While several job search websites post openings for freelancers all over the world, this article will focus only on those that facilitate accepting payments and serve as a middleman that connects freelancers with potential clients. But the competition is really high, and you need to know which ones will provide you with a constant stream of income. The majority of them will charge you a service fee, but you can find free platforms as well.
Here is a list of the ten best websites in India where freelancers can find gigs and earn a living. The list comprises the popular ones like Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr, and lesser-known platforms like Toptal and Hubstaff Talent. We also have a guide that explains the features to look for and how to choose one or multiple platforms and make your presence known as a professional freelancer.
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Here is a quick and easy guide to help you choose the best freelance marketplace for your skills. Learn about commission, free platforms, convenient payment terms and methods, and more from the sections below.
The major source of income for freelance marketplaces is the percentage they take from the money you get paid by your hirer. While some websites charge a fixed percentage, others follow a sliding fee scale (variable price according to the money you earn). Here is an example.
Suppose you agree to complete a project for $5000, Upwork's sliding fee scale will take $550 as service fees, while Fiverr's flat 20% rate will deduct $1000 from the total amount. Wait, don't make a decision yet. Here is another case to consider: if the services you offer don't usually go above $500, the service fees will be the same regardless of whether you sell it in Upwork or Fiverr.
All freelance marketplaces will have an FAQ section that explains the fee structure. Understand it thoroughly before you even think about creating a profile.
There are two types of free platforms: one that offers all its services for free and the other that charges the clients. Both are beneficial for freelancers. But there are upsides and downsides. Websites that are completely free only serve as an intermediary. Hirers can post their project, and freelancers can contact them with their proposals and portfolio.
The platform will not facilitate the acceptance of payments, nor will it offer mediation for dispute resolution. You are on your own with negotiating payments and milestones. Both free platforms and the ones that charge you can have fraudsters, so none has an advantage over the other in this case. Then there are websites like Toptal and 99designs.
These websites charge the clients and not the freelancers. Toptal is a safe freelance marketplace since companies are vetted before allowing them on the platform. Some websites like Guru allow freelancers to split the job fee with the hirer during the agreement stage of a project. Free platforms are a great place for beginners to learn to send compelling proposals.
Almost all freelance marketplaces that charge service fees will also offer options to promote your bids. This is one way these websites make money. But this could be advantageous to you. Freelance marketplaces are flooded with freelancers. A project could receive over 100 bids, and the hirer may not have enough time to go through all of them.
So the ones that appear on the top will have a higher chance of getting awarded the project. If you are willing to invest some money, your initial journey in these freelance websites will be easier, and you will see yourself landing projects faster than ever before (provided you have the required skill set too). Websites offer more than one way of promoting proposals.
For example, you can take exams and publish a badge in your profile that demonstrates your expertise in a particular field. This badge will also appear on the proposals you send. Some websites offer to display a "pro" or "expert" badge after verifying your proficiency. For example, you can publish certificates you earned through Linkedin Learning on your Linkedin profile.
There are several modes through which freelance marketplaces transfer your earnings to you. Check the withdrawal terms and conditions to find out if your preferred payment method is available. Most websites allow direct bank account withdrawal, but if you want your money to be withdrawn to your Paypal or Skrill account, the website should support it.
Make sure to check if there are any fees for withdrawals too. Another important piece of information to check on the payment terms and conditions page is the allowed frequency of withdrawals and the withdrawal limit. This is different for different websites. For example, Fiverr lets you withdraw funds once every 24 hours, while Freelancer processes withdrawals twice a week.
Certain membership plans can also change the withdrawal limit and frequency of withdrawals allowed. Check if the website allows setting up automatic withdrawals. Your earnings will reach your preferred payment method based on the schedule you choose.
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Offers Monthly and Annual Plans
Filter Search Results According to the Services You Offer
Flat 20% Commission for Every Sale
Charges No Commission
Free Platform for Beginners and Professionals Alike
A Platform for Creative Professionals
Find Long-Term Work and Receive Recurring Payments
Work One-on-One or Participate in Contests
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Freelancer is one of the most popular websites for freelancers. If you are new to this website, start by creating a catchy profile showcasing the best of your works. The platform allows freelancers to bid on projects posted directly by hirers.
Since there is an ocean of freelancers, there is a chance that beginners' proposals will go unnoticed as hirers mainly look for freelancers with high star ratings and an exceptional portfolio. Those who are willing to invest some money to push their bids to the top, clear proficiency exams available on the website, and add those to their portfolio will have a quicker and smoother start.
The free plan only allows six bids in a month. Choose from the plans they offer that increase the number of bids per month. We hate to say this, but the popularity of this website has attracted many fraudsters. Choose projects by hirers who are verified, have made a deposit, and payment method and identity verified. A safe bet would be to find projects by hirers who have a high reputation.
Upwork functions more or less the same way Freelancer does. While Freelancer requires you to type a bid every time you send a proposal, Upwork allows you to create profiles prepared exclusively for specific jobs that you can select and send whenever you bid.
There are options to set milestones so a specific amount will be released whenever you reach it or choose to get paid when the whole project is over. Whether hourly or fixed-price, every contract is charged a service fee based on Upwork's sliding fee scale.
You need "Connects" to send proposals to gigs. Free accounts are given 10 free Connects every month, and a "Plus" membership will give you 80 Connects. Use the filter function to search for projects that you are most proficient in. You will come across more foreign clients who pay well for quality work than Indian clients on Upwork.
