With the rise in popularity of the digital nomad culture, more people are deciding to become their own bosses. It’s because you don’t need to put up a company and get billion-dollar funding to be the boss. All you need is the right skillset. That’s where freelancing comes in.
The freelancing industry was rapidly growing even before the pandemic happened. Experts also predict that freelancers will comprise around half of the global workforce in the coming years. If you have the skills, expertise and competencies the employers are looking for, you'll have more opportunities to thrive and excel on your own than working under someone.
Aside from possessing the right skill set, you also need to make sure that you have a good profile to back you up. Getting freelance work has become a lot tougher today than it was a year ago as more people decide to switch to this line of work. You need a profile that will stand out in order to attract clients.
Instead of just waiting around for employers to land on your lap, you need to learn how to market your services and actively engage with potential clients. This is particularly true for freelancers that are new in the field.
One of the effective ways to market your freelance profile is through freelance websites. There are several freelance websites that you can sign up with to look for work. However, these websites come with different reach, work requirements, and payment terms. Some work requires a time tracker while others rely on an output-based model. You need to be careful in choosing the website where you’ll build your portfolio because you might end up wasting time, effort, and money without getting any clients.
To help address this issue, we’ve come up with this list of freelance websites that could help beginners, as well as professionals, establish their footing in this industry. This would weed out bogus and unreliable websites so you can focus on those that produce results.
But before we proceed with the list, let’s look at the outlook for the freelancing industry in the years to come so you know whether it’s worth the shift or not.
Most Popular Types of Freelance Work
If you’re wondering whether you have what it takes to take on freelancing, here are some of the popular types of freelance work you can start with:
- Web Development and Designing
- Teaching and Tutoring
- Freelance Writing and Copywriting
- Creative Design
- Sales and Marketing
- Graphic Designing
- Mobile App Development
- Search Engine Optimization or SEO, SEM
- Branding and Public Relations
- Admin Support or Assistance
- 3D Modelling and CAD
- Game Development
- Web Research
- Software Testing
- Article and Blog Writing
- Customer Service
- Social Media Coordinator and Community Manager
- Logo Design and Illustration
- Audio and Video Production
- Data Entry Jobs
- Human Resource Management
- Architecture Services
If you have any of the skills listed above, then you can start your freelancing journey right away by joining these platforms. If you don’t have the skills, you can start learning today through various online training sessions.
Freelancing is a huge part of the US economy, contributing $1.2 trillion in 2020 alone. This was made possible by the 59 million Americans who switched to freelancing and made up 36% of the total US workforce.
As businesses experience digital transformation, freelancers will play a more crucial part in the workforce in the coming years. Instead of being limited by geographical boundaries and budget, companies turn to freelancers and remote workers for their manpower requirements instead.
Freelance websites are designed to act as a bridge between freelancers and companies. These platforms provide employers with an advantage in terms of hiring and managing employees, while ensuring that all payments due are transparent, accurate, and on time. For freelancers, these websites give them a secure platform to look for legitimate paying jobs.
What Are The Best Freelance Websites for Newbies?
If you’re on the fence about switching to freelance work or you’re not sure how this setup would work for you, there’s no better time to explore this opportunity as the current stats favor freelance work. And you can start off by checking out the platforms listed below.
Upwork is considered one of the best freelance websites for beginners. This is due to the fact that there are so many jobs featured there at any given time, no matter what your skill set is.
Basically, freelancers use tokens, called “connections,” to apply to various job openings and try their luck at getting hired by a client. It’s a great platform for beginners because the first 80 free connections guarantee that you’ll be able to land a gig if you use them wisely.
There is a wide range of jobs on the platform, such as virtual assistant positions, bloggers, graphic designers, digital marketers, copywriters, and others. You can even find freelance photography and other local opportunities there if you happen to be in the same location as the potential client.
A completely different business concept, Transformify is perfect for highly skilled international contractors and freelancers looking for long-term projects. Transformify freelancer management system ( FMS) is free for freelancers and international contractors and does not take a cut on their earnings. However, just like with TopTal, freelancers need to be very serious about completing their profiles. Transformify uses powerful ML ( machine learning algorithm) to suggest those profiles that are a good match to the employers. Most freelance projects are never publicly listed as the employers can fill in the role in less than 48 hours.
Unlike traditional freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Transformify offers an end-to-end solution to business clients including talent acquisition, project management, global payroll and compliance, billing and payment automation.
Although FlexJobs mainly offers remote jobs, they also do have some freelance positions if you do a diligent search. The platform currently features over 30,000 different jobs in various industries.
