More and more of us Baby Boomers are earning our living through on-demand work.
Baby Boomers ask me about it. Essentially, they look at the low compensation offered for many assignments and balk. So, their question to me is: Is Upwork worth pursuing for assignments in their field?
The answer is: Yes. If you are patient. Upwork is a global middleman bringing together those who need services with those offering them. There is no registration fee. However, Upwork takes 10% of the gross revenue for each assignment. In return, it guarantees payment since the client deposits the funds in escrow. Of course, there are disputes. But I have never run into that buzzsaw.
Here are tips for getting well-paid assignments through Upwork:
Check site often. The plums get grabbed fast, as in an hour after posting. The employer might start interviewing that fast too.
To apply, you submit a proposal. That uses up about two of your monthly free credits. If you don't use all your credits in one month, they roll over to the next.
I have learned to check Upwork under "Ghostwriting" about three times daily, at least when my communications business is slow. When I am booked solid, I don't even click on Upwork to see what assignments might be available.
Ignore low-paying gigs. It's not worth getting angry. Realize that you are competing with talent in India and elsewhere for assignments. Just focus on those which pay what you consider fair.
Ignore "fixed payments." Those will squeeze you into poverty. Only consider the hourly ones.
Put time into your proposal. Yes, you can send a pattern letter. But give it your best. And answer any additional questions they pose, with respect.
Bid low, if you are after experience in a niche. When I needed more samples in financial writing, I bid on the low side. That's how I got the work.
Don't use Upwork exclusively. There are many other help-wanted sites. One with high-paying assignments as well as full-time jobs with benefits is FlexJobs. There is a subscription fee.
I recommend you try FlexJob for a month, not a year. The negative about the site is that there is usually a mashup of opportunities to navigate. By that time, I became exhausted. I ended my year's subscription.
The gig economy is here to stay.
The best way to get work, of course, is for clients to come to you. My 11-year-old communications blog brings in the best assignments. They know my talent. They are willing to pay a fair price without quibbling. Also, a happy client refers me to others. So, yes, blog, post on Medium and LinkedIn Pulse, tweet, speak at conferences, and leave comments on others' articles.
Marketing is everything. Yes, everything. Good work simply is a defensive move.