If you’re a freelancer, finding work can be tough. But it’s not impossible. One of the biggest challenges is trying to continuously find new job listings that you are skilled at to be able to keep working for yourself.
Given that the 9-5 job doesn’t suit everyone or perhaps you’re looking to start your own business on the side, there are plenty of freelance websites out there that can help you find quality work and get paid what you deserve.
The best thing about the freelance sites I’m going to show you is that it doesn’t matter if you are new to the world of freelance or a seasoned professional looking for your next client, you can definitely find something that matches your skillset.
On the other side of the coin, many top freelance websites have helped small businesses and business owners alike find some awesome qualified freelancers and remote workers to help them with any odd jobs that need doing.
Through my online career, I have been a freelancer and have noticed that not all freelance websites are created equal. Some take a bigger pay cut than others, sometimes the job opportunities just weren’t there.
In the end, time is money and money is time. If you wanted to get paid as a freelancer with minimal fees then you need to take a look at some of the best money transfer apps to move your money around.
With that said, let’s fly!
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links that may provide a small commission to me at no cost to you (it will buy me a cup of coffee though 😉). However, these are the best freelance websites for job postings. You can read more about the affiliate disclosure in my affiliate policy.
What are the Best Freelance Websites?
Whether you’re looking for writing jobs, graphic design, or project management, take a look at the best freelancing platforms below.
The best freelance site overall.
We start with one of the largest freelancing sites. Upwork has developed a lot over the years. What I like best about Upwork is that you can get started straight away and browse jobs just by completing a profile.
This is where you complete what experience you have, a little bit about yourself (the part I hate too), and any other relevant previous workplaces.
Pro Tip: The more information you can add to your profile the better chance you have of landing your desired job.
After using Upwork for years both for freelance work and as a business owner, I can safely say that the features are what make this job posting platform more than just a traditional job board. You can filter job postings by contract length, hourly rates, fixed price projects, and more!
Given that there are more than 12 million registered freelancers, there’s bound to be some competition. Here are some things I’ve found to be effective when starting out on Upwork:
- Consider temporarily lowering your hourly rate until you get a good positive feedback rating.
- Freelance gigs with more than 20-30+ proposals usually aren’t worth it.
- Easy to use messaging platform within the app for communicating with potential clients.
- Secure payment system for freelancers and business owners.
- Talent Scout that sources the best freelance talent to put in front of new clients.
Before we go into the plans, Upwork has its own credit system. These are known as “connects”. You use these to apply to certain jobs which will cost a certain amount of connects. When you sign up for a new account you’ll receive 80 free connects to get you going.
From there, you can buy additional connects if you run out in the month. Unused connects roll over to the next month up to a maximum of 200 and do have an expiry date on them.
There are three membership plans to choose from:
- Basic Plan (FREE) – Includes 10 connects/month. Hourly protection to ensure you’re paid for every hour that is worked, and comes with limited reports and functionality.
- Plus ($14.99/month) – Includes everything in basic and adds 80 connects per month. Your profile will never be private due to inactivity, view competitor bids, and customize your URL.
- Enterprise (Contact) – This is the top level and is primarily used for businesses. Services here include thorough testing and vetting process to make sure you are getting the best talent on the platform.
Upwork has a sliding pay scale where the more you earn the fewer fees you pay. This is lifetime earnings for every non-Enterprise client. The rates are as follows:
- $0 – $500: 20% fee
- $500.01 – $10,000: 10% fee
- $10,000.01 or more: 5% fee
Suppose you have a client that you got paid $750 for a freelance job. You’ll be charged 20% on the first $500 and then 10% on the next $250. Your total after all fees would end up being $625.
Remember these are lifetime earnings per client. If you were working for the same person yet it was done under two different companies, your lifetime earnings would also be treated separately.
The fact that Upwork is one of the largest freelance marketplaces means that whether you’re looking for jobs or to hire talent means that you shouldn’t ignore this one.
Best for remote work job seekers.
Straight up, Flexjobs is for anyone looking for remote job opportunities as well as anyone looking for freelance jobs. This includes part-time and full-time work from entry-level to executive positions.
