Wondering how to find work as a freelancer? Contra’s handy guide will fill you in with the best freelancing sites and freelance tips.
Setting out as an Independent (aka freelancer) marks the beginning of an exciting adventure. Freelancing offers tons of benefits, such as flexible hours, varied work, and the opportunity to make your job work for you.
Freelance jobs can be immensely rewarding, but they also involve a fair bit more work on the part of the Independent. An Independent must be their own accountant, business strategist, administrator, and CEO, as well as an expert in whatever field they've entered. Fortunately, Independents don’t have to go it alone. We’ve got plenty of tips on how to find work as a freelancer, plus websites to get you started.
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How to get freelance jobs 💼
In some respects, a freelance career is no different from a full-time or part-time position. It often still involves finding an opening, applying for a position, and completing an interview. Unlike full-time employment, freelancing is less straightforward.
Here are six tips for getting started:
1. Join a freelancing platform
As the number of Independents increases, so do the tools available for them to find work. Online freelance work platforms that offer support and resources should be one of the first stops on any freelance journey.
Contra has plenty of articles and resources to get you started and guide your freelance journey. Explore opportunities with our commission-free platform, digital profiles and portfolios, and a vast range of clients looking for top-tier Independents like you.
2. Find communities
Finding a community is essential for beginners and experts alike. Those just starting out in a freelance career can benefit from the collected wisdom of the group. Meanwhile, more experienced Independents are exposed to new ideas and opportunities as the circle expands.
The internet has made this step easier than ever. Start networking with Contra's Slack chat function. Create a profile and jump in to get opinions, information, and support from our community of expert Independents.
3. Gather references and testimonials
You know you’re dependable, but what about potential clients? Getting third parties to vouch for your professionalism and reliability goes a long way. A testimonial or two in your LinkedIn bio provides new clients and hiring managers with an outside perspective on your goods or services. Placing your company in a directory, such as Yelp, allows previous clients to give quick and precise feedback accessible to millions of users. You can also boost your reputation as an Independent by showcasing your recommendations on Contra.
4. Promote your work
Promoting freelance work is easier now than ever, thanks to social media. A robust online presence will ensure your skills and experience are easily accessible to potential clients. A professional profile on Facebook and Instagram promotes your brand and showcases your work. Professional social media sites, such as LinkedIn, provide targeted tools to grow your brand and put you in touch with like-minded freelancers and clients.
5. Create a website
Various online services (e.g., Blogger, WordPress) provide a quick and easy platform for launching a professional website, with numerous templates and tools to customize your online presence and link clients to your portfolio.
Portfolios by Contra is an easy and intuitive tool for creating a professional website. With just one click, information from your Contra profile is populated into a customizable website, ready to launch and share with the world.
6. Approach clients directly
Approaching clients you're interested in working for is a powerful tool for self-promotion. Rather than searching for suitable job opportunities on hiring boards or freelance platforms, the direct approach allows you to target clients you know more about or are excited to work with.
It will take some guts, though. A great way to secure a cold-called client is to have an exciting and comprehensive pitch ready. This pitch document could potentially convince a client that you can provide a service they didn't even know they needed.
These six ideas are an excellent start for any Independent. Then, it's time to locate reliable sources of freelance work.
7 places to find freelance work online 🧑💻
On your own, finding freelance work online can sometimes seem tough. To help you out, here are some of the best freelancing sites and the opportunities they provide.
1. Contra. Built from the ground up with Independents in mind, Contra is a commission-free platform providing new and experienced freelancers with the tools they need to grow, including:
- Portfolios, an easy-to-use website creator to showcase your personal brand
- Built-in contracts, projects, and payment management, so you can keep 100% of what you earn
- Remote opportunities and the ability to get discovered by clients hiring freelancers on Contra
2. LinkedIn. Emulating popular social media sites but with a business-minded bent, LinkedIn is the premiere site to promote yourself, your brand, or your company. Businesses large and small have a LinkedIn presence, as do the individuals within those companies. As the go-to place for online networking, LinkedIn is the first stop for many hiring managers.
3. Upwork. The Upwork platform cultivates a wide variety of independent freelancers who are then "aligned" with a client company looking for a temporary hire. The platform provides development tools to both freelancers and clients to help them grow and work together.
4. Fiverr. Based on freelance and independent workers, Fiverr allows users to create "gigs." A gig outlines a particular service (e.g., graphic design) and then provides different pricing levels depending on what a client is looking for. Gigs are browsable by clients, which makes Fiverr more competitive than other freelance platforms.
5. Toptal. The Toptal site distinguishes itself from its competitors by being extremely selective in the freelancers it represents. Toptal prides itself on accepting fewer than 3% of those who apply. Clients and freelancers are guaranteed to work with the cream of the crop.
6. Guru. Guru offers an easy and cost-effective profile and community system for clients seeking independent experts. Clients post job listings, and freelancers are able to provide a quote.
7. PeoplePerHour. A much quicker platform than some of those previously mentioned, PeoplePerHour allows companies and freelancers to connect for small jobs, sometimes completed in a handful of hours. PeoplePerHour is a good resource when an emergency service is needed, and speed is of the essence.
4 freelance tips 📌
Here’s some advice to ensure your freelance experience is as safe, productive, and fulfilling as possible:
- Create a work schedule. If your freelance position involves remote work, schedule your workday the same way you might as if you were in an office. Take a full lunch break, implement pre- and post-work rituals, and don't bite off more than you can chew.
- Set rates and make contracts. Don't be afraid to clearly make expectations via a contract. You can also set pay rates, completion dates, and numerous other details in black and white, ensuring both client and freelancer are on the same page.
- Look out for scams. Keep an eye on employers who ask for multiple original samples of your work, and read over a contract carefully before signing on to a job. Some sites, such as Contra, only allow clients and freelancers to move forward on a project once a clear and binding contract is signed.
- Curate your online presence. Our interconnected online lives make it easy for our personal and professional personas to become intertwined. A recruiter will likely look up a prospective freelancer, just like an employer will call references on a resume. Make sure private accounts stay private and professional ones stay professional.
Ready to get started? 🧭
Excited to embark on your freelance adventure? Head over to Contra and explore the opportunities. Contra's portfolio templates, contract management software, and commission-free payments will help you start your journey as an Independent on the right foot.