Freelancing could be a great way to work and live by. The flexibility of working from anywhere at any time, setting up your rates, and choosing which projects to work on or with whom, means you can be your own boss. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ really why more and more professionals look at freelancing as an appealing way of life and a big financial opportunity.
But (yes there’s a ‘BUT’), there is another side to this fabulous reality… meaning, keeping busy and establishing relationships with great brands that pay well, isn’t an easy task by any means. As talented as you may be at your craft, getting recruited for the right projects may take time and patience. It can be quite challenging to find that healthy balance between simple projects that help you deliver fantastic results, and complex ones which provide hands-on experience with cutting-edge technologies and make you shift your creative mode into fifth gear.
But (keep calm, it’s a good ‘but’), fortunately the freelancing industry is kind’a booming at the moment with a growing demand for talented professionals and more than a few options to develop your client portfolio. The list below might be a good place to start with, as it covers some of these options by the type of engagement you will have with the client and the relevant industry.
Bear in mind that this is by no means a complete list of the job platforms available today, so I apologise in advance if I have managed to skip on some good ones. You’re welcome to share your preferred list of freelance marketplaces in the comments below.
Clarity was launched in 2012 by Dan Martell as a great marketplace that connects between entrepreneurs and top industry advisers, i.e. ‘Mentors’. The platform pride itself with more than 30,000 verified mentors, amongst them Mark Cuban, Cameron Herold and Kate Kendall ,the founder of CloudPeeps.
Signing Up – First, you’ll need to create and verify your ‘Expert’ account via your LinkedIn profile. Once verified, you can start editing your profile by uploading your photo, an introductory video (optional) and set your hourly rate.
Taking Your First Mentoring Call – Clients browse the list of mentors by specific categories and choose the best specialist for their next consultation call. Once the client has submitted her or his preferred call time, the mentor (you) has 72 hours to respond and schedule a call.
Billing Your Clients – When a consultancy call has been completed, the client will be charged by the set hourly rate of the the mentor. Bear in mind that Clarity charges 15% of the total payment.
VIP Link – You can create a VIP link and provide free consultations. This could be useful for new mentors who would like to build their client portfolio and reputation.
Blog Widget – Mentors can embed a blog widget onto their website and get additional profile exposure from website visitors.
Clarity earnings are incremental; it’s $1300 I wouldn’t have made otherwise. I say that because my “clients” don’t have a pre-existing relationship with me, but this platform brought us together.
Clarity.fm: Start a $100 per Hour Consulting Business in 5 Minutes – Nick Loper, ‘Side Hustle Nation’
Officially launched in September 2018 by Foti Panagio, GrowthMentor has already managed to ‘cover a lot of ground’ amongst freelancers and the entrepreneurial community. The platform allows entrepreneurs and startups to connect with marketing experts that help them develop and achieve their growth objectives. According to the brand, ” All mentors have at least 5 years of experience working in growth marketing niche, advising startups, or tech companies. “
Signing Up – mentors registration works on an invitation based only, so you will have to request for an invite in order to start the application process.
Taking Your First Mentoring Call – Advisers can browse and apply for ‘help requests’ of clients. Additionally, clients can brows for relevant mentors or have an introductory call with the founder, to help them find the most suitable match before sending a call invitation to a specific growth expert.
Billing Your Clients – Clients are charged by an hourly rate set be each mentor. Bear in mind that many “new starters” provide free consultation calls to build their client base and reputation.
Minimum Call Length – mentors can set a minimum session duration, while the cost is determined by the percentage of the hourly rate.
After doing a free month of sessions, I now have a few individuals that are taking me up on weekly paid calls to help continue our mentorship.
A month of growth mentoring – here’s what I learned – Dani Hart, ‘Growth Gal’.
Top Talent Marketplaces for Freelancers
Toptal is a global top-talent marketplace and a highly respected community of expert freelancers. The platform connects between companies and experienced freelancers in software development, design, business, finance and technology. According to the brand, “The top 3% of freelance talent” are accepted.
Formed in 2010 by Breanden Beneschott and Taso Du Val, the Silicon Valley company pride itself with an impressive pool of experts that attract big brands and startups combined.
Signing Up – Toptal has quite a rigorous screening process in order to identify the top professional minds out there. your application will include the following tests: language & personality, in-depth skills, live exercises , and 1-3 weeks projects. Click here for the full screening process description.
Companies You Might Get to Freelance With – Motorola, Hewlett Packard, Airbnb and more
The below review discus the recruitment process for new projects and how you would set your hourly rate:
Next up you have to set your hourly rate. Unlike some misinformation online, TopTal does allow you to set an hourly rate of your own choice, however, they do have some recommended ranges based on region to get you a feel of what you charge relative to other members of the platform…
Each time you get matched with a project you go through a client interview. This interview is usually over Skype or some other voice chat program, and it allows you to get some insights into the project details, what they are expecting of you and they can also get a feeling to see if you are the right fit for them. According to TopTal staff, each project only interviews about ~1.7 freelancers before they make their choice.
