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How to Find Freelance Work

If you’re new to freelancing, figuring out how to land your first client (and your second… and your third) can be a little tough. Do you cold-email prospective clients offering your services? Do you focus on networking and hope for a referral? Or do you pour your energy into building your online presence and generate interest that way?

Well, those are all great options, actually. But let’s be real: When you’re facing down your next rent payment and scowling at your dwindling bank account, the priority is finding freelance work fast. Fortunately for all of us, a lot of other people have faced this problem in the past. And some of those people have built entire freelance marketplaces and communities to help solve it.

Below, we’ll share some of the best sites to explore if you’re looking to land your next freelance gig quickly or you just want to keep the doorway open to new clients.

Here are the best sites to explore if you’re looking to land your next freelance gig quickly.

General Freelance Marketplaces and Job Boards

Fiverr

Fiverr is a one-stop-shop for freelance jobs across practically any industry. You can sign up as a “seller” and offer your services on their marketplace for free, letting “buyers” come to you. If someone expresses interest, you can coordinate all your communications through the platform, including payment, which is released to you as soon as the buyer approves the project as completed.

Membership Fee: $0
Pricing Options: Fixed Price
Transaction Fees: 20%

 

Freelancing Females

Functioning as a community, directory, job board, and resource hub, Freelancing Females is a haven for self-identified women who work for themselves. You can browse their job listings and resources for free and sign up for their membership to get listed in their directory, join their Slack channel, and gain access to live workshops and exclusive discounts. On their site, they also feature a rad rate sheet where you can see what other women are charging around the world.

Membership Fee: $18/quarter or $59/year
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

Freelancer

If you’d prefer to browse gigs, Freelancer is a great option. They feature freelance job listings, so you get a bit more info about the project up front, and you can submit quotes to “bid” on them if you’re interested. Like Fiverr, you’ll still create a profile to attract people looking to hire, and you’ll be paid when the client marks the job as complete. Unlike Fiverr, Freelancer offers flexible pricing options and lower fees.

Membership Fee: $0
Pricing Options: Fixed Price or Hourly
Transaction Fees: 10%

 

Upwork

Upwork is one of G2 Crowd’s 2021 award winners for Best Software. The flexible marketplace allows job-seekers to market their services and makes it easy for clients to find the right freelancer for the job. Similar to Freelancer, Upwork allows freelancers to bid on projects, and they’ll suggest freelancers based on the hirer’s project specifications. The more work you take on with positive reviews, the more likely you are to land a project.

Membership Fee: $0
Pricing Options: Fixed Price or Hourly
Transaction Fees: $0-$500: 20%; $500.01-$10,000: 10%; $10,000.01 or more: 5%

 

FreeUp

Another player in the freelance marketplace, FreeUp offers more flexibility with pricing and more consistency with payments. You can charge whatever rate you’d like (the fees are on the client) and you’ll be paid out weekly for your work through PayPal or Payoneer. FreeUp practices a bit more discretion with their “hires”—you need to apply to join as a freelancer, interview with a team member, and pass a test in order to be accepted. But once you’re in, you can enjoy access to their community benefits, like 24/7 support and vetted, high-caliber jobs.

Membership Fee: $0
Pricing Options: Hourly
Transaction Fees: 0% (client pays fees)

 

Toptal

Similar to FreeUp, Toptal extensively vets its freelancers, conducting interviews to assess your skills and matching you with relevant jobs. Their clients range from Fortune 500 businesses to Silicon Valley startups, so you’re guaranteed high-quality projects with top companies around the world. Best of all, they don’t take a cut from your pay, so you get the rate you want. If you’re looking to make a career of freelancing and you have a strong resume, joining Toptal is a great move.

Membership Fee: $0
Pricing Options: Hourly or Weekly
Transaction Fees: 0% (client pays fees)

 

Guru

If you’re looking for a lot of flexibility and a powerful system to back you, Guru knows what’s up. This freelance marketplace is free to join, but they offer a range of membership options that can cater to varying needs and support you as you scale your business. Their free plan limits you to sending 10 quotes per month, which is fine for most freelancers anyway, so you can skate by at no cost (besides transaction fees) unless you want more powerful features, like Premium Quotes and boosted rankings to help you stand out.

Membership Fee: $0 to join, costs to upgrade
Pricing Options: Fixed Price, Task-Based, Hourly, or Recurring
Transaction Fees: 9% on their free plan (but you can agree to split up to 5% with the employer)

 

Design Marketplaces and Job Boards

99designs

99designs has been helping designers find work since 2008. Their unique platform allows you to work 1:1 with clients or participate in design contests to win a job. Designers are vetted and receive more perks as they take on more projects, ascending from Entry Level to Mid Level to Top Level as they gain experience on the platform. As your level increases, your fees decrease, making it a platform worth investing in.

