When they first came about, freelancing websites were designed to essentially be job boards for freelancers. Some offered the chance for freelancers to market their skills by posting ‘gigs’ that clients could hire them for, and others allowed clients to post jobs and have freelancers ‘bid’ on them.

With how much the world has changed in the past few years and more and more of us choosing to become freelancers as opposed to employees, are freelancing sites worth it?

Fun fact, as of 2021, 36% of the US Labor Market is made up of freelancers!

A List Of 5 Genuine Freelancing Websites

The good news is that, yes, Freelancing sites are still worth it! You just need to know which ones are genuine and worth your time, especially if you are just starting out as a freelancer. 

Let’s take a closer look at the top five genuine freelancing sites, their pros & cons, and if they are suited for your area of expertise. 

Fiverr

Fiverr is what most would consider to be the ‘starter’ platform when it comes to freelancing websites. 

While Fiverr is great for dipping your toes into the world of freelancing and securing your first few clients, there are a lot of fields of expertise (namely writing and design-based work) where it’s a case of ‘race to the bottom’ pricing dominating the search pages. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother listing on there; it just means you need to really make sure that your gig stands out and shows off what you can do for a client.

Fiverr isn’t generalized to one niche and would suit any type of freelancer. You can find all kinds of work there – from bookkeeping to voice-over work, custom claymations to SEO services; there is no limit to what you can offer gig-wise. 

Upwork 

Upwork is a great all-rounder platform, and you should be able to find work on there no matter what area or niche you specialize in. It can take a bit of time to establish yourself on there, but once you do (and have perfected your pitching style), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a good stream of work.

Related: Is Upwork worth it

Freelancer 

Freelancer covers a whole host of freelance niches and areas and has a handy filtering system where you can sort jobs by fixed price, hourly rate, skills, and language. In addition, they will show an average bid and the number of bidders a gig has so that you have an idea of where to price yourself when pitching and how fierce the competition might be.

PeoplePerHour 

PeoplePerHour uses AI to help pair the right freelancers with the right client, so it’s essential to make sure your profile lists all of your skills and expertise. This system is why PPH is one of the preferred platforms for more established freelancers, as it cuts out a lot of wasted time pitching for work for clients who don’t exactly know what they are after.

Envato Studio

Envato Studio is the platform for creatives, designers, and developers, with the most popular categories for jobs being logo design and WordPress theme customizations.

Envato Studio allows you to upload your portfolios and examples of previous work directly onto the platform, making it even easier to show your skill and pitch for work.

are freelancing websites worth it top to bottom

 

Some mainstream freelancing websites as of 2022

What’s Good About Freelance Sites?

Freelancing sites don’t follow a ‘one size fits all’ approach (which is why we love them!), so while these points might not ring true for every platform you use, it gives an excellent overview of the benefits and best bits that come from using freelancing sites.

Freelance Job Sites Can Make It Easier To Sell Your Services

Trying to explain what you do for work as a freelancer can be a bit tricky. Often, many of us don’t wear just one ‘hat’ and instead have honed a range of skills that complement each other to provide clients with a wealth of experience and expertise. Using a freelance job site to sell your skill and services to clients can be so much easier, thanks to how they are set up.

Most sites let you choose from an extensive list of skills you can add to your profile and gig adverts to showcase what services you can offer without having to articulate each one individually.

Freelance Sites Can Take The Fuss Out Of Job Hunting

Job hunting as an employee can be an incredibly long and drawn-out process – there’s the multiple applications, arranging rounds of interviews, and waiting to hear if you’ve made it to the next ‘round’.

With freelancing sites it couldn’t be easier to job hunt! If you see a role or gig you like the look of, you simply send a pitch to the client explaining why your skills are best suited to it, and they decide whether to hire you or not based on your portfolio and previous experience. The whole process can be as quick as just a few hours before you’re working on a new job.  

Freelancing Sites Can Make It Easier To Get Paid

There is nothing worse than having to chase invoices at the end of the month, and it’s one of the most stressful parts of being a freelancer.
Thankfully, if you use a freelancing platform to arrange your work, they handle the money side of things for you and act as a mediator between yourself and the client to ensure that you get paid once the gig has been completed.

Most sites will require clients to pay upfront and will then hold that fee until the client has confirmed you have produced the work; once everything is confirmed as being ‘delivered,’ you are then paid.

Freelance Sites Can Help You Get Started As A Freelancer

As with almost everything we do, getting started is always the hardest bit. Launching yourself fully into freelancing can be difficult, but sites such as Fiverr and Upwork make it much easier to get going on the right foot.

Think of using freelancing sites as a stepping stone or baby step into your role as a professional freelancer.

 

Look for credible clients with solid hiring records and legitimate job posts

What’s Bad About Freelancing Websites?

You can’t have the good without having a bit of bad too can you? We’re not saying that these points are relevant to every freelancing website and platform you’ll use, but as a general rule, these are some of the issues people can have across some of the most popular freelancing websites.

High Competition Can be A Race To The Bottom For Setting Freelance Rates

While freelancing sites can be a great way to get you started, they can quickly become uneconomical the more experience you gain. This is due to the high competition on them from newer freelancers willing to price lower to get those first few jobs under their belt.

Ideally, once you have your first few jobs completed, you want to raise your prices to reflect your gained experience- while this is completely fair and how it should work, you will often find that some freelancers are happy to charge as little as feasibly possible for their time to have a constant stream of gigs.

