Finding work once you've decided to go freelance can be tricky. Whether you want to become a freelance writer, UX designer, or motion photographer, the starting point is always the same - finding work.. There are a million freelancer job sites out there, but the quality of work on offer can be alarmingly low. But of course, there’s good work on offer if you know where to look.
To land the juiciest gigs, you have to specialise. The best clients won’t be listing their freelance and contract jobs on any of the mass-marketing job boards, so you’ll need to find the best freelance job sites in your niche.
Find the perfect professional for you with Bark. The site covers hundreds of UK professional services, which allows you to find a match for your requirements. Each customer is asked a series of service-specific questions to determine what work they need undertaking. With the suitable leads delivered then there is the option to send out a custom bid for the work.
For the IT contractor crowd, Elevate will cut out the recruiters and place you with the best clients quickly and easily - and with no finder’s fee carved out of your day rate, you’ll probably end up earning more. Upload your CV and receive job matches automatically.
If you’re a writer, Contently is worth investigating. You might have one of their free portfolios already, but there’s a whole agency set-up lurking behind the scenes, connecting writers with brands looking for content marketing expertise. Rates are usually in the hundreds or thousands of dollars per article, and Contently is worth checking out for its game-changing payment-on-submission alone.
The private members club of freelance job sites, OnSite is an invite-only network for the digital crowd. Project Managers, Developers, Designers and the like will find quality, curated jobs from top brands and agencies. If they can get in, of course.
Freelance journos may well frequent Journalism.co.uk anyway, and while their jobs section features mainly permanent positions, there’s a whole other section of the site where freelancers can list their services and location, letting editors quickly find and hire beat-reporters for one-off stories or ongoing work.
We’d be remiss not to mention our local digital advocates Wired Sussex, who operate a members-only jobs board with both full-time and freelance gigs. Equivalent regional organisations exist all over the UK, so if you’re not in Sussex, search around for yours!
YunoJuno is a popular option on the freelance job site scene and offers high-quality jobs from high-quality clients. A great option for the design and creative crowd, the site promises to (in their words) “cut through the freelancer recruitment forest with a sharp angry axe”.
The tidy little earners
You probably won't hit your ideal day rate, but if you've got some spare capacity you could always find some passable work at one of the following little-earners.
If you enjoy completing tasks that others might not, you could make some decent money on TaskRabbit. TaskRabbit is a people-as-a-service website that lets punters hire freelancers for hourly waged or one-off tasks like cleaning, assembling furniture or even standing in line on their behalf. You can set your own rates - hourly rates of up to £20 aren’t unheard of.
The name of this site gives you a clue as to the value of the jobs on offer - so if you’ve a specific talent or produce that can be sold cheaply and often, you could make some cash on Fiverr. Jobs on offer include designing artwork for weddings, Excel data processing, photo retouching - just about anything!
What happens if you mash together Elance and oDesk, two of the biggest freelancer job sites? Well, you get Upwork. That size has pros and cons, though. You’ll have a tremendous client base available to you, but you’ll also be competing with millions of other registered users. The jobs available are also worldwide, and a well-paying job in Bangkok translates to peanuts in Basingstoke. Nonetheless, there’s some good work available if you look hard enough.
A UK-centric spin on the Upwork model, featuring both remote and on-site work, as well as fixed-price projects and “hourlies”. The GBP pricing certainly increases the earning potential, and jobs like £400 for a day of filming aren’t uncommon, and even more lucrative fare (£35,000 for a few month’s 3D modelling work, for example) can be sniffed out.
Not to be confused with the unmentionable Mike Myers film, Guru is another outsourcing site, but with a focus on larger projects rather than bite size individual jobs. Many of the “gurus” for hire have minimum project values in the tens of thousands of dollars. If you fancy getting your teeth into a big contract, give Guru a look.
Freelancing explained without the jargon
Whichever stage you’re at, the world of freelancing is full of uncertainties. But once you’ve mastered it, freelancing can be the best way to work in the world, giving you the freedom and flexibility to do what you love, whilst living life to the full.