Choosing-best-website

Killer Tips for Freelance Beginners & Choosing the Best Websites

Starting on a freelance journey is a lot like starting your business. You need to first develop the required skillsets and build a portfolio and once done, decide on the type of services that you are going to offer. The key to finding more clients and getting sufficient work is to find the ideal market to sell your services. Imagine what would happen if Apple introduced a snazzy iPhone and then launched it in a market that has diehard Android lovers. Similarly, you have to find a market that is a dedicated niche for your type of service.

For freelancers, the “right market” is primarily the “right” freelance site from which you will be selling your services from day one to launch a successful freelancing career. True, there are several upsides and downsides to using freelance websites to find work and sell services. However, so long as you find the best freelance websites for beginners there should not be any problems for you.

Freelance Websites vs Job Boards

Before going to the various aspects of freelance websites for beginners, it is necessary to understand the difference between these sites and Job Boards.

Freelance websites or marketplaces are platforms that act as a bridge between clients and freelancers. Some examples of popular websites for freelancers are Upwork and Freelancer.com. On these sites, you can create a profile and then apply for jobs that are posted by clients. The platforms offer fully-managed services and all your negotiations with clients must happen here as you are not allowed to contact clients outside the sites.

However, the platforms will charge you a fee for their work. It is 20% for Upwork that is, after you complete your job and receive payment, 20% of it is payable to the platform.

On Job Boards, you can contact the clients directly over email and get paid directly from them to your bank or PayPal account without being charged a commission. Ideally, job boards are the best route to finding jobs but it might not suit you as a freelance beginner as these boards generally look for experienced professionals.

Hence, websites specially curated for freelancers are the way to go if you are a beginner in this field.

Should You Use a Freelance Website

Do not try and get an answer to this question from experienced freelancers as all of them will categorically tell you NO. Established freelancers do not use these sites and they will advise you similarly. It is because they already have a steady stream of clients and do not depend on freelance platforms for work.

However, this is not the case for freelancers who are just starting as they have to work hard to find work and win over clients. In such instances, freelance websites come to the rescue and will not only help you to find work but gain experience as well. Beginners can learn how to write great proposals and convince clients that you can provide quality work. Additionally, you will work that much harder to deliver your best output to garner better reviews from clients.

Freelance websites are thus a perfect launching pad for a great career.

Should you Work on Multiple Freelancing Websites?

Do not join several websites and create profiles in the hope of landing more jobs. Though it makes sense, this strategy does not work.

Let’s analyze why through an example. Upwork uses intelligent algorithms to rank freelancers who deliver high-quality work, have great reviews, and reply to their clients immediately. Now, if you want to establish your reputation on the platform you should have a complete freelancer profile with great reviews. Can you maintain this tempo on 10 different sites?

No, you can’t and hence, you should pick 1 or 2 of the best websites and focus there only. Write optimized and unique proposals on each of them instead of copy-pasting the same message at different sites. It will help you to pick good jobs and ensure your career growth.

Using Freelance Sites – The pros and Cons

Freelance sites are not charitable institutions and are there for making money. Built and run by corporations and other similar organizations, their main goal is profitability. Even though it is true that they provide valuable services to freelancers it does not always work well for them or their clients.

Pros of Using Freelance Sites 

  • Find work easily
  • Have a platform to establish your goodwill
  • Learn how to do quality work and deliver it on time
  • Know how to maximize communication with clients
  • Generally, get paid easily

Cons of Using Freelance Sites

  • Platform fees can be quite expensive
  • Have to compete with a lot of other freelancers
  • Clients can scam you and make you do more work than the contract
  • Have the risk of getting your account banned if you use bots or go against site policies.

Despite the cons, freelance websites are the best bet for beginners to get off the mark.

Choosing the Best Freelance Website for Beginners

Several characteristics are unique to the best freelance websites for beginners. Before choosing one, verify the following aspects.

  • The Pricing Model: Try and avoid freelance sites that have a fixed pricing model. They have a price for most work and force you to follow it. Fiverr, for example, has a ceiling of $5 for a logo design. It is unfair for you as it cancels out the value of your skillset with others who do not have the same level of expertise. Keep off these sites if possible.
  • The Number of Freelancers: It will be more difficult for you to land a job on a very popular platform. Finding a website that has low competition is the best way to avoid getting into a bidding war with other freelancers. Be on a site that is relatively new and has few registered freelancers.
  • The Cost Factor: Freelance sites charge a platform fee for allowing you to use their services. It is 20% for Upwork and hence if you complete a job of $500, you will be paid $400. Before deciding on a site to work from, check the terms and conditions on the service pages of the platform to know about the fees.
  • Is the Platform “Right” for you: Go through a quick search of freelance sites to know which one has the most job listings that match your job category, preferably a platform that is dedicated to the industry and the niche that you work in.

If you find a website that matches these traits with your needs, you have the perfect freelance website for beginners to start with.

When choosing freelancing sites, it is not easy to zoom in on the “best” for you as it depends entirely on your level of skillsets and the services that you have to offer. Some will be “best” for designers, some for coders, and some for writers.

Whatever you do, avoid the high-end sites like Fiverr and Freelance.com that have the highest competition and are choc-a-block with freelancers. You have to either do work at rock-bottom charges or get into a bidding war with others. New sites, instead, have low competition with few freelancers and clients and you have a better chance of landing a job.

