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How to Become a Freelancer and Where to Find the Best Freelance Jobs
Oluwakemi Ojo, Freelance Digital Strategist and Content Marketer, gives us some insight on life as a freelancer and the challenges one faces. Her analysis below gives us guidelines on which online portals are worth pursuing freelance job opportunities. She's done the research, so let's reap the benefits.
About eight months ago, I quit my job and escaped the 9-5 rat race to become a full-time freelancer. It was hard to give up my steady salary, bonus and incentives, official car, an excellent apartment and everything my employer designed to keep me from leaving his company. It was intimidating; but today, I’m glad I made that decision. There is nothing as amazing as waking up in the morning with a big smile on your face, sitting down on your sofa while thinking about how you’ll spend your day from 9 am to 5 pm.
Imagine taking an afternoon off without having a bully boss screaming and yelling at you. How about taking an impromptu trip to Dubai with your family without having to ask for a short leave at work? What if you could make twice your monthly salary in one week by working on your laptop for just 5 hours per day? Yes, it’s possible. You don’t even need to start a Ponzi scheme or join a multi-level marketing – pyramid scheme.
What you need to know about freelancing
Freelancing is a ground-breaking career that offers unusual potential if you know where and how to tap into its buried reserves. Nowadays, there are several online possibilities for freelance work and so many avenues to explore. From writing to website development, human resource consulting to creative designing, you’ll definitely find a job to match your skills.
Similarly, there are several marketplaces that assist small businesses and large corporate organisation to hire and manage talented freelancers to work for them online and remotely. You can get a freelance job if you are skilled and talented. If you’re not really skilled, you can learn some skills to become a successful freelancer.
How to become a freelancer
Diligence, self-discipline and time management are important qualities of a successful freelancer. Remember, you are your own boss and if you want to earn a living, you need to be able to work hard to ensure that your clients are satisfied with your work. You need to manage your time effectively to complete your tasks on time. You also need perseverance and persistence to rule the freelance business. Keep working hard and you’ll discover that hard work pays off in the end. When starting out as a freelancer, you may get jobs with small pay. This can be discouraging but you need to make sure that you value your work. When you do great in lesser jobs, you will get more opportunities with big pay and bonuses.
I did several low-paying jobs before I started landing the higher-paying ones. If you are starting out as a freelancer, you need to start small. No client would want to give you a job if you have no experience in freelancing. Even though you have worked for several years as a professional employee, you may have to start small as a freelancer. When you start getting good reviews and ratings, your next client will pay more for your amazing service. Although, sometimes your previous experience as a full-time employee can help you land some interesting gigs.
In addition, creating a great freelance profile will help you market your skills and experience. Writing convincing proposals can help you get high-paying jobs too.
Where to find the best freelance jobs
Finding a genuine freelance job online can be difficult if you don’t know where to look. I spent about one month searching for lucrative jobs via search engines, submitting proposals to some unauthentic websites and clients. In fact, I remember working for a client for two weeks and did not get paid. We communicated via Skype and after I had completed the job, he refused to make payment and blocked my contact on Skype.
It was very painful but I did not give up. I had several discussions with some experienced freelancers and discovered the hidden treasures of freelancing. There are many websites online that provide a large number of freelance gigs every day. Some are genuine and some are not.
You need to be careful when looking for freelance jobs. I have tested several websites; I have been hired by real clients who paid when the tasks were completed. I have also been scammed by some clients and I have learnt my lessons. Based on my experience, here are my top 5 websites to find the best freelance jobs. You can decide to work via one website but it’s always good to branch out so that you can get higher paying jobs.
Upwork.com is my favourite website for freelance jobs. Starting out as a freelancer on Upwork is not easy. You’ll have to send several proposals before you can find a client that will believe in your skills and give you a job. But, if you can complete your first gig successfully and the client can give you a 5-star rating and amazing reviews, you’re good to go. The website features short and long-term projects for beginner-level to expert-level freelancers. Upwork is a great place to find unlimited freelance opportunities to help you break into the freelance industry, even with no experience.
