5 Freelance Job Sites That Pay Well

 In Freelancer Accounting, Freelancer Tips

More and more people are opting to go freelance in their careers. According to Forbes, almost 56.7 million Americans were freelancing in 2018, and in the UK we had almost 2 million freelancers. So where are all these people finding work? 

Well, one of the easiest places to find work is online, because the internet has come up trumps again. From the comfort of your very own sofa (or bed), you too can work for a large multinational organisation headquartered in New York, a bespoke business in Bali or a winery in the south of France. 

Because if you have a specific skill set that doesn’t require face to face meetings with clients, you can work virtually anywhere and for anyone. 

So, if that all sounds too good to be true, for once it isn’t. 

The internet is awash with freelance job sites that cater to almost every industry, and then some. So depending on what your particularly niche is, you are pretty much guaranteed to find a job site that you can sell your freelance skills on. 

Why work freelance?

Well, there are a few reasons why people choose to work freelance: 

  • Flexibility to fit work around the family.
  • Ability to work at any time of the day or night to suit your preferred work habits.
  • Can work anywhere in the world as long as there is an internet connection.
  • If you don’t like a client you aren’t stuck with them, you can ditch them and find someone new.
  • A great way to make additional income.
  • You can set your own rates (and let the accountant figure out the tax).
  • You get to choose your own career path, not have it dictated to you.

What is a freelance job site?

A freelance job site does what it says on the tin – it is an online platform where freelancers can sell their specific skill sets, or where clients can advertise for freelancers with certain skills. 

Whilst the freelance job sites vary wildly in terms of UX, most of them have a similar format: 

  • Clients can advertise job openings.
  • Freelancers can create profiles highlighting their skills and showcasing their portfolio.

From here the two then merge. 

Freelancers typically pitch for job openings, sending clients a short intro and paragraph about why they are the most suitable freelancer for the job, as well as listing several relevant work examples to back up their claims. 

Freelance job sites don’t typically provide work themselves to freelancers, think of them more as the middleman, the connection between you (with your niche) and your potential clients. 

So far, so great, however, these sites don’t come for free. 

Cost of working through freelance job sites

Almost all of them will take a cut of your earnings – their ‘finders’ fee, if you will. And they almost always make it nearly impossible for you to contact clients outside of the site, and if you do, they consider it circumvention and if found out, regardless of your reason, you will be heavily penalised or barred from using the site. They want their pound of flesh. 

Without further ado then, 5 top freelancing sites that pay well (because you have to bear in mind there are a lot out there that encourage a race to the bottom mentality). 

Upwork

This is probably the biggest freelance job site on the internet, meaning a vast array of jobs for the taking, however expect a vast amount of competition. This site is probably one to try if you’re just starting out, but you’ll soon realise that there are bigger and better fish to be had elsewhere once you’ve built up your portfolio and credentials. 

Charges to use this site:

  • 20% for the first $500 billed with the client.
  • 10% for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000.
  • 5% for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000.

You are also charged for submitting a proposal for each job – this is $0.015 per connect and it might cost you between 1-6 connects per proposal

PeoplePerHour

PPH to those in the know, is a much smaller, yet far superior site to Upwork (it’s also British). The serious freelancers who use this site don’t take kindly to newbies trying to make headway by offering similar services at cut price rates, so learn what the going rate is, and try and stick to it. 

Freelancers get a chance to pitch on fixed priced projects, or pitch for projects and suggest a price. Freelancers can also create ‘offers’ which is where you can sell your specific services, ie if you’re a copywriter you can create an offer whereby you will write a 500 word blog post on any topic for £30, or if you’re a whizz on wordpress you offer to help fix problems or issues for £15. You get the idea. 

Charges to use this site:

  • Over £5000 – 3.5% (excl. VAT).
  • Between £500 and £5000 – 7.5% (excl. VAT).
  • Below £500 – 20% (excl. VAT).

You get 15 free proposal credits every month, and one pitch equals one proposal credit. You can purchase more credits if you run out. 

Freelancer

This is another enormous site with a large user base – 16 million registered users to date in over 247 countries. However, this site charges the lowest fees, so whilst you could be quids in, you do have stiff competition you’re up against. 

Charges to use this site:

  • The fee for fixed price projects is 10% or £3.50 GBP, whichever is greater.
  • 10% for hourly projects.

You get 8 free bids a month. If you want more, you have to purchase them. 

Toptal

Toptal claims to pay the most to freelancers and their USP is that they only accept the best of the best freelancers on to their site. 3% of applicants to be exact. 

So if you’re at the top of your game with the best accreditations, you should definitely be looking to join this network of developers, designers, writers, project managers and financial experts. Because whilst they only accept the best freelancers, that means clients know they are going to get serious talent, and are willing to pay the big bucks for it. 

Charges to use this site:

  • Only the client gets charged. 

99Designs

If you are a freelance graphic designer, this is where you want to look to find work. Freelancers enter their work and ideas into competitions in the hope of winning, because if you win, you get the contract. 

However the client accepts just one winner, so you could potentially waste your time entering and not winning, or you could be hugely successful because your designs are epic. 

Charges to use this site:

  • A USD$100 introduction fee (spread out over the client’s first USD$500 charges) 

They also charge a platform fee on every project:

  • Top Level: 5% platform fee.
  • Mid Level: 10% platform fee.
  • Entry Level: 15% platform fee.

Summary

Whatever stage of freelancing you’re at, there is a site that will suit you and help you to make money in your chosen career. Just don’t forget that you will need to declare all money earned through these sites in your annual tax return. 
If you need any more advice for how to get started freelancing, check out our blog post on top tips for day one of being self employed.

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