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Did you know that freelance sites are where most freelancers get jobs?
They are a great help if you are a freelancer who is just starting or looking for a new job or project.
It is worth investing your time exploring the opportunities these sites offer, but you need to know how they work, the benefits they offer, and even those things that are not very feasible.
It may sound basic, but many freelancers ignore the things you will read here and don’t utilize the freelance sites to their full potential.
Advantages of Using Freelance Sites When You are a Beginner
An organized way to find work
There are many advantages that you will find when using freelance websites, but mainly it saves you a lot of work when it comes to getting clients.
They classify their job offers according to the category and even narrow down to a specific niche within.
Freelance sites also give you clear instructions as to what the client is looking for.
Not all job offers will be attractive and applicable for you, being able to classify the good from the bad will save you from being chosen for a project that could set you up for failure.
Offer protection to freelancers
Freelance sites are a safe place that in many cases protects the freelance worker, guaranteeing that they will get paid for their work.
Working online increases your likelihood of running into malicious people who are trying to scam you in one way or another, unfortunately this is a common drawback in the online world.
This is where freelance sites play crucial protection for freelancers and are worth using for this reason alone.
According to a study by McKinsey, a digital marketing agency, up to 540 million people could benefit from freelance employment platforms by 2025.
Either to shorten job search times or find new jobs that better suit their skills, or also for companies to find all kinds of profiles and recruit candidates in a more agile and economical way.
As you can see, many freelancers rely on this way of connecting with new clients.
It is also important for you to know that according to Payoneer, freelance sites are the main source where freelancers find work.
This is due to the effectiveness and practicality of this medium, so if you want to be successful as a freelancer, you should definitely try this medium to get clients.
Appreciation and work efforts are reflected
Freelance sites often have evaluations of jobs that freelancers have previously completed.
Ideally, you can create an experience on that platform with which your customers can evaluate you, give a good score, and thus improve your reputation on the website.
That will increase your chances of finding new jobs and generating more demand for your work.
Large selection of clients
In some freelance sites, freelancers can also evaluate their clients, so before accepting an offer you can take a look at what other freelancers say about your potential client and decide if you want to start a working relationship with them.
Before accepting a client, you can read their reviews and see if their way of working suits what you need.
In freelance sites, you will find all kinds of proposals, some more attractive than others. If you do not have a lot of experience in that platform, you will most likely have to start with small projects to grow your reputation.
That is fine!
Remember that to grow you must start from the small, be patient and persistent and your hard work will receive a good reward.
The Downside of Freelance Platforms
Despite all the benefits of using a freelance website, there are some negative points to consider before you start working on any of them.
If you are desperate to find work, you probably will overlook some of these disadvantages and regret it in the long run.
Freelance websites do not post jobs just for the sake of helping you. Behind each platform, there is a huge team of people working to make that page work and of course, those people need to be paid for their work.
One of the ways that freelance websites generate income is by collecting a percentage of the profits from each of the freelancers who find work there.
The percentages to be charged can vary depending on the freelance site you are using, but this can range from 5% to 20%, as Upwork does.
Without a doubt, having to give up part of your income can be daunting, especially if you are starting in the freelance field and working on a project that does not pay much.
However, keep in mind that you are not only working for money but to gain experience and level up, so any experience is a good experience.
Seeing it as paid work experience is something that can help.
In spite of the fact that we can all agree there is a lot of competition on freelance sites, there is a clear trend of companies hiring and wanting to work with freelancers around the world.
The world is evolving and adjusting to technology and needs all the time and so increased competition in a growing industry should not scare you away but drive you to stand out.
Not your clients
Another disadvantage of freelance sites is that the clients you get to work with are not “your” clients.
In these platforms, clients are also looking for something profitable, so just as they started working with you, it may be that from one moment to the next they decide to end their work relationship because they found another freelancer that benefits them more economically speaking.
However, this is not a rule of thumb and it is most likely that if you do a good job, you will be able to build a stable workflow with your clients and will already be able to consider them as yours.
Edelman Intelligence stated that 52% of works in which freelancers work are with repeat clients, so maintaining constant work with your clients is something very possible.
If you found someone that completed your desired task just like you wanted, wouldn’t you go back?
Source: Slideshare – Upwork
Freelance sites have their drawbacks but overall, depending on your goal, the benefits are outweighing the drawbacks.
Are those drawbacks worth your opportunity and doors it might open up for you?
Top Freelance Sites
It is no secret that there are many freelance sites to choose from, so how to decide which one to use?
It all depends on your necessities, your niche, and the criteria that you value. Each freelance site has its own rules and structures, so the recommendation is to evaluate them, compare them, and choose the one that fits you and your niche the best.
