More and more people are looking for freelance jobs. With reasons ranging from the desire for a paycheck outside their day job to the need for convenience and the most flexible work hours they can get. The freelance culture that’s growing in popularity is encouraging trends like the digital nomad lifestyle which allows people to have online jobs, leverage today’s technologies and live nomadic lifestyles completely independent of their work.
Contrary to popular belief however, having a freelance career isn’t just a glamorous way to live. Granted, freelance online jobs have their perks which make them more desirable than regular jobs for most people, but the image of waking up at whatever time and working in your pyjamas while slowly sipping morning coffee that a lot of people have when they imagine freelance work is hardly accurate. Freelance work – like regular work involves putting a lot of effort into getting your first few jobs and executing well enough to get a reference for other jobs from it. You must build an impressive portfolio of past work and sometimes have to take tests to prove yourself first.
If you’re seriously considering a freelance career – be it full time or just as a side gig, here are the best freelance sites to consider.
- Upwork: Elance and oDesk – two leading freelance networks merged to form Upwork, which is now the largest network for freelancers by a wide margin. With more than 10 million registered users, four million clients, and three million jobs posted every year, Upwork has online jobs to offer everyone from writers and architects to programmers and photographers.
Upwork 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 online jobs for you.
While Upwork offers hourly and fixed price projects, they provide no vetting or screening for clients. Instead, they leave the interview process and technical assessment to the clients, who can then bid on the freelancers they want to hire. You can sign up for short- or long-term projects, and elect to work by the hour or be paid per-project. The site features an easy-to-use chat feature, a time-tracker and a payment protection plan to make communication and collaboration with your client easy.
- Toptal: With a distinctly different approach than the other services on this list, Toptal is for seasoned, talented freelancers. It is one of the most well-known and widely-used sites for freelance online jobs out there right now. Toptal connects clients with a network of freelance developers and designers from more than 90 countries around the world. 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. Interestingly, they are also an entirely remote company and don’t have an office anywhere in the world.
- 99 Designs: 99 Designs is an unorthodox freelance job site. As its name suggests, the platform is exclusively for designers, and online jobs come to members in the form of a contest. 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. This is a great choice for designers looking to test their skills.
- PeoplePerHour: PeoplePerHour is a freelance site offering online jobs for all things web. It includes software engineers, digital designers, SEO specialists and marketers. Aiming to be a one-stop shop, PeoplePerHour wants to make your web building experience as smooth 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.
- SimplyHired: SimplyHired offers the largest variety of online jobs on this list. It is perfect for everyone from salespeople to construction workers and helps freelancers find jobs in over 24 countries. It also isn’t limited to English-language work, offering 12 different languages in which you can find online jobs. It includes a blog with hiring tips, a company directory and location-based search.
- Freelance writing gigs: Freelance Writing Gigs is a job board that is updated daily with fresh freelance writing and blogging jobs. The offerings vary from technical writing positions to writing about recipes, photography and healthcare, making it a great site for writers interested in testing their hand at different types of professional writing.
- Freelancer: Freelancer boasts 17 million registered users, but not all of them are active. Regardless, what separates it from other job sites is its competitive edge. Freelancer regularly hosts contests in which employers post a project with a money prize, and freelancers bid on the project with their submissions. This serves as a way for freelancers to showcase their talent and hone their skills and makes the hiring process easier for employers as they can see different takes on their project. Note that this process may not be very conducive to people just trying out freelancing or who are unsure of their skills.
- ProFinder by LinkedIn: With over 420 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn is without a doubt the go-to place for learning about all things job-related. Recently, LinkedIn decided to join the freelance economy by quietly launching LinkedIn Profinder, which is helping freelance professionals find their next job. Because of its enormous amount of user data, LinkedIn is able to quickly connect freelancers with strong leads based on their keyword searches and companies followed. Profinder is a great option for expert professionals in countless fields
- Guru: The Guru Work Room lets you easily manage all your work.
Since its founding in 2001, Guru has completed over 1 million online jobs and received $200 million in payout. This site lets you easily showcase your past work experience and offers a daily job-matching feature to make sure you don’t miss out on any good opportunities. 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.
- Crowded: This platform describes itself as a “marketplace for on-demand workers”. Crowded is looking to fix the supply and demand problems with freelance job opportunities: how do freelancers find job opportunities, and where do companies hire effective freelancers? Crowded finds freelance job postings from several popular 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.