Have you ever wondered how you can make money while still having the freedom to stay at home with your children? Or to earn decent money but not have to sell your soul to a 9 to 5 restrictive work environment?
Freelancing is your answer. In my opinion, freelancing is going to be the new sexy career choice of the professional woman in the 21st century who wants to have her cake and eat it too. True, it’s not passive income, it’s active but it’s still highly attractive as an alternative to the traditional desk-bound job.
Why? It has all these benefits:
- Work from home and eliminate traffic stress and time-waste
- Flexible work hours
- Get to stay at home with kids (or look after an elderly parent)
- Not bound by a 9 to 5 restriction
- Make actual money while being at home (in your pyjamas!)
- Decrease expenses such as gas (fuel) and fancy work suits
- Freedom to choose your projects
- Freedom to choose your clients
- Freedom to work hard or take a break
- Choose when you want your holidays
- Keep your day interesting by interspersing house chores with paid work
- Stay mobile
Prior to choosing freelancing as a career, I worked in typical 9 to 5 jobs. The last one, I truly hated because I realized that my body was bound to the office. Whether or not I was being productive there, I was forced to physically be present in the office because I needed to be ‘seen’ to be there. In my mind, it was completely restrictive.
Since I made the conscious and deliberate choice to look for ways to work from home, I have found lots of positives that I can never go back to a traditional 9 to 5. I just love my freedom and lifestyle too much.
For example, I am writing this while I am on a semi work/holiday in Atlanta. My husband is here for work and if I was in a 9 to 5, I wouldn’t have been able to join him without sacrificing some annual leave. But as it is, I am here working while he is working and on the weekends, we go out to have fun, like ordinary tourists.
Because all I need is my laptop, I really can work from anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection. If you are considering freelancing, you do need to be aware of some strategies that will help you gain traction and earn decent income faster.
My favorite freelancing website, Upwork, together with Freelancers Union commissioned a report that proves that many other freelancers feel the same way that I do.
If you are considering freelancing from home or expanding your freelancing work, you have many choices. I compiled a list of 100+ websites where you can search for work, listed in alphabetical order and in according to specific categories of All (for a variety of skills including all the categories mentioned later), Writing, Design, Administration and Marketing specific.
I am only active on a few of these websites but if you are looking for some serious work, then I suggest that you start with Genuine Jobs, LocalSolo, Workhopper, UpWork and ProBlogger. If you have a highly-specialized micro-skill that produces results in minutes and bulk freelancing makes you happy, then try Fiverr.
Happy Making Money From Home!
Amazon Mechanical Turk
The gigantic beast that is Amazon has expanded into marketing work services online through Amazon Mechanical Turk.
AngelList lists jobs for startups including location-based and remote jobs. Click on the ‘Remote’ box to retrieve remote work.
Mostly website and app development jobs but there is also copywriting and project management and a category for “miscellany”.
Bark has a diverse list of categories that you can apply for work in. Ranging from crafts to photography services to tourism, it’s one of the most versatile websites to look for work in.
Clickworker is a site that provides data microjobs including writing, researching, translating and data processing. Companies come to this site to look for assistance with tasks such as surveys, web research and product data management. No commission is charged for work done.
Craigslist is a directory for buying and selling products as well as services. It operates based on location so you should choose a location to start your job search (it’s available in several continents now). Read the ads carefully as some work requires you to work at a specified location but some will allow you to work from home. Also, since it’s so easy to put up an ad on Craigslist with no consequences, beware of scammers as well. If something sounds too good to be true, then question it!
The English on this website isn’t perfect but I am assuming it’s because it’s based in the Netherlands. In any case, it has a great concept. On top of the ordinary projects that you can apply to, you can also apply for design contests. From what the website says, it seems like you are guaranteed some sort of compensation, even if the employer subsequently changes his or her mind and decides not to choose a winner.
You can post your freelancing work in increments of $5, $10, $20 and $50. You can display your skills in a range of areas including video and audio and animation. One downside though is that Damongo takes a commission of 15% from the money that you make.
Findeavour focuses on micro jobs that can range in price between $5 and $500. This site looks slightly outdated but there are still new jobs being posted, although there is not as much activity as some of the other newer, more well-known sites.