You need to upgrade your account in order to access the positions posted on FlexJobs. This is to prevent spammers from applying and to keep the platform ad-free. To search for a freelance job, all you need to do is perform a job search and make sure you indicate “freelancer” and not “employee” on the filters.
This is one of the best websites beginners in freelancing can take advantage of. It features hand-picked jobs so you are assured that the jobs offered will be best suited for the services you are offering. This website makes it easy for beginners because the job search saves them so much time, allowing them to focus elsewhere.
To sign up on SolidGigs, all you need to do is type in your email address and get on the list. SolidGigs offers jobs such as guest blogger, marketing designer, graphic designer, web developer, and media consultant. Just make sure that the position you are applying for is a freelance position because the platform offers a wide variety of employment opportunities.
If you’re a designer and you’re looking for freelancing gigs, then 99Designs is the perfect platform for you. The clients can easily search for your personal profile on this website and hire you. A client can also host a competition to determine how applicants would approach a project before hiring. To join this platform, simply sign up on the website and look for clients!
This website operates opposite of Upwork. A freelancer can create their account and design their own custom packages depending on their expertise. The first package usually starts at $5, hence the name.
The platform generally works like a search engine where clients can look for contractors offering the exact services that they want within their price range.
Some example job offerings you will find on Fiverr right now include blog writer, UX designer, and brochure designer. Since the freelancer is the one who creates the posting, the packages can be tailored to the specific skill set he or she has to offer.
PeoplePerHour is another great freelancing site for beginners. The name of the site can be misleading because applicants might think that it focuses on hourly jobs only, but there are also other employment opportunities offered here, including freelancing gigs. You just need to pay attention to the type of job you’re applying to, whether it is for a fixed price or hourly pay.
There are about 5,000 different jobs posted here, including openings for virtual assistants, writers, translators, data entry, graphic designers, and more.
8. Facebook Groups
Freelancers, both experienced and beginners, often overlook Facebook Groups when looking for opportunities. What they don’t know is that this social media platform is also a great spot for finding freelance gigs for beginners. If you have an idea what kind of client you’d like to work with, then you can quickly find jobs here.
For instance, if you want to target real estate brokers and apply for a VA position, simply search for Facebook Groups for real estate brokers and join them. Make sure not to spam the group about your questions or you’ll be booted out. Contribute to the conversations before advertising your skills. It might take some time to engage with the members, but there are times when the members themselves post openings within the group.
Dribble is a great spot for freelancers looking to offer creative services of any kind. Most of the jobs on this site are for graphic designers, video editors, marketing specialists, web designers, and branding strategists. This platform is a Hubspot for companies, both big and small, who are looking for creative freelancers.
Dribble is a job board that offers both freelance and full-time gigs, but you get access to the exclusive freelancer-only board for a small fee.
A lot of job seekers don’t know this, but Behance actually has its own job board that caters to beginner freelancers. Behance is Adobe’s portfolio website so it’s easy to miss this opportunity.
Most of the time, the jobs posted are from individuals or small business owners who need help with small, one-off projects. These jobs are perfect for getting your foot in the door and earning testimonials you can share with future clients.
One important thing to remember is you need to have your own Behance profile to apply for jobs here. You also need to have your portfolio fully updated because that is sent to the client whenever you apply for a job.
Just like Dribble, Behance is designed towards creative job postings, such as app design, animation, photography, and even fashion design.
For those starting their career in freelancing, Freelancer is one of the websites you need to check out. There are thousands of various job postings on Freelancer, so you don’t have to worry about not landing a gig. The platform features a lot of clients in need of help with services, ranging from writing to design services.
With Freelancer, users can bid on a job and the clients can choose which candidate they feel is the best fit for their project.
12. Media Bistro
Though Media Bistro offers full-time and part-time opportunities, there is a specific part of the site that’s dedicated entirely to freelancers. All you need to do is create your own freelance profile to be able to apply to any of the freelance jobs posted there.
There are several remote and in-person jobs freelancers can apply for on Media Bistro. The posts range from freelance PA to writers to 3D animators. This is an effective way to start getting experience as a beginner in freelancing.
TopTal is an exclusive job board that freelancers have to apply for. You need to be serious about your application because the site only accepts around 3% of its applicants.
But don’t be discouraged. Even if you’re a new freelancer, you can still be admitted to this site by leveraging the strong skills from your old job.
TopTal features freelance jobs from companies like Zendesk, Airbnb, and Shopify, among others. Freelancers specializing in design, finance, development, and project management have more edge because these skills are in demand.
