Is freelancing on Upwork really worth it?
If you're struggling with freelancing (who isn't?) you might be looking to use something like Upwork, an online service that allows clients to put out a post of what they're looking for and their budget and creatives then apply for the job. I'm going walk you through my first time on Upwork to let you know if it's something that's worth your time or not.
Freelancing is a wild ride of highs and lows. Some months I'm turning down jobs just based off of availability alone, and some months I feel like I'd almost throw in a happy ending just to get some work. This is where I started seeking out client connection services like Upwork to supplement a little extra cash while the grind is slow. This is the process I went through to get this work on the site.
First thing is first, your profile is extremely important because you're not meeting these clients in person most times so you won't be able charm the pants off of them with your iron chin like you normally do. That's why your profile needs to be strong, as it will be your first impression.
Don't be scared if you don't have an extensive work history. A strong portfolio will have the same effect if not better! My website has a lot of client work in my portfolio, but before I got those jobs, I put all of my personal creative projects in my portfolio and clients respond to beautiful work the same if was made for profit or out of pure creativity. Don't ever underestimate your creativity because regardless of what you think, your thoughts are unique!
Now that you've got your portfolio ready, search the site for jobs geared towards your skillset. While I tested the waters on Upwork, I decided to go for photography jobs instead of editing or videography jobs since it's a little less commitment at first.
I applied for many different jobs, which you have to use a certain amount of credits for each application, and these credits are fairly cheap at around 20 credits for $3USD and most jobs are 2-4 credits to apply. I used about 14 credits before I was contacted to do a lifestyle fashion shoot for a streetwear t-shirt brand. This job was all pretty fluid as I have a pretty fat portion of my portfolio that is all fashion photography, and the client really wanted the style that I mostly shoot in. Easy enough right?
He was very straightforward in his requests and didn't have many parameters as to location or model or anything so creatively that was all up to me. This is where things get tricky because that should add a little more to your rate but just use your discretion, like in this situation, I just made sure that I didn't have to add many extra steps to what I was going to do beforehand. To keep it simple, I grabbed my girlfriend, Kate Ferguson, actor/model/writer/owner of Divvy Magazine to be my model. Again, too easy?
The client sent me a couple shirts and hoodies in the mail within a few days. Since we live in West Hollywood, which has gorgeous views, we went straight up on the roof of our apartment and shot the collection right at our own home. I know it seems like I cheaped out on this shoot but the budget was very low (lower than my hourly rate) so I had to make sure the work did not outweigh the pay (get creative!).
The client was pretty happy with the photos (as was I but I'm a little biased) and so he paid promptly on delivery and we went our separate ways. The entire process was all very straightforward and easy. I know this isn't going to be the case with all jobs on Upwork but I was able to do all of this from start to finish in about 4 days.
My conclusion is that it was so incredibly easy to find the work, that it is definitely worth your time. As a frequent gamer, I spend a lot of time on the computer and finding jobs on upwork is something you can do in your free time and you just throw your bait out and wait! But you won't get any bites if you don't try! Persistence is key and no matter how frustrated you get just keep pushing. I'm on the same struggle bus as you but it will get better for us!
I'll try out some more freelance services in the future and compare to my experience with Upwork. I do also plan on doing more work through the site and I will blog each experience through new fields. As of right now, I'm applying for comedy writing jobs, but I'll still do digital media in the meantime because... well ya boy is hungry!
"To understand, one must first listen."