What sets Fiverr apart from other freelancing sites is that it is extremely well-known and therefore, there is a lot of activity going on (ie. potential work). Services are sold for a basic $5 and in increments of $5 for more complicated work. Clients flock to this site because of the promise of cheap services. However, as you will notice, there are ways to increase your service rates by including up-sells. However, Fiverr takes 20% of your commission, that is, $1 for every $5 that you make. In my opinion, that is too big a cut for the work that you do.
FlexJobs works on a subscription basis, as opposed to taking a commission from your earnings. You can pay $14.95 per month for pay-as-you-go access, $29.95 per quarter or $49.95 for a year’s access. If you are a highly skilled freelancer with lots of work hours available, this may be suitable for you as you will probably end up paying less in subscription fees, than a high commission rate for your earnings.
Fourerr is based in London and reminds me of Fiverr but operates in a slightly different way. You can pay $5 to post an ad or accumulate 500 Fourerr coins to do so (which are worth $1 that can be used at the site to buy services too) by carrying out certain activities that pay you with Fourerr coins such as referring the site to others, uploading a profile picture of yourself, logging into Fourerr once a day etc. The site limits what you can charge for a one-off job to $700. Just life Fiverr (see below), the website seems to focus on micro jobs which is fine if that is what you like doing but I prefer looking for bigger paying jobs.
Founded in Paris, Freelance is another site where you can apply for jobs. Employers pay monthly subscription fees in order to be able to access your details once they choose you for their job.
Freelance Job Search
An aggregate of different jobs from several job boards.
Freelanced operates on a membership subscription basis. There is a basic free membership option where you still get access to jobs but not all of them. To gain access to more jobs and to place yourself higher in the Freelancer Directory, you have the option of paying monthly subscription fees ranging from $3 per month to $7 (which is a real bargain if you intend to be doing a lot of jobs in my opinion!)
Freelancer is one of the biggest sites for freelancing work. Nevertheless, ever since a change in management in 2009, the site has received some negative feedback from users, mainly that the site focuses on quantity, not quality.
There are many ways for you to advertise your services on Freelancer; you can get the free membership where Freelancer takes a 10% cut out of every payment you get or you can pay for a monthly membership which ranges from about 99 cents a month to $199.95 per month to make thousands on bids on the site.
Freelantia is a multi-lingual Spanish and English multi-freelancing website curator for freelancers. The websites that this site curates jobs from include UpWork (formerly ODesk and Elance), Infolancer, Domestika, Workana, Nubelo, Beetabeers, Yeeply.com and ProZ.com.
A great place for looking for ‘meatier’ work. Jobs are generally not micro ones but proper roles that are contract-based or for a period of time. The employers pay for the fees to advertize their jobs here so you get to take home all of your pay.
GetACoder has mostly development work but also some writing. It works on a bidding system where you put your bid for a job. If someone else bids lower than you, you get an email informing you so that you have the opportunity to adjust your bid. There is a commission taken from GetACoder for the amount you get paid as well as a fixed fee for fixed price jobs.
Based in good ol Aussie, GetSerio refers to themselves as the biggest aggregator of contract-based positions. They don’t refer freelancing positions but there are positions available that operate on the same basis. You will have to sign in with your LinkedIn profile or GitHub profile. It looks perfect on the outside but when I actually registered and started looking through jobs, I noticed almost all of them (at least in the writing categories were expired listings). A big UH-OH!
A site for microjobs similar to Fiverr and Fourerr. The difference is that you have to complete at least 5 small jobs at $5 with positive reviews before you are allowed to ‘move up another level’ (there are 3 levels) where you can advertize your services for higher prices. You pay $5 per month to post an ad or $15 per month for an ad on the left side bar for all pages.
Again, similar to Fiverr where you post a micro-service you are prepared to do for a price between $5 to $50.
Similar to Fiverr and Gigbucks above, you post your services for micro jobs for $5, $10 or $20.
Yup, like Fiverr but you can post gigs up to $1000.
Ditto with the other microjob sites above. You have to sign up to be able to access any jobs.
Guru is similar to UpWork and another great place to find work. However, I find that the quality of jobs and the accuracy of the job matches to my profile not as good as UpWork.
Hire My Friend
Hire My Friend heavily utilizes the concept of anonymous headhunting. When you set up your profile to advertise for the role you are wanting, your name, photo and other contact details will remain hidden to employers. This frees you to apply for a job without letting your current employer know that you are doing so. You then have to invite others, friends, mentors etc to endorse you. Once an employer selects to approach you, you get to decide whether you want to chat to this employer or not (and therefore, also revealing your identity to that employer).
