People start freelancing for all kinds of reasons using different methods to get clients. Some use referrals, some scour freelance job sites.
There are definitely some entrepreneurs out there who want unlimited earning potential and the freedom to travel the world, set their own hours, and pick and choose which projects are most appealing.
Others are just trying to make ends meet. Freelancing could be a side gig that helps pay for the extras, or a way to stay relevant after losing a job, or how a stay-at-home parent balances childcare and career.
Whatever the reason you are getting into the gig economy, it can be hard to get started. Especially in our post-pandemic world where everyone is looking for remote positions, there are so many options out there it is overwhelming.
If you’re feeling frustrated, and wondering: can I really get freelance jobs using freelance job sites? Or should I stick to referrals and word-of-mouth only? Rest assured that you aren’t alone.
Freelance job sites aren’t for everyone, but for many, these job boards are a great way to get started or find new clients.
Which freelance job sites will work for you? That all depends on what skills you have, what type of jobs you are looking for, and how much time you are willing to dedicate to self marketing. With dozens of sites out there, we’ve taken the guesswork out of it and narrowed it down and categorized our top 12 picks to help you get started.
General Freelance Job Sites For Everyone:
Flexjobs, founded in 2007, was all about remote work before everyone was working remotely. Flexjobs is one of the largest freelance job sites, with work for everyone from content creators to occupational therapists.
Flexjobs screens all of their postings, so you’ll never deal with scammers. You’ll save time digging through countless freelance job sites by paying for a Flexjobs membership and getting instant access to a variety of high quality opportunities.
Additionally, Flexjobs sets itself apart by offering supportive resources to job seekers.
Last but not least on the list is Solid Gigs. Solid Gigs is different from other freelance job sites. Instead of giving you hundreds of jobs to comb through, Solid Gigs sends a curated list of opportunities straight to your inbox.
It works like this: you answer a few questions and set up your preferences, and start getting job alerts within a day or two. It’s easy and inexpensive, and it gives you real contacts to follow up with, instead of fighting with millions of other freelancers to bid through a platform.
Upwork has a strong reputation among freelancers and clients alike. While Upwork is one of the more costly freelance job sites, it is also simple to use and secure.
With Upwork, be prepared to fight for gigs as you’re starting out. Build up a strong profile, get your bids in quickly, and, once you land that first job, always, always ask for reviews.
Freelance Job Sites For Coders:
While Toptal offers work in nearly every market, it’s specialist format makes this one of the best freelance job sites for tech, in particular.
Toptal claims to offer “the top 3%” of freelancing talent, so the process to become a freelancer is difficult and requires you to have intermediate to advanced skills.
If you can pass the interview process, Toptal offers interesting work and has a reputation for better paying projects than some of the other mass market freelance job sites out there.
One of the things that makes Toptal great for freelancers is that you’ll have instant access to a great network of skilled peers. Don’t underestimate how helpful this can be in advancing your career.
Some freelancers think of themselves as mavericks, bucking the system. Gun.io plays into that––you are a “hired gun,” so to speak, for a variety of companies who need temporary coding work.
Gun.io pre-screens both freelancers and clients, so you don’t often run into scams or people unwilling to pay market rates for the work that you do.
Another advantage? Gun.io sends custom gigs straight to you. You still have to apply, but you aren’t wasting your time with jobs that aren’t relevant or that you have no chance at earning.
Codeable is another freelance job site that screens applicants and only accepts the top coders onto the platform. Codeable offers lots of types of gigs, but they specialize in WordPress projects.
The Codeable team will help support you as you get started and try to land that first gig, which is a definite bonus and not something that all freelance job sites offer.
Codeable also has a minimum requirement for what freelancers charge, so you aren’t in a constant race to the bottom with unskilled developers offering services for unrealistic rates.
Expectations may be high––you should never bid on a project you don’t have the skills to complete, for example––but there is also a sense of community, user conferences, and the platform does back their freelancers instead of siding with clients every time.