Membership Fee: $0
Pricing Options: Fixed Price, Task-Based, Hourly, or Recurring
Transaction Fees: 15% at Entry Level, 10% at Mid Level, and 5% at Top Level, plus a 20% client introduction fee applied to your first $500 of income (which is waived if you win a client contest)

 

Smashing Magazine

If you’re looking for a simple place to find and get the job done, look no further than Smashing Magazine’s job board. Clients post jobs and gigs here regularly, so you can scan the list on your own time and apply as you wish. There are no fees or memberships—just a handy collection of opportunities.

Membership Fee: N/A
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

Dribbble

Acting as both a freelance job board and a membership marketplace, Dribbble is a flexible option for designers to find work. You can scan their list of opportunities for free or join their Pro Business plan to get their daily leads newsletter—AKA high-quality gigs in your inbox daily—so you don’t have to chase down opportunities.

Membership Fee: $15/month paid annually or $20/month paid monthly
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

Authentic Jobs

Authentic Jobs is a job board for designers, developers, and other creatives. They feature solid listings from reputable companies, and you can browse and apply free of charge. Check out their listings today if you’re looking for leads.

Membership Fee: N/A
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

Marketing Marketplaces and Job Boards

MarketerHire

For seasoned marketers seeking freelance work, MarketerHire is a game-changer. They qualify clients for you and take care of contracts and payments, so you can skip the business management and still enjoy a full pipeline. Oh, and it’s free. MarketerHire carefully screens and vets all the freelancers on their site, accepting less than 5% of applicants, so if you’re an expert who only wants the top jobs available, this site is for you.

Membership Fee: $0
Pricing Options: Hourly
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

Advisable

Similar to MarketerHire, Advisable hooks you up with tailored opportunities based on your experience and preferences and puts great care into vetting the freelancers before accepting them as “Advisable Specialists.” You can join for free, and if you make it through the application process, you’ll enjoy a steady flow of new work. If you want extra benefits, like higher-quality clients, greater exposure, and even custom lead gen campaigns, you can apply to join their Advisable Elite program, which is also free.

Membership Fee: $0
Pricing Options: Hourly
Transaction Fees: 20% for payments <$10,000; 10% for payments >$10,000; 5% for payments >$25,000

 

Writer Marketplaces, Job Boards, and Newsletters

ProBlogger

For content writers on the hunt for gigs, ProBlogger is a great place to start your search. They feature all sorts of freelance writing projects (not just blog posts) so you can pick and choose and apply based on your preferences. Plus, ProBlogger offers a cool hub of resources for bloggers looking to grow, so if you’re into that, sign up for their free newsletter to get the latest and greatest.

Membership Fee: N/A
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

Draft

Want a steady stream of freelance content writing work? Draft is the spot. If you’re accepted to the platform, you can browse and claim writing jobs—no proposals, no hassles. You just need to deliver the work by the deadline, and you’ll get paid out by Draft at the end of the week. It’s a great way to get consistent income without the pressure of searching for work and managing operations. To join, you’ll need a strong portfolio.

Membership Fee: $0
Pricing Options: $0.05-$0.30 per word for writing; $0.03-$0.10 per word for editing
Transaction Fees: 0%

 

SuperPath

SuperPath offers a much-needed community to freelance writers who are looking to network, connect, and find job leads. Their Slack channel is the place to find like-minded writers who are navigating the same ups and downs as you, and their job board is an awesome spot to nab new writing gigs fast. You can create a job seeker profile to seamlessly apply to jobs on their site.

Membership Fee: N/A
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

Peak Freelance

Peak Freelance is another ripe community for freelance writers to find jobs, connect with other writers, and bolster their skills by learning from showcased experts. You can browse their job board or sign up for their newsletter for free access to top job leads, contribution opportunities, and writing tips. And if you want more, you can become a member or join their Slack to connect and grow with other writers.

Membership Fee: ~$300/year or $27/month for full access; $11/month for Slack only
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

The Writer’s Job Newsletter

The Writer’s Job Newsletter is a newsletter that delivers some of the best paid writing jobs directly to your inbox every week. Oh, and did we mention that it’s free? If you’re a writer looking for your next gig, we highly recommend subscribing – while you’re at it, give them a follow on Twitter, too!

Membership Fee: N/A
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

Kat Boogaard’s Newsletter

Kat Boogaard is a freelance writer who has a weekly newsletter full of not only awesome freelancing gigs, but tips, advice, and other content to help you expand your freelance business. Subscribe to her newsletter today to get job leads sent directly to your inbox every week.

Membership Fee: N/A
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

 

HR Marketplaces and Job Boards

HR Lancers

HR Lancers is a freelance marketplace dedicated to connecting HR professionals with great work. If you’re in the US or Canada, you can become a member for free to search their marketplace or pay a fee to feature your profile.

Membership Fee: $0 to join, $7/month to feature your profile
Pricing Options: N/A
Transaction Fees: N/A

About the Author
Samantha is co-founder of Harlow. Previously she was a marketing and demand gen freelancer. She enjoys traveling, connecting with new people, spending time with her dog Karl, and throwing back an extra dirty martini every now and then.

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