Hourly Consultant focuses specifically on consultancy services. This is varied though, ranging from performance management to weddings. It is
iFreelance requires a membership fee ranging from approximate $6.26 to $12 per month before you can bid for projects. The higher membership fee provides you a higher listing at the top of the web page and therefore, more eyeballs. The advantage is that they don’t take any commission from your earnings. The downside is that you are in charge of collecting your own payments.
Again, similar to Fiverr for microjobs, this website takes a 20% cut from any money that you make. Looks like a decent site but just like Fiverr, way too much commission in my opinion.
JobBoy intends to better Fiverr. That’s right, you can get jobs done here for less than $5! From my brief perusal, it’s more like a testing site for software, downloads and the like. So this is a great place if you have a couple of minutes to spare and you want to help someone out. I wouldn’t put all my time on this website if you want to earn serious money though. Oh and no commission taken from any earnings.
Journalism Jobs is an online job board. They have full time, part time, temporary, permanent as well as freelancing work. Jobs featured are in a range of industries including government, academic, online magazines and the technology sector. It is free to apply for work.
JustAnswer is a great website for educated professionals with certification or degrees. You register with your resume and qualifications to be approved as an ‘expert’. JustAnswer sends you questions related to your speciality that have been posed by customers of the site and you get paid for answering those questions by phone or online. You get to set how many hours you want to work and also to choose which questions you want to answer too.
Krop is a free job search board. To find only freelancing work, select the freelance tag/keyword.
Localancers is based in Eastern Europe and charges both freelancers and employers USD19 to register.
LocalSolo is spearheaded by some experienced people in the commercial/freelancing industry. They claim to have partnerships with some big companies such as Google, Microsoft, Dell and Facebook. It is free to list but your profile has to be approved before it shows up in searches. Jobs here are not micro-ones and therefore, you have to make sure that your skills fit within a pre-determined category.
Mediabistro focusses on the media industry. You can find full-time jobs here (if that is something that interests you) but there is also a Freelancers Market page that allows you to post up your profile to market your services to the media. From a brief look, the existing list of freelancers look extremely experienced so this has a pro and con. The pro is that this probably attracts lots of work to the site. The con is that you have intense competition as a freelancer. Hourly rates are not advertised on this page so you cannot market based on lower price. Basic membership is free but there is also a $55 per year membership option that provides you with How To Pitch Guides, the Editorial Calendar Guide, discounts to some research resources etc.
Microworkers is quite different from your average freelancing jobs. The kind of work offered here is what I call ‘mini micro’ and oriented to a particular task to be completed and so the pay is also lower. Mini micro jobs range from signing up for things, social bookmarking, creating backlinks, writing reviews and testing websites. Employers create campaigns and pay you to test their websites and ensure that things are working or to create traffic. Pay can be extremely low due to the nature of the work. Registration is free.
Similar to Microworkers above, Minijobz also is oriented to mini micro jobs or specific tasks for campaigns. Registration is free but there is an 5% commission on any withdrawal of monies you make unless you refer 10 people to the site. Once you refer 30 people to the site, you are upgraded to Silver Membership and never have to pay withdrawal fees again. If you refer 300 friends, then you get ‘vouchers’ from the administrators. The site does not specify what these vouchers will be.
Mainly focused in the US and India, OsProjectz is free to register and find work on. However, they charge you a fee for upgraded options and features although it is not clear how much.
People Per Hour
Another great freelancing marketplace similar to UpWork. You get to submit 15 free proposals per month for jobs and there is a 15% commission fee on the first $280 that you earn and thereafter, a 3.5% commission fee.
Similar to Microworkers and Minijobz, the work here is task-specific such as liking a page on Facebook, following someone else on Twitter etc. They charge a 6% commission rate for withdrawals.
Rat Race Rebellion
An aggregate of different remote jobs from different websites including government sites such as the US Army, US Dept of State and US Air Force Academy.
Again similar to the other mini microjob sites mentioned above such as Microworkers, Minijobz and RapidWorkers, Short Task focuses on quick, easy jobs with correspondingly, lower pay amounts.
Currently no registration or commission costs, Staff seems to be focussed on supplying a cheap pool of online labor as they promote their Time Doctor software which allows employers to keep track of time and verify work done. Nevertheless, there are still some highly experienced freelancers who advertise their skills here.
