More and more people (especially Gen Z) are choosing to freelance. It comes with freedom, flexibility, and (for those of us with commitment issues) it offers a way to try out different careers.
But without a gig to start you off, that life might seem out of reach. Don’t worry; you’re in luck! This guide will teach you to find gigs that fit your skills and interests. Let’s get started!
But first, the elephant in the room.
Can I Freelance Without Experience?
Yes, you can freelance without experience. However, it will be challenging to find work if you have zero previous background in your field. For some areas, it’s easier to build experience — freelance writing gigs? Start blogging on Medium. Photography? Instagram. Hotel? Trivago.
Others might require more formal training and certification, but don’t let that stop you! It’s all part of the process.
3 Websites to Find Freelance Gigs & Job Listings
Finding freelance work in 2022 may seem daunting, but it’s easier than you think. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and an unhealthy amount of caffeine.
This list is designed with new and growing freelancers in mind. That’s why all of these freelance websites handle communication and payments between you and your clients. As you grow and scale, you might go off-platform — but we’ll save that for another day.
Here are some of the best websites to find freelance job postings, projects, and clients:
1) Fiverr — For Beginner Freelancers
Fiverr is a website where you can find freelance work across 500 categories, from web design to logo design to writing services. You can browse through different categories or search for specific types of work. With nearly 3.5 million active buyers, it’s one of the most popular freelance job sites available.
Tips to stand out on Fiverr
- Ever spent waaaay too long editing an Instagram picture? Apply that energy to your Fiverr profile — make it as appealing as possible. It’s a long-ish process but well worth the time.
- Create gig packages or tiers of services at different prices points, such as Starter/Basic/Pro options. This way, you can maximize your earnings.
- Add on additional items like rush delivery times (24 hours). Sometimes, those extra services make all the difference when deciding between two different gigs.
Pros of finding freelance jobs on Fiverr
- Fiverr is a popular site for freelance projects, and it will help find clients for you. Although you can actively try to find freelance jobs yourself, they’ll find you after a while.
- The platform offers a wide variety of categories, so you’ll find your place no matter your offering.
- You can sign up and register for free — some other freelance platforms have a vetting process to join, but not Fiverr.
Cons of finding freelance jobs on Fiverr
- Fiverr takes a hefty cut of your earnings — 20% of your revenue. Even among other freelance sites, this is a high fee.
- Your earnings on Fiverr will take a long time to clear, usually a few weeks. (However, you can speed up the process for a tiny fee).
Who is Fiverr best for
- Freelance writers and editors. Put those Wattpad skills to use! Proofreading, copywriting, and editing are all trendy categories.
- Freelance designers. Book covers, web design, and logo creation are popular services.
- Freelance techies. If you’re proficient in a professional tool (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Canva, ninjutsu, etc.), there’s a place for you on Fiverr.
2) Upwork — For Full-Time Freelancers
Upwork is another popular freelancing website. It has a wide variety of remote jobs available, including programming, graphic design, copywriting, and more. The platform is more like an online job board than Fiverr; you create a profile and bid on projects that interest you. If you like the Fiverr model, don’t worry — you can create gigs on Upwork too.
Although Upwork has fewer clients, they’re much higher value — around 145 thousand buyers spend over $2 billion annually.
Tips to stand out on Upwork:
- Be professional. Upwork is a site for serious businesspeople, so make sure your profile and proposals reflect that. (Headshots > Selfies).
- Offer value-added services. Suppose you can do something extra for the client (like making your own illustrations when writing an original piece of content). In that case, they’re more likely to choose you over someone else.
- Include detailed proposals. Sending a generic proposal with your rates and availability is like responding to someone’s IG story with the 🔥 emoji — it probably won’t work. Include what you can do for the client, how long it will take, and any other pertinent information.
Pros of finding freelance jobs on Upwork
- Upwork has a sliding commission fee. As you make more money, the fee gets smaller.
- High-ticket gigs and clients. Freelancers often have to worry about their next client. Since Upwork projects usually have longer timelines, you can feel more secure.
Cons of finding freelance jobs on Upwork
- Fewer clients, bigger projects, higher competition. If you’re just starting out, you’ll have a tough time finding freelance jobs.
- Jobs are longer-term projects. If you’re trying to freelance as a side-hustle, Upwork isn’t the place. You’re usually working on big and involved projects.
Who is Upwork best for
According to Upwork:
- Freelance marketers. Social media marketing, SEO, lead generation, etc., are all in very high demand.
- Freelance customer service. If you can talk to customers over the phone, email, and online chat, you’ll find the proper remote job listings.
3) Guru — For Experienced Freelancers
Guru is a website where people can publish job postings and freelancers can bid. It’s free to create an account and browse job listings, but there are some fees if you want access to more features like private chat with employers or bidding on projects (this starts at $12 per month).
