Hackernoon logoUpwork Hunger Games: Are The Odds Ever In Our Favor? by@nebojsa.todorovic

Upwork Hunger Games: Are The Odds Ever In Our Favor?

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Nebojsa "Nesha" Todorovic

Writer GoLancer, "Noonies2020" Award Winner

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It all started with one discussion on Reddit. At first, I just couldn’t believe that one extremely important piece of information for every freelancer has been hiding in plain sight. I mean, I’m a freelancer. Why should I be checking “Hire Freelancers” page in the first place? Right?

So, my kudos to Reddit user who noticed it first. Here’s the link:

I wanted to check it myself. It’s not a rocket science, but if you haven’t used it before, which was my case, you may need a few clicks to get there. First, you go to Upwork’s website. Then, you click on a search icon in the top left corner in a search box “Find Freelancers.”

Screenshot Upwork

Then, hit the “Filters” button.

Screenshot Upwork

Here’s what you get as a result:

Screenshot Upwork

As you can see, you don’t even have to log in to access this page. So, this is something we can classify as the “publicly available information.” Upwork has obviously nothing to hide.

Here’s the catch. If you are looking at this page and particularly at the “Earned Amount” section as a client, you may decide to give a chance to the freelancers who have earned more or less. That’s your right. This section isn’t a big deal for you.

However, from a freelancer’s perspective the things are quite different here. These numbers make you restless and ask all kinds of questions. So, let’s have a closer look. Let’s do some math as well.

These Numbers Just Don’t Make Any Sense

Screenshot Upwork

The first thing that caught my attention was the depressing number of my fellow freelancers who have “no earnings yet.” Now, I can play with Excel charts to make a point here, but that guy already did a nice job on Reddit.

Something isn’t right with these numbers. The most confusing part for me is the number of freelancers with “any amount earned.” Why?

When you put it like this, which Upwork did, you get an impression that the number of freelancers who have earned something matches more or less the number of freelancers who haven’t earned a single dollar. It’s almost 1:1 ratio. How can this be true? Feel free to sum the number of freelancers who have earned $1+, $100+, $1K+, and $10K+. What you get is around 450K freelancers on Upwork with some earnings.

I just don’t get it how has Upwork come up with the number of 1.7M of freelancers with “any amount earned?”

I’m not one of those freelancers who just can’t wait to split hairs. Let’s just be fair, honest, and fully transparent for the sake of new freelancers. Let the people know what are their real chances of making it on Upwork. That’s all.

Someone may say, hey that’s the reality of the freelance world. The competition is fearsome and not all freelancers make it. There’s nothing Upwork can do about it.

Let’s see if this is true.

All Freelancers Are Equal, But Some Freelancers Are More Equal Than Others

I used to be both a “Rising Talent” and “Top Rated” freelancer on Upwork. I was so happy about it. Now, I’m thinking about the bigger picture. Aren’t we discriminating freelancers in these ways? First, we have the financial “castes” of freelancers. Then, we have the freelancer with our without the badges.

Someone may also say, but these guys worked hard to earn both the money and these badges. OK. Do we have to brag about these? Are there some other more subtle and respectful ways to “classify” freelancers? Do we really need Top Gun freelancers? Shouldn’t we leave it up to clients to decide with no “suggestions” and “recommendations?”

I don’t need a badge because I don’t want to be a sheriff in my freelance town. The absolute freedom, fair treatment, and justice for all freelancers no matter how much they earn. Isn’t this what freelancing is supposed to be all and only about?

Follow me on Twitter and check out my other freelance-related blog posts!


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