I don't know, but I know someone who does. I really don't know how familiar you are with what's going on the major freelancing platforms in the world: Upwork and Freelancer. My best guess is that some busy little bees who work there say themselves one fine day, hey guys, the way the things are going right now isn't going to have a happy end, so let's do something about it. OK, maybe I'm too optimistic about the future of freelancing because the good old freelancing pays my bills. Yet, what I'm about to share with your is the first-hand experience. Something is definitely going on. I can't say revolutionary because that would be a too strong word to use. For what is worth, it is important. It is happening on both platforms, so it's not a coincidence. And, it is definitely worthy of our attention.
Upwork Top Rated Program
If you were a huge Elance fan, then you have probably noticed that Upwork is really trying hard to do something about its shaken reputation. For quite some time, we used to associate Elance with quality work and decent prices. oDesk was with all due respect a place where you would go to find more affordable freelancers. Now, Upwork desperately tries to convince that it has taken the best of both worlds Elance and oDesk. Hm, good luck with that.
So, I was more pleasantly surprised when the Top Rated Program was introduced to freelancers. It's not a rocket science. You get this lovely green badge next to your profile. You have to work hard to have good and flawless ratings. In addition, you have to earn a certain amount of money to qualify. To be quite honest, the guys in Upwork were more than reasonable. If I'm not mistaken, something like $1,000 in the last six months. There's some mysterious algorithm calculating your success score. So, you have to be like 90% successful or above. No more five-star stuff, that's for sure.
So, what do you get in return besides this sheriff's badge? Well, to the best of my knowledge not much. Some invitations, but in terms of better fees or more bids, absolutely nothing. Yet, this is an important message and a sign to potential employers that you mean serious business. I wrote a couple of emails to Upwork support team. I had some suspicions that this was a silent introduction of the caste system. You know, the privileged ones and other mortals. Yet, this is something I simply can neither confirm nor deny. Maybe Upwork team treats the Top Rated freelancers differently. Maybe they send them special invitations. I really don't know. As far as I'm concerned a little bit more transparency here would be strongly appreciated.
Freelancer Preferred Program
As a Top Rated freelancer on Upwork I have to admit that the Freelancer's Preferred Program has the same intention to put an emphasis on the quality. So, something is definitely happening. Yet, I have to admit there is a huge difference how these two programs work. In order to become a Preferred Freelancer on Freelancer.com you have to have an impressive five-star working record. Then you have to go through security checks and identity verification process. You also get the badge. So, yes you can be a sheriff here too. Now, let's talk about the differences. These differences actually mean money.
Freelancer.com has these Project Assistants who fly around like the busy little bees restlessly. Now, the catch is that you can't apply for these jobs unless you aren't either a Preferred Freelancer or you get a direct invitation. These Assistants make sure that only the most experienced freelancers are invited. Now, posting new projects for employers is by default free on all platforms. Here, if an employer wants to get a personal project's assistant who is supposed to look for freelancers has to pay something like twenty bucks per project. For a VIP treatment such as this, it's acceptable. On the other hand, if you accept to work on this kind of a project, you have to pay a 15% fee, which is more than a standard 10% on Freelancer. Either way, this is still far better than the 20% fee on Upwork. I qualified and eventually succeeded to become a preferred freelancer on Freelancer.com. Trust me when I say, you are treated and paid differently.
You have your own personal assistant to help while you're working on the preferred project. Also, the employer himself has completely different expectations in terms of pricing. He or she has signed and paid to participate in this program not to find the cheapest freelancer, but rather the best ones this platform has to offer. There were periods of times when I used to work exclusively and only on these types of projects. I didn't feel like a typical low paid freelancer, but a true VIP worker. And yes, the payment was more than satisfactory for the work and commitment I provided.
Are these programs the new and better future of freelancing?
I honestly believe they are. Every service provider in the world of freelancing has every right to earn money as an intermediary. However, I as a user have every right to ask something in return. Right now, I am satisfied with what Top Rated Program on Upwork and Preferred Program on Freelancer are offering to me. I deserve to stand out from the crowd just like any other freelancer with good ratings and the decent quality of work. At the same time, I'm encouraged by the decision of these major freelancing platforms to finally do something about the bad reputation of the freelancing concept. This is supposed to be a true win-win. On the one side, you have employers who can find quality workers if they want to. Of course, they will have to pay for that accordingly. On the other side, you have freelancers who can work on top quality projects, according to the freelance standards, and earn more. Somewhere in between are freelance platforms. OK, they have every right to earn.
To tell you the truth, when it comes to these programs I just don't think about the fees. You find me a potential client. You recommend me. You fight with me to get the job. You help me that everything is OK, and you make sure I get paid. Well, my dear freelance platform, you deserve every single dollar I pay. At the same time, I'm so relieved that I don't have to go through those painful price negotiations. Here, we can talk some serious business and some respectable payments for freelance standards.
So, here's my word of advice to all of my fellow warriors who are also freelancers. You should definitely do your best go get into one of these two programs, or both if possible. I admire warriors who don't have to be freelancers because they are successful and totally independent. Yet, the rest of use should have a decent chance to become these sheriffs with these shiny badges. It's about time for freelancing to stop being a synonym for low-paid and low-quality work. I would like to hear are there any sheriff colleagues just like me out there either on Upwork or Freelancer? Even the warriors who aren't freelancers, but may hire some in the near future, should share their thoughts about these programs. I really think this is an important moment for freelancing future. I was about to say in the history of freelancing, but we just had enough drama about it. It is about time to do something serious about it and maybe reinvent it in this way. What do you say? Is this a news for you or you are already familiar with these changes?