Freelance sites are filled with all kinds of different jobs in absolutely every industry imaginable! There are data entry, writing, virtual assisting, transcription, and customer support jobs posted all the time, and those are just the tip of the iceberg.
Each of these sites are similar in many ways, but there may be a few differences as far as how pay works and what methods of pay are available. These are also great options for work at home if you are not located in the U.S. as most of these are open worldwide.
Benefits of Working as a Freelancer
Independent minded people who need a flexible schedule are often best suited to freelancing.
You can set your own hours with most freelance gigs, which is a big deal for many people – especially those who have children at home, or who already have another primary job and are looking to add part-time work for extra money. In some cases, freelancers even have a certain amount of control over the terms of employment, and are able to set their own fees.
Basically, as a freelancer, you become an entrepreneur. You're the boss and you're also the employee. You get to decide what's the best way to increase your bottom line; you decide how much work needs to be done and when; you take the reins and forge a path that suits your own personal goals for the future.
Another advantage of freelance work is that it usually doesn't have any arbitrary limits on upward mobility. You'll probably have to start small and scratch for money in the beginning, but you can grow your business a lot over time by building strong relationships with clients, and expanding your customer base.
There are also certain fields where freelancing is actually one of the most viable ways to get your foot in the door and start making real money. For instance, if you're a visual artist or musician, there's a thriving market out there where people are making great money doing work on commission.
Many of these people have spent their whole lives developing their skills as hobbyists, and because they have a passion for creative expression, never dreaming that they would eventually be able to use their abilities to make a living.
Disadvantages of Freelance Work
The freelance world isn't for everybody, mainly because there's little or no job security, and the amount of work available is constantly fluctuating.
In an ordinary job, you can usually predict with a fair amount of confidence how much money you'll make every week, but freelance work is rarely ever that stable. In fact, some freelance niches are well known for boom and bust cycles. You'll have to manage your finances carefully when things are going good so that you can endure during the lean times.
Another thing to consider is the added weight of responsibility that comes with going to work for yourself. In most jobs, you have a boss who tells you what to do. You can focus specifically on executing those orders effectively, and let other people worry about everything else.
Freelancers are rarely able to narrow their focus to that extent. Most have to multi-task in a number of different ways, and have a much greater burden of responsibility.
As a freelancer, you'll have to learn to market your skills effectively, manage your profit margin, and manage your time. No matter what field you specialize in, it's safe to assume that there are a legion of other freelancers out there who'll happily compete with you for a share of the customer-base. To come out ahead and avoid getting lost in the shuffle, it'll be necessary to learn the ins and outs of the business end of things.
Sites For Freelancers
- Freelancer – Lots of project-based work in many different industries. Several payment options available.
- FreeeUp – Read FreeeUp Review – They source freelancers to do work for their major clients. Earn $5 to $50 an hour. Positions can become long-term.
- Fiverr – Read Fiverr Review – Open worldwide. List anything you'll do for $5. Also check out this post with tips from top Fiverr sellers. This is one of the biggest freelance markets around, and a great place for beginners to get their feet wet.
- Upwork – Read Upwork Review – I have personal experience with Upwork (formerly known as oDesk). Tons of work available in lots of different categories. Lots of different methods of pay available, and open to many different countries. Hourly and fixed price assignments.
- Guru – Simple interface, SafePay system in place. Lots of US-based workers.
- People Per Hour – Open worldwide but with a focus on US/UK. Submit proposals for freelance jobs you'd like to do or create hourlies posting what you can get done in an hour and for how much. Pays in bank transfer or Paypal.
If you've never done any freelance work before, you'll probably find that there's a pretty big learning curve. At first it's likely that you'll make plenty of mistakes, and it might take a while to get the hang of things. You'll have to study the market in your particular niche and find ways to leverage your strengths to their greatest advantage.
We hope that the list and information above will help you to put your best foot forward and bypass some of the typical growing pains that newbie freelancers generally deal with.