If you are a student, this is the place for you! Free to register and find work.
Another great place for students as well as graduates to find work and get experience. Based out in the UK and free to register.
Task Army has similar undertones to Fiverr (microjobs) but unlike Fiverr where you increase your prices by 5s, you are given freedom in how you want to price your task-specific work.
Based out in India, Taskr looks like a professional site where you can post your services. 20% commission (which in my opinion is a bit too high) and it also looks like you will be paid in rupees. A reasonable option if you are based in India but maybe, not so if you are not.
One of the biggest problems that I see with freelancing websites (from a freelancing perspective anyway) is that some of those websites are not active at all. You could potentially waste time registering on a site that no longer has any employers posting work. The Workster reassures this concern by providing an auto update feature at the bottom of its homepage that lists activities in real-time. You can see people registering, viewing jobs etc. Jobs are mainly paid in Indian rupees but you still see the occasional non-Indian job. Registration is free and no commission is charged.
TheShelf is not your average freelancing work but it’s still very relevant if you have a substantial blog and following already. Companies pay to have you feature their product or service in your blog and introduce it to your followers.
Tutor focuses on online tutoring work only. There is a specific list of school, college and University subjects that tutors are hired for including Mathematics, Accounting and Business Law.
UpWork is my number one preferred place to look for freelancing work. UpWork is the marriage between Elance and ODesk with increased quality. I was lucky enough to speak to a business development manager of UpWork and I was told that they had consciously eliminated the bottom percent of freelancers with low scores in order to increase the quality of work but also clamped down on scammers posing as employers. This is my most active site when it comes to looking for freelancing work.
uTest is a place to find work if you love testing and quality assurance work. Tests include software testing and mobile applications.
WayUp is a job site for college students looking for one time, part time, summer or full time jobs. I have used it myself as an employer, not a freelancer and have been able to access some highly qualified students.
We Work Remotely
Based on the book REMOTE by New York Times bestselling authors Jason Fried and David H Hansson, this site mostly advertises full-time remote (work from home or anywhere) roles. Entirely free of course.
Mainly development work but there’s also some marketing and writing work for the WordPress platform.
Workhoppers looks like a great freelancing marketplace with some decent work. No commission and free to register.
Similar to We Work Remotely, you can apply for mostly full time remote jobs here. Free to apply.
Again mainly development work but a mixture of location-based, internship and freelancing work for the WordPress platform.
Currently only focused on London-based freelancers, it’s another potentially great place to find work if you are a Londoner. Mainly geared towards designers, developers, creatives, project managers and testers. Completely free to apply for and find work. No commissions as a fee is charged on employers for posting.
A microjob site where you can post your price for a specific task between $5 to $500. Commissions range from 8% to 20% and is based on price and your ‘level’. You can move up the levels by generating more positive reviews from the work you do, staying committed on the website for a length of time and increasing your volume of work.
Provides an aggregate of blogging jobs.
Freelance Writing is an online aggregate of writing jobs from different websites. They also host writing contests, talk shows for writers as well as other very useful resources.
Freelance Writing Jobs
Freelance Writing Jobs provide you with access to remote as well as other types of full time and internship work.
Online Writing Jobs
Online Writing Jobs connect online writers with specific client brands. You get paid per article (ranges from around $15 to $50) and need to be approved before you can start receiving jobs. There is no application fee nor commissions charged.
A job board for bloggers. Free to apply and looks promising with some serious work available.
A directory to post translation and interpretation services without a commission fee.
An avenue to make money from your own unique content including social media, blogging, photos, videos and links.
Scribendi employs editors and proofreaders. Jobs can be freelance telecommute or in-house work.
TextBroker is another great option for writers. Registration is free. Payment is based on the quality of your writing which is assessed when you send in a sample of your work. Thereafter, you choose whether you want to work on the open market (you can pick and choose who you want to work for) or with particular employers or teams. You need to be writing at a specified minimum level before you can choose this second and third option. When you work with specific employers or teams, your pay can be negotiated directly with the employer and team.
The Burry Man Writers Center
An aggregate of writing jobs from different websites all over the world.
Translation work for linguists.
You need to take some grammar and formatting styles tests as well as upload a sample of your writing work and evidence of higher education certificates. Once you are approved to the team of writers, you get to choose amongst the daily writing projects. Free registration but depending on the payment option that you choose, there may be a commission charged.
