Anti-upwork allegations? What’s the real deal

Whether it’s through ignorance, misinterpretation, or misdirection, a lot of the non-rates-debate “talk” about Upwork in the blogosphere focuses primarily on two things: Privacy and the Hourly billing model. While Upwork is not for everyone, the (previously unheard of) hourly model it introduced to the freelance job-board market drew in a lot of buyers and providers in search of long-term opportunities without the hassle of per-assignment projection and billing.

Privacy: Monitoring me 24/7 illegal

Yes it is…which is why Upwork doesn’t do it! It’s true that Upwork requires time logging for hourly assignments (they also have fixed-price jobs that don’t require any logging), but the extent of the “intrusion” is minimal

Upwork Team, the time logging software, does NOT monitor your every move on the computer, and it does NOT report everything back to the buyer. That is an assumption many critics make without having even looked at what the program does – after all, it makes for a catchier headline by calling it eslavery.

Here’s how it really does work:

Runs as a background process while you are working
Counts the number of key-presses and mouse-clicks made
Takes a random screenshot for each 10-minute timespan during the hour, then uploads the screenshot and key/mouse count to Upwork’s work diary

That’s it. There are no “seeekrit spywayre funkshons” to read your email or disable your youtube account before reporting back to the NSA – the government is already doing that without Upwork’s intervention!

Some will argue that monitoring defeats the purpose of freelancing because it introduces aspects of a normal office environment – one that we’ve all worked so desperately hard to leave.

THAT’S THE POINT! Even though Upwork offers fixed-price assignments, it all got started to give buyers a way to outsource long-term jobs and still have some level of accountability. When it comes to freelance job boards, it’s predominantly a buyer’s market. The difference between Upwork and the rest is that Upwork bridges the gap between full-time employment and per-project freelancing.
Hourly jobs: If I work too fast, I’ll lose money

Yes, this is the most ridiculous statement I’ve heard when it comes to Upwork accusations. Yes, this argument is actually used to try to dissuade users from getting started on Upwork. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve read this on other sites – just the other day, in fact (unfortunately, I lost the link, otherwise there’d be some linkage in here).

I laugh whenever I hear that argument because if you truly know what you’re doing, you’ll know how to gauge your worthiness and make sure your client is being billed appropriately – regardless of the method of payment.

No, you won’t lose money…but if it makes you feel better, keep saying it.

Before freelancing full-time, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to work and not done a single thing…yet continued to draw a nice fat paycheck. Upwork ensures that this won’t happen because buyers only pay for hours worked. As a provider, you only get paid for the time you spend actually working – no slacking on the job.

If you assess your skills properly, and set your hourly rates accordingly, you can get paid what you’re worth. Be advised, though, that you have to prove that you’re worth what you ask for – if speed is a factor, you’ll need to be able to find a way to show it to your buyer.

The best thing to do is having a compelling portfolio at the ready, and wow the buyer with both it and your cover letters.