Taking the plunge and starting to work full-time for yourself is incredibly freeing. Part-time freelancing also makes a great side hustle if you want to use your skills to make some extra cash. When you work remote jobs, you make your own rules, decide your own hours, become the master of your own universe.
On the other hand, it’s absolutely terrifying. Being responsible for your own income is a double-edged sword. Every dollar you make was 100% from your own ambition and dedication. But if you’re slim on clients one month, you can’t pay the bills. So how do you find consistent freelance work?
We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and compared two of the biggest sites in the online freelancing world so you can learn more about the pros and cons of each before diving in.
Upwork is one of the biggest names in the freelance gig industry. It houses job postings from people looking for virtual assistants, video production specialists, social media gurus, authors, and even lawyers or engineers.
While it shows countless job postings, it’s an extremely competitive site. You need a Job Success Score (JSS) in order for most companies to consider your proposal, and you don’t get a JSS until you’ve successfully completed about 8 jobs. It’s the “you need experience to get a job but you need a job to get experience” conundrum.
Even though it takes time and dedication to make a big break on this site, it’s well worth your while if you do quality work and are an excellent communicator. As opposed to other sites, Upwork’s postings have the most reputable employers backing them. When you’re finally hired, it is normally a real company or someone who will actually pay you fairly for your work.
While the 20% pay cut seems steep, that number is standard for the industry and since they offer a good interface and carefully screen employers to keep the site safe, it’s worth taking the time to build up your portfolio here.
Freelancer is the opposite of Upwork – it’s easy to break into, but most of the employers are there to scam or underpay you.
Unlike Upwork, job listings aren’t screened by country, so while you can apply to more international jobs, they generally pay very little and can scam you much more easily than they could domestically.
Additionally, instead of taking the 20% after you get paid, they charge you once you accept a job and sometimes take a cut of your pay afterward as well. If your contract terminates before you get paid, you probably won’t see that money again.
They offer the same variety of jobs, including administrative assistants, graphic designers, data entry, and writing/editing positions, but they also have XXX tags with people looking for online sex workers. You need to have your wits about you on the site, because while you can make money, you’ll need to weed through lots of fake jobs and abusive employers.
Their customer service is downright horrible. When reaching out for administrative support after different instances, including:
- Being sexually harassed by a client
- Not paid by an employer
- The site flagging my proposal because I included a link to my portfolio
I personally was met with a lack of answers and a cookie-cutter “look at our informational pages” email. When I kept asking for customer support to review my claim, I just got bounced to a new person across the world who gave me the same lack of answers.
You make money for the freelancing site when the client pays for the work you do. They should be working on your behalf and act as your advocate. Freelancer fails to do so.
When you want to start to work remotely, the site that works best for your situation will depend on the type of freelance you aim to do.
If you want to get started finding jobs online, get your foot in the door by setting up profiles on a bunch of different sites and see where you start to get noticed. Once you set up a page, make sure you put the app on your phone and set the notifications to go to your email so you respond to clients ASAP. If you respond a minute too late, that job went to someone else.
If you want the best results when using Freelancer and Upwork, start early and apply to a large volume of jobs on Upwork to get your foot in the door. This way you’ll start to build your experience so you can get a JSS.
Start using Freelancer cautiously and make money off of there until your Upwork profile takes off. Then, once you start getting consistent work from Upwork, delete your Freelancer profile.
When you work remotely online, win over clients by communicating just as kindly, patiently, and respectfully as you would on a job interview. Show your professionalism by writing like a professional.
If they don’t communicate with the same level of courtesy and polish, be wary of who is behind the keyboard.