99designs works like a competition. You have to be comfortable with producing work with no guarantee that you will win the bid. The client will choose which design he/she prefers and then pay the winner. The advantage is that clients love seeing different ideas and this concept attracts more work. The other advantage is that all advertised projects are guaranteed as the client has to pay a set free upfront before he/she can ask for bids.
A place for photographers, illustrators and designers to sell their services and work.There is a $99 membership to be part of this website.
AwesomeWeb does not charge a commission but a monthly subscription fee of $27 per month. In this respect, AwesomeWeb claims that you end up paying a lot less fees than if you paid a regular commission.
Another great place to showcase your creative portfolio for freelancing work.
CrowdSPRING also works on a competition basis for the creatives.
DesignCrowd works on a competition basis like 99designs but instead of a set free, clients can advertise their project for any amount that they want as long as it is above the minimum $30 per bid amount.
A job board with mostly location-based work. You can select ‘telecommute’ to limit your searches to work that you can do from home.
This is a serious job board for designers but there is the occasional request for logo design. The work is a mixture of location-based work and remote work. Just tick the remote work option when you are using the search function.
Envato Studio works a little differently in that you have to apply and then approved before you can offer your design and development services. Opportunities to apply do change though and at the time that I checked this website (October 2015), the application form was closed.
The employer pays a fee in order to access the list of available designers so registration is free for you but subject to approval. However, note that in order to qualify, you must link to a custom portfolio and there is specific criteria for what kinds of portfolios are acceptable and which are not.
Design contests that you can compete in to win payment.
Hexi Design operates as an auction (like 99Designs) where you have to submit your ideas to bid for a project. The employer chooses which design he/she likes best and the winner gets paid. Free to register and no commission taken.
Similar to Hexi Design above, this is also an auction website for design where you submit in your ideas for a project and if the employer likes your design best, you get paid. Free for you to register as usual and no commission taken.
Juiiicy pays you not only to do work but also to refer work to other designers within the Juiiicy community for a 7% referral fee.
Logo Arena is similar to other auction/contest websites but it focuses specifically on logo design contests. You need to submit at least 10 other logo designs that you have done for approval along with your application.
Based in the UK, OnSite focuses on design, development, illustration, motion and management skills. Membership is by approval only so you have to demonstrate that you have the required level of skill before you can be included on the list of available freelancers and to apply for jobs. This is how they aim to maintain quality of service. The site also takes into account demand and supply. So if a particular role has too many freelancers, you may be placed on a waiting list. The website states that while it is still growing the site, there are no commissions applied on funds.
Programmer Meet Designer
This site invites web designers, developers, writers, programmers and entrepreneurs to form partnerships and be paid for your skills.
Smashing Jobs is an online job board for Smashing Magazine which is mainly targeted at creative professionals. It has both full time and freelance work and an especially great place to look for development and design work.
Toptal claims that it only accepts the top 3% of designer and developer freelancing applications to its site. This essentially creates a base of trust and presumably, there are quality employers and work on this site. If you a high-quality designer or developer, than this place is gold for you. Just be aware that good English language is a MUST and you will be subjected to an interview as well as tests.
A website for software developers to do consulting.
If you have strong PHP, jQuery, WordPress and HTML skills, Codeable claims that you will be paid a minimum guaranteed rate of $60 per hour.
Gigster looks for talent to work on projects that come through the site.
Another great place to share your developer skills with some pretty big names.
Similar to Gun.io and still in a beta phase, your application needs to be approved to be entered into the list of freelance developers.
Mostly location-based work but there is also remote work.
A mixture of location-based and telecommuting work for full time, part time and contract work. Although there is no quick way to select only telecommuting work to show up, they are available.
Similar to Joomlancers above, StackOverflow Careers operates like an online job board for full time, part time and contract work. Again, no real easy way to select telecommuting work only.
Technically, Topcoder is not a freelancing site but it is still a place that you can earn some cash for your development skills. It operates as a competition where you compete to develop real life solutions for companies and get paid if you win.
Marketing and creative jobs can be found here.
You can offer your SEO services here on SEOClerks for payment or even as a trade for another service in return.
If you possess marketing expertise, you can apply to be accepted as a ‘partner’ to Traction and be paid for your marketing work.
Well, if you have chosen a site to work in and are ready to jump in, I have also written down 10+ strategies that I learnt through my own experiences of how to be successful at online freelancing faster.
All the best to you!