Upchuck–er, Upwork–is Down Again

Dammit! Upwork (which many of us oldtimers unceremoniously call Upchuck) is down again.


I was on a roll, applying for several projects just now.


In the middle of a particularly crucial cover letter, the system went belly up.


I am frustrated with a capital F—.


It’s hard enough to find worthwhile work there (work that pays what it’s worth because so many buyers are looking for something for next to nothing) when the system is up and running.


I just spent 90 minutes researching and saving jobs that I want to submit quotes on–about 12 of them out of the scores and scores of cheapskate stuff I waded through to find–and now that I’m ready to actually submit the quotes, the system goes down.


Upwork needs to get its act together in a lot of ways–too many to count–but this…this is just unacceptable because it happens so freaking often!  A lot of freelance professionals put “Look for Work” on our schedules every working day (and some weekends, too), so when we’re ready to do that, it seems to me the portals ought to be ready to accommodate us and let us do what we need to do to make them (and ourselves) money. Wouldn’t you think?! Am I crazy, or what, here?


I always get hissy like this when I have to go to Upchuck to look for work. It’s an exercise in humility, frustration and not-infrequent futility, for starters.


I dig through the detritus for hours every time to find the hidden gems –the topics I love that are connected to the very few people in-the-know using Upwork who are willing to pay what it’s worth to have their copy and content written by a professional.


Then I craft a cover letter starting with a template I’ve developed that works very well; it contains 90% of what I want people to know about my writing chops and work history.  Then I finesse it to make sure it addresses the specific project (and the person) I’m submitting for/to.


The cover letter gets a lot of interest.


Sometimes I hear back, “Gosh, your examples and credentials are stellar. I don’t need your level of writing for this project, but I have another one in mind that you’ll be perfect for. I’ll get back to you with particulars soon.” Or, “Gosh, sure wish I could afford you. I’d hire you in a heartbeat!”


What the last statement tells me is that rookie buyers don’t really understand the value of a professional copywriter. Professional copywriters make their clients money!  That’s our job: to turn interested readers/callers/visitors into buyers.


Any copywriter worth his or her salt isn’t costing clients money–they’re making clients money! 


What part of this is so hard to understand?


I never look at what I do as taking people’s money. I look at it as making people money.


If you were to hand me $220 and I were to make you $2500 the same day, why wouldn’t you take that deal?


That’s what I did for a woman in California. I edited/enhanced her existing copy for $220, and the very same day I delivered it to her and she posted it to her website, it made her a $2500 sale.  I have that in writing.


God only knows how much that same copy has made her since then. It has been four years since I wrote that copy.


My other clients keep coming back to me, too, so I reckon they’re happy campers. I don’t ever ask what their conversion rates are (maybe I should, but very few of them have analytics working for them, so most probably don’t even know), but I was told by one fellow that copy I’d edited/enhanced for his boss converted at 33% and 36%, depending on whether the long or short version was used. That blew me right out of the water. That’s one person in three (or slightly better) who read the copy!!!


Can I guarantee conversion rates like these every single time? No.  I’m often astounded by the conversion rates my clients give me (on the rare occasions that they give them to me).


One guy was blown away because something I wrote for him converted at 4% since the topic (diets) is such a heavily-saturated market.


Another said I wooed back his disgruntled/cancelled clients at a rate between 4 and 5%, which he thought was phenomenal. He said he was hoping for one to two percent, and doubting that, but even that would have been a boon to him. (He offered high-priced services).


So… it shouldn’t be this hard for me to keep myself busy!  Ya know?


I suppose this particular blog post should be published on my HireMe.WordWhisperer.net website but if I did that Facebook wouldn’t let me post it to my business page there because the website name sounds commercial–and they want me to pay for business ads when I want to advertise my services.  (I do that, too, but this isn’t an ad; it’s just a reflection on how hard it is to stay as busy as you want to be as a Creative even when you’re great at what you do.)


It just shouldn’t be this hard.  Upwork should screen its providers so that only the best-of-the-best service providers can publish profiles and portfolios there. That would make it easier (and faster) for buyers to find reputable, knowledgeable providers, and for providers to find buyers who are willing to pay what their projects are worth.


If Upwork did this, their reputation would improve; it wouldn’t be thought of as cheap, risky, unsophisticated, onerous and predatory.


Upwork should work for their service providers and for the people who are looking for service providers as well as it works for them.  But they don’t seem to care. And why should they? (Ethics? Morals? In a corporation?!  Be serious! Corporations are People, too–remember?! Greedy people!)


They’re making billions by providing a freaking interface/portal (and that’s pretty much all they’re offering except for some  basic accounting) while the  actual service providers who do the work get billed for membership fees and percentage fees (20%, 10%, or 5% depending on how much work a provider does for a single client). And buyers get access to us for nothing.


We service providers are footing the entire bill that ensures everyone else’s success.  What is wrong with this picture?


Again, it sounds just like every other “I’ve got mine–work harder to get yours, peon” corporation on the planet, doesn’t it?


Somebody needs to give Upchuck a run for its money. Someone who values his or her human resources and wants to see them get the break they’ve earned and always deserved .


Someone is out there with the chops and sufficient upfront capital to take Upwork on and beat it at its own game.


Any takers? I’m looking at you, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Moore, Morris Pearl, Nick Hanauer, etc.?


Let’s do this!







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