Freelancing is all the craze. I remember back, say five years ago, when the term “freelancer” was common code for “unemployed victim of the Recession”; however, many of today’s professionals are choosing to freelance in favor of the autonomy and freedom it provides.
Anyone else championing the #workfromwherever hashtag?
Today 53 million Americans (34% of the U.S. workforce) are considered contingent, temporary, diversified, or freelance employees. The freelance workforce is expected to continue to grow – reaching and estimated 40% by the year 2020.
Some cite millennials’ preference for entrepreneurship as the driving force behind the freelance movement, others recognize today’s talent pool as distrusting of “traditional” career opportunities that paved the way for the recent economic downfall. Regardless of the whys and wherefores for freelancing, it’s a BIG deal and it’s here to stay.
As a fellow freelancer, I’ve compiled a list of top sites for today’s independent contractor to find quality work with quality clients.
A favorite among over 9 million freelancers, Upwork (previously oDesk) offers something for everyone, including: short- and long-term projects, hourly or per-project work, and expert-level and entry-level opportunities. So regardless of whether you’re a seasoned consultant or freelancing newbie, Upwork is a great place to start matching you with potential projects.
Web design, digital marketing, data entry, and graphic design are just a few of the categories Freelancer hosts millions of projects in. If you’re competitive and confident in your expertise, Freelancer may be a great way to showcase your abilities and attract more clients. However, its competitive platform is not for the faint of heart; experience Freelancer pros recommend winning one of the hosted contests to get your name out there as a top freelancer and attract more clients.
With 1.5 million freelancers, Guru is quite the hub of freelancing opportunities from around the world. They also offer a “Guru Work Room” – an application that allows users to keep track of hours, project milestones, and client correspondence. It features many types of work, including: management and finance, legal services, human resources, and much, much more. Freelancers compete with bids and clients select the best option.
Similar to Freelancer, Thumbtack is a kind of a jack of all trades freelancing service – from house painting to personal training to marketing consulting, Thumbtack has it all. It’s a competitive platform, where freelancers receive emails with projects matching their skill sets and a limited number (typically) five proposals are accepted. Thumbtack charges the freelancer to place bid (PS: it’s not cheap – $9 – 20/ bid). My experience with Thumbtack is it’s great for the clients, not so swank for the freelancers. However, their listing of projects is quite extensive, so certainly worth a look.
Demand Media is a platform for creative types, including writers, filmmakers, producers, photographers and more. You work with the site to create unique content, engage audiences and promote your talents (Demand Media assists with freelancer promotion – ah-mazing!). It’s a great launching pad for creative freelancers, including filmmakers, editors, photographers wanted to get their feet wet in the competitive space of freelancing.
Symmetry at Work
Symmetry at Work describes itself as a “job board that focuses on jobs that fit into your life, not take it over.” The jobs that they post are all flexible or work at home jobs. One thing that makes Symmetry at Work a little different is that they include “extra cash” type jobs. If you are looking to bring home some additional funds this platform could be a great resource. Jobs posted include a wide array of categories such as education, marketing, human resources, and accounting.
Toptal is a little (okay – a lot) more selective than other freelance platforms, making it ideal for experienced freelancers with extensive portfolios. Toptal requires a detailed screening process for all involved – translating into insured quality clients (JPMorgan, Zendesk, Airbnb, etc.) and fair compensation (no low-bid contests). Also – it’s currently only available for software engineers and designers (sorry graphic design whizzes – keep scrolling).
Another platform for freelance designers, 99designs lets you compete in design contests and get feedback as clients choose the best ones. It’s a great way for talented designers to prove their talents. I haven’t had good results with 99designs, but I’ve heard good things for others – give it a try!
Angel List focuses on startups and has positions from over 16,000 companies – it’s one of my personal favorites. Word to the wise: make sure you understand the equity concept before applying to equity-only positions. Most of the listing a true “jobs”, but a lot of short-term and flexible (work from home), so it can be a great source of side gig cash. You can sign up for a free account and search for work from home positions using the filter “remote/telecommute.”
Freelance Writing Gigs
Whether you’re a writer, editor, blogger, publisher or any combination of those, Freelance Writing Gigs is a great option for freelancers who have a way with words. Freelance writing gigs can be hard to find – searching through their site saves a lot of headaches sending hundreds of e-mails to editors that really don’t want to hear from you. They also have some great writing resources and tips – let the writing begin!
This platform accommodates some of the usual suspects of the freelancing world (writers, editors, coders, etc.) but also features freelance marketers as well. So if any of those in-demand disciplines align with your interests, check them out! Unlike other sites, iFreelance lets you keep 100 percent of your earnings.
FlexJobs is my top favorite – great listings from vetted organizations. Again, most of the jobs are true “jobs”, but primarily work from home positions, and quite a few contract positions. I’ve utilized this platform when my family was facing a cross country move (courtesy of Uncle Sam) and once when I was burned out with my business. This is one of the few platforms that I do recommend springing for the paid account – it’s worth it.