This is what we mean by ‘Race to the bottom’ pricing and rates – the lower prices of freelancers around you in the same space/on the same platform can sometimes make it so you can’t raise your prices enough to make good progress.

High Service Fees

Freelancing sites act as the middleman or mediator between you and the end client; as nice as it would be if they did this for free, it wouldn’t make for a very good business model for them. As a result, almost every freelancing site you use will charge you some sort of service fee, whether that be a set rate per gig or a % cut of your overall gig fee.

You’re Are At The Mercy Of The Freelance Site And Client

The issue with relying solely on one freelancing site to bring in the bulk of your income is that you’re putting aloof your eggs in one basket. If that platform suddenly decides to close your account, your whole income and client base can be wiped out in one click.

Also, working with clients via freelancing sites puts all the power in their hands; they hire you to do a specific job or task, and that’s it – it’s the same as being an employee at a company when really you want to be using your skill to show a client how you can get results for them and develop a long term relationship with repeat work.

It’s Hard To Build Up Your Freelance Business Or Brand

Freelancing platforms are great for picking up your starter gigs or as a way to supplement income when money is a bit tight one month, but they aren’t the way to build your business or brand.

You don’t want to be paying platforms a cut of your earrings for each job forever; it cuts into your profits too much.

Also, by only taking on gig work with requirements set by the client, you don’t get to show them your full skill set and how much value you can bring to them. Showing off your range of skills and honing your niche is what helps you to build your brand.

 

This is how you’ll look on People Per Hour

How To Make Freelancing Websites Work For You 

If you want to kick start your freelancing career by trying out some of the sites I’ve mentioned, you’ll want to follow these tips to ensure you get off to a good start.

Establish a Niche

It can be hard to pick a niche sometimes, especially if you enjoy doing a lot of different things. But it can help to build your brand (and rates!) quickly if you establish yourself as an expert in a particular area.

Being a good all-rounder means you can charge lots of people a few dollars per hour for a gig, but if you are an expert in a niche field, you can charge a few people big bucks for a more specialized gig.

Be Selective About The Clients You Work With

You don’t have to say yes to every client. When starting out, it can be hard to turn down a gig, but if it doesn’t feel right it’s usually not worth the hassle. As with anything online, you can come across frauds or scams on freelancing sites; try to verify their credibility by seeing if other freelancers have reviewed them.

Work On Pitching

Knowing how to pitch to a client is half the battle! When you pitch to a client, you need to make sure that you’ve:

  • Explained exactly how you can meet the requirements of the gig
  • Added a bit of personal flair to make it interesting and engaging
  • Made it stand out. If you can add stats or figures you’ve achieved for previous clients for a similar type of gig, that can give you the winning edge.

What Can You Do Instead Of Using Freelance Sites?

If you’re unsure if freelancing sites are the way for you to go (or maybe you want to widen your scope for gaining clients), then there are plenty of other ways to start building your freelancing portfolio and brand.

Build Your LinkedIn Presence As A Freelancer 

Build it, and they will come. That’s how it is with building your brand on LinkedIn. If you establish yourself as an expert in your niche on LinkedIn, people will come to you for help.

Check out: Ways to Find Freelance Jobs on LinkedIn

Use Your Own Website 

As well as using LinkedIn to build a brand, you’ll also want to create your own website to showcase your services and the results of previous work.

If you spend time optimizing it for SEO (or if you aren’t sure how to, hire a freelancer who does), you won’t have to search for clients; they’ll find you!

Join Relevant Facebook Groups For Freelancers

One of the great things about being a freelancer is that you get to know other freelancers. We’re a friendly bunch, and making connections within your field or niche can be invaluable. There are a ton of great Facebook groups to join as a Freelancer – try searching for freelancing groups related to your specific niche or your local area.

Recommended Freelancing Websites For Beginners

If you’re wondering which freelancing site is best for beginners, I’d have to say that Fiverr is probably the best place to start, then maybe you “graduate” to Upwork once you have a few gigs under your belt.

Although they might be on the lower-paid scale of all the freelancing sites, you have to start somewhere, and you won’t be stuck on them forever.

Think of Fiverr as like the Freelancer ‘Sandbox.’ It’s where you get started and learn the ropes.

So, Are Freelancing Websites Worth It?

If you’re just starting out in the world of freelancing, then freelancing websites are definitely worth it – even if you only use them for a short time to start helping bring in some money while you work on your other strategies.

They don’t need to be your permanent solution, and we would suggest building up your LinkedIn profile and own website alongside them. Still, you can’t go far wrong with using freelancing sites as the first stepping stone to your fabulous freelance career.

Featured Image: Unsplash


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities they represent. Freelance Theory is not affiliated with any of the aforementioned entities.

Charlotte Millington
Charlotte is a freelancer based just outside of London, UK. She is a one woman agency for all things content and community, helping clients to boost their online presence with SEO optimized content and strategy while also building their audiences with targeted community building and management. Charlotte also writes for TheLondonLocal.com and SimplyMoneySavvy.co.uk

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Charlotte Millington

Charlotte is a freelancer based just outside of London, UK. She is a one woman agency for all things content and community, helping clients to boost their online presence with SEO optimized content and strategy while also building their audiences with targeted community building and management. Charlotte also writes for TheLondonLocal.com and SimplyMoneySavvy.co.uk

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