Tips for success on Guru
- Register with your complete profile, including past projects, skills, and references.
- Make a great proposal. Spend some time drafting a solid proposal outlining your process, how much it will cost, and when the project can be completed. Remember, this is your opportunity to flex as hard as possible.
- Unlike your Tinder matches, be responsive. When clients reach out to you, make sure to reply as quickly as possible so they don’t lose interest.
Pros of finding freelance jobs on Guru
- Job fees on Guru aren’t steep. Guru takes a 9% cut at the free tier per job — compared to Fiverr’s 20% fee, you keep more of your earnings.
- Various ways to charge. You can quote potential clients via hourly rates, milestone payments, first-born children, etc. (Two truths, one lie).
- You can avoid some of the fees. When sending a quote, you can request a client to pay part of the handling fee for you!
Cons of finding freelance jobs on Guru
- You might need some patience before seeing results. It can take a little while to get used to the platform and start finding jobs you’re interested in.
- If you want to see faster results, you might have to pay. Subscribing to the premium tiers offers you the ability to boost your freelance gig, but you might have to skip out on tomorrow’s boba.
Who is Guru best for
- More experienced freelancers. Guru is set up to encourage higher-ticket freelance gigs, so you’ll benefit from a bit of practice.
- Freelance graphic designers, writers, marketers, and beyond fit into this category.
Alternative Ways To Find A Freelance Job
When looking for freelance work, it’s essential to be organized and strategic. Here are some tips for finding the best gigs:
Use LinkedIn connections and acquaintances to find openings.
Browse LinkedIn job postings related to your field of expertise, connect with potential clients, and post about your freelance gigs. LinkedIn wasn’t on the list of freelancing sites from earlier because it can’t make payments — but it’s still one of the best places to find freelance work online.
Follow industry blogs and social media accounts to stay up-to-date on opportunities.
Here are some recommendations to get you started:
- Austin Kleon’s Blog
- The Freelancers Union Blog
- The FreeUp Blog
- The Onomy Instagram (very much NOT a biased recommendation).
Attend industry events and meetups to make connections with potential clients or employers.
You can find industry events on Meetup and Eventbrite — filter by Free so you can still get boba! Another strategy is to subscribe to newsletters from industry players. For instance, if you’re interested in freelance graphic design, attend Behance live streams and events.
Pitch your services to businesses or individuals you admire, cold.
What’s the worst that could happen? Unless you have an email tracker, you won’t even know if they’ve left you on read. Cold emailing can be scary, but the potential upside is massive. Here are some resources to get you started:
- Templates for every use case: 15 Cold Email Templates to Generate More Leads
- A repository of tested emails: 40 Cold Email Templates in a Filtered Database
- An automatic generator: Persistiq Email Generator (mainly meant for B2B cold email, but it can offer inspiration!)
- A tool to give you feedback: Email Subject Line & Body Copy Analyzer Tool
Now let’s go over some general tips that you can apply anywhere:
Tips to Land Your First Freelance Job
1. Start by building a portfolio of your work.
This can be anything from previous jobs to projects you’ve completed on your own time. You don’t need to build your own website either:
- Freelance photographer? Use Instagram, Unsplash, or Zenfolio.
- Freelance writer? Blog on Twitter, Substack, or Medium.
- Freelance graphic designer? Put your work on Behance, Dribbble, and Pinterest.
2. Do your research and target specific businesses or individuals you want to work for.
You can start by searching for industry hashtags on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Try to identify the people and businesses in that sector you want to work with — then offer your services!
Pro tip: Often, other freelancers are willing to hire newer job seekers so they can reduce their workload — it’s also a great way to learn on the job!
3. Copy the top performers in your field
Maybe not word for word, bar for bar — but great artists steal. By mimicking top sellers on the freelance websites mentioned earlier, you can get a feel for which questions your buyers have, what sells well, and more.
Start Your Freelance Career Today
Whether you’re launching a new freelance writing career, taking on a remote job for experience, or designing social media posts as a side hustle — one thing remains true:
The best way to start is by taking the plunge and just doing it. Freelancing can be a great way to gain experience and build your portfolio. It’s also a great way to test out different career paths before committing to one.
So what are you waiting for? Get started today!
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Frequently Asked Questions
How can I start freelancing?
There are a few ways to get started as a freelancer. You can start by building your portfolio of work, reaching out to businesses or individuals you want to work for, and attending industry events and meetups.
Which work is best for beginner freelancers?
There is a wide range of work available for freelancers. It can vary from small tasks such as data entry to full-time positions. However, freelance design jobs and writing jobs are great ways to learn about the industry — they typically involve client feedback and iteration.
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