I do some work on UpWork. UpWork is a freelancing market place where people post jobs and freelancers give them a price and proposal in the hope of getting the job. There is are a lot of bad jobs posted by cheapskates. And there are some dodgy freelancers that don’t do the best work.
However if you look hard enough you can find clients with realistic job briefs that are willing to pay more for good work.
I started freelancing on Elance (which turned into UpWork) many years ago and I have a very good profile which allows me to get better clients.
Why am I telling you about a freelancing site you may ask? Well, recently UpWork put their cut of the job up. They used to charge 10% of the money earned on a job. They have put it up to 20% for work of a client that is less than $500 USD. Work over $500 is charged at 10% and you need to do a whopping $10,000 of work with the same client to get to the top tier where they take ‘only’ 5%. It’s a money grab, pure and simple.
And I have to lump it or leave it. I’m thinking of doing the later. But I have built up many years of great client reviews and goodwill on their platform.
The moral of the story is don’t build your business on someone else’s platform. They can change the terms of play at anytime and it’s out of your hands.
It’s not just freelancers either. People sell their products on Amazon, eBay and here in New Zealand, TradeMe. Any of these platforms can change the rules on you and sink your businesses profitability.
Sure you get the exposure to customers and traffic that can be difficult to build on your own. But those clients don’t really belong to you. They belong to the platform you are using. You can’t collect email addresses and market to them. You can’t use PPC ads to remarket to them. They aren’t becoming valuable repeat customers or clients for your business.
It may be more difficult but building your own website and selling from there is a much better long term idea. You own your client list. You can control your pricing. You can control your own advertising. No one can suddenly change the rules on you and destroy what you have built.
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