What I love about Flexjobs is literally the flexibility on offer. Whether you want to work from home, remotely on an island, or something in between no doubt there will be something for everyone here.
What is incredibly surprising is that each of the jobs and companies that are seen on the platform has been screened manually for professionalism and how specific or flexible their options are. This means that you are assured to be working with the best quality of job listings.
- Ability to browse for local jobs.
- Zero advertising spam and scam free job searches.
- Job search resources to advance your career. One-on-one coaching, mock interviews, and resume reviews.
- Members only savings on products and services to help support your job search.
Of course, when you’re talking about top freelance websites like this one, things don’t come free.
You can choose to pay for:
- One week: $9.95
- One month: $24.95 – That’s just $6.24 per week.
- Three months $39.95 – Only $3.33 per week.
- One Year $59.95 – Save 65% by paying just $1.15 per week.
With every subscription on offer, you get unlimited access, email alerts, free skills testing, a personalized portfolio to upload resumes, and other documents to stand out.
Backed by their 30-day satisfaction guarantee, if you are not satisfied for any reason, their excellent support team (phone, email, online chat) can guide you through and will immediately process any refunds.
When you consider that there is someone going through thousands and thousands of freelance jobs before you see it in the job postings section, that shows the level of integrity and what kind of experience you are going to have when you join Flexjobs.
Best for entry level freelance opportunities.
What freelancing list post would be complete without Fiverr. Founded in 2010, Fiverr started as a place where buyers and sellers came together and where digital services (called a “gig”) were offered for only $5. Hence the name Fiverr.
In 2013 however, after a lot of criticism, Fiverr lifted the rates and allowed the popular job categories of logo design, web design, and graphic designers (among others) to charge their own prices.
Something to be wary of here for highly creative professionals (software engineers and project managers) out there is that Fiverr may not be the right place for you. From my own experience, it’s great to get your feet wet in the freelance workspace if you’re doing it for the first time and build up a client base.
What people tend to do here is offer their freelance services for a low price as a “sample” of their work so clients will then take them on for much larger contracts.
But if you already have had some freelance work experience and looking to expand your client base then you could be disappointed.
Having said that I do still believe there’s a place for Fiverr and those looking to find jobs according to their skill set.
- Free to join and also list opportunities.
- On demand professional courses from leading experts.
- Protected payments and full-time support channels.
- Choose over 20+ currencies to be paid in.
Fiverr has an incredibly simple fee structure. You keep 80% from each transaction with no other subscriptions or fees. Payments are built within the system and are held immediately when a buyer hires you. Payment is then transferred to you once the gig is completed.
There are plenty of ways to make money on Fiverr, and even make a full-time career out of it, you just need to start.
Best for experienced freelancers.
Toptal prides itself on being the most exclusive platform for freelance jobs. They may not have the most job opportunities compared to other freelance sites and that’s the idea.
This freelance platform is targeted towards professional designers, web developers, and freelancers who excel with software development.
Only the top 3% of freelance workers actually make it through their brutal five-stage hiring process. With the whole process taking anywhere between 2-5 weeks to complete.
To have the best chance at succeeding in Toptal’s screening process here’s what you’ll need:
- A comprehensive understanding of the English language. With excellent communication skills being high on the priority list.
- Good technical knowledge and problem solving skills. You’ll be put through your paces in this stage through a number of assessments. Toptal only want to work with experts in their field. According to Toptal only 7.4% of applications pass this stage.
- Ability to perform on live screen. You’ll go through a series of live exercises where they are looking for problem solving skills, knowledge depth, communication skills and creativity.
- This stage is the testing phase. What they are looking for is if can you put it all of your skills together through real-world scenarios. It’s time to bring your A-game! Be competent, thorough and professional to have the best chance at succeeding.
- Congratulations! It’s time to keep up the good work. Toptal is all about quality so you’ll need to maintain your focus on the clients.
- Opportunity to work with some fortune 500 companies.
- Two week trial period on any project.
