If you’re interested in freelance work and like the idea of working whenever and wherever you choose, the chances are you have probably looked into online freelancer marketplaces at one point or another. These kinds of platforms are growing in popularity as more and more of us crave the freedom and flexibility that comes with working on a freelance basis.
Freelancing has been increasing in popularity for several years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made working from home a reality for millions of people, and more people are seeing the appeal in moving to freelance work.
While you might have heard of some of the industry front-runners such as UpWork and Freelancer, there might be some lesser-known, less saturated platforms that better fit your needs and expertise. Whether you’re just starting out on your freelance journey, or you’re a professional with many years of experience under your belt, there is bound to be an online marketplace that suits you.
UpWork is an online marketplace through which freelancers and clients can connect, negotiate contracts, and work on projects remotely. The site caters to freelancers in many fields such as writing, editing, web development, graphic design, virtual assistance, and many more.
After setting up a profile, freelancers can set their own rates of pay and begin applying for jobs that are advertised on the site. The great thing about this type of site is the security it provides to freelancers. Payment is made through PayPal or direct bank deposits, although bear in mind that UpWork will take a cut of your earnings starting at 20%.
If you’re new to freelancing, UpWork is a great place to start making connections and networking with potential clients, all while gaining valuable experience and building your own portfolio.
Freelancing Websites Like Upwork
Here you will find fifteen Upwork alternatives through which freelancers can advertise their skills, connect and network with prospective clients and businesses, and ultimately earn money for their work:
Like UpWork, Fiverr is a platform that offers freelancers the chance to find work through their marketplace. With around 3 million jobs currently being advertised with Fiverr, it’s one of the biggest sites of this kind.
Freelancers advertise their services with Fiverr, potential clients or ‘buyers’ can then ask questions and purchase the services. Prices and other details such as deadlines can be negotiated between the client and the freelancer, and again, Fiverr will retain 20% of all transactions.
Fiverr has a reputation as a site that caters to very low-priced services because originally all of the gigs were only $5. However, that’s not the case anymore and you’ll find a wide variety of rates. Fiverr is no longer just for low-priced freelancers, so if that reputation has been keeping you away from Fiverr, you should give it another look.
Freelancer operates in almost exactly the same way as UpWork, with the main difference being that Freelancer claims only 10% of the freelancer’s earnings on each job.
Clients will advertise jobs or projects on Freelancer’s marketplace. Freelancers can then submit proposals for these jobs, with the client choosing the one they feel is most fitting. As a freelancer, you can choose to work at an hourly rate or for a fixed price.
Freelancer has a huge number of job postings in its database and it’s a great place to build connections and professional working relationships.
Guru is a marketplace targeted towards expert professionals, rather than entry-level freelancers. Guru offers work opportunities for those that fall into the following eight categories: programmers and developers, designers and artists, writers and translators, sales and marketing professionals, administrators and secretaries, engineers and architects, business and finance professionals, and finally lawyers.
Guru charge a service fee of 8.95% on each transaction. This can be reduced to as little as 4.95%, however, to benefit from the lower fees you will need to sign up for their premium membership, which comes with its own service fee of $39.95 per month. Whether or not it is good value for money really depends on how much you are earning using Guru.
SolidGigs is a great option for freelancers of all experience levels. Their weekly gig lists provide freelancers with top jobs to suit them, meaning there’s no need to trawl through endless numbers of jobs to find the best ones for you.
Additionally, SolidGigs has partnered with various expert freelancers and entrepreneurs to offer training programs to SolidGigs freelancers. The training covers a variety of topics such as writing engaging and successful job proposals or pricing and client acquisition.
For those who are just beginning their freelancing career, this type of advice and guidance is invaluable in an industry that is increasingly competitive and saturated with talent.
→ Related reading: The Best Weekend Jobs to Make Extra Money
With over 400 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is already established as the top social media platform for business professionals. Most freelancers have a LinkedIn profile to aid them in finding work and advertising their experience and skills. It makes sense then that LinkedIn would eventually expand into the freelance marketplace field.
With ProFinder, LinkedIn users will be notified when a prospective client posts a job or project that they qualify for. Freelancers can then submit a proposal for the job and will be notified through the site as to whether or not their proposal was successful.
LinkedIn won’t take a cut of your earnings, there are however costs to consider. Your first 10 proposals can be sent completely free of charge but after this, you will be required to purchase the premium business subscription, at a monthly cost of $59.99.
With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, FlexJobs is a popular and accredited platform through which freelancers can connect with potential clients and find work.
Unlike many of their competitors, FlexJobs screen every single job posting that is submitted to the site, making sure each job is legitimate and their freelancers are gaining access to top-quality jobs and projects. Of course, this service comes at a cost.
FlexJobs operates as a subscription service, with three choices of subscription. For one year, you will pay $49.95, for three months you pay $29.95, and for one month $14.95. The value for money is entirely dependent on the jobs you gain through the site and how much you are able to earn.
PeoplePerHour works in a very similar way to all of the previously mentioned freelancer marketplace sites. However, there are a few features that make PeoplePerHour stand out from the crowd. They offer a location-based targeting feature that allows clients and businesses to connect with freelancers in their local area.