Fiverr allows you to create price packages for the services you plan to sell on the platform. For example, if you are a cartoonist, you can create a basic package that offers line drawings, a standard package with shading and colors, and a premium package that offers realistic sketches and detailed backgrounds.
What sets Fiverr apart from Freelancer and Upwork is that you don't get to search and apply for jobs. Create Gig packages, a profile showcasing your best works, and wait for a buyer to contact you. Fiverr charges a fixed percentage of 20% on every gig you sell. Read the taxes applicable for Indian sellers on fiverrhelp page.
Toptal is unique in the sense that the platform is only for freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers. There are several top companies like Airbnb, BRIDGESTONE, Duolingo, and Shopify hiring from Toptal, and there is a reason for that.
You will have to submit an application, clear a language test, skill test, pass live screening and test projects to be considered. This tough process ensures that only the most skillful and efficient get to work with clients, including Fortune 500 companies and silicon valley startups. Toptal doesn't charge freelancers for their services. You will get the hourly charge you have set in your profile.
If you are looking for a free platform and also less competition, try your luck on Hubstaff Talent. Most of the hirers are small businesses and startups looking for affordable freelancers. But don't underquote your services. If you have enough expertise in your field and a portfolio that proves it, you will be able to land high-paying clients as well.
You can find one-time gigs, hourly contracts, and full-time jobs as well. While sending proposals for projects, you will get a chance to impress the hirers by answering the questions posted by them. You may add a custom message as well. Just like you add a cover letter to your resume when applying for a job.
Hubstaff Talent only serves as a platform that connects freelancers with hirers. Everything else related to a project, even payment negotiations, has to be done directly with the client.
Are you a creative professional looking for internships or freelance gigs? Then we highly recommend you check out Behance. It is a social media platform by Adobe where professionals in a creative field who are adept at anything creative, for example, 3D art, illustration, advertising, app designing, web designing, photography, crafts, etc., can showcase their works.
There is a jobs section where you can find full-time jobs, freelance gigs, and internships posted by hirers from all over the world. Just apply using your Behance portfolio, and you will be contacted by the hirer if they are impressed. Behance doesn't charge any commission or offer paid memberships, and all job-related negotiations have to be done directly with the buyer of your services.
Finding work on Guru also depends on how well you impress a hirer with your proposal, rate, and portfolio. Free users get 120 bids per year, and the number of bids required to apply for a gig differs. They offer several membership plans with perks, including more bids, lower commission, lower cost for premium proposals, etc.
A helpful feature of this platform is you can attach works relevant to the project you are applying for. Your hirer may not take the time to go through your portfolio to find out if you are capable of delivering quality work.
You can filter results not only according to your area of expertise but also based on the amount of money an employer has spent on the platform, location, the number of proposals received, etc.
99designs is a platform that offers designers two ways to earn money: contests and direct work. The majority of the freelance designers on 99designs make money through design contests. Contests created by entrepreneurs, business owners, YouTubers, etc., will be posted with a brief and requirements. You can participate by submitting your design on the platform.
If the client is impressed, you will move on to the final round with a few others. Make adjustments according to the client's needs, and if you are chosen to be the winner, payment will be released to you. The advantage is, your skills will improve as you will be competing with top designers from all over the globe.
But if your design is not good enough, the time you spent on creating it may be wasted. You may use the same design for a different contest or client to make up for it. If your portfolio is impressive and you have a reputation on the platform, 99designs will recommend you to clients who are looking to work one-on-one with designers.
AngelList is a free platform dedicated to startups, angel investors, and job seekers. Startups usually have very little money to spend on full-time employees, so they tend to hire freelancers more. Use the search function to filter jobs based on location, job title, skills, equity, and type of job (full-time, contract, internship, co-founder).
Working with startups offers opportunities to learn and experiment. You will get to build a long-term relationship with your employer if they are impressed with your work. Like Hubstaff Talent and Behance, this platform only serves to connect job-seekers with employers. The advantage of using AngelList is that you are less likely to encounter fraudsters.
FlexJobs is one of the most preferred job search platforms by freelancers and full-time job seekers. Like AngelList gives preference to startups, FlexJobs markets itself as a job-search website that promotes remote, work from home jobs. You can find temporary positions, freelance gigs as well as opportunities to work as an employee remotely.
You can view posted jobs, but to apply, you will have to purchase one of their plans, which could be a drawback for beginners. You will find job postings by top companies in the world like Apple, Dell, Salesforce, etc. Another benefit of using this platform is that FlexJobs has a team that vets jobs and companies, so you are highly unlikely to bump into fraudsters.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to you that freelance marketplaces can have fraudsters lurking somewhere. Most freelance marketplaces don't require hirers to prove their identity. They can create a profile and start posting jobs. Here are some tips that will help you save time and money:
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All set to start your freelancing career? There is a reason freelancers prefer freelance marketplaces. It is easy to find work and enables smooth payment processing. But the growing community of freelancers is making it difficult for us to find work, and people who are new to freelancing are not sure which platform to choose.
The first and foremost thing to consider is the commission. Do your research and find a platform that takes less commission. A website that allows you to promote your proposals will help you land high-paying jobs easily. The second most important aspect to consider is the mode of payment. Go for a website that supports withdrawing earnings to your preferred payment method.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
No. 5：｜Hubstaff Talent
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