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Centralized sources have the same problem though. Almost every job on upwork is posted with a requirement of a job score of 90+. You can only get a job score by completing something on their platform and getting a positive review.

OP said he did a project for $10, which for most freelancers is maybe 5 minutes of work at their standard rate. If you're going to work for free, might as well do it in your own circle and build out from there.

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