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March 26, 2019

Upwork’s network effects

The concept is pretty simple (from Investopedia):

“The network effect is a phenomenon wherein increased numbers of people or participants improve the value of a good or service.”

The internet.

Social media.

They all operate on this idea of network effects.

Both across the platform AND for individual users. So, as Facebook’s user base grows, Facebook becomes more valuable. But, also, as YOUR individual friend’s list grows, Facebook becomes more valuable TO YOU.

Save those few “friends” you’d rather not follow, of course. 😀

Thing is…

Freelancing platforms have network effects, as well. So, the more freelancers on a platform, the more valuable it is to potential clients. The more clients on a platform, the more valuable it is to freelancers.

But, it’s not just that.

Because, the network effects on a freelancing platform are “rigged”.

That is, the whole idea of these platforms is to match the best clients with the best freelancer for their project. So, for you, the freelancer, there’s a whole other element of network effects at play.

The more jobs you do…

The better feedback you get from clients…

The more you rise on the platform.

And, the more jobs you get…

And, it just feeds itself.

This is why I kind of chuckle when short-sighted freelancers ask me why I advise freelancers on Upwork to do their own promotion and bring their own clients TO Upwork, at first.

“Why would you just give Upwork that 20% fee?”

Well, first off, if you bring a new client to Upwork, they don’t charge you that fee for any project you do with that client… forever. But, even if they did, I’d still advise you to do it.

Why?

To “juice” the networks effects.

To get all the search and matching algorithms working in YOUR favor.

And, get Upwork to send you more work than you ever brought it.

Now, admittedly, that’s a long-term play. And, plenty of freelancers are way too short-sighted. Focused on the “what’s in it for me, right NOW”. And, that’s also why so many fail as freelancers.

But, if you’re not one of those “bright, shiny object” freelancers…

This can work to devastating effect for you.

In any case, I added a bonus section to my Freelancing on Upwork course where I show you how to promote your Upwork profile outside of Upwork and get these network effects working in your favor.

Plus, how to set it all up in a way where you can still leave Upwork.

And transfer all the traffic over to your own website.

Without a big headache.

Anyway, you can take the full course, including this bonus module, over on Skillshare and get free access. All the details on that are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

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