Upwork is a freelance job platform that gives professionals from all over the world unlimited access to job opportunities with companies located in different countries.
You must enter your personal information (make sure it is real otherwise it may bring you negative consequences), your work experience, your academic achievements, and your skills.
This last aspect is perhaps one of the most important because many freelancers want to do a little of everything; but in a market as broad as the one offered by Upwork, a key to success is specialization.
The Upwork system is very favorable for freelancers because it allows them to send their proposals to different job offers that are presented on the platform and compete to get hired.
This paves the way for new freelancers who are joining and considering that the platform receives hundreds of job offers per hour, the chances of obtaining a first hire are considerably higher than in other platforms that have a different modality.
The way Upwork works has made it one of the most used freelance websites. Website Builder stated that this platform has approximately 12 million users, which makes it one of the most reliable job platforms.
UpWork has a fairly diverse and wide market in terms of the volume of offers they receive daily from companies located in different countries around the world and this makes the platform very attractive for those who see freelancing as a possible modality of full-time work.
Fiverr is also a two-way website where freelancers offer their gigs and clients scout to hire based on the different tasks needed to be completed for their business.
Fiverr is an attractive platform for clients as it has a vast pool of high-quality professionals.
Freelancers are classified into three different levels according to their skills and with that, the interested clients can find exactly what they are looking for both in terms of rates and skills.
Freelancers’ levels are based on job turnaround time, customer satisfaction, and quality of work.
The more jobs you do and the more positive feedback you receive, the better your reputation will be and the higher your chances of getting involved in new projects.
The good thing about this platform is that you can offer different options to your potential client using add on services, which will allow you to earn way more than just $5.
For example, you can offer the service of designing a logo for $10 but adding a few other addon options that your client surely will need such as logo usage guidelines or commercial use copyright, can increase your profits tremendously.
Even though you start on a gig that pays $5 that does not mean that you do not have opportunities to grow.
Sometimes when certain clients see that you are trustworthy and do a great job, they are open to building a long-term relationship with you.
It is a win-win situation for both, the freelancer works for a client who is sure to pay and the buyer is working with a freelancer who has already proven in terms of high-quality services.
FlexJobs is a very useful tool for anyone who wants to work as a freelancer.
Through this website, you have more than 50 different professional categories at your fingertips that offer many opportunities for people who have little experience to experts.
You also have manually reviewed, filtered, and published job offers at your disposal. No cheating, you will not find scams of any kind or jobs that are not what they promise.
A very attractive aspect of this freelance site is that it has job offers from well-known companies in the market and all job offers direct you to the official website of each company.
When you access their website, you will see the most recent job offers without having to pay, but if you want to have more details about them, you will have to pay the corresponding amount of the subscription you choose which can be $14.99 a month.
If you are worried about paying a monthly subscription to use this freelance site, keep in mind that it is an investment that you make for your freelance career.
This investment translates into possible very valuable jobs in recognized and well-paid companies that you will hardly find on other freelance sites.
It is worth paying for the service of this platform to access the list of 30,000 secure freelance job offers, which can save you a great amount of time, avoiding finding false or no longer existing job offers, repeated posts, or broken links that hinder the search for real opportunities.
The companies that offer work in FlexJobs are studied by the staff of the platform.
Being subscribed to the page gives you the benefit of accessing information about each company so that you have an idea of who you would like to work with.
Find a Specific Niche Within Your Niche
If you are very good in a specific field of your work that you enjoy more than the others, you will see that this niche is the best way to take your brand to the second level.
Defining your niche can increase the amount of work you land, increase your income, and make you feel more satisfied than you think.
When you specialize in a niche, you tell your clients that you are an expert in that subject and that all your experience and knowledge revolves around that specific need in which they require help.
When you have problems with your foot, it is not the same to see a GP than to see a podiatrist. Do you already understand the need to specialize in something?
Think carefully before choosing any niche, this has to be something that you perceive as viable and profitable in the long term. Therefore, you must know the market very well and the competitors who play in it.
Find out what is on the rise and what is next, plus think about where you would like to be in five years.
If you think that a certain business model is going to disappear soon, building your work around it is probably not a good idea.
What are you most interested in? What is the funniest thing you have ever done? These questions will help you find your passion.
Remember, this is not about the easiest and most convenient. If your heart is not in your work, it will quickly turn into something that you will not enjoy.
If you already work in an area that you like, think about how you can specialize in it even more.
For example, if you are a website creator, specialize in creating web pages with Wix, or if you are a photographer choose an area such as product photography. The more specific you are, the more expert you will be on a topic.