AngelList is a hidden gem filled with new leads and various freelancing opportunities. The best thing about this website is that it is easy to join where freelancers can look for both in-person and remote freelancing jobs.
One thing that makes AngelList unique is that it only accepts job postings from startups. If you prefer to work with small businesses and startups, this platform can be a great resource for you.
A lot of people may not be aware of it, but a lot of freelance positions need to be filled on LinkedIn every day. You can find them on the LinkedIn job board, but it is easier to do a quick search using the search bar to find and connect with businesses that want your services.
The only issue with LinkedIn is the many people using the website and applying for the same job post. With 722 million LinkedIn members as of 2021, you’ll probably end up competing against quite a few other candidates when applying to jobs. Hence, it’s important not to focus on a single platform to find what works best for you.
With more than 2 million different job postings for freelancers, Guru is considered one of the biggest job boards today. The majority of the job posts are in programming, translation, and the arts, but there are also other opportunities from the other industries.
Joining the platform is pretty simple and Guru’s wide variety of job postings makes it perfect for newbie freelancers. Freelancers won’t have to worry about the heavy competition that is common with these job platforms.
Guru offers both beginner and professional freelancers a hassle-free way of applying for jobs and looking for projects by connecting skilled individuals and companies all over the world. It enables region-specific job posting while allowing a wide selection of job categories. The platform also allows freelancers to easily communicate with employers through the powerful dashboard. On top of that, Guru streamlines all project management tasks, such as document sharing and crafting payment deals, so that employers can efficiently handle projects.
CrewScale is famous for being an end-to-end talent acquisition hub, connecting startups and enterprises with a global pool of freelance tech talents. The talent pool includes app developers, UX/UI designers, full-stack developers, and software engineers. The platform has a four-step vetting process, starting from the initial screening, the skill review, the technical interview, and domain-specific test projects. This process ensures that all the freelancers applying for jobs in the platform are top-tier, allowing companies to hire the best of the best.
Aside from featuring the top 1% of freelancers in the tech industry, CrewScale also leverages machine learning to expedite the recruitment process. This technology is applied in the matchmaking process in order to get the best match in skill relevance, work history, soft skills, and other competencies.
DesignCrowd is primarily a custom design marketplace that helps organizations and companies utilize crowdsourcing to transform their thoughts into reality. The platform allows creative freelancers to offer design proposals that buyers can access via DesignCrowd. The platform features over 600,000 freelance designers, making it easier for companies to find content for their design needs.
If a buyer wants to post a design contest, he or she is charged $79, which allows more than 50 designs from different artists. Freelancers can also do job searches for quick results, with deadlines ranging from around 3 to 10 days.
Hireable is a job marketplace where freelancers, both newbies, and professionals, can hunt for opportunities for free. Job hunting is made faster and easier as the platform is equipped with a search engine that yields hundreds and thousands of results with just a few mouse clicks. You can use a single or phrase keyword to perform a successful search, depending on how targeted the job you’re looking for is.
Hireable comes with a notification feature that informs job seekers of newly-posted job offers. The system also has a robust search engine that gives freelancers quick results whenever they conduct job searches.
Freelancers being incorrectly matched with hiring companies is a common scenario in the freelancing world. Aquent’s platform, on the other hand, matches talented creative people with businesses and job posters looking to hire them. The company claims that other freelance platforms are not effective because freelancers either fail to tag their digital portfolios correctly or they spend too much time tagging them with the wrong keywords.
Aquent uses NLP technology to automatically tag portfolios with the help of more than 24 million labels. Natural language processing uses AI-powered image classification, as well as object detection to make the process effective. This provides deeper insight so that the platform can better find matches for jobs or projects.
21. We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely has about 2.5 million users every month, which means lots of users posting and applying for jobs. However, most of the offerings are design-related so those who have experience in graphic design and editing have better chances at finding freelancing gigs. We Work Remotely feels a bit less personal than other design-centric websites, but the volume of job postings is what matters.
Major job posters include Google, Amazon, and InVision, and they can vouch for the legitimacy of the platform. What's even better is that you don't need to create a profile to be able to access the job openings. Simply click on a job link and you will be redirected straight there.
Finding freelance work should not be a rigorous process. These freelancing platforms should be a great help to beginners who are starting their freelancing journey. Of course, there are multiple ways to land new gigs except for these websites. However, we believe that this method is safer and more convenient for those who are just starting out their freelancing career.
Which freelancing websites do you think are great, and what other avenues do you use to find new work?