When you start a freelancing career, one of the first questions you'll need to answer is where can you find clients?
One of the most attractive places for new freelancers to start is by promoting their services on freelancing websites and platforms that connect you with buyers searching for your services.
Let's take a closer look at some of the top freelancing marketplaces where you can promote yourself and start attracting clients:
With millions of active freelancers and buyers, Fiverr has earned its reputation in the freelance marketplace as a top platform for writers, voice overs, editors, graphic designers, and video editors.
Freelancers create "gigs" that spell out the services they're offering. Buyers search for specific services and can view your gig details to see if you'd be a good fit. You set your prices, and Fiverr receives 20% of everything you make.
One of the best things about FIverr is that they're heavily promoted, so there are plenty of people actively searching the platform for freelance services.
All payments and transactions are handled through the platform, so you never have to worry about setting up an E-commerce functions or payment portals. Buyers can communicate directly with you to see if you'd be a good match for their needs.
You can also received tips on Fiverr. When a gig is complete, Fiverr nudges the buyer to tip you. Tipping is 100% optional, so don't count on receiving anything extra for your work. Rather, think of it as a nice little bonus.
The biggest downside to Fiverr is that there's is a LOT of competition. It's a global platform, so you're competing with freelancers from around the world, many of whom are offering their base-level services at just $5 (hence the name Fiverr).
Some people view Fiverr sellers as the cheapest of the cheap. They believe it's only for people who are desperate to break into freelancing. This isn't wholly true, though. If you do a few searches for yourself, you'll see that prices can vary greatly, with some freelancers charging more than some agencies.
Despite the popularity struggle, Fiverr can be a good opportunity to start building your freelance clientele. Because you have complete control over your pricing, you can tailor your services so that you're making what you deserve, even if others are charging way less. Most people realize you get what you pay for, so don't cheapen yourself in an effort to win business. Just remember to add 20% to whatever you want to make so you don't end up in the red.
Where freelancers post gigs for people to find on Fiverr, Upwork does the opposite.
This platform allows businesses to post jobs that freelancers can find and apply to. Think of it as a giant job board for writers, developers, marketers, accountants, customer service professionals, legal experts, and creatives.
Jobs posted on Upwork are usually high quality. At a glance, you can view the job pay and details, and contact the business to apply. Pay rates are usually based per hour, which is a huge plus to new freelancers who are still figuring out how much time certain projects will take.
Often times, the jobs on Upwork are for a longer term than one-off projects you find on Fiverr, giving you a chance to keep your pipeline full and bank account healthy.
Like Fiverr, Upwork takes 20% of whatever you make, so you'll need to take this into account when creating your profile and applying for jobs.
Speaking of which, applying to jobs can become tiring and time-consuming. Think of it as constantly applying for work in the "real world." Each company has its own set of requirements. Many of them want to see samples, which new freelancers may or may not have. You may apply for 10 jobs without landing any of them. That's a huge time investment you'd take a loss on.
Also, there's a lot of competition on Upwork. Businesses with job postings can see each applicant's success rate and how much they've earned through Upwork, which could give long-time freelancers a competitive edge over newcomes to the site.
Upwork can provide lucrative opportunities, but finding work can be tough. If you decide to market yourself on Upwork, it's a good idea to have other sources to fill in the gaps between projects.
Speaking from personal experience, I found my very first freelance client on Craiglist.
This site has earned a reputation as a place for scam jobs, used junk, and seedy relationships. But if you're wanting to boost your freelance career, you might want to change your opinion about what Craigslist can offer.
Craigslist features a variety of major cities, each with its own list of job categories. This categorization can save you a massive amount of search time - just pick your industry and scroll through the listings.
It's a hot spot to find telecommuting jobs and contract work, both of which should make a freelancer's eye light up. Since you don't usually need to be at the job in person, you're free to explore a variety of cities, even those that aren't close to you.