Because of this, not all services provided through the site are solely digital-based. PeoplePerHour provides a place for many people to offer their services and expertise, including nannies, private tutors, as well as many other professionals.
The project writing tool also enables clients to specify the type of assistance they need. PeoplePerHour then use AI technology to send the job posting to the most qualified freelancers, who can choose to apply for the job.
It’s worth noting though that there have been some complaints regarding PeoplePerHour’s algorithms, making it hard to be recognized as a top tier freelancer despite completing many jobs to a high standard.
PeoplePerHour will retain a percentage of freelancer’s earnings, this ranges between 3.5% and 5%.
Outsourcely is a big competitor in the world of online freelance marketplaces.
Unlike most other sites of this kind, Outsourcely offers zero fees to freelancers. This includes subscription fees, commission fees, and any other hidden costs or charges. For freelancers, this is a great feature as it allows them to maximize their earnings without having to account for any losses. In an industry where work is often not guaranteed and pay rates might not be the highest, this is extremely valuable.
If like many others, you are put off by the high service fees and the precarity of work offered with many other freelancing platforms, Outsourcely might be a great choice for you.
Toptal is designed to connect businesses and clients with the highest quality of freelancers. Their screening process is extremely rigorous and involves tests based on your language, skills, and general personality.
For this reason, Toptal may not be for everyone. It is geared towards those with extensive experience and expertise and is extremely competitive and demanding. However, this also means that the rewards are higher than with other freelancer sites. Because Toptal claims to provide the top tier of worldwide freelancers and due to their refined screening process, Toptal freelancers can charge the highest rates for their services.
10. Hubstaff Talent
With around 150 jobs added to the Hubstaff Talent site each week, this platform is notably smaller than its fellow marketplace sites. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Hubstaff Talent also has a considerably smaller pool of freelancers using the site, and the jobs tend to be screened more closely and thoroughly than on many of its larger competitors.
Jobs are easy to find with Hubstaff Talent and freelancers can view the company and their budget along with the advert before submitting a proposal.
The other big plus for freelancers using Hubstaff Talent is the fact that there are no service fees. All earnings are your own and you will not be subject to any hidden charges for using the site.
More than 600,000 freelance designers use DesignCrowd when looking for work and applying for projects. DesignCrowd provides companies and clients with a range of graphic design services by connecting them with highly skilled and experienced designers.
If you’re a talented graphic designer, DesignCrowd is a great place to advertise your services and gain work. Many companies use the site to outsource their graphic design needs, so there is an abundance of jobs available to apply for.
While it’s free to sign up with DesignCrowd as a freelancer, they will keep 15% of the earnings from each job you complete.
Credo is a platform through which small businesses can connect with digital marketing experts, specializing in areas such as SEO optimization, social media management, content management, as well as many other services. If you have experience in this field, choosing a smaller platform such as Credo may provide you with the best chances of employment.
With that being said, Credo is not as widely available and accessible to freelancers as many of the other platforms such as UpWork or Fiverr. Service providers are kept to a minimum and are each individually screened and tested to ensure a high quality of work is provided through Credo.
The subscription fee for freelancers is $100 per month, which is pricey. But the guaranteed high quality of work and the low number of competing freelancers means that the work tends to be priced highly and you have a good chance of gaining work with the site.
FreeUp also requires prospective freelancers to undergo extensive screening prior to being accepted onto the platform. This is to ensure their skills and experience make them a good match for the site and the clients.
Once you have been accepted and set up your profile, you are able to view jobs that have been posted by potential clients. Should you wish to apply for any of these jobs, you will be directed to a live chat with the client that will usually last between ten to fifteen minutes. After this, the client will decide whether or not to hire you.
FreeUp focuses on client and freelancer relationships and engagement, so it’s a great place to network with clients and other freelancers. For many remote or freelance workers, this is extremely valuable as it provides a supportive and sociable network in a job that is otherwise fairly independent.
FreeUp will take 15% of your earnings, however, this is added on to the client’s fee so doesn’t impact your income.
Workhoppers focuses on finding freelancers long-term work outside of the Workhoppers marketplace.
Sign up is completely free for freelancers. After setting up a profile with as much detail regarding your previous experience and skills as possible, you will be able to view and connect with potential clients and jobs. Alternatively, clients may contact you if they feel that your profile reflects that you would be a good match for their business.
Clients are encouraged to use the site to seek freelancers who could potentially fit into their businesses on a long-term basis. So if you’re a freelancer looking for a more stable or reliable source of income while still enjoying all the benefits of remote work, Workhoppers might be your best option.
Marketplaces specializing in freelance work are on the rise and it’s easy to understand why. For many of us, the prospect of working from wherever in the world we choose and setting our own work hours and rates of pay is extremely enticing, and sites like these make it all the more possible.
It is well worth taking the time to do some research into which of these sites might be the best fit for you, your lifestyle, and your needs. Whether you’re looking for a part-time side hustle or a new full-time job, freelancing offers freedom and flexibility, as well as engaging, challenging work.