Grow Your Freelance Career
Using a freelance site can be the starting point to build your career. If you want to be a freelance but you do not know how to start, pick a platform and start gaining experience.
You can use these websites to achieve two specific things depending on the level you are at now; to kickstart your career or to build your brand. Whatever goal you have in mind, freelance sites can give you the necessary boost to achieve it.
Kickstart Your Career
One of the most important aspects to get clients is having experience and a portfolio to show.
Clients want to work with someone they can build trust with and who is proficient in the topics they are going to work on.
If you do not have these two things yet, do not worry. In freelance websites, some clients will ask you to take a test to see if you meet the profile and qualities they are looking for.
This is a positive sign since if you manage to work with a client and meet their expectations, you can start to build your portfolio and accumulate the experience that will make you more credible to others.
After you accumulate a little experience and have done several jobs, you can create your portfolio website and one of the most common methods to do this is through WordPress.
After you are satisfied with the clients you have worked with and the work you have done to include in your portfolio, you can stop using the freelance site and start creating your brand and having potential clients look for you for who you are.
As you work, you will realize if freelance sites are the right way for you. Have you found good clients? Are the payments on the platform appropriate?
If you are not happy with your experience and what the freelance site offers you, it might be worth trying a different platform.
Depending on your niche there are many specific freelance sites specifically for writers and designers. Explorer our resource page.
If you are a more experienced freelancer, who already has valuable clients in their background and a wide portfolio, you may be better off aiming to use freelance sites to build your brand.
Build Your Brand
Think about yourself as your brand. Use the experience you have gained as a base to sell yourself to your clients, to convince them that they need you.
Freelance sites offer you the option of building your portfolio within the platform and some also allow you to create a specific profile or portfolio for each area in which you work.
There you can include jobs you have done and your academic or work experience in that niche.
Being present on the freelance website will make you known to some, but if you also have a portfolio website outside of it, you can link it to both on platform clients and clients outside the freelance job platform.
When they see that you have a brand built around your work and outside the platform, they will know that they are dealing with a true professional.
While you keep in contact with your clients within the freelance site, make sure to maintain the relationship with your clients, keeping all your promises and surprising them with your work.
If you stand out, you will not be just another freelancer and you will stay in their view. Try to maintain communication with your past clients by including them in your contact list.
There are also many tools that you can use to strengthen your brand, you do not have to settle to just having a portfolio website or using freelance sites.
Find a way to build your brand outside the platforms and spread the content that you are capable of creating and generate in people the need to consume it. That way you will be noticed by potential clients. Here are some things you can try:
Create a blog
Start a YouTube channel
Have a podcast
And here are some ideas for the type of content you can create on those platforms:
Case studies: explanations of the process you carry to generate content for a client.
Tutorials to teach them to do something useful.
Talk about your work experience. Remember that you are a freelancer with a background and that surely many want to learn from you.
Share helpful tips, not only about your niche but about your freelance career.
Always Keep Learning
It is important to always keep up to date with the trends in your niche but also take the time to continue learning about the topics you handle.
Taking courses related to your work niche will increase your credibility and therefore your professionalism.
This will give you an advantage over other freelancers in any job offer because employers will see that you are truly qualified.
Also, if you earn certifications in your area that will ensure you a better pay than freelancers who have never done a course.
Of course, taking courses and increasing your knowledge will not only be beneficial for your career but for your personal growth too. Never stop investing in yourself.
Here are some platforms where you will find courses to further knowledge and keeping up with industry levels:
EDX: Offers a large number of free programs that are backed by some of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Udemy: It is a platform of online courses that are affordable on-demand.
Fiverr Learn: It is specifically aimed at freelancers. Each course is categorized into key topics that could be highly valued in the Fiverr market.
Be Perseverant: Beginnings are Never Easy
Always stay positive but with your feet on the ground, constantly evaluate yourself, be honest and reconsider everything you feel you should improve upon.
Keep in mind that getting the first few jobs is the most complicated part but once you do it, the path will open many other doors more easily.
Even though things may seem complicated at first, don’t be so quick to give up on your goal – remember why you started.
The effort you make today you will appreciate tomorrow and keep in mind that any effort you make will undoubtedly be rewarded.
Take the Positive and Use It to Your Advantage
Like anything else in life, freelance sites have both drawbacks and benefits. With that said finding a way to adjust those platforms to your needs will increase your chances of landing clients, projects and overall experience.
They have a high potential to be high contributors to the growth of your career and brand if executed with the right skills and knowledge.
Taking your time to invest in yourself and learning how to master the art of freelance sites can open up many opportunities to your freelance career progression both on and off the platform.
If this sounds like something you would like to do your best shot will be giving it a shot.
Always stay focused on your goal!