I’m often asked by others questions like, “Where do you get job leads?” “How do you find clients?” And, “What’s a good source for finding work online?” Those are all pretty tough questions to answer, as there are several different ways to do so. But there are certainly some resources out that that are worth checking out.
If you haven’t already heard of, or aren’t already on, Elance then you will definitely want to look in to it. It’s an entire online community of work for remote freelancers that handles everything from the job posting to the payment. You can post jobs or bid on jobs in a system that’s very similar to Ebay. Each user can create their profile within Elance, allowing them to upload portfolio pieces and write a bio to let prospective clients know why they’re the best fit for the job. You can open a free account, which limits you to bidding on jobs in one profession, and the most important thing to keep in mind when you first get on there is to take placement tests. The tests will show what your skill level is in your area of profession. If you don’t have any test results on your profile then a prospective client will most likely quickly move on to the next provider, as they don’t know how good your skills are.
Similar to Elance, oDesk is an online community of freelancers and outsourcers. You are also able to create a profile, and search for jobs, though the process of being verified on oDesk is a little tougher than Elance. This is a great source for finding work now and building long-term business relationships.
Guru is another online marketplace of freelancers and outsourcers. It’s free and easy to post projects on Guru, if you’re looking for help. If you’re looking for work you can create a profile, bid on jobs, win jobs, and get paid. If you’re curious what kind of jobs you can find on there, browse around and see if there’s anything that you want to bid on.
Claiming to be the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace, Freelancer is another great site to look in to. The format of Freelancer is just like the rest of the global market outsourcing sites, you create a profile, browse for jobs, and bid on them. One thing I think is pretty cool about this site are the stats on the homepage. You can see a real time calculation of how many users, projects and dollars spent are happening on the site. It gets you motivated to find work and get going on it!
You won’t find nearly as many job opportunities on Craigslist as you will on those global marketplace sites like Elance and Guru, but it’s certainly worth having a peak at every day or two. When I first got in to freelancing I got a lot of work on Craigslist, in fact, some of my biggest clients to date are ones I got off Craigslist years ago. Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to your home city, browse other cities close by, or major cities for telecommuting positions.
It’s also worth noting that with so many users going after the posted jobs on those global outsourcing sites, it can be a bit difficult to land your first gig. Along with your test result scores clients often look at your feedback rating, so if you haven’t done a job yet you won’t have any feedback. Much like Ebay, once you do a job for someone they will give you some sort of rating on how you did and leave feedback as to how their experience was working with you. You’ll find starting out that with no feedback it’s a little hard to get a response. You may want to consider making a hungry bid, coming in low on cost, and writing a stellar bid pitch and hope that the client is impressed with your placement tests.
About the author: with over ten years in the freelance web design and writing fields, Scott Stanton has had his finger on the beating pulse of the industry’s hottest design trends and bends for the past decade. Scott regularly writes for Wix.com the free website builder. Follow him on Twitter @TheScottStanton.