, peace, patience, self control and the biggest of all, the freedom to travel and work anywhere I want in the world.
But 10 years down the line, I had not achieved financial freedom despite being one of the top-rated freelancers in the platform. I offered video content creation service as a video producer.
This really worried me. Seeing that there was no way this could happen, I quitted.
That is why in this blogpost, I will share with you why I quit freelancing on Upwork after 10 years.
1. Unending Bidding For Work With No Tangible Results
Despite being one of the top rated freelancers on Upwork and getting invitations to submit proposals from prospective clients on the platform, I still found myself looking for work to bid on. Why? All the invitations from enterprise clients rarely converted. On the other hand, all the clients that had hired me and had existing contracts with me seasonally assigned me work. I could go for even 4 months before they assigned me work.
For this reason, I felt like the good freelancing vibe was slowly evolving to a digital rat race where you endlessly keep bidding for work. Financially, this kind of pattern is quite disorienting.
One can easily be deceived by Youtube content creators showing off how much they are making as freelancers. In reality, the figures shown to the public by these gurus are mostly from a one time contract. In this I mean, the freelancer might have gotten one time contract that paid $5000. They show this to people and say that is what they make freelancing online every month working from home which is a lie.
But again, maybe people in other Niches does make good money.
More Freelancers Than Clients Hiring
Its a fact that more and more freelancers are joining Upwork freelancing platform everyday compared to the number of clients hiring on the same platform. I have received numerous e-mails from Kenyans who have joined Upwork but have never gotten a job despite completing their profile and bidding.
On the other hand, many newbie freelancers with the right skills quote low in order to be considered. This means that, for someone like me with 10 years of experience in the platform and many positive reviews, I will be closed out because I will obviously quote high.
Imagine someone offering a service valued at $3000 at $1000! That’s insane especially in the creative industry. In a freelancing platform, the client is king. They choose whom they want. Mostly, they choose the lowest bidder.
It does not make sense to go for 4 months without work on a freelancing platform and you are top-rated. On top of it, you are bidding for work regularly and being just interviewed.
Many Clients Are Hiring People To Develop YouTube Content
In the last 4 years I was on Upwork, I noticed that most of the video jobs that was posted there was to create YouTube Content. The clients budget was very small. They promised whomever will take the job that they would probably increase the amount once their channel picks up. In other words, once the channel starts monetizing.
Me applying to such work didn’t sit well having in mind that I have the ability to own a YouTube channel.
Why not use the same skills to build my own channels and monetize? The amount of money the prospects was offering for YouTube video content creation was not worth the amount of work required to complete the services. Some wants you to do everything from script to production.
For this reason, I resolved to put all my energy on building my YouTube Channel. Its the same thing, but in a long run, the later is more rewarding.
Lessons Learnt While Freelancing on Upwork
- Don’t let the the hype that freelancing platforms will bring you freedom get into your mind. That is not true for everyone. Be there and never forget your goals in life. If the freelancing platform is not helping you achieve your goals, try something else and never look back.
- Freelancing platforms are just stepping stones. Do not camp there like I did. Learn from the platform and make your next move to your next project. The more you camp there and keep hoping that magic will come your way, the more you become a victim of mental health.
- All of us are gifted. Don’t be fluttered by the few well paying contracts you get tudon the freelancing platforms. Most of them don’t last. Strive to be the owner of a business, not a mere follower of one.
- Learn from your experiences. Be it negative, or positive, always ask yourself, what did this experience teach me?
In conclusion, no one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. This saying comes from the Bible in the book of Mathew 6:24.
This was the major lesson I learnt after 10 years of freelancing on Upwork. I wanted to own a successful business online yet I was devoting a lot of my time looking for freelancing jobs. I now serve one master and hope you will too.
I hope you found this article helpful. Do you still work on Upwork? Please share your experiences freelancing online below.
And that is it from me.
Don’t forget to check out my video production services here. You can hire me from anywhere in the world.
Follow me on X @cheptiony. Visit my Youtube channel on @cheptionymutai.
Bye bye and take care.