Intro- Why Freelance Websites Should Not Be Your Go To for Income
We will discuss why freelance websites should not be your go to for income. As the gig economy trends upwards people are finding new ways to earn a living on Upwork. But can you really survive doing this? Can you build yourself a career that will sustain you financially for the rest of your life? Is depending on these websites for customers practical over the long haul? Or is there a better alternative out there? In this article I will explain why it might not be the wisest decision to fully rely on any website that has a commission system and is highly competitive. As a disclaimer, I am not knocking anyone who manages to earn a great income on these platforms. In the past I made thousands of dollars from online market places. My goal here is to help you realize your business potential and grow as an entrepreneur.
Top 7 Reasons
1. Competition is fierce in an over-saturated market
You want to be seen as unique and as someone that stands out to potential customers. With the large influx of people on freelance websites trying to sell their services your chances of standing out from the crowd are slim. You cannot ignore the number of sellers who are willing to do the same project at a much lower rate. If you’re a buyer and can have an app done for you for $5000 or $500 which price would you choose? Being honest, if I were a client and could receive the same quality of service I’d choose the cheaper option. You want to avoid having to compete with people who will snatch potential customers for a lower price. As a businessperson both your time and skills are important and need to bring you the best value.
2. You are expendable to customers
“Nothing personal, it’s just business”, you might’ve heard this cliche in the past and it rings true with freelance websites. When it comes to being one of many sellers there is no such thing as loyalty from customers. People aren’t looking at you and making their decisions based on the fact that you need to pay your bills. They’re there to have a need met and if they have to spurn you for another freelancer they’ll do so. From experience it is not an easy pill to swallow, but it is the consumer world that we live in. Instead of being on a platform where people can easily discard you, you should strive for better opportunities elsewhere.
3. You are making the rich wealthier
These large conglomerates are heavily profiting off of your hard labor based on commission systems. Sure they are able to provide you with some clients, but they limit your potential earnings. Websites like Fiverr and Upwork take between 10% and 20% of your total earnings. That is a very hefty commission fee for companies that do nothing other than connect you with people. Imagine doing a project for someone that could potentially pay you $10,000 USD, but only seeing $8000 of it? $2,000 USD is a good chunk to lose out on for a person who spends many hours of their week working endlessly. You should be entitled to see every dollar of the work that you put in because you definitely deserve
4. Very difficult to build credibility if you’re new
Customers like to do business with people who already have established credibility with others. Trust is built either through reviews, referrals or relationships. The most experienced and seasoned sellers on these platforms are at the very top of the food chain. The likelihood that a buyer will choose your services over someone with hundreds of good reviews are extremely low. Unless you’re willing to work for free, it could take you months and even years to have regular clients. As someone who is starting out you want to make money as quickly as possible. Losing out to people who’ve been on these platforms longer than you can be discouraging. You do not need to place yourself in such a situation.
5. Pay is too low for certain places
If you live in a country in which $2 USD an hour goes a long way then that is fine. But if you’re a New Yorker like myself a few bucks an hour could not get you a bag of groceries. Just to make ends meet from Upwork you’d have to have built years of credibility and experience and even that isn’t guaranteed. Do not forget the high taxes that you’ll end up paying in certain states. If you’re starting off on these platforms it is best to do so already having a steady income. Having no other source of income as a newbie is not a smart decision if you have to pay $1500 USD a month of rent. You’ll find greater success by first looking for a minimum wage job.
6. There is no room for growth and development
As an entrepreneur your goal should be to maximize profit and build recurring revenue. You shouldn’t settle for living from paycheck to paycheck. Freelance websites can help you find some work, but that is about it. There isn’t much opportunity to build long term relationships with clients or expand your services outside the platform. You also have to deal with the number of strict rules and regulations that these websites have. Keep into consideration the fact that if you violate some guideline they can prevent you from getting paid. Rather than deal with all of these restrictions you can always avoid third party websites altogether. Building your own brand is far more rewarding than being a freelancer on some company’s website.
7. Customers expect more in return
If you have ever been a freelancer you might have come across the type of customer who demands a lot. These clients are quite common on freelance websites and can be difficult to work with. Although they have high standards, the amount of money they’re willing to pay you is not worth the stress. You should be paid according to the amount of effort and quality you put into your work. Most importantly, you should only work with people who know how to treat you with value and respect. Employers can get away with underpaying and overworking their employees, but you are your own boss. Nobody should have to deal with customers who believe it is their duty to overburden you.
What are alternatives to freelance websites?
Now that you’ve read about why freelance websites should not be your go to for income I’ll mention some alternatives. Firstly, there is nothing to lose from approaching people you already know who can use your services. You’ll be surprised by how effective this method can be. In, How to Get Your First Client As a Freelancer I discuss how this approach worked for me. Secondly, you can get referrals from others. After you get your first client you can ask them to refer you to others. Thirdly, you can always grow your business through your own a website. There are a number of ways that you can gain traffic to your website such as optimization and linking people to it through social media and forums. Make sure that if you do attempt to direct potential clients to your site that you do not come across as spamming.
Thank you for reading Why Freelance Websites Should Not Be Your Go To for Income. If you like to add anything you can leave a comment below.