In an increasingly online world, where remote working is fast becoming the order of the day, it comes as no surprise that now is the time of the freelancer. In addition to compliance with the current climate of social distancing, freelancing comes with many other perks; flexibility and independence, to name but two.
After all, who wouldn’t want to be their own boss? Controlling your own workload, choosing your own clients… It sounds like a dream! But where to begin?
This is where freelance websites come in. Freelance websites are online platforms that connect freelancers with potential employers. Both freelancers and those seeking to outsource freelance work can make use of these websites by posting their offers. This is a brilliant starting point for anyone looking to enter into a freelance career, as well as for seasoned veterans to source new clients.
Here are five of the top freelance websites to assist you in your freelance career.
No matter your field; freelance writing, graphic design, or even web development, you are almost guaranteed to find work suited to your level and area of expertise on Upwork. Offering a wide variety of continually updated job postings, Upwork boasts offers ranging from small businesses to large corporations among the likes of Microsoft and Airbnb.
It is important to keep in mind that because of its success, you will be up against many other freelancers bidding on the site- so don’t underestimate the art of an effectively written proposal!
Creating a profile on Upwork is free, after which you will be charged a service fee taken as a percentage of your earnings on Upwork. The service fee works on a sliding scale based on your lifetime billings with a particular client.
The sliding scale starts at a charge of 20% of your earnings for the first $500 you bill a client. When you continue to work with the same client, you will be charged only 10% of your earnings. This fee is brought down further to 5% of your total earnings, once you exceed $10,000 with a particular client. In other words, the more repeat business you get, the more you earn.
Until recently, Upwork allowed 60 free Connects per freelancer per month. Connects are the currency that freelancers use to submit a proposal for jobs on the Upwork marketplace. Each job listing costs 1 or 2 connects. In order to weed out the chancers and provide the employer with only serious bidders, Upwork is no longer awarding free Connects, but instead is charging freelancers $0.15 per Connect. Though as a freelancer you’ll be looking to earn, not spend money, this change could work to your advantage by minimising the amount of bidders you’ll be up against.
Named for its original $5.00 USD base price which has since been lifted, Fiverr has been a successful e-commerce platform for freelancers to sell their services since 2010. The company is built on a model of listing temporary work positions, where ‘sellers’ list their services in the form of gigs. Gigs are essentially an advertisement of services offered by individual freelancers in a variety of professions.
The site boasts an impressive turnover of “a Gig bought every 4 seconds.” However, Fiverr has had its fair share of controversy, from landing in hot water for underselling its freelancers to receiving an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau in 2018. Fortunately, in 2019, this rating was changed to a “B,” after Fiverr responded to the relevant customer complaints.
Although Fiverr charges ‘sellers’ a relatively high 20% commission fee per Gig, its long running success is testament to its steadfast credibility in the field of go-to freelance websites.
Perhaps the largest of the crowdsourcing websites listed here, Freelancer has 48 million registered users. Naturally, this includes some big companies to potentially freelance for! Amazon, Facebook, Deloitte and even NASA are some of the names you could land a job with if you should choose to register with Freelancer. In addition, you can apply for work in over 1 800 different categories.
Again, the potential downside of such a large platform is that there’s bound to be a lot of competition. So be sure to sharpen up those pitching skills!
With Freelancer, you will only be charged an introduction fee once you have bid on and successfully been awarded a project. This introduction fee is relative to the value of the selected bid. The fee for fixed price projects is 10% of the project price or $5.00 USD, whichever is greater, and 10% for hourly projects. The site also states that signing up is free and that free users initially receive 8 bids per month.
FlexJobs describes itself as “The #1 job site to find remote, work from home, and flexible job opportunities since 2007” and promises free skills testing and job search tips, along with access to every job they find.
To access these jobs though, you are required to purchase a paid subscription to the site. Priced between $6.99 USD and $49.95 USD, subscriptions are offered weekly, monthly, three-monthly and yearly.
Although FlexJobs is competing with a host of free websites offering similar services, they remain among the top freelance websites for their commitment to service excellence and even offer a full refund, should you not be satisfied with the quality of service.
What sets PeoplePerHour apart from the other sites on this list is its unique tool for managing projects, called WorkStream. WorkSteam is used to simplify the process of payment, communication and management of jobs. This ensures project collaborations stay organised and streamlined, which is a benefit to both freelancer and employer.
PeoplePerHour also requires clients to pay a deposit into an escrow account until the project is complete and an invoice raised, which is great for peace of mind!
As a freelancer with PeoplePerHour, you are able to browse jobs and send as many as 15 proposals free of charge before being required to sign up for the premium plan.
Can’t decide which sites to sign up with? The great thing about being a freelancer is that you don’t have to choose! You can sign up with any or as many freelance websites as you like, filter through jobs and pitch for only the ones that interest you and suit your skillset. If none of the abovementioned sites spark an interest in you, it doesn’t end there. Don’t forget that your favourite social media platform can also be a goldmine for marketing yourself and your skills! Facebook, for example, has many community groups for freelancers where jobs are posted daily and which you can apply to – free of charge!
Don’t let that pesky imposter syndrome get the better of you. Start your freelance career today!
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