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Why you should search alternative for FREELANCING platform like upwork

For me, freelancing is the BEST platform to earn my bread and butter. Most of the people are not agree with me.

I see many freelancers take above $30 per hour. Some freelancers started their companies and get their customers from freelancing platform.

upwork-freelancer-platformBut it could be a mess if you completely depend on those 3rd party platforms.

It is always better not to place all eggs in one basket.

I really face a very bad situation. When I was totally depending on Upwork.

“If you also a freelancer then the following article is for you.”

WHY I AM TELLING THIS STORY?
It is very easy for me to inform you “alternative ways to get customers for Upwork” in a list. But, I prefer storytelling because it helps you to remember the things. Reading a story or taking notes are very effective ways if you want to push information in depth. But still, if you are in hurry you can read main points (in bold and large font text).

I was on top of my freelancing career. I earn above $1500 per month. 

freelancer-job-applicationAs an individual freelancer, this income is very good as per Indian standard.

Please avoid comparing this income with Developed Countries (USA, UK).

I was working daily for more than 10 hours. A time, I worked 3 to 4 projects together.

I experience what is workaholic means but I was enjoying that situation.

My schedule is very busy.

Daily I was doing Skype meeting USA and Australian clients. All things are going smoothly.

I maintain 3 projects at one time...

I preferred to maintain 3 projects at one time. Accepting the 4th project that means work for 12+ hours per day. That time I was working on 3 projects together.

One project is "create mobile website builder WordPress plugins"

The client wants to provide this plugin to his customer so they can create a mobile dynamic website very easily.

I do not want to disclose my client name. She was from India. She was very helpful initially. But as a project was near completion her expectations increase too much about extra tasks.

project-requirement

Every time when I accept the project, I prefer to invest my lots of time in project analysis. I spend 10 to 20% of SDLC (software development life cycle) time to create SRS (software requirement specification).

Firstly, I take requirements in detail from a customer in written format. I analyse it thoroughly and create software requirement specification in detail.

I divide requirement into different milestones. Each milestone has different tasks. I categories all tasks.

Most of the time, I manage my SRS using excel. But sometimes if there are many screenshots or visual material, I prefer to use word file.

Saving all files on your computer is fine. But you could lose your many months work if your computer crash. That’s why it is preferred to use cloud file sharing and storage like Dropbox and Google Drive.

wordpress-plugin

Now a day, I use Google Office application like Google Doc and Google Sheet. These things are more advanced.

If you creating any content, each and every time when you make changes, Google is automatically saving all content on its cloud server. So in any situation, you can’t lose your work which you did a few seconds before.

I send that completed SRS to the client and after his confirmation, I started to work on the project.

Most of the time, after completion of a project, the client expect from freelancers to complete extra tasks. It is also fine to give 10% time of the whole project for extra tasks.

"If you are new then please take precaution about requirement specification. I hope experience people have a good understanding of that."

Most of the times incomplete SRS is the root cause of any dispute with clients. Another cause is Indian clients. 😉

The situation was not good and I ended this project with a bad relationship but with a good rating.

I will tell you later on how I manipulate that.

Another 2nd project was "create a plugin like a mashable gallery with dynamic google ads".

The client was from the USA. He was very helpful until the end of the project.

In this project, the client was interested to create a slider gallery just like Mashable and want to earn by dynamic Adsense ads. When each time the user moves to the next slider, Adsense shows next visual ad.

I completed some extra tasks free of cost and for some tasks he gave me extra money.

We both are happy with each other. We gave each other very good feedback.

my 3rd project was “PSD to WordPress Theme Development”

wordpress-psd-to-theme-developmentThis is an Australian client named Alex. As per my personal experience, most of the Australian clients are very helpful, trustworthy and caring.

They always try to give you more. They are transparent and very understandable.

I completed his work successfully. I got $100 extra bonus for good work.

To maintain my number of projects

I already started to apply after completion of the first project. After nearly one month, my second project was also completed. In next month, I completed my 3rd project also.

In that period of time, I am doing application daily 2 to 4 hours.

project-maintenance

I was expecting that within those 2 months I should get 2 new projects. But I was unable to get a single project.

It was a little frustrating for a person like me who earn above $10,000 and 5-star rating still unable to get a project.

I started to do application daily 8 to 10 hours and still did not get 1 single project for the next 4 months.

That means from last 6 months I was not earning and not getting a single project.

I hope you understand, the height of frustration that I face.

My behaviour changed. I was started hassle with my wife. I was nervous about very small things.

my job application goes in spam folder

One day, my old client send me an invitation to apply for his job. He was interested to hire me.

