Once you decide your niche, you must start looking for work. As a beginner, your best bet for work is on freelancing websites. While you can use other tactics to secure work, I would recommend that you initially register with as many of the popular freelancing sites as possible and start there. It is important to work with some of top six general freelancing sites for freelancers
These sites offer a market place where clients meet freelancers. Some will deduct a commission from your earnings while others surcharge only the clients.
And do not be scammed; genuine freelancing sites don’t ask for any registration fees.
Here are the the top 6 general freelancing sites for freelancers;
Formerly Elance-Odesk, Upwork is the biggest freelancing websites around the globe with hundreds of thousands registered online workers and hundreds of thousands of clients. It is like a freelancers’ hypermarket where you can sell virtually any skill and secure awesome clients who hire for the long term.
Upwork deducts 20% from any earnings you get from the site and you have to bid to get jobs. Click here to register with UpWork.
Please note that Upwork has a tendency of rejecting applications of new freelancers especially if they feel that your target niche is already overcrowded. They do this to safeguard current freelancers from over competition.
You can overcome this challenge by improving your profile and then re-applying. But the best solution is to aim for niches with fewer freelancers. You can see my list of high-level online jobs here
As of 2016, Upwork had registered more than 12 million freelancers who earned more than $1 Billion from the 5 million client members.
Writers, animators, editors, designers and even programmers are some of the most dominant freelancers in upwork.
Upwork clients offer competitive rates hence its popularity with freelancers.
Fiverr is another top ranking freelancing site headquartered in Israel. It is a general site meaning you can sell a wide range of skills like web-design, video editing, coding, SEO, data analysis or transcription services.
In Fiverr, you initially register as a seller and create a Gig (A service to sell). All Gigs are priced from $5. For instance, if you want to freelance as a taxation expert, you first register then set up your gig.
It is a market place and you should treat it as such by creating and promoting as many gigs as possible.
Some new freelancers think that clients will automatically hire you just because you have set up a jig. Wrong! You have to keep refreshing it and promoting yourself. The secret is to set up your gig creatively and appear to the client as the ultimate expert.
Never ever mention that you are a new comer. Again, do not promise clients quality that you very well know you can’t deliver. Only market skills that are within your ability.
When contacted by a prospective client, feel free to seek clarification on areas you feel you need more information. Otherwise, you will under-deliver and chase away clients.
Some freelancers have specialized in specific niches and are making a kill on Fiverr.
3. People Per Hour(PPH)
PPH is another growing freelancing site whose work model is a mixture of Upwork and Fiverr.
You can market any service there though they have recently introduced a service fee of between 20-25% on any earnings you make from the site.
Registration still remains free.
There is no limit on what you can sell here. You will find web-designers, graphic wizards, social media marketers, SEO geeks and even guys selling simple services such as converting pdfs to word documents.
The site has over 50,000 registered freelancers and guys who work here are assured a constant flow of work so long as they can package their services in a way that appeals to clients.
Registration is super easy. You will then get an option of creating a service to sell at a fixed price (a hourlie) or simply browse and bid for jobs that interest you.
The site offers some incentives for freelancers. For example, if you introduce a friend, you get £20 while you have your fees waived if you introduce a client.
This is one of the pioneers and biggest freelancing sites offering work opportunities in multiple fields. It takes 10% of your earnings as service fees.
The site reported having more than 21 million freelancers by the close of 2016. The majority of services here are in design and creative, programming and in content writing.
Like the rest, you must register before getting start bidding for jobs.
Just like Fiverr, Freelancer.com has been criticized for promoting very cheap pay for freelancers.
Guru.com offers you a platform where you can demonstrate your expertise in your focus area. Freelancers create a profile, describing the services they sell, and then employers will find you when having a job through the search function.
You can also skim through the site, seeking out a worthwhile job. Pitch the advertiser as soon as you find a fitting job.
There is a fee of between 4.95%-8.95% charged reduced from your earnings for completed projects.
You can also go for monthly subscriptions which have some added privileges such as access to lucrative jobs and employers.
Again here you find a great mixture of skills and it could be your ticket to big projects.
Do register here.
While the others are dedicated freelancing sites, craiglist is actually a big classifieds website with specialized sections for forums, housing, jobs, wanted items and even community.
But it has proven to be a hit with freelancers who decide to look for direct clients rather than get work through freelancing agencies.
If used well, you can get well-paying clients some whom fires for the long term.
A lot of experienced workers have successfully boosted their incomes by taking advantage of craiglist. It doesn’t matter your specialization- CL is a big market with something for everyone.
Be flexible and browse as many CL sites as possible as there is a version for almost each city.
No registration is needed. Simply visit the site, hunt for a gig and once you get something interesting, follow the instructions in pitching the advertiser.
The top six general freelancing sites for freelancers could help you hit the jackpot
There are tens of other small dedicated and general sites from where you can start your freelancing careers. Most have a very simple application process and you can start earning promptly even though at a low pay rate.
The above sites are however unique in that you can sell virtually any service through them.
Again, nothing beats learning from your clients and this is where you will meet them. Get the education from them before considering working for specialized sites.
It’s rare to achieve success in all the sites and the idea is to identify the site that fulfills your ambitions.
The best strategy is to register for all, test and see what works for you. Build on that and forget about the others.