With the dismal state of today’s job market and economy, most people are looking for ways to make more money, and many are curious about freelance work. Finding a decent job these days is not easy, and most people can’t afford to sit around waiting for potential employers to call. Whether you are unemployed or simply want to supplement your already-existing income, there is a whole world of freelance opportunities out there for those willing to pursue them.
In case you are unfamiliar with the term, freelance refers to work done on a job-by-job basis, where there is typically no further obligation to a client once a job has been completed. Essentially, this means being your own boss, working from home, and deciding your own wages and work schedule. While this kind of freedom certainly sounds enticing, it also has its limitations.
For example, a freelancer’s income is typically not consistent; people who work on a freelance basis only earn money when they can find work. Whereas a salaried worker can expect a regular paycheck of a known amount, a freelance worker might earn a lot of money one month and nothing the next. Also, freelance workers do not receive benefits or a retirement plan.
Despite these drawbacks, working as a freelancer does have its advantages, and many people find this kind of work to be rewarding. If you are the kind of person who enjoys a challenge, appreciates variety, and craves freedom and autonomy, then freelance work may be right for you.
Thanks to the Internet, becoming a freelancer and finding work is easier than ever before. This is not to imply that the market is not highly competitive—as it certainly is—but rather that it is much easier for people and businesses seeking freelance workers to get in touch with them than it used to be. Third-party websites are a common and effective, though not the only, means for clients and freelancers to connect.
Whether you want to get into freelance writing or computer programming, getting your first job is not going to be easy if you are starting off with no freelance work experience. Therefore, using third-party websites is practically essential, at least initially, to breaking into the job market.
While eventually clients will probably start seeking out your work if you are a skilled and dedicated worker, in the beginning you will probably have to put a lot of effort into searching out clients and convincing them that you are worth hiring, and third-party websites make this process exponentially easier.
The task of determining which resources are right for you can appear daunting. As most new freelancers quickly discover, there are multitudes of websites out there devoted to connecting clients with workers, helping you take advantage of the freelance opportunities that are out there. Not all of these sites are created equally—each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is important that you know what you are looking for—that you understand your own needs—when it comes to picking the right web resources for your freelance endeavor.
Since you will not start getting paid until you are awarded your first job, it is critical that you minimize the time it takes to make this happen, especially if you are serious about freelance work and wish to support yourself by freelancing. For this reason, it is a good idea to consider utilizing more than one freelancing website in your search, especially if you have decided to devote yourself to freelancing full time.
On the other hand, whether your area of specialty is freelance writing, computer programming, or, ideally, some combination of skills, your ultimate goal is to make money. Therefore, it is essential to your success that you keep the cost of running your freelance operation low and make sure it is proportionate to your income. Some freelance websites charge membership fees, and others charge a percentage of the money you earn from jobs, while many charge both. It is important to take this into account when deciding which and how many websites to utilize.
Which Websites Are the Best?
Elance (elance.com) is one of the top freelance marketplace websites. They connect freelancers with clients who offer a wide variety of work. While Elance does offer free membership packages, most users find that it is worth paying the monthly fees, as this allows you to bid on more jobs and create a more detailed and attractive profile. Packages range from $10-$40 a month. Elance also charges a commission fee of 6.75%-8.75% on all jobs completed.
Guru (guru.com) is another great site that offers a wide variety of freelancing opportunities. Like with Elance, using the site is free, and users have the option of paying between $9.95 and $45.44 for upgraded memberships. The initial project fee is 9%, but upgrading your membership bumps it down to 4.5%.
Scriptlance (scriptlance.com) is a site geared mostly toward programmers and web designers, but also offering freelance writing and marketing jobs. This site does not charge membership fees, but both clients and freelancers pay either a $5 or 5% fee (whichever is greatest) on each job worked.
Though there are typically fewer jobs available than at the sites listed above, iFreelance (ifreelance.com) also offers a wide variety of freelance jobs. Their membership plans start at less than $7 per month, and they charge no extra commission fees.
Other Ways of Finding Work
Although freelancing websites are a great way to find jobs, especially when you are first starting out, they are not the only way. One of the most important tactics for being successful in any business endeavor is making interpersonal connections. If you do good work and maintain strong relationships with your clients, opportunities will have a way of finding you. People and companies are always more comfortable hiring or recommending someone when they know the quality of work they can expect. One of the greatest things about freelance work is the variety of the connections you make and the work you do.