Freelancers account for about 10% of the US workforce according to the US Bureaus of Labor Statistics and it is likely this percentage is only set to increase in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic where people have suddenly found themselves out of work or working fewer hours than before. With the new influx of people joining the gig economy the competition has become stiffer than ever.
If you have an in demand skill (such as coding, video editing, digital marketing, etc) you have potential to earn real money, in the long term. What every freelancer has in common is the need to build a strong portfolio to showcase their work. In the beginning this will mean be willing to take lesser paid jobs and view it as an opportunity to showcase the quality of the work and to build relationships with clients who may turn into repeat buyers. This will lay a solid foundation to get higher paying projects in your freelancing career.
If on the other hand you have a full time job and are hoping to break into the world of freelance the advice is to take your time and protect your primary source of income first, especially in these uncertain times. The rule of thumb is you should at least be matching your corporate monthly salary before you consider giving up the day job.
You will have to be tough too, physically and mentally, if you want to maintain a 9-5 job by day and build your freelance portfolio by night. But it is possible and the financial rewards can be huge.
So, what are the best websites to get started in the world of freelance?
Fiverr is probably one of the most well-known freelancing websites. They have free training programs to allow their sellers to up-skill and earn badges which will appear on their profiles. Buyers can write reviews which are public and positive feedback will build up a seller’s credibility. Typically, the buyers will reach out to the seller on this site if they are interested.
Upwork is a good site for freelancers to find more clients. You are free to choose your own clients and projects. It works by several freelancers bidding on a project and the client will decide who to pick to complete the work. The greater the success you have on projects the more likely that clients will hire you to complete more work.
Toptal is somewhat more competitive than previously mentioned. They promise the buyer to deliver a selection of only the top 3% of freelancers worldwide. This is probably not an ideal website for a beginner but depending on your background and skills you could be just what they are looking for.
This is a job search engine but you can also filter the settings to view freelance jobs in your local area and also an add-on that allows you to estimate your fee based on the standard market value.
People Per Hour do the heavy lifting of securing a gig for you, they will match and contact the best freelancers for each specific project. It is important to write a standout bio if you are using this site so that your profile is not passed over. Don’t be afraid to sing your own praises for this one.
Aquent is the go-to for those in the creative, digital and marketing industries. According to Staffing Industry Analysts, it is among the “largest marketing, creative staffing firms in the United States”. Aquent also operates internationally with offices in Japan, Canada, Australia, France, UK, and The Netherlands. They prefer to hire those with 2+ years of experience but if you have relevant educational background they are also open to hiring fresh graduates.
Crowded is one of the top tech freelancing websites out there. It describes itself as a “market place for on demand workers”. Founded in 2015, this freelancing platform is already hosting more than 11,000 freelancers and about 400 platform partners. Their way of working is that the site pulls out freelancing opportunities from other websites and advertisements; and posts them on their platform for all the freelancers to see.
The Creative Group
The Creative Group are seeking skilled creative, digital, marketing, advertising and public relations talent on a freelance, contract-to-hire and full-time basis. Unlike other creative staffing agencies, The Creative Group offers staffing solutions and consulting experience under one roof. You can also upload your LinkedIn resume to apply for a job which makes the process more seamless than filling out long-winded profiles as is expected on most freelancing websites.
This is one for the artistically inclined. They are seeking creative freelancers for everything, from logos to book covers. You can register for free and start freelancing immediately. Once you have completed a gig you will receive payment within three working days (or less if you are an expert designer).
Nexxt divides their job listings by Career Focus, Local Focus and Diversity Focus. You will find both freelance and corporate jobs on this site. This site is mainly aimed at those in the US.
This is a fast growing platform for businesses and agencies to connect with content writers. Content pricing ranging from 2 cents to $2 per word depending on the quality. It covers all kinds of writing jobs, including online articles, case studies, tech papers, etc.
Task Rabbit does not host your typical virtual gigs one would expect to find on the sites listed above. Instead, it looks for freelancers who are willing to do errands such as grocery shopping, assist in moving house, assembling furniture, etc. If you are a handyman or handywoman this is worth looking into.
Skyword are seeking freelancers who come from backgrounds such as content writing, marketing and social analytics. Some freelancers have reported an overall salary increase of 25% due to the experience gained through clients here.
Freelancer boasts over 32 million registered users. When you find a project that matches your skills, you can start bidding for it. To bid means to create a proposal to a customer, explaining why they should hire you, in the first place. A proposal usually contains information about your skills and experience. It should also include the price you are willing to work for and the approximate deadline. The rest is simple, complete the job and await the payment.
Guru is free to join, but they do take a hefty commission out of work completed through their website. This marketplace is a pool of freelancer with their own fields of expertise. Guru.com hosts individuals and groups who offer services in more than eight categories. This allows employers to carefully select the freelancer or “guru” is the best match for their gig.
This freelancing website is well-known for helping those with disabilities find work. On the front page of their website it states that over the past two years it has helped over 140 adults with disabilities in the Bay Area to find work. They provide training and support to create are more inclusive community.
Flexjobs advertises freelance jobs all the way up to an executive level. There are even work from home managing director jobs available. This website could be ideal for someone coming from a strong corporate background to look into remote working possibilities.
In conclusion, freelancing can open up a whole world of new opportunities for those willing to work for it. There are many platforms available to showcase your talents and build an attractive portfolio. Use the skill set you already have to start that side hustle and see where it takes you. You could very well make a career out of it.