As the job economy slowly mends itself back together after the wake of the pandemic, the gig economy is fastly becoming one of the most efficient ways to secure a paycheck. At the forefront of this shift in the employment model are freelancers.
When someone first hears the words “freelancing”, many people automatically equate it to underpaid millennials hustling from paycheck to paycheck with their 2-3 working jobs.
However, choosing to be your own boss doesn’t always have to mean you have to struggle to come by work. By working smarter and utilizing the right tools, freelance work can be a long and sustainable model that can support your lifestyle for years to come.
Freelancers are dubbed as people who do not hold consistent or permanent employment with a single employer, and instead earn income through contract work, temporary jobs, or freelance work. Most of these gig workers obtain their work by word of mouth or, most popularly, online.
This can be a great way to earn money on the side or get a foot in the door of an industry you wish to pursue, as well as steadily building a portfolio of work outputs you can then use to secure a permanent position elsewhere.
Just be prepared to take on some less appealing jobs for lower pay to workstation show the quality of the work you can do, which will all pay off in the end when you have a more established brand.
But while all of that’s said and done, how and where exactly can you start your journey towards being a freelancer?
Most popularly known as one of the world’s largest freelance talent marketplace, Upwork is the go-to for finding freelancers of just about any field. You’ll be able to see people’s profiles that outline their skills and experiences, along with their job histories and work portfolios. On the client’s end, they post job listings detailing their projects and what they hope to gain from the freelancer.
Freelancers submit proposals for projects they’re interested in doing and clients can review these proposals, profiles, and portfolios. Afterwards, they can then choose the one that best fits their needs, and place project funding in escrow.
All of these processes are done through Upwork’s online work station, with advisory of no off-platform communication for all the more transparency and record-keeping of their collaboration.
Primarily geared towards design work, Designhill is another innovative platform for clients looking for freelance designers. Employers can do this by creating a project contest of sorts, which will bring a slew of design entries to their inbox where they can find whichever one best fits the theme they’re looking for.
Through this design contest, Designhill can be a convenient and legitimate way to seek out talent that best aligns with a brand’s vision.
If you’re a graphic designer, visual artist, web designer, or just someone looking to expand your portfolio in the creative industry, Designhill is the best method. As a creative, you are also given the chance to design your T-shirts, have them printed, and sell them through the website’s in-house online shop which can be another way for you to secure income while waiting to be hired.
As of 2021, Freelancer.com is reported to have more than 50 million users. For people who choose to work remotely, this platform can be the most viable to you as it focuses on a truly global scale, fully online work environment.
It covers a majority of industries that may need temp work, from graphic and logo design to SEO monitoring to writing jobs – the sky is the limit. The user interface of the website makes it easy and convenient to browse through different profiles and filter out the navigation system to make sure your specific needs and budget concerns can be met.
One for the big leagues, Toptal is not your standard run-of-the-mill freelance networking platform. This is one geared towards only the most exemplary of freelancers, with a screening process so rigorous that they only accept a select few to display of the thousand submissions they get every month.
The application process may seem daunting, but the rewards to be reaped far exceeds the intimidation. Major brands like Airbnb, Zendesk, and Thumbtack are one of the few clients to have outsourced their design needs to Toptal. Shortened for top talent, Toptal is a marketplace geared toward elite, experienced freelancers. Their workers reportedly get paid between $50 to $250 per hour.
All jobs on Fiverr cost—you might guess this—$5 or in increments of $5. A unique platform to find affordable talent Fiverr is perfect for those only starting out but are looking to build a portfolio as fast as they can.
Both clients and freelancers post listings on Fiverr, giving both parties a chance to comb through the archives in search of something both might need. A client can post, “Write a 500-word article,” at the same time a freelancer might endorse, “Will write a 500-word article”.
While primarily focused on micro jobs like writing articles or low-scale coding, Fiverr also offers design work at a cheaper cost. While this won’t pay as high as other platforms, this can be the perfect way to get your foot in the door and slowly build up your resume before going for the big leagues.
Marketed as a platform that primarily markets itself towards pairing clients with designers, PeoplePerHour uses an artificial intelligence program that analyzes data inputted by the client and matches it with designers the system would think is a good fit.
This website aims for a more streamlined process in bringing together designers and clients on their freelance platform in a convenient, precise way.
With around 2.5 million users a month, WeWorkRemotely houses a multitude of job postings primarily in the vein of design-related offerings. In order to post on the platform, clients must allocate a fixed price of $299 for the screening process which will have the system weed out potential low-quality job leads to churn out more efficient search results.
Major corporations such as Google, Amazon, and InVision have all enlisted WeWorkRemotely’s services. Be it part-time work or freelance jobs to keep you busy during the grace period you’re looking for full-time work, you’ll find no better platform to look for.
Initially emerging in 2001 as a passion project, Guru is a Pennsylvania-based remote working platform that caters primarily to US-based freelancers. Designed to attract a more expert group of clientele and freelancers, this isn’t for those looking to casually secure cheap job listings.
Nursing an authentic feel to their brand ethos, Guru encourages transparency on their platform and value trust more than anything. This focus on sensibility extends to even their job postings, which all effectively and communicate what a project entails and no more than that. Guru is a reputable and legitimate source to go to if you’re looking for new freelance design work and are sceptical of other platforms.
Get the first dibs on the exciting startups on their first stages with AngelList’s unique platform that connects your creativity with up-and-coming businesses. A freelance platform that focuses on finding new talent and working with startups, all the while sourcing the best team to help move the business forward and meet its goals.
This can be an opportune moment to set your roots early and support causes you want to advocate for, and who knows, you may just get to be part of the next big thing in the making.
10. Working Not Working
Also with its own renowned magazine branch, Working Not Working is another professional development platform looking to help people grow their design careers. They aim to empower more creatives who are serious about their craft, have impressive portfolios and credible skill sets.
Along with giving designers visibility, Working Not Working has a solid job board with a ton of great jobs. While it is, like the other sites, primarily geared towards freelance design work, WNW also specializes in other niche industries all to do with the creative space.