Though the term freelance may have had a stigma attached to it in the past, trends in 2016 are changing that. According to Freelancersunion.org nearly 1 in 3 Americans are working as an independent worker, that’s approaching 54 million people in one country alone.
With so many people joining the freelance community it should come as no surprise that websites have been popping up connecting companies with talented freelancers. We have compiled a list of some of the top freelancing websites to connect freelancers with companies paying for individual projects.
Rebranded after the merger of Elance and oDesk, Upwork.com has rolled out some new features and tools with the new name. New mobile apps, search algorithms, better interface, and real-time chat are just some of the new features rolled out since the merger. With portfolios of work completed and client feedback being easily viewed by prospective clients: Clients can see what value a freelancer could bring to the project before the first conversation takes place.
One of the best benefits of Upwork has to be that it is so vast. With over 2,700 skills (and growing) and a freelance pool from over 180 countries, work can always be found in the network. Tracking and invoicing time spent on projects is elegantly handled within the platform. With the “Work Diary”, snapshots (accessible by the client) are taken every ten minutes to insure their project is on track. While there isn’t a membership fee to join, Upwork collects up to 10% of your proceeds every time a freelancer gets paid.
Just like Upwork, Freelancer.com charges 10% of a freelancer’s proceeds. This percentage can be reduced to 5% or 3% when freelancers buy a monthly membership. If a freelancer uses this network heavily, spending the money on a membership is a great way to offset costs of the network.
The network offers a wide array of skill categories for freelancers to work in. Website development, marketing, content and blog writing are just a few of the skills in demand. With over 7 million completed projects, freelancers have no trouble finding work in this network!
3. People Per Hour
This freelance network has been around since 2005, connecting freelancers with small businesses. Just like Upwork, skill categories are wide-ranging. Given that most of the hiring organizations are small businesses looking for cost effective solutions, this network only charges 3.5% of the proceeds from freelancers. This lower cost insures freelancers can offer lower prices without having to take large pay-cuts to do so.
Peopleperhour.com will notify freelancers when a client has posted a bid, allowing them to know when work is available without having to search for it. The network keeps track of work streams to help freelancers manage their work flows, feedback, and invoicing. While this network is a little smaller than some of the others, they really do try to help make freelancers a success.
99Designs.com offers a network for specialized freelancers. This network is built for freelance graphic designers to compete for projects. Jobs on the network range from brand design to stationary design. This network only deals with graphic arts, however they are quickly becoming the go-to solution for many companies looking for graphic work on the internet. Once a client has worked with a freelancer, the client can request that person as many times as they want.
Odd as it may seem, Google’s search engine can be a great job finding resource for freelancers. Hiring trends are showing companies are starting to look outside of these networks to find talented freelancers. Websites like Indeed.com and Simplyhired.com (just to name a few) are working with companies like Betterteam to help companies setup job listings, as well as freelance opportunities. If a freelancer has a strong work history, he or she can take those skills directly to clients, cutting out the middle man.
If a freelancer really wants to stand out, they need to be able to showcase their portfolio on their own site. Using a service to find a great website for your portfolio is important; the domain and the layout of the site need to be remarkable. This, after all, is the home of your most powerful, independent selling tool. Adding a blog that covers the major areas of your chosen skill can help the website gain its own footing on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Be Your Own Boss
Freelancing is more than just a way to make money. For some it provides a safety net in today’s economic climate. For others it means financial independence. Being a freelancer can free you from the shackles of the office grind, allowing people to be passionate about their work. Yes, breaking out on your own can be daunting, but remember, there are vast resources on the internet to help you make your dreams come true, instead of making your boss’ dreams come true.
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