- Ability to charge higher rates because of your expertise. Salaries start from $60 per hour or $1,000 per week depending on your job position.
While there are no fees for freelancers, companies must fork out a $500 deposit to work with their freelancer of choice. This amount is then credited to the invoice at the end of the project. If you decide not to go ahead with your new hire then you will be refunded in full.
Because of Toptal’s naturally high barrier to entry into the network, most freelance jobs won’t be suitable to apply and that’s ok. However, if you meet expectations and are indeed in the top 3% of your industry, this is an incredibly lucrative way to make a living.
Best for freelance designers.
99designs is a little different compared to other freelancing websites in that the focus is around graphic design and creative jobs. And there is certainly no shortage of freelance design jobs here. I have personally used 99designs to have various logos, branding, and even web design projects done.
The talent of freelance workers in this creative marketplace is nothing short of fantastic. Every single submission made to me was top-notch, which made having to choose my design that much harder.
Something quite unique to 99designs is the design contests. When I was in the market to hire freelance designers, I set the parameters of the listing to blind. This meant that others bidding for the job couldn’t see which logo design I preferred so that way they wouldn’t just copy each other.
- Work directly with clients or participate in design contests.
- Choose the industry, styles, and design categories you want to work in.
- Work with global businesses to build your client base.
As with most freelancing websites, there are fees but it’s free to sign up and head straight to the job board to find potential clients. The rates and any rewards from the job will vary according to the type of graphic design work that you do.
You’ll be paid within three business days or less if you’re a top-level designer.
99designs will charge a $100 introduction fee whenever you start working with a new client. This cover’s their cost of matching you up in the first place. There is then an additional freelance platform fee that is paid on every project but varies according to your designer status.
- Top Level – 5% platform fee
- Mid Level – 10% platform fee
- Entry Level – 15% platform fee
99designs is a great platform that connects freelancers to business owners and is a great way to start a profitable partnership.
Best freelance marketplace with plenty of options.
A true freelance marketplace for anything digital marketing-related. Freelancer has an extensive job board with over 1800 categories to choose from. According to the Freelancer website, there are over 57 million registered users.
This means that there is a wide range of skills that is able to be capitalized on including software development, web design, and even freelance writers are in high demand.
To get started you simply create a profile, go through the verification process, find jobs that are within your field, and then write the best pitch you can to clients letting them know why you are the best person for the job.
If you are wanting to find freelancers for a job you might have, the job board makes it incredibly easy to browse profiles, create a listing, and due to the sheer size of this platform you can expect to receive offers within minutes.
- Compete in contests and earn even more money.
- 24/7 customer support team.
- Chat in real time with clients.
- Stay connected through the app with job alerts as they become available.
For clients, a fixed rate of 3.3% is payable upon job completion.
For freelancers, it’s a little more complex depending on the type of job you do.
Having a free account allows you to place up to six bids per month. If you win a contest you’ll be charged an 11% fee. But, get hired for a service and you lose 20% of the total price of the service charge.
Be aware, user accounts that have not logged in for at least six months will be charged a maintenance fee of up to $10 USD per month.
This particular job site brings in plenty of competition with other freelancers also bidding on the same projects. In turn, it can start a race to the bottom (even if the work is of lower quality) for people just wanting the work.
If this is something you’re not a fan of I would suggest trying out one of the other freelancing websites on this list.
One of the largest freelancing websites.
Guru is one of those freelancing sites where everything is transparent and has a community built on trust. Finding a gig on the Guru job board won’t be too hard with over 800,000 employers worldwide looking for their next talent.
To get started, simply apply for a free account and verify your details. Everyone who joins Guru is manually verified. As with any account that you create the more information you can put in to build out your profile the better chance you have of securing jobs.
When you find a job you want to apply for, use your bids to send them a quote. If your quote is competitive and interesting enough employers will then connect with you. Once they do, you can then come to an agreement before starting the job.
The WorkRoom is an online folder within the platform to manage and share files. You can add team members, assign roles, and keep track of payments and invoices.
- Dedicated support team available 24/7.