Freelancer.com is a popular website for freelance jobs. The website is a crowd-sourcing marketplace where small businesses, individuals, large corporate organization post job ads for freelancers to bid on. It’s a great website if you know your way around it. I got some high-paying jobs from Fortune 500 companies in Europe on Freelancer, even when I had no freelance experience. There are a large number of freelancers on this website and some desperate ones have made it their duty to always bid lower for the jobs posted on the site. Similarly, you need to be careful because some clients are not genuine or trustworthy. If the client is not verified or does not have a lot of reviews from freelancers they have worked with, don’t bid for their jobs.
If you’re looking to work with companies remotely instead of individual clients, this is the best place to find the perfect job for your skills. Weworkremotely.com features telecommute jobs from several parts of the world. If you find a job opening fit for your skills, you can apply for it. If you’re qualified for the job, the company will hire you immediately. A social media company in Florida hired me as their social media manager via We Work Remotely for a 5-month contract. Working remotely for several companies across the world is an amazing experience.
99Designs.com is one of the best websites to find freelance design jobs. If you are a talented designer, this website is for you. The site is a design contest marketplace where clients run design competitions for designers to compete against each other to win the cash prize. From logo design to web design, you can bid and contest for any design job. It’s not easy winning a contest on 99Designs because there are more than 1 million designers on the website and more than 200 designers can submit entries for one contest. But, if you can create amazing designs even in your sleep, you can make it big on 99Designs. After you have built your portfolio, clients will start contacting you for a one-on-one project and you won’t need to compete with other designers.
Update: 17 May 2018: 99designs has recently moved away from the contest marketplace model and moved to a traditional freelance model. In order to drive the message home of the latest pivot in their business, they have added new functionality to the site. The ‘Find a Designer’ tool allows individuals, agencies, and companies to browse and select designers based on their needs.
Try out their new designer search
PayPerContent.net is every writer’s best-kept secret. If you are a content writer, you’ll love to work on this website. Not everyone believes this site is real but I have tried and tested it. If you’re starting as a writer, this is a great writing website that will make you feel good about your freelance writing experience. All you need to do is to submit a ‘test’ article and you will be rated as a beginner, intermediate or expert writer. If you can deliver high-quality content and write according to their guidelines, you will be rated as an expert writer and will be given to finding high-paying writing jobs. However, if your content is not really good, you can start as a beginner and earn at least $5 per 300words article. Such a writer can earn up to $600 per month – 5 articles for 6 days in a week. Expert writers can earn more than $1500 per month. There are many writing tasks available to choose from every day.
FreeeUp takes a different approach to freelancers and aims to be more hands-on and being a facilitator more than just an open marketplace for freelancers to find work. Freeeup actually recruits, interviews, and vets thousands of freelancers every month and once you meet their criteria you are then allowed to compete for jobs.
This is done to try and maintain the quality of work and freelancers that use the service, that way larger businesses can find trusted freelancers and remote workers without having to take risks or troll through applications from their listings.
Freeeup also recruits freelancers from a wide range of disciplines from marketing, content creation, web design customer service and more. If you're multi-disciplined freelancer then this is the ideal site for you.
Freelance opportunities on the rise
Many people believe that freelancing is for writers only. Well, writing may be a popular freelance gig but there are several other lucrative jobs that require more than writing skills. Whether you are a consultant, marketing professional, human resource manager, web developer, data analyst or a teacher, you can get good freelance jobs that suit your skills. Freelance opportunities are endless and working as a freelancer is truly remarkable.
Oluwakemi Ojo Freelance Digital Content Strategist
About the author
Oluwakemi Ojo is a freelance Digital Content Strategist who makes a living working online. She started her freelance career about eight months ago and she has fallen in love with her new lifestyle. When it comes to online marketing, she takes a content-first approach to increase brand visibility and awareness. She’s passionate about travel and she’s a lover of different cultures from all over the world. In her free time, you can find Kemi in her home reading a book by Susan Mallery, planning her next travel adventure or watching Bollywood movies.
Looking for a local freelancer?
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