I analyze his project and send my application with requirement analysis.

spam-folderAfter 4 to 5 days, client contact me and said:

“Prashant I was expecting your application from last 5 days.”

That time I was a little surprised because I already send the application.

I informed him about that and send a screenshot for confirmation.

The client contacted me again and told me “Prashant, your application is in the SPAM folder. I was a little surprised and understand that….

“Why I was not getting a project from last 6 months”

I think a lot and try to reveal the mystery

search-middle

I tried to remember the old incident with my those 3 clients.

About Australia and USA clients, all things were fine. But there was the issue with Indian client.

Her project was around $3000 price. But she expecting $10,000 work from me.

I was already informed her….

“As per SRS, tasks which providing me now are the extra task. I am happy to do that if those tasks are small. But those tasks are very lengthy and complex and it needs to charge you extra for that.”

She was not ready to pay for extra tasks. I wasted nearly 1 week to convince her but she did not.

After too much thinking, I told her… 

“Firstly you need to give me the remaining amount and feedback then I will complete your extra tasks.”

extra-tasksShe gave me feedback and I started to work on the extra task.

After working 3 to 4 days on those tasks, I find she was giving me more and more extra tasks. I find it’s troublesome.

After working a few days, I refuse to work on those tasks.

As per my understanding, the client gave a complaint to Upwork and my each and every messages and application was sent to the spam folder.

3rd party like Upwork never told you or give notification about what is happening. They never inform you “what they are going to do with you”.

You need to take precautions

precautionsNever do any wrong commitment with the client.

If you find trouble with any client always contacts the Upwork support team. They will help you very well.

Also, that incident registered on your name. So in future, if there is a dispute with the client Upwork would take your side.

I hear many this kind of stories about 3rd party platform (marketplace) like Facebook, YouTube.

Those FB pages or YouTube channels have millions of followers. And without giving any intimation those big giant ruins their life.

"I believe they have their own terms and conditions but they are not ready to inform you what mistake you did and how to solve the issue."

I faced the same situation with Upwork.

I was expecting, they should be told me what happens… how I can recover those things.

Find alternative to freelancing platform

After understanding the issue with Upwork. I started to work with freelancer.com. Again started same struggle. Same hard work for less price.

Within 5 to 6 days, I got one project costing $30. I worked nearly 30 days for those $30. But that is also fine because I got some project to survive.

find-alternative-option

Before two years, I did an experiment about “How to use local contacts to get customers” and I got two projects.

One was “Equity and mutual fund analysis portal”.

I got this project due to one of my Teacher with whom I have a very good relationship.

You can read it more about that project in this article.

A second was regarding “Online gold auction bidder – desktop application”.

Two years before, I was teaching Programming to one of the students. In real he completed his Engineering and do not have a job.

I was helping him to learn more advance Programming so he will be valuable in a market. This project I got due to him. You can get more information in the following article.

And from last two years....

social-mediaI started to study Digital Marketing. I studied a lot about “How to get customers using social media and search engines”.

Some of the social media like Facebook is very restricted and converting their platform only for a paid marketing. 

It is hard for anyone to get organic traffic or audience for his business using Facebook.

But Facebook has a tremendous opportunity if you are ready to pay him. Other social media like LinkedIn, Reddit and Pinterest are giving organic reach.

seoYou can try your marketing skills here if you want free traffic for your website means customers.

Another part is a search engine like a Google. There are many search engine like Bing, Yahoo etc.

But as per my knowledge, Google has 80% share in all searches.

Most of the marketers try to target Google and other search engines automatically get targeted.

"If you have a really good knowledge of Search Engine Optimization, Article Writing, Copywriting and Engagement Technique then search engine is a very good alternative to get customers."

Wrap up:

If you really serious about your business then never place your all eggs in one basket.

You go to any industry like a share market or education everybody wants safety. They also do their investment in different shares and mutual funds.

Never give your full control to any third party which is a mediator. Try to a partnership with multiple entities.

In the long run that will be a very important milestone in your life.

If you also face this kind of the incident in your life then please feel free to comment below.

I like to hear your comment below.

Also, other new freelancers get some lesson and they will avoid doing mistakes.

All the best for your Business…. And all the best for your Freelancing.

Prashant Nalavade

Prashant Nalavade

I am WordPress Expert with 10+ years of experience. I am about technology and how it can help you reach your maximum potential. I produce quality work using responsive design technology to keep your website current well into the foreseeable mobile future.

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