August 2023 EHI Online Meeting


DATE: 8-18-2023 

Welcome and Prayer 

Greg welcomed everyone to the call. Iragi led the group in prayer. 

Bible Verse

1 Corinthians 15:58 

(NIV) Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 

(LSG) Ainsi, mes frères bien-aimés, soyez fermes, inébranlables, travaillant de mieux en mieux à l’oeuvre du Seigneur, sachant que votre travail ne sera pas vain dans le Seigneur.

This is a verse that I use when work seems difficult. Work is difficult for you, because you are doing something new. You are pioneers. Pioneers do things that other people don’t do.

I remember Philemon saying that his mother told him he needs to get a job. He said, “I have a job – I’m working on the internet.” And she said, “No, you need to get a job in an office.” It wasn’t until he showed her his earnings that she realized that he had a real job.

One of the difficulties is people not believing that you have real work, because what you are doing is not normal in Bukavu, and that’s what makes you a pioneer. And that is difficult at times. The work that you do as pioneers will help bring change to Bukavu. Because you are earning money that you can then spend in the city. That money is coming from other countries and will help bring prosperity to Bukavu. That’s why we call this “Exporting Human Intelligence” because you are exporting your knowledge and intelligence.

Just like people export coffee. When you export goods, you are bringing in money from other countries, which helps bring prosperity to Bukavu.

That’s why what you are doing is important, not only for you and your family, but also for your city. But that work is difficult, because it’s new.

Question: Steadfast and immovable – what do those words mean?

Answer: Determined – not turning back on your decisions. (Jeff)

Answer: Not to be distracted by anything; to be constant (Iragi)

There is a promise in this verse. It’s not stated very clearly, but it is implied. What is that promise?

The promise is that the work we do will be rewarded. It will not be in vain.

I think there is the promise of eternal life, but I think this verse is also saying that the Lord will bless your work now; not just later, but now. One way to think about it, is it is our job to be steadfast and immovable in the work that we do, and it’s His job to bless the work we do.


I want to discuss how much it costs for someone to hire you on Upwork. When most of us think about costs, we only think about money. We go buy charcoal in the market from Murhula and it costs 2,000 Congolese franks. But really it costs more than that. It costs our time to walk to the market and walk home. If we’re buying his charcoal for the first time, we might wonder, “Is his charcoal as good as the charcoal I’ve been using?” We are not sure about the quality of the product before the first time we use it. So we can say that the cost of the charcoal = the money that we pay + the time it takes us to walk there and back + the uncertainty about the quality of the product.

Question: How do we assess the uncertainty about the product?

Answer: You may ask Murhula for names of people who have used his charcoal so you can talk to them about how it works. Or you might ask him to demonstrate it, to start a fire right there in the market to show how it works.

Let’s talk about this equation in terms of Upwork.

Cost, money, hours and uncertainty equation

Let’s say someone hires you on Upwork. They pay you $100; but it also costs them time. Let’s say they take 3 hours to hire you, to email you back and forth, to check your work. The third factor is the uncertainty about the quality and deadline.

The first time I (Greg) hire someone on Upwork, I am anxious because I don’t know the person; they’ve never worked for me. I wonder whether their work will be of high quality. If they are in another country, I wonder if I will be able to communicate well with them. Usually I have a deadline that I have to meet for my work, and I wonder if they will meet their deadline. So I am anxious. And I don’t like to be anxious. I like to be certain. So there is a cost to me being anxious. It consumes my thoughts and my energy.

This goes both ways, for the freelancer as well. I have doubts. I am not certain that the client will like my job.

Question: What would happen if the 3 hrs became 30-minutes and the “anxious” became “certain”?

Answer: I think the client would be ready to give more money if the freelancer exceeds expectations and gives them more confidence.

On the first job, you might make $100; on the fifth job, you might make $200. Because they would rather pay you more than go find someone else to do the work.

Cost, money, hours equation comparing first job vs. fifth job

I want to be clear. This is not the way most people in Bukavu think. Most people in Bukavu would rather pay someone as little money as possible. That’s because people in Bukavu value money more than time. But if you’re working for an American or European company, they will value time more than money. They will pay you more if it costs them less time. They will pay you more if they are confident instead of anxious. This is an example of a cultural difference.

One of the reasons we have you work for The Herring Group some is that we can give you reviews. Reviews help build confidence. But they don’t build as much confidence as someone having experienced your work. This is why we encourage people to start with a lower cost in dollars and then as they build a reputation on Upwork, they can increase their cost in dollars.

Question (Augustin): Will delivering the work before the deadline have any impact on the confidence of the client? So if they know that if they hire you for another job, you will deliver on time or even early.

Answer: Absolutely.

Augustine: I’m worried; sometimes if I finish the work before the deadline, I don’t want to give the impression that the freelancer did not spend enough time on the quality of the job.

Answer: That’s a good question; but most of the jobs that you are getting only require a few hours of work. So as long as a little time has passed, ex: a job is 5-hours and you deliver in 2 days, that’s fine. If a job is 5-hours and you deliver in 10-days, that’s also fine, but you would be better getting it delivered sooner.

There is a saying in the United States: We want to promise less and deliver more.

(Iragi): Augustin is really thinking like a Congolese.

(Justin): I worked on a job and it only took 1 day, so I delivered it early.

(Greg): I know some of you very well, and here’s what I know about you. You are very intelligent. On these calls, I like to present principles that are true and I like to inform you of the culture of Americans and Europeans because I believe that with this knowledge, because you are intelligent, you will be able to use this knowledge to be more successful on Upwork.

So I want you to think about these principles and Pray about these principles and ask Jesus to help you use these principles to work on Upwork. As you see success with these principles, I want you to share them with others in Bukavu.

Upwork Updates, Successes and Challenges

(Iragi) No question but I just want to share my satisfaction with Upwork. I got a new job with a new client and he was very happy to work with me and he gave me a good 5-star review. I think that part of his happiness can be explained that I delivered the work early and was regularly communicating with him. And when Greg was talking about time, I identified myself in those terms. I would like to encourage my fellow friends here to not only deliver on time but also have regular communication with the client as needed.

(Philemon) I am happy for Iragi about the job he got and I’m also praying for all other friends here that God may provide and bless them with jobs on Upwork. I also thank The Herring Group team that is involved in our group experience, and especially the Connects project. That has been very helpful to us, because now I have registered for the Upwork class status and I have discovered many advantages of that status. I think next meeting I will get to share those advantages.

(Jeff) Personally, I am very, very grateful for the coaching we are receiving from The Herring Group, especially what we have just learned about culture. I’m also happy that I accomplished a job yesterday, though it was a small job, the job was well-paid compared to the other small jobs I have had in the past. I am really happy, very satisfied. I encourage others to not hold back, to just keep applying and trying on Upwork.

Closing Prayer

Augustin prayed us out.