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Productivity enthusiasts and outsourcing fanatics love working with freelancers because they offer numerous competitive advantages, for example, on-demand expertise, cost savings, and flexibility. I adopt a “work smarter, not harder, and outsource” philosophy whenever possible and have worked with freelancers on many occasions. I hired a graphic designer on Upwork to create t-shirt designs. Also, I’ve hired freelancers for other projects like e-book formatting and to create explainer videos.
Upwork is one of the largest freelancer marketplaces, and companies of every size use it from one-person startups to major corporations. Businesses can quickly find and hire freelancers while freelancers can search for work and submit proposals. Upwork’s platform simplifies contracts, time tracking, invoicing, payment, and more. It offers three service tiers including, standard, pro, and enterprise. Upwork pro, for instance, features personalized assistance to help employers find premium, pre-vetted talent.
Freelance projects are available in a range of categories including web and mobile development, marketing, sales, design, writing, virtual assistance, customer service, and more. Freelancers can do hourly and fixed-priced jobs and choose one of many methods to collect payments such as direct deposit, PayPal, wire transfer, and so on. Upwork charges freelancers a sliding fee based on the freelancer’s lifetime billings with a specific client:
- 20 percent for the first $500 billed with the client
- 10 percent for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000
- 5 percent for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000
Freelancing and self-employment are on the rise as part of a shift from permanent and “secure” employment to the gig economy, contract, and seasonal work opportunities. Millions of freelancers use Upwork, and many come from the large pool of Americans who are freelancing. However, Upwork is only one of a few top freelancer marketplaces.
Top Upwork Alternatives
Fiverr is arguably the most visited freelancer marketplace. The scope of its job market and even quirkiness goes beyond most marketplaces. Fiverr Pro is Fiverr’s batch of top quality, verified, and hand-picked professionals who are “trusted by the world’s biggest brands.” These professionals undergo an extensive application process, and only 1 percent of applicants are approved.
The most popular freelance categories on Fiverr include graphic design, digital marketing, business, writing, translation, video and animation, music and audio, WordPress, programming, and tech. Additionally, there are over 100 subcategories like logo design, illustration, sales copy, product photography, voiceover, and celebrity impersonators. Freelancers get paid as soon as they complete orders and keep 80 percent of their revenues (Fiverr takes a 20 percent cut). Freelancers/sellers can charge anywhere from five dollars to thousands, and they can upsell with extras before, during, and after an order. For example, you can charge an extra five dollars to complete a gig within 24 hours. Also, freelancers can proactively send offers and promote their services to potential buyers.
Ask Lorem is an on-demand freelance marketplace that connects non-technical business owners with high-quality web developers and designers in less than 10 minutes. Its empowering entrepreneurship one business at a time and enabling freelance as a viable career path. Its experts offer a range of services for leading software apps like Shopify, WordPress, WooCommerce, HubSpot, and hundreds more. Lorem accepts 5 percent of applicants into its network. Most experts average $40 to $80 per hour and typically earn over $2,000 monthly. Lorem charges a fee for paid projects.
Codeable connects thousands of customers with the best WordPress developers to work on projects of every scope and size. You must apply to become a freelance WordPress developer, but only 2 percent of applicants are accepted. It wants “world-beating designers and theme creators as well, but if you are coming in as a coder, then that code needs to be top-quality.” Codeable sets rates for freelancers of $60 to $120 per hour. Furthermore, Codeable adds and collects a fee of 17.5 percent to the final amount.
Freelancer is the largest freelancer and crowdsourcing marketplace by the total number of users and projects posted. A crowdsourcing “contest” is a competition for a specific project, for instance, a logo design competition. The freelancer with the winning proposal receives the project amount/payment. Freelancer’s preferred program includes the best talent on the platform. Preferred freelancers receive exclusive invitations to work on high-value projects among other perks such as fee deferrals and badges on their profiles.
Freelance work is available in software development, writing, data entry, design, engineering, sales and marketing, accounting, administration, translation, legal services, and more. Like Upwork, hourly and fixed-priced jobs are available. Membership plans are available for freelancers and include Intro, Basic, Plus, Professional, and Premier. Memberships enable freelancers to bid on more projects, add more skills, and save on project listing upgrades. Plan pricing ranges from $0.99 to $89.95 monthly. Freelancer charges 10 to 20 percent depending on the type of work.
Guru makes it easy for employers and freelancers to connect, collaborate, and get work done flexibly and securely. Three million freelancers are registered on Guru, and they’ve completed over one million jobs for payments totaling 250 million dollars.
Featured job categories include programming, development, design, writing, translation, administration, secretarial, business, finance, sales and marketing, engineering, architecture, and legal. Freelancers can earn by the hour, task, milestone, and receive recurring payments. Guru has five membership plans, i.e., Basic, Basic+, Professional, Business, and Executive. The basic account is free, and the other accounts range from $8.95 to $39.95 a month. Guru charges 4.95 to 8.95 percent per service/project depending on the membership plan.
Jungle Scout Market
Jungle Scout Market is an Amazon-centric freelancer marketplace. It lists services that are essential to helping Amazon merchants grow, for example, graphic design, photography, translation, video, and sales/marketing. Jungle Market keeps 20 percent of each transaction.
PPH strives to create a reliable and dynamic online job market to help people realize their dreams and live independently. One and a half million users across 89 countries have earned a total of 100 million dollars.
Freelance workers are available in a cross-section of categories including design, writing, translation, video, photography, audio, business support, social media, software, web, and mobile development. PPH’s fees are confusing and buried in its terms. There are several costs that buyers and sellers should understand before proceeding.
Toptal’s exclusive network attracts the very best including Ivey League grads, subject matter experts, professors, founders, high achievers, and people with proven track records. Toptal has a rigorous screening process in which 3 percent of applicants, or less, are accepted. The application process consists of five stages and ongoing evaluations.
Toptal recruits developers, designers, finance experts, and project managers with work available in 60+ subcategories. For instance, finance professionals can pursue blockchain, financial analysis, M&A, and fundraising assignments. Highly sought positions include iOS developers, front-end developers, UX/UI designers, and financial modeling consultants. Fees are not available on the site. According to Toptal, “we do not disclose our margins by policy. Our undisclosed margin is what helps us offer such a good service.” To get a sense of what you can earn, check out its pricing and payment section.
Truelancer is a community of freelancers from across the globe. It’s a marketplace and crowdsourcing platform with half a million users. The Truelancer Prime program consists of hand-picked, top-rated freelancers from its database.
Featured categories include development, design, writing, blogging, SEO, translation, and marketing/sales. There are four membership plans including Free, Basic, Professional, and Plus. Membership prices range from $5 to $50 a month. Truelancer charges 8 to 10 percent per service/project depending on the membership plan.
If you like the crowdsourcing concept and competing for projects, check out 99Designs, CrowdSpring, DesignContest, DesignCrowd, and DesignHill. Also, Flexjobs and Craigslist list thousands of freelance jobs and gigs.