How to Get Your Profile Approved

If you can avoid the highly popular websites that have a large number of users, getting your account registered is no big deal. Huge sites like Upwork that get a large number of signups every day have stringent rules for registering new accounts, a process that might be very complicated for you as a freelance beginner. Avoid these sites altogether to get around any issues that might be too difficult to tackle.

Follow these tips to improve your chances of being accepted on websites and getting more clients.

  • Bring down your job category to a narrow niche. For instance, avoid a generic “graphic designer” and select a niche like “infographic designer”.
  • Create a compelling bio and a profile description that instantly catches the eye.
  • Provide your latest and real photo as a display picture
  • In the portfolio section, include proof of your best work
  • Even though it is not necessary, take skill tests if you can to improve the chances of getting approved.

Follow these tips to create a full freelancer profile on any website.

Should You Always Depend on Freelancer Websites

If you have already explored the possibility of launching a career as a freelancer and want to get off on the right foot, here are some of the best freelance websites for beginners to consider though not in any particular order.

The Best Freelance Websites for Beginners

If you have already explored the possibility of launching a career as a freelancer and want to get off on the right foot, here are some of the best freelance websites for beginners to consider though not in any particular order.

Upwork

Upwork is considered to be the largest freelancing platform in the world. Almost three million jobs are posted annually on Upwork, making it a great place for freelancers to dive straight in and start getting jobs immediately. There are multiple options offered by Upwork, from short and long-term contracts to fixed or hourly rates. The platform has a sliding service fee for your payments. The highest slab is 20% of the payments of $500 or less.

Another aspect of Upwork is the cost to apply. The site uses a tool called “Connects” which is primarily credits that can be used by freelancers to submit proposals for jobs. Every new user gets 80 free Connects when an account is created. After that, users are charged $0.15 for each Connect that is sold in bundles starting at ten Connects.

Summing up, it can be said that Upwork is not only one of the best freelance sites for beginners but experts also as there are unlimited opportunities for jobs as well as long-term work with clients.

Pros 

  • Payment protection
  • Clients cannot ask for free work
  • Lots of opportunities both for beginners and established freelancers

Cons

  • Steep service fees
  • Proposals can be sent through Connects only
  • Takes time to be established on the platform.

Fiverr

Fiverr is a highly optimized freelancing marketplace connecting businesses directly to freelancers in a wide range of niches like marketing, graphic design, coding, and more. As of end-2021, Fiverr could boast of over 3.42 million active clients, making it a leader among both beginner and experienced freelancers for landing excellent job opportunities.

Because of this attribute of providing vast job openings and its ease of use, the service fees of Fiverr are higher than most sites at 20%. Further, depending on your status and level on the site, payout time can be quite high at 7 – 14 days.

Because of its high popularity, Fiverr is also among the top competitive marketplaces. The downside to this is that increased competition means more pressure to lower prices which in turn can make it challenging for you to charge the rates that you want and deserve. On the other hand, once you are established and earn good reviews, the platform algorithm starts boosting your profile and the clients will start coming to you.

Pros 

  • The website and app are very user-friendly for beginners
  • Easy to set a cost and package your services
  • Certificate courses offered

Cons

  • High service fees
  • Delay in clearance for payment

Freelancer.com

Freelancer.com is a freelance service marketplace and crowdsourcing platform. Buyers and sellers are linked up in a single location. The website is great for freelancers as it allows beginners, professionals, technical personnel, and creatives to market their services. Freelance.com offers a multitude of opportunities in such areas as software development, data entry, marketing, writing, engineering, and more. The pricing plans of Freelance.com are quite flexible with the system offering monthly and annual subscription packages.

Freelancers can go through their extensive job boards before bidding for work. After you are hired, you can chat live with clients and track your progress on the platform. Another benefit of Freelance.com is the chance to compete in contests. This will bring in extra money and reviews so that your profile stands out from the rest.

The website charges a flat 10% on project payments and contests winnings.

Pros 

  • A support team of advisers that help you get hired
  • Customer support 24×7
  • Increased earnings through contests

Cons 

  • A very complex interface
  • Fake or spam clients and jobs surface sometimes on the site.

Toptal

Toptal is a freelance marketplace but what sets it apart from the others is that the site boasts of the top 3% of freelancers from around the world. Because of this factor, Toptal follows a stringent screening process for freelancers that is quite extensive, difficult, and complex. It is not easy to get approved and is surely not beginner-friendly. On the brighter side, after you are approved, the experience, earnings, and opportunities are definitely worth the effort.

Toptal has links with top brands such as Shopify and Airbnb and this gives you a chance to get very lucrative freelance gigs. The platform observes a fully hands-on and practical approach, linking its clients with freelancers in five specialized areas – developers, designers, project managers, product managers, and finance experts.

However, one awesome benefit that exceeds all expectations of freelancers and makes it stand out among other sites is that Toptal does not take away any fees from the earnings of freelancers.

Pros 

  • An optimized site for experienced and expert freelancers
  • No fees for freelancers
  • High-paying opportunities

Cons 

  • Stringent and rigorous screening process
  • Toptal is involved closely in every aspect and phase of projects.

Conclusion

Freelancing websites are awesome platforms for both beginners and experts alike. Beginners especially should start from a marketplace instead of trying to do networking on their own first. On freelancing sites, you will have to market your skills, set your rates precisely, and promote yourself well to succeed. Earning great reviews will also set you apart from the others.

We greatly appreciate you taking the time to read our blog! If you found this useful please be sure to share it with your network! If you have any questions about our program be sure to contact us. Thanks again and happy freelancing!

Freelancer eBook Download Footer Gif

Share with your network!