If only I had a pound for every time I got asked this question! It seems to be the hottest question in the freelance world, and with more and more freelancers entering the marketplace, it’s no surprise. When you’re starting out as a freelancer, there’s so many platforms to choose from—you don’t want to pick one that ends up being a waste of time. So is there a “best freelancing platform for beginners” and if so—which is it?
Is there a best freelancing platform?
You’ll find lots of prescriptive answers out there on what the best freelancing platform is, but the simple answer is: there is no “best” freelancing platform for everyone, because every freelancer is different, with different needs and goals. If someone tells you that Upwork is “the best platform”, it can only ever be a subjective opinion. Some freelancers prefer bigger, more established sites; others like the smaller, newer sites. Some go for generalist websites; others favour industry-specific websites. Some freelancers will tell you to stay away from the platforms altogether!
So how do you find the best site?
When you’re trying to decide which freelance site is the best for you personally, then my advice is to peruse a few of the sites and figure out what you like and don’t like. You can find a list of them here. For example, when I chose a site back in 2010, I compared a few of the sites and decided that PeoplePerHour was the best for me because the market was more European than the other sites. Later on, I found Reedsy, which is a book-specific site, so the market is more focused on what I do. I still work through both sites. See, it’s all about personal preference.
What the reviews say
When you’re choosing a site, you might be tempted to read reviews on Trustpilot. Usually I’d say reviews are a great way to determine whether someone or something is trustworthy (especially in the case of freelancers and buyers). However, I’ve noticed a trend of freelancing sites getting bad reviews, despite countless freelancers finding success on these sites. For example, Fiverr has a rating of 3.7 out of 10 (poor) from 1000 reviews, but the site has 100,000+ freelancers. If it was so terrible, why would so many freelancers continue to use the site? My best guess is that successful freelancers don’t bother to review the freelancing platforms they get work through.
Should you avoid the big four?
As a beginner, you may have been told to avoid the huge, generalist sites (Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour) because they’re saturated and it’s difficult to compete against established freelancers. However, I’ve seen newbie freelancers do well on these sites because they know how to demonstrate their credibility and stand out against the competition—and they’re patient in not expecting it to happen overnight. So don’t rule out the big four just because somebody says so.
Is there a site for beginners to get work fast?
This is another question I’m often asked. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Most freelance websites operate on the same principles—either buyers advertise jobs and freelancers bid for them, or freelancers set up a service and buyers purchase them. However, both of these methods take time. And especially when you’re new to a freelance site, it takes patience to build up your feedback so you can compete.
Whichever freelance site or platform you choose, it takes time, effort, and patience to succeed. Becoming a successful freelancer doesn’t happen overnight. However, you can improve your chances by knowing how to compete, which we’ll look at next time.
Which is your favourite freelancing site and why? Comment below or get in touch.