If only I had a pound for every time I got asked this question! With a plethora of freelancing sites out there—from small, new freelance platforms to niche sites and mammoths like Upwork, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour—so many freelancers want to know what the best freelancing website is. So, let’s take a look: is there a best freelancing platform, and if so—which one is it?
What is the best?
You can find lots of prescriptive answers on what the best freelancing platform is, but the simple (and perhaps annoying) answer is this: there is no one “best” freelancing platform, because every freelancer is different, with different skills, goals, needs, and qualities. This means that “the best” means something different for every freelancer.
For some, “the best” means earning potential, while for others it relates to the level of competition. For others, it means user interface or benefits offered. And for others still, it means the lowest fees or entirely free services. So if someone tells you that Upwork or any other platform is “the best platform”, it can only ever be their subjective opinion.
What about earning potential?
All freelancing sites have good earning potential—if you know how to you market yourself, compete against other freelancers, and pitch to clients. It’s less about which site you choose and more about how much time, patience, and effort you spend on building a great profile, researching your competitors, applying for jobs, learning to pitch, and so on. In other words, it’s more about you than the site itself. If you master these things, you can make plenty of money on any site.
What about competition?
There can be a big difference in the level of competition between the new, smaller sites and the bigger, more established sites. In the former, there is often less competition from other freelancers, because there are less freelancers operating on there. But this also means less potential clients. And vice versa, there is more competition on the bigger sites, but also many more clients. Again, it comes down to personal preference.
Generalist or specialist sites?
When it comes to the more specific or niche industry-specific freelancing sites, they can be very profitable indeed, but only if you’re really skilled and experienced in that area. If you’re a brand new freelancer, it can be difficult to compete on these niche sites. I started out on generalist site PeoplePerHour to build my freelance experience, then moved most of my business to book-specific site Reedsy. In the short term, it can be easier to find work on the generalist sites, but in the long term, the niche sites are likely to be far more lucrative.
How should I choose?
When you’re trying to decide which freelance site is the best for you personally, my advice is to peruse the sites and figure out what you like and don’t like—rather than listening to someone else’s opinion on what “the best” is. However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that freelance platforms aren’t the only way to find work. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket—as you can find work through other methods too, such as word of mouth, networking, LinkedIn, blogging, and so on.
Which freelancing site do you prefer? Which do you work through? Comment below or get in touch.