The obvious downside is that Craigslist has become somewhat anonymous with scams. Because anyone can post anything, you'll likely find bogus jobs or things that have nothing to do with what you're searching for.
But don't let that discourage you. There's still plenty of good left in Craigslist when it comes to finding freelance work.
It might take some time, but searching for freelance work on Craigslist can pay off. Many companies choose to post on Craigslist because it's free. The more you search, the better you'll get at finding scam ads that do nothing more than waste your time.
As the name implies, Freelancer is a popular platform where freelancers can create a profile and promote their services. But what makes them unique is the ability to compete in contests against other freelancers to show off their expertise.
The site is a treasure trove of freelance job opportunities spanning digital and remote work to local jobs and in-person services, such as lawn care or painting. It's one of the broader platforms for freelancers to find work, so even if something isn't your bread and butter you can likely pick up other easy work opportunities.
Similar to Fiverr, many buyers come here looking for a deal. They want high quality but don't want to pay agency pricing, plus many don't realize that Freelancer takes a percentage of the freelancer's earnings. Because of this, pricing your services can get quite tricky.
Many of the jobs require you to bid on them, another hoop for new and seasoned freelancers to jump through. As a result, many may undercut themselves just to win the bid, while others will miss out on bids because they expect too much for their services.
Also, participating in contests (optional, by the way) can be time consuming, plus you end up doing free work with no guarantee.
It's certainly not the worst option. It ranks right there along with Fiverr and Upwork as far as job quality and usability. But you will likely spend a LOT of time on here with nothing to show for it. Try it out for a while, but know when to move on to other options.
A simple interface and abundant opportunities make Guru a favorite among freelancers. Creatives, engineers, lawyers, developers, financial experts, and administrative professionals can share their expertise.
Guru has a lot going for it when it comes to being freelancer-friendly.
For starters, they offer various pay scales so you can get paid your way. You can set project milestones and get paid per step, set an hourly rate, or collect a lump sum per project or task.
Fans also love the daily emails that connect them to jobs within Guru so they never miss a chance to grab a qualified job.
You also have the advantage of direct communication with the client through the platform.
Guru is quite crowded, with over 3 million freelancers spread out across the various niches. That doesn't mean you'll never find work, but it could take a while to get yourself noticed and build up a reputation.
Also, you can't just expect businesses to find you. You may also need to do some sourcing yourself by applying for various job postings within the platform.
This is one of the best freelance networks on this list, thanks to its user-friendly features and abundance of work. Applying for work can be tedious, but it also gives people a chance to discover you, too.
Freelance Writing Gigs
Specifically for freelance writers and bloggers, this site has its own job board that allows you to apply for writing jobs.
This website is great if you're a writer because it's a central hub for writing jobs, tips, and other resources to help you grow your career.
Some of the jobs posted here are high profile positions for television, film, news outlets, and popular websites, while others are for lesser-known clients.
Since it's just for freelance writing, there's no opportunity to expand your service offering (eg you do content writing AND marketing).
Also, since it's just one source it's limited in the number of jobs available at any given time.
It's not a bad place to start, but keep in mind you're also competing with other writers applying for those exact same jobs. Landing work here can be tough, but it's not impossible.
We saved one of the best for last. iFreelance is a mega platform that allows freelancers to bid on projects, show off their work and find ongoing work without a middle man.
There are hundreds of active projects here at any given time, giving you a high chance of finding some that suit your skills.
Also, you get to keep 100% of your earnings.
While other freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork take a cut of your earnings, iFreelance doesn't. But they have to make their money somehow, so they require you to pay to use the platform, regardless of whether you earn work through them or not.
Plans start at under $7 per month, but that can still add up quickly for freelancers who don't have much coming in. Even worse if you never win a project bid.
If you have a little capital to work with, try it out for a couple months to see what kind of work you can find. There's no guarantee, but there's also no obligation.
Where Will You Freelance Next?
Have you tried any of the platforms we mentioned? We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Drop us a comment below.