TopTal Review – My First Year as a TopTal Freelancer – Marcus Lind, ‘coderbook’.
Onsite is an invitation only freelance marketplace for top designers, illustrators and developers. According to the brand, only 5% of applications get approved. The platform give clients the freedom to communicate directly with its freelancers and create a favourite list of creative professionals they work with on a regular basis.
Client Matching Process – This is done by an algorithm that matches between client job requirements and specialists profiles.
Billing Your Clients – Onsite uses Payoneer to manage transactions between clients and its freelancers.
Companies You Might Get to Freelance With – Onsite’s client list is not something one could ignore, as it includes Google, The BBC, Spotify and more. The company claims that in addition to their vetting process for freelancers, they also have a curating process for clients who would like to use their services.
There are only two types of people: those who work to achieve their dreams and those who do not. Those who work to achieve their dreams are truly admirable, with consistency and the desire to do things well, one can achieve anything. Working at ‘Onsite’ gives these people the opportunity to fulfil their dreams in a more orderly and safe manner.
Karen Quintero Castañeda, ‘mi vida freelance’ (Translated from Spanish)
Founded in 2014 by the British-Australian entrepreneur Kate Kendall. CloudPeeps is a marketplace for freelancers and businesses who are looking for content, marketing and design experts.
Freelancers can brows through job boards and submit proposals for specific jobs. Once your proposal was submitted, you should get a notification on your dashboard, if it was accepted, not accepted or whether the client would like to chat or negotiate your rate. CloudPeeps charges a monthly and a transaction fee from its freelancers, however, there is an option to subscribe for the free plan first. Check their full pricing plans here.
Companies You Might Get to Work With – CloudPeeps attracts an impressive crowd of clients which include: Microsoft, LOREAL, Airbnb, Virgin America, Indiegogo and more.
Store Front – Freelancers can create their own ‘Store Front’ and showcase their services and packages.
Promo Codes and Free Trials – This is available for new freelancers who would like to join CloudPeeps network, but you would have to contact their support team at email@example.com
Creative & Content Marketplaces
Contently offers a suite of content management services, starting with a project management tool for managing internal and external contributors and writers, an analytics tool for measuring ROI of published content and an AI powered recommendation system, where companies are matched with the most talented creative minds for their project.
Client Matching Process – Once registered and edited your profile with relevant skills, topics you write about and brands you’ve worked with, Contently’s algorithm will start matching your profile with relevant new clients.
Companies You Might Get to Work With – The list includes some of the biggest brands out there, such as: Google Marriott, Dell, Walmart and more.
Contently offers a freelancer rates calculator, which helps writers get a better perspective regarding their potential project rates. It combines data from Contently’s Freelance Rates Database and recent payouts to freelancers from clients
The high pay rates are by design, according to John Hazard, director of Contently Studio, the agency arm of the company. When Contently first began in 2010, they were allowing writers to set their own prices. They quickly realized this type of system is a race to bottom, as writers try to underbid each other get work. Instead, the Contently team created “a rate card that tries to cover all the bases,” providing set rates for articles based on work required and the amount of sourcing, he said. That rate sheet is proprietary, so Hazard wouldn’t share it, but the writers I interviewed get paid between $300 and $1200 per piece.
What’s It Like Writing for Contently? Writers Spill Their Secrets – Jennifer Roland, ‘Make a Living Writing’
Launched by Jay Swansson and Joe Griffin in 2014, ClearVoice, has grown to become a big marketplace for freelance writers and content creators.
Recently this year (2019), the brand was acquired by Fiverr, an industry leader, which act as a good signal for the growth trend in the content industry and the increasing demand for high quality content.
Signing Up – Once you’ve created an account and customised your CV, you’ll be able to apply and join ClearVoice’s talent network and set your preferred hourly rate.
Client Matching Process – ClearVoice uses a machine learning algorithm to match between posted jobs by clients and writers relevant CVs, writing examples, topic writers specialise in and their rate.
Companies You Might Get to Work With – Some of the brands on ClearVoice’ list include: Intuit, WOOBOX, LifeLock and more.
Skyword was founded in 2010 by Tom Gerace, and since than has managed to attract some of the biggest brands names, connecting freelancers in the creative industry with companies such as. IBM, Revlon, AutoTrader and more. Skyword pride itself with 400 brands as clients and more than $30,000,000 in payments transferred to freelancers. Additionally, the brand is currently accepting multilingual writers for its global clients.
Writers who have worked through Skyword agree that rates are much better than content mills. Charles Costa, who previously wrote for clients such as IBM, Kaspersky Labs, and Angie’s List through Skyword, reports that he made as little as $40 per post, although most were $75 or $100. In his most active months, he reports earning $2,500 from Skyword, writing 20 or more articles to earn that amount.
What’s It Like Writing for Skyword? Writers Tell All – Jennifer Roland, ‘Make a Living Writing’