Freelancing websites started as a platform for freelancers to market themselves and find work. These sites were a decent place to find work during the initial years when there were only a few freelancers.
But now, with so many freelancers competing for jobs underbidding each other, are freelancing websites worth it anymore?
Yes, It’s still worth using freelance websites for landing work when you are new to freelancing. However, I wouldn’t recommend a long-term investment in these websites, especially in the current market. In my opinion, it is far better to treat them as stepping stones.
There is a lot more to the freelancing website dynamics that you should know. I’ll try to explain them as best as I can so that you can decide for yourself if it’s worth your time or not.
Are Freelancing Websites Worth It for You?
Freelancing websites are a decent place to find consistent work online. On the surface level, they seem like a very lucrative source of income, and they are.
As a novice in the freelancing world, these websites will be your number one bet for landing work. So, if you are just starting to freelance, I would recommend that you give these sites a shot.
They may offer a lot of work, but at some point, you would need to stop and think if it’s worth your time.
Freelancing websites rely on bidding wars, and there are a lot of freelancers. It often turns out that the one with the lowest bid gets the job because most clients are not here for the quality of work. They only want to get things done cheaply.
When you get the hang of the kind of work you do, you might feel that you are getting undervalued. That is when you should start to think about whether these websites are worth it for you anymore.
Some people have invested a lot of time into these websites and were successful as a result. But that’s not for everyone; if you feel like it’s not working out, then it probably isn’t.
If you made yourself known and have a large enough client-base that values your quality of work, consider working for them outside these websites as a separate entity.
Related Article – How to Start Freelancing Without Any Skills? (7 Ways)
How to Succeed From Freelancing Websites?
So far, I gave you my perspective on whether these sites are worth it or not. You can decide if they suit your needs. Now, let’s talk about how to succeed and even thrive while working through these websites.
Offer A Reasonable Rate
There are no set rules to follow for succeeding in this line of work. If you have good reviews, then you can get better deals. And that is a fact. But you can’t get good reviews if customers don’t get to try out your service first.
And that is why anyone new to a freelancing website should start with a super low rate. Set an amount that is unbeatable.
This way more customers will be open to taking a risk with your service. Do a good job and they’ll leave good reviews.
As time goes by and your profile has a healthy number of reviews you can gradually increase your service charge and begin to ask for the amount that you think is worth your time.
Related Article – How To Get Your First Order On Fiverr? (8 Killer Ways)
Choose the Right Clients
Another important thing you need to do is verify the credibility of your client. The sad reality is that there are many fraud clients out there.
Some would try to get you to do something for free. Others would cut off communication altogether if they have second thoughts about their project.
Some clients don’t even know what they want. These people are even more tricky because they don’t know how much they should pay or how much work is needed. If you can’t accurately verify what the client wants, then don’t take the job.
Thankfully the review system goes both ways, and you can see if your client has any reviews or not. You can even check if the client has a verified payment method. Try to pick your clients who have at least a few good ratings and have verified their payment option.
You should be wary of anyone who asks for communication outside the websites. It’s like a double-edged sword, you could either build a lasting professional relationship with them, or they could be trying to scam you. If you aren’t that experienced in this line of work, then try to avoid offsite communications.
Find Your Niche
You can find a lot of work from various fields. And you can do a lot of them because there’s not much of a learning curve to them. You could do different types of work, but it’s better if you specialize in a particular field.
So, try to find a niche and stick to it. You will indeed get a lot more options to choose from if you do different types of work, but it’s always better to focus on a single field to get yourself known.
What Are Some Good Freelancing Websites?
There are a lot of reliable freelancing websites out there, and sadly a lot of unreliable ones too. And some of the websites may have rules and restrictions that don’t suit you.
So, it’s very important to pick the right freelancing website if you want to enjoy working in this field.
Some of the best freelancing sites are
Another option would be Upwork. Upwork is a lot more flexible in terms of work hours and deadlines. And you can get some handy tools for learning the ropes.
They have a flexible commission system, and it starts from 20% and gets as low as 5% based on how much you charged the client.
2. Writer Access
If your line of expertise involves content writing, web designing, graphic design, animation etc, then you can consider websites like Writer Access. This freelance website caters specifically to jobs and projects related to writing. It’s a good option if this is the line of work you prefer.
There are lots of other freelancing sites like Freelancer, Toptal, Designs99 etc.
Please Read – Lately, I came to know that Fiverr was an Israeli-based company. I am completely against Israel and anything that funds them. Since I rank on Google for this post, I thought it would be better to let people know this instead of just deleting this post. That way, I may be able to convince at least 1 or 2 to stay away from this platform. I used to promote them in the past (as an affiliate) and now I have stopped it completely. Try using other platforms like Upwork or Toptal but please try to stay away from Fiverr. #FreePalastine
Related Article – Is Freelancing Worth It In 2021?
Some Pros Of Freelancing Websites
These freelancing websites do have a lot of advantages. Some of them are:
Easy to Get Started
It’s very easy for a person to start freelancing especially on sites like Freelancer and Upwork.
You literally do not need any particular skill to get started. However, only if you have any skill will you succeed on these platforms.
These websites are also places where professional freelancers are born. So, it’s like stepping stones to your freelancing career.
No Upfront Fees
Freelancing sites do not charge any fees for enrolling into their site. They will only charge when you receive an order.
Drawbacks of Freelancing Websites
There are many cons of using these sites too:-
Freelancing websites can be a good source of income for new freelancers, but it will eventually drag you down. You need to spend so much time bidding and researching random projects that ultimately lowers your productivity.
Also, the bidding system means you need to charge as low as you can go to land a project because of the competition. That translates into you getting the least value for your skills. On top of that, these websites charge a percentage of everything you earn, so that lowers your final figure even more.
High Service Fees
Almost all freelancing sites charge a fee for each order you get. For eg: Upwork takes about 20% of your earnings for each order.
This is quite high in my opinion!
Building a Brand is hard
And it can be hard to build a loyal client base on these websites because a lot of the buyers are loyal to the site itself. And they would choose whoever can get their job done. So it’s really hard to sell your brand to these people.
So, are freelancing websites worth it?
In the end, you’re the one who gets to decide that. If you struggle to find consistent freelancing work on your own, then these websites are a good option. If you are a beginner in this line of work, then it’s also a good option.
But if you find the kind of work you specialize in, you should try to build your brand around that and operate as an independent entity.