Transforming your home office into a money-making job portal
The mayhem of 2020 left many of us with a lot to consider. Not knowing where the next paycheck was coming from, the bills piling up, was a direct cause for stress, worry and anxiety. But not just that.
Something else rose from the heap of face masks and lockdowns; home offices. Work from home. Online conferencing, meetings, training and opportunities.
Factors contributing to more and more wanting to find work online were the restrictions imposed in various countries, companies downsizing their workforce and the expanding size of cities forcing workers to commute ever-increasing distances.
There has been growth in the freelancing sector even before 2020, due to workers wishing to have extra funds and move out of the 9-5 grind.
Our current lifestyle’s sudden uncertainty forced a slumbering, under-utilized tool for workers, online platforms for freelance work, to experience rapid growth. It wasn’t, however, entirely without concerns and complications. Is it safe? Is it doable? Where do I find organic gigs, is it legal?
Online platforms are taking over as prime job portals
While an already well-established concept, the sudden spike in interest has led to a number of platforms vying for the top spot as the go-to site for all your gig needs.
In conjunction with how we view these platforms, a shift is also noticed in these platforms’ very core. The core referred to here is the platform’s key operation model. The platforms can be fully cloud-based, located on company servers or even on decentralized blockchains. The choice of the operating model is to either improve the usability, increase the users’ profits by making fees less gruesome or branch into new ventures.
Do you like cold-calling clients or prefer to approach projects already on the lookout?
When launching yourself as a freelancer, the key to successful and profitable use of your time is to identify your needs, abilities and weaknesses. Perhaps you’re a great writer or a graphic designer, but have very little to show for it? You’re liking your current niche but would like to expand your client base?
Maybe you simply don’t know how to price your services or how to promote yourself?
The online platforms could be just what you need. And more!
Let’s dive in and have a look at some of the best options available out there.
Upwork is a well-known platform for freelancers and is still considered one of the top ones. Their service has an extensive range of clients and freelancers, and is the foundation for many great working relationships.
They also now have an escrow service on top of providing a service allowing users to promote and search gigs.
The fees can appear somewhat hefty at first glance, with up to 20% fee for the first $500 earned with a new client. Keep in mind, freelancers do get added protection as standard here, and the amount of work available is sumptuous.
A client will also be charged a 3 % transaction on top of their chosen plan, Free or Plus, with Plus costing $49.99/month at the time of writing.
Despite the fees involved, it is easy to see why UpWork still hits the top freelancing platform lists.
This platform boasts having over 50,450,320 freelancers and employers from all over the world. You can find projects available ranging from software development, writing, data entry to engineering, marketing, legal services and much more. They also have 24/7 personal support, bidding functions and a handy chat function.
It is no wonder Freelancer of the largest online meeting places for professionals and projects. It is easy to use, where you create your profile, browse projects and put in your bid.
The payment is done securely via the platform and using a Milestone System, ensuring both parties are happy with the project milestone and payment prior next commences.
LaborX is comparable to platforms like Upwork and Freelancer, promoting a feature for premium users to gain access to fee-free services and lower service costs.
Escrow is free to use and is an in-built feature within their contracts.
The site is easy to use, where the freelancer creates job proposals based on their skill level and experience. The price is set, making it easy for the prospective employer to browse for a specific talent within their budget. The payment is made in cryptocurrency, allowing the freelancer to grow their online wallet while gaining experience and contacts.
You can also create a profile, allowing employers to look for particular features in their candidates and make a proposal.
LaborX had released their 2020 achievement list, in their blog, boasting an enormous 350% increase in users every month. Like a few others, this one is one to watch due to the growth it is generating.
Toptal appears to have climbed the ranks since last year when we were on the prowl for top freelancing sites. This platform boasts having the top 3% of the best freelancers, enabling their clients to select only the best candidate, called a “Toptaler”. Not a bad feat!
Having a quality freelancer base, they also connect the clients with the freelancers. Should the match not be made in heaven, and the client isn’t satisfied with the Toptaler, then the platform will start the process again at zero cost.
Are you artsy, know your way around graphic design or clever creating logos?
Then this is for you. 99Designs is Australian Based and is the top platform to connect clients and quality designers. They have appeared on numerous searches for freelancers and even featured on Australian News sites.
Particularly one feature on this platform stands out; the promotion of a design contest!
This design contest has the clients answer a few questions about the scope of the project, and designers can then submit a design(s) for the client to choose from.
For example, a client needed a logo for their business. The result was 29 professional designs from 6 designers. The abundance of choices allowed the going price for the top logo to receive 299USD.
Fiverr at one stage topped all the lists out there on Freelancing platforms and was alongside UpWork the few first known platforms connecting freelancers and employers.
A notable aspect of this platform is their Beta of a Logo Maker tool on the website, allowing anyone to create impressive logos in minutes. These tools and features can be a bit tricky, as it might take away from many freelancers who specialise in Logo design.
Despite this, Fiverr still has the respect it deserves for finding freelancers work. The selection of projects available is vast, employers can choose a tier suitable for their needs, and the website contains loads of information both for employers and professionals.
How do I know what’s right for me?
When choosing to take the plunge and going after your very first freelance gig, your first review to boast on your profile or that first project to gain experience, you’re certainly spoilt for choice.
Should your area of knowledge be within a narrow niche; you might need to take this into account and choose a platform with a broad reach globally. If you are after building your skills, you can choose to offer your services for a very affordable price, giving you an opportunity on a real project without asking much financial commitment from the employer.
The online platforms connecting freelancers with projects are here to stay and are all created to take the uncertainty out of finding gigs, ensuring safe transactions that go both ways and quickly extend your experience.