It can be tough to break into the freelance marketplace. After all, there's a lot of competition out there, no matter your niche or field of expertise. And if you're not yet an established freelancer, then it can take some time to build your personal brand and stand out from the crowd.
The good news is, there are a lot of online platforms dedicated to connecting freelancers with potential clients. Of course, these websites all come with significant advantages and drawbacks. However, even if you eventually stop using them as you progress through your freelancing career, these sites can serve as useful "launching pads" if you're just starting out.
Let's discuss 5 of these freelancing "giants" and why you should (or shouldn't) use each one.
This site boasts a strong emphasis on jobs in the technology, design, and coding sectors. Freelancer.com is a popular job board for clients and freelancers with specialized skill sets. In fact, some past users of the site include world-renowned corporations like Deloitte, Facebook, Amazon, and even NASA.
Freelancer.com offers several benefits to freelancers, and especially freelance specialists in the fields mentioned above. However, the platform does take its cut of your earnings, deducting a 10% project fee from each payment.
Skyword is a content marketing platform that is especially geared towards freelancers with marketing, graphic design, and/or content writing experience. Skyword functions less as a job board and more as a "go-between" that matches clients with freelancers that have the skills they need.
Freelancer reviews of Skyword have been generally positive. Also, there is no fee required to sign up. However, there may be long stretches on the platform without any available work, which means Skyword may be better utilized as a source of supplemental rather than primary income.
3. LinkedIn ProFinder
It's no secret that LinkedIn is the most widely used social media network among business professionals. One of LinkedIn's less famous, yet still widely utilized tools is ProFinder. This feature allows prospective clients and freelancers to connect with each other by means of an automated algorithm designed to match job candidates (and their skill sets) to particular job postings and projects.
If you're already present on LinkedIn, and have your profile and resume set up, then ProFinder is a relatively easy "next step" to finding more work. However, ProFinder comes with a big disadvantage: a monthly subscription fee of at least $47.99 to continue using this service. Obviously, this may be an exorbitant price for many freelancers to pay.
Mediabistro is a job board site with a heavy emphasis on the media industry. There are a ton of full-time job listings on Mediabistro's board, but there are also several freelance opportunities available, including work for copywriters, editors, publishers, and so forth. One particularly nice feature that Mediabistro offers is a training program that helps freelancers to hone their marketing skills and broaden their knowledge base. Of course, since Mediabistro has a much narrower focus than the other sites mentioned above, you may need a very specific skill set to find success with this platform.
Last but not least, Flexjobs is a job board site specifically dedicated to helping people find full-time, part-time and/or freelance work — especially remote work. Flexjobs is an extremely popular site for clients seeking freelance help; it's also a great network for novice and experienced freelancers alike.
The big advantage that Flexjobs offers is the lack of a service or project fee for each bid that you win. Whatever money you make is yours in its entirety. On the other hand, using Flexjobs comes with a big caveat: you'll have to pay to access the jobs found on the site. The rate Flexjobs charges depends on how long you want your subscription to last, and ranges from $14.95/month to $49.95/year.
Using Freelancer Websites to Build Your Client Base
The Internet is chock-full of networks, platforms, and websites devoted to freelance jobs. If you're new to the world of freelancing, or if you simply want to spread your wings a bit, then it may be worth it to check out the 5 sites discussed above. Just remember, each site has significant disadvantages to go along with its benefits — and most freelancer job boards and platforms will charge you for their services.
No matter which path you take to build your client base, remember to always "put your best foot forward," stay organized, and optimize your workflow so that you can stay focused on the customer. If you need some help in any of those areas, then be sure to check out our all-in-one platform designed for freelancers. It has several useful tools that can help you generate invoices and contracts, keep your schedule organized, and win bids from new clients. Whatever your skill set is, our platform can help you take your freelancing to the next level.