If you are an e-commerce entrepreneur looking to outsource talents rather than hiring an in-house employee, you probably heard about Upwork. I bet you’re considering using this platform for your business right now.
Now, hold up! Before you get to that part, does it ever cross your mind, “Is Upwork the right platform for me?”
Of course, you don’t want to find yourself -and your business, might I say- to go awry because you hired the wrong person for the job, right?
If that’s the case, read on and be the judge whether Upwork is for you or not.
What is Upwork?
Upwork is the world’s largest online workplace that connects millions of freelancers and clients around the globe. It is a global freelancing platform wherein startups and established companies can easily and securely outsource talented freelancers.
On December 18, 2013, two freelance marketplaces – Elance, founded by Beerud Sheth and Srini Anumolui in 1999, and oDesk, founded by Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamalankis in 2003 – announced their merger, creating Elance-oDesk. Eighteen months after, they decided to rebrand and is now called Upwork Global Incorporated. Its headquarters is in San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA, and is currently headed by its very first female CEO, Hayden Brown.
Hayden Brown, First Female Chief Executive Officer at Upwork Global Inc.
Is Upwork good for my e-commerce business?
Short answer, yes. You can find top talents on Upwork to help you run your business, from daily tasks to complex ones.
Below are some of the benefits you get to enjoy from choosing Upwork as your online freelancing platform.
Access to Talents Worldwide
As an e-commerce entrepreneur looking to scale your business and maximize your sales volume, it seems like twenty-four hours isn’t enough to get essential things done. Even worse, you might find yourself doing complicated stuff that just doesn’t fit your expertise, then causing you a headache.
But, with Upwork, you don’t need to go through the hassle of doing all the heavy lifting every single day. From data entry, copywriting, and order fulfillment to CRM development, web designing, and digital marketing, Upwork provides you access to meet independent professionals all around the globe and hire a freelancer or two to help you out with some tasks.
Unlike other freelancing platforms, Upwork’s payment protection gives both the freelancer and client peace of mind.
When the two parties enter a contract, say a fixed-price project, the client’s budget for such project is deposited to an escrow account where the funds are put on hold until the project is successfully done. It helps set the freelancer’s mind at ease and shake off the worries of not getting paid after doing all the work. Also, it reassures the client that the freelancer is getting things done and is not running away with the budget.
Low Cost, Quality Output
Outsourcing talents from Upwork will help you save both money and time while receiving a quality output. By choosing the right candidate for the job, you can move forward with your business, expect the task to be done in no time, and skip the cost of hiring an in-house employee.
Awesome right? That is why it is no wonder many businesses are hiring professionals from this platform.
However, as a coin always has two sides, there are also pitfalls of using Upwork, including communication issues, hefty payments, and scammers.
As millions of people use this global freelancing platform, communication is commonly an issue between the client and freelancer.
Lucky you if you found a freelancer who can communicate well, but most of the time, users complain that they cannot understand each other very clearly. Considering that communication is the key to doing business successfully, work performance is often affected by such issues.
Reading the breakdown of fees that Upwork charges its users, you must have realized by now how much it will cost you to use the platform.
With the fees in mind, Upwork is not too ideal for freelancers who do not have enough budget to buy connects, especially if you are a newbie in the freelancing industry. Moreover, landing your very first online job is quite tricky since you will be competing with thousands of rising and top talents.
As a client with only a low budget, this freelancing platform may not also be the right one for you. Spare yourself from wasting your budgeted funds to hiring the cheapest service in the market, for it will cost you more in the long run. Before you start hiring professionals in Upwork, calculate all the costs, including your project budget, membership fee, and payment processing fee.
Scammers, Scammers, Scammers!!
Yes, scammers are everywhere, even in Upwork, and you have to be very careful who you hire and who you’re working with.
To avoid being scammed, beware of these red flags:
- When a freelancer you hire keeps on asking you about the payment but is not actually producing quality output for you, it’s a scam! Make sure to screen who you hire carefully to avoid scammers running away with your project budget.
- When a freelancer tries to persuade you to conduct the business outside Upwork, it’s a scam! Conduct and complete all transactions within the platform to avoid losing money.
- When a freelancer urges you to share all your account details, it’s a scam! Unless you want to wake up with a zero balance because the scammer has gained access to your Upwork account and got your financial details, never share your personal and important information.
How to hire freelancers on Upwork?
Whether you are a startup company or an established one, you might find the need to outsource independent professionals to help you out on some tasks and take some load off your plate. And as the world’s largest online workplace, I bet you are considering Upwork as your platform. Well, if that’s the case, then let’s get you ready with your mission.
Before you start looking for expert freelancers, make sure that you have successfully created your Upwork account. In your quest to hire only the best, it is imperative to note these essential items: your budget, the scope of work, the freelancer’s skill set, and a contract.
Set A Realistic Budget
I get it that you want the work done professionally in quick turnarounds. Yes, you can have what you want, but how much are you willing to pay to have the best service?
As an entrepreneur, you should know by now that being cheap may come as expensive in the end. Consider the amount you will be spending for revisions, plus the time it will cost you to communicate back and forth without getting the results you have expected when you choose the cheapest service there is.
Now, compare this to the freelancer who will charge you a few bucks more but will get the work done in the best quality within the deadline with minimal edits. However, this is not always the case, so it is wise to set a fair budget and take your time in vetting each applicant thoroughly.
Define The Job Clearly
In looking for the best, Upwork has two options for you: you can either check the Project Catalog where the list of services is predefined by the freelancers who will do the work, or create a job post yourself if you want to be more specific. If you opt to do the latter, you will have to go through these seven steps:
- Job Title
- Job Description
- Job Details
- Identify Expertise
- Job Post Visibility
- Project Budget
- Review and Post
The key in creating a job post is to be as straightforward as possible about the deliverable, the type of project, the expertise you’re looking for, and the payment structure. Having a well-defined and customized job post will save you time going through all applications and help the freelancers have a clearer picture of what you expect the outcome will be.
Vet the Most Suitable Freelancer
Prepare yourself to receive several applications after your job posting. It’s the best time to be very careful and meticulous in choosing the right candidate to guarantee you a high-quality output within the deadline.
That being said, you can find the most suitable freelancer to do the job for you by creating a shortlist of applicants and conducting an interview. Filter out the applicants who do not meet the requirements, and if you have the list of top applicants ready, you can start conducting a video interview to get to know more about the freelancer. Once you’ve done these, you can then decide who is the best one to hire.
Create and Sign a Detailed Contract
If you have found the most suitable independent professional, it is time to make your agreement official with a contract. Your contract must be as detailed, clear, and concise as possible to avoid future legal issues. It is a wise move to hire a legal professional to help you draft the contract or go over the drafted one to prevent loopholes and vague clauses.
A good contract must have well-defined service and deliverables, payment terms, intellectual property rights, deliverable ownership, non-disclosure, terms of termination, and indemnity clause.
With the knowledge that drafting a contract will take you some time and that every minute is precious in growing your business, Upwork came up with an initiative to prepare the contract for you based on the details you have included in your job post. With this feature, you can now automatically generate a contract once you click “Hire.”
So, is Upwork the right platform for me?
Considering all things, it is worth a try.
At the end of the day, you have the final say. The key here is to weigh the pros and cons you will get from using the platform carefully.
As a client, Upwork may come in handy in helping you out with your daily tasks so you can direct your focus to grow your business.
As a freelancer, this platform is worth signing into if you’re looking to know more about the world of freelancing. However, landing your very first job in no time is not guaranteed. It may take quite some time but don’t be easily discouraged and keep trying.