The 10 Best Freelancing Sites For Finding New Clients That Aren’t Fiverr, Upwork, and TopTal
If you are just starting out freelancing, one of the easiest ways to find clients is to leverage freelance marketplaces and other freelance websites. The trick is knowing the best freelancing sites to use depending on the kind of work you do. For example, if you’re trying to make money freelance writing, you should probably focus on writing-niche sites. On the other hand, there are a lot of freelancing websites that have all sorts of freelance gigs available.
This guide is looking at some of the best freelancing sites that aren’t the usual names like Upwork, Fiverr, or TopTal. We dug into various freelance platforms to bring unique opportunities you may not see in other guides on the subject.
How do freelance websites work?
In most cases, freelancing websites operate in one of two ways:
- A marketplace.
- A managed service.
Marketplace websites are simply digital spaces for people to post freelancing jobs so others can find them and apply. These are commonly framed as either job boards or private communities. The key feature is that you manage all your own work. You can apply (or not apply) to any opportunity, handle the interviews, and manage the client on top of doing the execution-focused work.
Managed service websites are a bit different. Unlike marketplaces, managed service freelancing sites will vet freelancers for a specific skill. As a freelancer, all you do is execution. The company behind the managed service website handles finding you the gig, manages the client for you, and pays you. In effect, the managed service site is your client and they subcontract you out to a variety of companies based on your skill set. This can be helpful in terms of finding new work, but beware that you may not get your full rates since someone else is finding the work and managing the client for you. However, this kind of work is usually easier – all you have to do is deliver.
Things to consider when using freelance websites
If you’re looking for high quality freelance gigs, keep in mind that different sites offer different experiences. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Quality: This is a constant challenge for freelancers. Finding quality clients and producing quality work is just one of those things to always pay attention to.
Price: What you charge should be correlated to the value you produce. If you’re doing great work that is helping a client grow, make sure you’re being paid fairly.
Types of clients: This comes down to knowing your focus. You may do one thing (for example, blog writing), but that doesn’t mean the skill translates to all types of clients. The process looks wildly different for large companies versus startups, for instance.
Specialty: Some freelance websites have a speciality or only take on certain kinds of freelancers. It’s something to watch out for as you navigate the client-finding process.
Contract protections: Some freelancing sites require you to use their contract terms. If that’s the case, make sure you read them and are ok being bound by them. If you have an opportunity, make sure you input your own freelance contract terms to keep yourself protected.
Payment: Each site handles payment differently. Some will require you to use their processing systems. Others leave you to do it on your own. Just make sure you know which one you’re getting into.
Client communication: Some freelancing sites require you to use their client communication portals. Others connect you with the client directly. Make sure you know which is which – since breaking this rule can sometimes get you banned from a site.
What’s wrong with Fiverr, Upwork, and TopTal?
In a word: nothing! These sites are great places to find freelance gigs and a lot of freelancers build successful careers with Fiverr, Upwork, and TopTal. The challenge, perhaps, is that they are also the most well known and most popular sites. That can lead to a lot of competition for work and a flood of lower quality offerings (or clients that are looking for something you don’t do).
This guide is not claiming that Upwork sucks or anything like that. Simply exploring other sites that help freelancers find gigs.
The best freelancing sites to find new clients
Less a platform and more a customized newsletter, SolidGigs sends out weekly emails with freelance job postings that match your preferences. Simply sign up on the home page.
Virtual Gurus is a managed freelance service provider specializing in virtual assistants, digital marketers, and content writers. Freelancers can sign up on the platform and then get matched with clients in the VG network. The best part: VG handles all the client relationships. You just have to focus on doing great work.
Workana is a broad-based marketplace for high level freelancers. With white collar freelance hiring increasing a lot due to the COVID pandemic, Workana could have a lot of opportunities posted.
Like Virtual Gurus, Magic is a managed freelance service platform. It focuses on sales enablement, recruiting, and other admin work freelancers. There’s also no location expectation – the work is entirely remote.
Like Workana, Guru is a huge freelance job board community. It applies to all kinds of freelancers – this platform is perhaps the most broad-reaching of any in this article. So if your definition of the best freelancing site is one with variety, check out Guru.
FlexJobs is a job board that prominently features freelance gigs. It also features remote work and full-time work, which make it a bit confusing if you only want to see freelance jobs. However, the site has powerful filtering abilities so you should be alright.
The Writer Finder
Like SolidGigs, The Writer Finder is a regular email list of freelance gigs. The only difference is, as the name suggests, it’s only for freelance writers. Whenever a company puts in a request, an email is sent out. You can pitch for any job you want (or ignore the ones that don’t fit your skill set).
Codementor started out purely as a mentor network for people learning to code. However, it’s since expanded to be a marketplace to hire talented freelancers for coding projects. So if you know any software development (or perhaps even low- and no-code development), you can take advantage of Codementor.
Clarity is a mentor and freelance network designed to help startup founders solve startup-specific problems. While startups need similar skill sets to other kinds of companies, there’s a certain mindset and experience for startups. If you have startup experience, though, this platform could be a great way to earn new business and close new freelance clients.
DesignCrowd is a freelance marketplace specifically for freelance design gigs. Their primary services are around logo design and other micro services.
The best freelance website depends on what you need out of it
While big single marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork can help you break into freelancing, they aren’t always the best option to continue. That’s not to say you can’t build whole freelancing careers from these two sites, though. Many freelancers do quite well. However, the real secret to growth is finding sources of jobs that make sense for your focus and skill set. Further, as you grow your freelance business you may want to take on higher value tasks, which can be harder to find (or more competitive) on major freelance marketplaces. For that, the best freelance sites are the ones where you can find the kinds of clients you ultimately want.