Freelance Job Sites For Writers:
7. Journalism Jobs
Founded by a former Washington Post business writer, Journalismjobs.com takes freelance writing up a notch. Unlike many freelance job sites, skilled writers can use this directory to find work with top tier companies such as Reuters, Forbes Magazine, ESPN and more.
The upside of JournalismJobs.com is that jobs are highly tailored to journalism writers, they are of a high caliber and they offer a resource library to help freelancers understand the market and learn new skills.
Another difference Journalism Jobs boasts from other freelance job sites is that they don’t handle transactions. This is simply a directory of available jobs. When you click on the description, you are redirected to the company’s web site where you apply for the job and negotiate your terms.
This can be a plus or minus. It offers freelancers greater autonomy and the ability to set the rates they are comfortable with. However, the liability and risk of accepting work also falls back on individuals. There is no protection through the site.
Freelancer.com advertises itself as the “world’s largest website for writing jobs.” While there are other gigs available on Freelancer, it does seem to have an abundance of writing jobs available.
Like most freelance job sites, Freelancer is highly competitive and sometimes, especially when you’re starting out, in order to earn gigs you’ll need to charge lower rates.
The pros of Freelancer.com are the sheer volume of jobs available and the ease of setting up a profile and bidding on those jobs. The cons are a lack of customer support and occasional scam offers that come through because Freelancer does not thoroughly vet clients or freelance talent.
9. Mechanical Turk by Amazon
Mechanical Turk, sometimes just called MTurk, is a freelance job site that acts as a marketplace for a variety of tasks. While expert writers probably won’t find many jobs of interest here, MTurk is one of those freelance job sites that beginners can easily get started on.
Most jobs have to do with basic data entry or proofreading existing data, making it a great place to get started in the writing space. If you can show proficiency at metadata and labeling, you can start to build up a portfolio of work to help you progress to better, higher paying jobs on other freelance job sites.
Freelance Job Sites For Artists:
Photographers, stylists, graphic designers and other creatives can find a wealth of paying gigs at The Creative Loft. Unlike other freelance job sites, The Creative Loft focuses exclusively on art-related work, and has everything divided up neatly into categories.
You’ll need to sign up for a (paid) account to access the different job offers, and then apply for the ones that seem like a good fit.
One of the great things about The Creative Loft is the ability to browse by location as well as job type. So if you’re the type of artist (like a photographer) that doesn’t work exclusively on a remote basis, you still have access to great jobs to build your client portfolio.
Most freelance job sites focus on remote computer work, but many artists work in physical means that have to be local. Enter Thumbtack: a marketplace that allows artists to bid on jobs in their local area.
While Thumbtack is known for helping people find contractors or a handyman, there are plenty of art centric jobs available. Muralists, photographers, makeup artists, tattoo artists and more can find quality gigs.
Behance is one of the few freelance job sites that consistently has high ratings from users. Behance, owned by Adobe, is part social media network, part professional portfolio. It’s an opportunity to showcase work, network with other artists, and browse a curated job board.
With Behance, you aren’t directly applying for jobs or earning money through the site. Instead, you are building a reputation and learning about opportunities you can then apply for off the site. The best part of Behance? It’s 100% free for artists.
Start Freelancing today
Many people searching for the best freelance job sites are feeling overwhelmed about how to get started on their freelancing journey. Or perhaps frustrated at their lack of clients.
Don’t worry––you can do this. Millo has a ton of great resources to help you get started. Doing a little research before you start posting on freelancer job sites can really help you get your feet under you. Here are a few of the best articles to help you find jobs:
- How to Freelance
- How to get Freelance Clients
- How to Legally Start of Freelance Business
- 17 Tips for Effective Freelance Business Planning
- Freelance Invoicing 101
There is no perfect way to get freelance clients. Networking, searching freelance job sites, building a strong portfolio, and a healthy dose of hard work are a great place to start.
Choose the site that works for you, do good work, and you will be living that freelance dream in no time.
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