Why You Shouldn't Work with Freelancers On Upwork

Shopify June 12, 2024

Why You Shouldn't Work with Freelancers On Upwork


Over the last year, I transitioned from using Upwork to working directly with clients through my own website. This shift, though challenging, has drastically improved the quality of my life and provided more opportunities to work with interesting clients. My experience on Upwork was fraught with recurring issues despite various attempts to resolve them. Ultimately, Upwork felt like a race to the bottom. In this post, I will explain why individuals or businesses looking for a Shopify developer should consider reaching out to freelancers outside of Upwork.

The Essentials for Business Survival: Money, Knowledge, and Connections


For a business to thrive, you need money, knowledge, and connections. Money allows you to hire the best talent and solve problems efficiently. If you had unlimited resources for developing your store, would you choose Upwork? Likely not. You would thoroughly research and hire a reputable agency, even if it costs over $100 per hour. The assurance of a correctly built store and access to high-level connections justifies the price.

When your budget is limited, the risks don't disappear. Spending $300 on a cheap store built with a $40 template leaves you with low cash flow, inadequate knowledge, and no valuable industry connections for long-term guidance.

The Pitfalls of Upwork: A Race to the Bottom

People on Upwork often undervalue knowledge, connections, and expertise. While on the platform, I encountered clients who expected 80-hour projects to be done for $800. They frequently sought cheaper alternatives, leading to a cycle of poor results and wasted time.

The long-term success of your business hinges on building relationships, not just transactions. Relying on new, cheaper developers each time puts your livelihood at risk. Large companies can use cheap overseas developers because they understand their industry and can monitor progress and quality. However, the typical store owner lacks this expertise. That’s why my clients appreciate our streamlined onboarding process and project management software.

The Value of Connections

Working with freelancers and agencies outside of Upwork brings valuable connections. As a Shopify developer, I specialize in creating pixel-perfect, speed-optimized stores with custom solutions. However, I am not an expert in CRO or SEO. But I know great professionals who excel in those fields.

For instance, Mico Martinez at 607 Media excels in SEO, helping stores reach $20,000 a month with proven strategies. Sarah Gallagher, a CRO expert at Gammawave, has built eight-figure Shopify brands. A wise person once said, "There are levels to this," and Upwork is akin to a daycare center. You get what you pay for, and Upwork is unlikely to take your business to the next level. It might not even get it off the ground.

Focus on Reliability and Long-Term Commitment


You should focus on reliability and long-term commitment. Work with individuals who have a proven track record and case studies to back their claims. Otherwise, you risk burning through cash and wasting your time.

If you're looking for a Shopify developer or an agency needing another developer, schedule a call. If you're considering hiring a developer off Upwork, I suggest you ask people you know and trust for recommendations or directly reach out to professionals on LinkedIn. Take the time to research agencies and other freelancers. The average software developer in America makes over $75,000 a year. If you're about to hire a developer for less than $35 an hour, ask yourself why their rate is so low. Would you work for less than the average rate in your field?

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Chris Snowden


Hi, I'm Christopher Snowden, a Shopify developer. I enjoy building and learning about e-commerce solutions that help businesses grow. With the rise of AI, I believe it is important for developers to understand more aspects of business and have a deeper understanding of how their skills translate to profit. Let's connect and collaborate! Follow me on social media to stay updated with my latest projects and insights.