- Lowest fees compared to other freelance job sites.
- Secure payments built in to the platform.
- Multiple payment terms.
While the free plan is great to get started, there are a lot more benefits to consider paying for a membership. These include:
- Send premium quotes. This helps you stand out from the crowd.
- Receive up to 600 bids with a maximum of 300 allowed to rollover to the following year.
- Boost your profile ranking to the top so employers see your profile first.
- Pay a lower job fee of just 5% (the lowest in the industry).
- Ability to send direct messages.
There are five different membership plans to choose from (if paid annually):
|Price Per Month||FREE||$8.95||$15.95||$24.95||$39.95|
|Bids Per Year||120||600||600||600||600|
|Premium Quote Cost||–||–||6 Bids||5 Bids||4 Bids|
|Sales Messaging Cost||–||–||5 Bids||4 Bids||3 Bids|
Depending on the scale of your freelance operation, my recommendation would be to just start out with a basic or basic+ plan. However, depending on how serious you are about finding work, it might pay off to upgrade your membership.
Which Skill is Best for Freelancing?
When it comes to freelance work, any skill which can be done remotely will perform the best for freelancing. This includes freelance writing, web development, or even if you’re a web designer. All of these and more can be skills that are in high demand for freelancing.
Given the amount of freelancing sites available these days with thousands of employers in need of highly skilled talent, it won’t be long before you land your first gig.
Is Upwork Legit?
Yes! Upwork is totally legit. In fact, it’s one of my go-to places for freelance jobs when I need a bit of extra income for the month.
Upwork was started in 2015, and since then over 18 million freelancers are using the platform to find work. Sure, you might run into a few scammers, but that will be with any website.
Thankfully, the Upwork customer service team has a good grip on those who exploit the terms of service and boot them from the site pretty quickly.
A good habit to get into is to keep your guard up. Anyone asking for credit card details, having a sketchy website URL, or requesting that you join up to other websites to “lower fees” should be a red flag and report them immediately.
Upwork has a secure payment platform in place so you can be sure to get paid and increase your user experience.
Does Upwork Pay Well?
According to an Upwork study of freelancers in America, more than 53 million people are now freelancing. The study also revealed that 60% of freelancers are now making more money than they did in their previous full-time job.
Anyone with a skill set in web development, software, marketing, and even finance industries can expect on average around $28 per hour with higher hourly rates depending on your expertise levels.
This is more than 70% of what all workers in the United States alone are earning.
How Do I Become a Freelancer in 30 Days?
To become a freelancer in 30 days is achievable for anyone. Here is how I got started and made my first dollar online freelancing.
1. Create a website to showcase your portfolio. If you want to do freelance writing then put your blog posts on display. Freelance designers can use websites to show off their design skills.
2. Network with others. This is where your professional advantage will come in handy. Let’s say you work in a digital marketing agency as an SEO specialist. You would already have some clients who would know of someone that could use your services to further add to your portfolio.
3. Hang out where your ideal clients might be on social media. The idea here is not to promote your services, rather it’s to provide help and show people how much value you can provide.
Now don’t go thinking that you’ll be living on a private beach somewhere in the Bahamas after 30 days.
This is only the beginning and a great start to building your own business so that perhaps one day you can be the one hiring freelancers.
Whether you’re just needing it as a side hustle or wanting something more by replacing your 9-5 job, being a freelancer can be hard work, but that doesn’t mean it has to be.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you as a business owner want to get out of these freelancer websites. Different platforms offer different services and rates. There’s no harm in trying a few and seeing which one you resonate with the best.
It’s also not a bad idea to create profiles with many freelance sites to give you a little breathing room should one close down or they suspend your account for any reason.
When it comes to finding the best freelance websites to find remote work, it can end up being a lucrative way to make money.
It’s time to be the pilot of your life and not just the passenger.
Which job board do you like the best? Let me know in the comments below!
Chris Bournelis is a blogger and part-time web developer. He has been working in online business since 2015. Join him here at ChrisBournelis.com for the best SaaS reviews and tips to get the most out of your online business.