Definition of FreelancerA freelancer is self-employed person offering services, usually to multiple clients at a time. Operating as his own boss, a freelancer sets his own service menu, price, and target market of clientele.
Some think that freelancers are called that because they work for free – or next to it. That is not the case,and in many cases freelancers earn more than their employed counterparts.Freelancing is so flexible, you can set your own hours, working full or part-time on the projects of your choice. While clients can offer specifications to the work, a freelancer works similar to an independent contractor, in which he’s free to control how the work is completed.
With over 1.5 million clients, Upwork (previously oDesk) offers something for every type of freelancer. It accommodates both short- and long-term projects, hourly or per-project work and expert-level and entry-level engagements. Regardless of where you are in your career, Upwork is likely to have something for you.
With a distinctly different approach than the other services on this list,Toptal is for seasoned, talented freelancers. Passing Toptal’s screening process gives you unparalleled access to meaningful projects with great clients (JPMorgan, Zendesk, Airbnb, etc.) and fair compensation (no low-bid contests). You’ll also be able to join the Toptal community for frequent meetups and tech events.
99Designs is exclusively for designers, but it puts a cool spin on the freelance platform. Rather than let clients scroll through freelance profiles, clients crowdsource their projects. Clients first fill out a brief detailing their project, and then designers can submit work based on that brief. Clients pick the best submission, and the winning designer gets the money. If they so choose, clients can then continue to work with that designer to design a fully-fledged version of what they did for the contest.
99Designs has over a million designers in its network and has completed over $100 million in transactions between clients and designers, so the unusual business model is clearly working well for the company.
FlexJobs stands out as a freelance job site by vetting jobs, not freelancers. Instead, freelancers are the ones who pay for the platform. In return, FlexJobs provides a list of jobs, currently just under 30,000 in number, that the platform has vetted as legitimate. Freelancers can then apply to those jobs through the contact information provided by FlexJobs. The service also provides skill testing, job search tips, and special members-only discounts through site partners to create loyalty among its freelance network and provide them added benefits.
Unlike most other platforms, in addition to offering millions of projects, Freelancer allows you to compete with other freelancers in contests to prove your skills. If you’re competitive and confident in your expertise, it’s a great way to showcase your abilities and attract more clients.
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CraigslistAlthough most people see Craigslist as just a platform for buying and selling miscellaneous things, it’s actually a great source of freelance jobs. You can easily browse for local offerings if you prefer something in-office, or you can search by major cities if you prefer working remotely.
GuruSince its inception in 2001, Guru has completed 1 million jobs and received $200 million in payout. Today, Guru has 1.5 million freelancers on its platform. In order to look through such a large number of freelancers effectively, clients can look through freelancer portfolios that include previous earnings and client reviews as well as skills and experience. Freelancers in turn can get an idea of whether a client’s job is viable by looking at how much they have spent on freelancers in the past.
A self-described “marketplace for on-demand workers,” Crowded aims to fix the supply and demand problem with freelance job opportunities: how do freelancers find job opportunities, and where do companies hire effective freelancers? Crowded pulls freelance job postings from several on-demand platforms and makes them available to its network of freelancers. The company was just founded in 2015, and even with its soft launch, the platform already has over 11,000 freelancers and 400 platform partners. Don’t be surprised if this freelance site becomes much bigger in 2016, just based on the growth we’ve seen so far.
PeoplePerHour is a freelance site for all skills related to web projects, including web developers, designers, and SEO experts and marketers. Aiming to be a one-stop shop, PeoplePerHour wants to make your web building experience as streamlined as possible through their platform. To simplify the process even more, PeoplePerHour offers a tool called WorkStream, in which management, payment, and communication between employers and freelancers is all handled in one location.
Simply Hired has a wider range than most freelance job sites because this particular website isn’t focused on freelance work only. It’s a job directory, offering 6 million jobs in 974 occupations through 700 thousand unique employers in 24 different countries. The site has a large following, supporting 30 million unique monthly visitors and in a year those visitors make roughly one billion searches. While not exclusively for freelance work, Simply Hired is simply too big to be ignored by this list.
This platform accommodates some of the usual suspects of the freelancing world (writers, editors, coders, etc.) but also features freelance marketers as well. Unlike other sites, iFreelance lets you keep 100 percent of your earnings.
With hundreds of project categories, Project4hire makes it easy to identify jobs that suit your skillset, without scanning through large volumes of posts. It’s great for coders, consultants, designers and more.