Why I missed hundreds of dollars and got set back one month in time

This simple administrative trick I am about to share now can save you a month or two of your precious time and opens up access to hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of jobs.

While working for my first Upwork client, who happened to be a highly valued long term customer, I realised I needed to get some more clients to boost my profile and reputation. At this point I did not know the importance of the Job Success Score. I still was concerned obtaining my rising talent status. What a big difference it would have made if I knew this in advance! Later I will tell about selecting clients, but in this stage you just want to get any small jobs to start building on your reputation.

So it happened. I landed a ‘simple’ job that ended up being more complex and time consuming because the client did not have access to his site (typical). I did my thing and the client was satisfied. He wanted to offer me a follow up job. To keep things organized, I archived the first task as completed successfully and closed the contract. I left my feedback and – as soon as the client funded the new job – I completed this second task. Once I received my payment, I also archived this job.

Rising Talent Badge

I was glad to see one ongoing contract and two completed jobs listed on my profile. Two weeks later, I realized the client never left feedback. I asked him if he gave feedback, and he claims to have done so. I patiently waited for the next platform update. Nothing happened. I decided not to waste more time on the matter and continued to submit proposals and landed a few more jobs.

In the meanwhile, I watched my top rated eligibly meter move up every week. It takes 13 out of 16 weeks to have either the Rising Talent status, or a 90%+ Job Success Score, to gain access to the Top Rated program. In week 11 or 12 I lost my Rising Talent badge and immediately profile views and interviews dropped to zero. Luckily, I was accepted into the Top Rated program once my first Job Success Score (90%) was added to my profile. Now clients started approaching me! I accepted another job and focussed on that instead of tweaking my profile even more.

Job Success Score

Out the blue, my Job Success Score plummeted to 83% and immediately lost my Top Rated badge without any warning. I assumed my latest five-star feedback had not been processed yet and asked for a revision. The Upwork helpdesk freelancer of duty was so kind to publish my latest awesome client feedback, but I had to wait until the next update for it to be taken into account for my Job Succes Score.

Another two weeks passed and now we are in the last week of November. With the update my Job Success Score rose! To a disappointing 86%. This situation is kind of embarrassing, because I enthusiastically started marketing myself as Top Rated freelancer and my profile shows nothing, not even the Rising Talent Badge.

Worse is the fact that it is virtually impossible or just as hard as that first client to get new contracts. The financial consequences run into hundreds of dollars. Very frustrating as well, because I have received not one negative public feedback and completed all tasks successfully.

The algorithm that Upwork uses to calculate Job Success includes elements such as previous or historic Job Success, clients’ reputation for giving constructive or negative feedback, the percentage of long term contracts (I guess those are hourly based contracts) versus short term contracts and repetitive hires by existing clients such as adding milestones to running contracts. Of course the public and private feedback are part of the equation as well.

Always ask your client to close the contract

Today I have to humbly admit that I lost my Top Rated status due to my mistake to close completed contracts in order to archive them. Always ask your client if they are fully satisfied and if they could close the respective contract, hence they are forced to leave feedback in the process. It is crucial to avoid such a seemingly little lack of feedback on you profile. It portably costed me my Top Rated badge weeks later and access to new contracts. This threw me back at least four weeks in time and costs me hundreds of dollars of potential income this month and when you take into account customer lifetime value the damage may be thousands of dollars.

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