What is freelance work one might ask? It’s the type of work performed without having a standard long-term employment contract (job), where the freelancer is paid by its employer per project, per hour, per word etc. Freelance work seekers want this kind of arrangement because it’s more flexible than a job and they can show off their skills. Freelance work providers show interest in this area because they can find highly qualified or cheap freelancers they can outsource some work to.
Is Freelance Work For You?
This is not an accurate test, but might help you get a clearer picture on your ‘compatibility’ with freelance work. You probably won’t do well as a freelancer if you
- are pleased of your 9-5 job and aren’t looking for extra work
- don’t think you have a skill (or skills) you can primarily seek work for. That’s unlikely. You just have to find something you’re good at and that’s in demand: do you know a foreign language? then you can do translations. Do you know Excel? you can find work for it. Can you answer emails and learn a basic support skill? you can also find work. Just to name a few basic ones.
- don’t know (or learn) how to add a price tag to your skills. Ask much more than your skill level, track record or reputation entitles you to, and you’ll seldom, if ever, have any clients. Ask much lower prices or take lower paid assignments and you’ll burn yourself out without being paid to match your potential.
- aren’t comfortable with the cash flow fluctuations you’ll have as a freelancer
- don’t want to perpetually seek more work. If you don’t have a long-term arrangement, freelancing means you are always on the lookout for new gigs.
Things to Consider When You Decide to Become a Freelancer
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but your expertise, experience, reputation, portfolio (if you have one), connections, they all matter and influence your ability to find freelance work. They matter when you apply for a job too.
If you have none of the above, you start pretty much at the bottom and have to work your way up. The bottom is a very crowded place because many freelancers begin close to that reference point. In a competitive environment, that usually means very low prices paid for your work.
This ‘initiation’ period is needed, especially if you don’t have a portfolio, but it shouldn’t be too long. Many tiny successful projects which lead to a good reputation can get you a bigger project and, if everything goes well a happy client which may become a regular client.
Once your expertise level rises, you can try finding work on elitist sites, where only top freelancers are admitted.
Where to Find Freelance Work For Your Skills
One way to get freelance work is from people who already know you. If you are a serious person — as in one who completes assignments — and had the chance to prove your skills before, and you won’t charge an arm and a leg, you have a good chance someone you know or someone they know will hire you for a project.
The alternative I want to present more at length in this blog post is to find freelance work online, on specialized sites. Some of these sites target specific skills, others are more generalistic. Some are highly elitist, others have a huge membership of freelancers who compete for the projects that are created.
Best Freelancing Sites for Programmers
As a beginner, you can start applying for small projects, without expecting to earn much money, on sites like Guru, Freelancer or Upwork. Since these are huge platforms, you’ll find bigger projects too, but unless you get regular clients who are willing to pay more than the minimum bid for your work, you may want to check out the next options when you feel ready.
For coders specialized in WordPress there’s a platform called WPHired.
Best Freelancing Sites for Designers
To be honest, I think we can probably stop here. But if you feel you need more options, try out one of the giants: Freelancer or Upwork. Take note though, the competition is fierce and prices therefore pretty low.
Best Freelancing Sites for Content Writers
If you don’t have experience as a content writing freelancer, you might want to start out with Fiverr. Its one-price-fits-all gig might be to your advantage.
Best Freelancing Sites for Other Jobs
What if you don’t have any of the above skills? They are the top 3 sought out skills, but certainly not the only ones. Other quite popular skills are for:
- sales and marketing
- virtual assistants (that can mean anything from site admin to support, remote ‘secretary’ or data entry, typing etc.)
The obvious choice is to search the web for ‘freelance work for —‘, and complete the keywords with your skill. It will help you if you find a focused blog post for your skill, it’s most likely written from your perspective and includes some guidance on where to find work for your skill. Or the results can be platforms that offer such work.
One thing you should keep in mind: the less complex skill(s) needed to do a job, the more competition you’ll have and the less you’ll get paid.
In all cases, if you’re looking for work as a freelancer, make sure you use a business-oriented social media like LinkedIn. Well, have an account there even if you are not looking for work. You never know…