What are the surprising facts about Upwork that freelancers don’t know?

This is how The Big Short movie begins, with this great quote that makes you think a lot.

You’d be surprised how many successful freelancers who’ve spent years working on Upwork know little about their platform.

Surprising Fact #1 – The Legal Catch 22?—?Section 7 of Upwork’s Terms

You are free to join and you are free to say goodbye. This is what freelancing is supposed to be all about?—?freedom. Right again? Well, it turns out that there’s a catch?—?an Upwork legal catch.

Plain and simple, you’re obliged to work exclusively on Upwork with all the clients you found there for a minimum of two years. What if I don’t want to wait for two years? I want to leave now. If my clients want to follow me that’s their decision. What’s that got to do with me?

So, I’m free to leave, but without my clients and contracts. In an ideal freelance world, my client or clients can be generous and offer to pay this opt-out fee. But, this isn’t going to be a gift, but rather an investment or better to say a loan. After my clients pay this money to Upwork, I will have to compensate them, this way or another. With my work, of course. Upwork made sure that I have a great working relationship with my clients in the future outside Upwork.

Surprising Fact #2 – There Is A Black Market For Upwork Freelance Accounts

It’s much easier than you think. You don’t even have to go to the Dark Web to get it done. It’s all there in plain sight on Google and Facebook.

Try it for yourself. All you have to do is type one of these: “buy/sell Upwork account” or “buy/sell Fiverr account.” See what happens. Hey, you can even make demands!

You can choose a new freelance account or a well-established one that has been around for some time. The more reviews it has?—?the more you’ll have to pay for it. Suit yourself!

And, that’s not all freelance folks.

It turned out that one of my readers was a controversial IT expert?—?a hacker. So, one day he approached me with an “indecent proposal.” He actually wanted to help me. How? Well, he offered to change my IP address and make it possible for me to appear as if I’m a freelance writer from the USA or the UK. You name a country, he can get you a flag for your freelance account.

It goes without saying that as a “native speaker,” I would be able to charge more for my work. Of course, I said, thank you, but no thank you.

Surprising Fact #3 – Freelancers Who Work On Small One-Time Projects Are Nothing More Than A Logistic Burden

Look, I’m a freelance writer. I’m not a developer. I can only dream of clients who spend more than $10K on my projects. I write you the content for your website and you’re gone. Unless you want some regular blog posts.

Truth to be told, I got some clients who made it possible for me to pay a 10% instead of a 20% fee. You can earn more than $500 per client to get into a 10% fee zone. But, the magical 5% fee was clearly reserved for the freelance rock stars.

OK, I get it. As a freelancer who works on small one-time projects, I’m nothing more than a logistic burden to Upwork. And, this is a price I have to pay to play.

Surprising Fact #4 – The Odds Are Mathematically and Statistically Never In Your Favor on Upwork

Here’s what you can find on the official Upwork website when you apply filters for selecting the freelancers (it’s been a while since I took this screenshot, but I’m pretty much things haven’t changed a lot in the meantime):

Screenshot Upwork

I took the liberty to highlight some of the most indicative and confusing numbers, at the same time. See for yourself. Pay attention to the number of Upwork freelancers with “no earnings yet” and “any amount earned” against their colleagues who make $10K+.

Surprising Fact #5 – There’s no single work-related thing you can do or get for free on Upwork

Plain and simple, whether you are a freelancer or client on Upwork, there’s no single work-related activity you can do for free. If you want:

  1. To bid (submit proposals) as a freelancer — you pay for every connect (bid) you use.
  2. To pay your freelancer as a client — you pay a processing fee for every payment you make.
  3. To access the additional perks as either client or freelancer — you pay a membership fee.

Upwork charges you each step of your freelance way.

Surprising Fact #6 – There Are Upwork Fake Review “Farms”

C’mon guys, you can’t be serious about it. No freelancer in his right mind would’ve invested money in buying Upwork reviews. Right? Well, all you have to do is to type “buy upwork reviews,” and see for yourself what happens. I thought that this was a ridiculous thing to consider even for a minute. Then, the “Description” and “Additional Information” of the first website that sells reviews in plain sight caught my attention. As a writer, I can tell you, this is one hell of a good copy. Nicely written and structured. Straight to the point. These guys have worked out all possible scenarios. They have covered all reasonable questions. Again, see for yourself.

Surprising Fact #7 – At One Point Upwork Was Posting Fake Jobs To Keep Freelancers Bidding and Spending Money on Connects

My fellow freelancers were the first to notice:

Some of them even made screenshots of these fake job posts:

Where’s the proof that Upwork was behind these fake jobs?

Here it is:

No need to zoom in on this official Upwork’s explanation, apology, and a refund promise. I’m quoting the most interesting parts:

We did review the jobs discussed on this thread and found that they were actually created as part of an outside course by a client teaching other clients how to use Upwork. They were posted as a “test job”

The jobs have been taken down, however, we ran into issues with Connects being refunded for them. We have been working on a solution and will make sure the Connects are refunded by end of this week.

I’d also like to reiterate that Upwork team doesn’t post jobs on the marketplace without an intention to hire.

That’s all freelance folks.

Are you surprised with these surprising facts about Upwork? Feel free to surprise me, for a change.

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