The Internet is overflowing with freelance job sites promising riches beyond your wildest imagination in exchange for just a few minutes of your time, but the harsh reality is that a lot of them are a waste of time. Usually an over-abundance of job-seeking freelancers from all over the world serves to drive prices down, making most jobs not worth the time for those of us in the West. Or the jobs on offer pay peanuts to begin with (I’m looking at you, SEO industry).

In response to this ‘race to the bottom’ more and more sites are springing up aimed at freelancers who want to eat more than beans on toast. These higher-quality Contractor and Freelancer Jobs sites usually offer something in the way of curation – either of freelance talent, or the jobs on offer, or both – to ensure well-paying gigs and equally good results. We’ve been test-driving a few of them for some time and thought we’d round up some of our favourites.


Specifically for the wordsmiths out there, Contently allows freelance journalists or writers to assemble a portfolio with relative ease (just give it the URL of a site you write for and it’ll whizz through and find your articles, or upload PDF scans of print work), which can then be used when pitching for work.

Contently also sports a “Writer’s Network” where freelancers are invited to pitch for exclusive work from some pretty huge publishers including Forbes, The Atlantic and BuzzFeed.

For freelancers Contently is totally free (we’re assuming any fees they take are on the publishers’ end), although is currently rather US-centric.


Back home in good old Blighty, freelance job marketplace 3Desk is going great guns, signing up 300,000 users in just over a year. The focus here is on local work – although there’s plenty of remote / work from home stuff available too.

Like Contently you’ll be tasked with assembling a profile to woo potential clients, but 3Desk can pull in information from your social profiles, meaning most of the hard work is done for you. Just arrange it in a way you like and away you go!

Being UK-based you won’t get shafted with currency conversion or exchange rates either – day rates in the £400-£500 range are not uncommon.


Having recently “pivoted” (that’s startup speak for realising your original idea was crap) to become a freelance job network, Crew (formerly Ooomf) is taking the high road with regards to quality, and has a strict vetting process for both clients and freelancers. Designed primarily to get mobile and web apps made, Crew allows developers, designers and copywriters to register – although there’s no guarantee of acceptance.

With an average project value of $3,900 (that’s Dollars, remember) Crew looks set to provide some lucrative work. Having just launched we’ve not had a chance to stretch our legs on this platform yet, but we hope to report back soon.


Also recently re-launched, and with a focus on digital freelancers (Web designers, developers and the like), WorkFu has a similar setup to 3Desk, but with a couple of nice additions. Your profile has a “Reading List” section where you can show off any books you’re currently digesting (protip: No Twilight or Fifty Shades if you want to be taken seriously), and jobs are presented with a “Fu Score”, which estimates how good a match you are with a potential project.

Authentic Jobs

One of the bigger worldwide freelance job sites, Authentic Jobs is one of the few that has managed to keep low quality gigs out (for the most part). As with all international sites it’s slightly skewed towards the US, but there are plenty of UK businesses posting their freelance openings on there, and plenty of work from home stuff too.

The majority of the opportunities on Authentic Jobs are the usual designer / developer fare, but there’s a smattering of other stuff too; content, sysadmin and consultancy, for example.

Any more hidden gems that we’ve missed? If you’re making hay on a freelancing platform, let us know about it in the comments below!

Image by Terry Chay

  • Glenda

    Nice to know someone is trying to halt the race to the bottom! Thx

    • Jon Norris

      Couldn’t agree more! Shout if you know of any others.

      • Hi Jon, we will shortly be launching It is invite only (freelancers and employers) and will protect day rates whilst remaining commission free for employers. Cheers.

        • Jon Norris

          Hi Paul,

          I’d noticed OnSite actually – will look forward to giving it a go when you launch!

  • just launched a few weeks ago by the Envato guys. Looks promising. Check it out.

  • Kevin Jenkins

    All web and graphics based – looks like product design (3D) isn’t getting a look in…..

    • Jon Norris

      Some of them aren’t discipline-specific (3Desk / Authentic Jobs), so you might see some product design jobs cropping up here and there.

      Let us know if you have any good sites you use – would love to have a broader selection!

  • My directory site,, is a very cost-effective directory for freelancers working with words (particularly proofreaders, of course!).

  • idnane stanstol

    Wow!.. I just scrolled jobs at 3desk , most of the jobs are trying to make a trend to pay nearly $5-$10 per day for web development.
    Even after huge competitions, or odesk etc, atleast don’t degrade the job or tasks 3desk seems to be doing. They really need to specify the minimum payment, it’s a very bad impression for me on the first sight!

    • Think you might be mixing up the hourly rate there – most of the jobs we’re seeing are in the £250/day range.

  • Tony Bittan

    What qualifications do you need to “work with words”? I’ve always been a good spotter of mistakes and my boss and collegues iften asked me to proff read their stuff.

  • Lyndsey Miles

    I find it frustrating that so many sites are US-centric, particularly when their search filters are rubbish at letting you find freelancers in your local area.

  • Afsheen, is amazing. Its a UK based marketplace that offers real work for real people. If freelancers can show their talent, work for sure follows.

    Freelancer at PPH, but by no means, promoting them for any reward.

  • I invite you to try FlexJobs. Whilst US-centric there are jobs that can be done from anywhere
    and Internationally

  • Hello Jon.
    We are opening up a new site called next month. We would love it if you would have a look at it then!

  • Keep a look on guys…. keep a look on that! British based coming marketplace with a global perspective! Great people behind!!!

  • Luke

    almost all the avenues for writers that I see on the freelance websites you mention (and those sourced online through Uncle Google) are for writers of website content, basic ‘how to’ pieces, advertising copy and dumbed down non-factual ‘think pieces’ …

    7 Steps That Will Help You Track Down Missing Freelance Payments (from Contently)

    etc. etc. ad nauseum … where are the markets for work with substance for freelancers? not just basic copy writing, proofing and web page content /fillers?

  • Sophie

    I thought you might also be interested in learning about a brilliant recent addition to the UK creative job market – The Dots –

    The Dots is a professional networking site for the creative industries, with over 1000 top creative organisations using the site to hire creative talent, including: Tate, V&A, Conde Nast, Barbican, Wolff Olins, Roundhouse, Net-a-Porter, Saatchi & Saatchi, Twitter, Spotify, Bompas & Parr, Tatty Devine, AKQA and many many more.

    The creative job board hosts a mix of top-level roles, freelance work and paid internships. The Dots is also a completely free promotional tool for your portfolios, creative courses, workspaces, networking and inspiration.

    I hope you find it a useful resource 🙂

  • Becca Towers

    love your Blogs, for a person just entering the arena it’s invaluable information. Thanks