5 Websites To Help You Find Your First Freelance Client
You’ve decided to start your side hustle as a freelancer and couldn’t be more excited.
And why not? This is a big step in moving your dream forward.
It could be that you’re thinking about growing your hustle into a full time gig, or that you’re just after some extra income to save for a vacation or pay off some debt. Regardless of your reason, you’re itching to get started and work with your first client.
The only problem is you have no idea where to find them.
While you’re skilled and talented, you’ve never had to approach clients and offer them your services. This is uncharted and unfamiliar territory.
To help you find your first client I’ve put together a list of my top five online sources to find freelance clients. These sites are all established and reputable, but you’re going to notice sometimes the jobs on these sites can be very low paying. They attract talent from around the globe and for services that are relatively ‘routine’, like writing a blog post for example, and you’ll be competing with people that are willing to write a post for $2.
Don’t let this discourage you though! Start with a few small projects and ask clients to leave reviews. There are always clients that are looking for experienced freelancers that are native English speakers, and that have a great reputation on the platform.
Some of my best clients have come from Upwork. I’ve been able to do multiple projects with many of them and my compensation has increased significantly over time.
To find your first freelance client online, take a look at these five sites.
Upwork is likely one of the best known freelance or gig based websites and for good reason. It boasts a massive online network and there are millions of jobs posted annually from around the world, making it a great source for finding potential clients. The site provides countless opportunities, regardless of your area of expertise and experience, and is a good place to jump in and get your feet wet.
You will need to create a profile and basic memberships are free for freelancers. If you do choose to upgrade your membership, monthly fees are reasonable ($13) and this provides you with more connect credits and information about the bid range on projects.
Upwork takes a percentage of each gig you work on and it operates on a sliding scale - the more you bill a client, the lower the fee. While this can be frustrating, Upwork also handles time sheets and processes payment so that you’re not chasing after clients for unpaid invoices.
FlexJobs specializes in finding contract, freelance and remote job opportunities. Before posting any job or contract opportunity they complete a screening process to ensure that the gig and potential client are legitimate. Having this added layer of due diligence can put your mind at ease, especially when you’re first starting your freelancing gig.
A paid membership is required in order to access the job opportunities on FlexJobs, however this does also provide you with access to training courses and other learning opportunities through the website. You’re given ample space to develop a really detailed profile to share with potential clients.
LinkedIn is THE social networking space to be in if you’re a professional of any type. It also can serve as an amazing place to find potential clients, build your reputation and network like crazy. Basic memberships are free but you can upgrade to their premium service that allows you access to training courses, the ability to connect directly with people outside your network and other features.
While LinkedIn isn’t specifically designed to connect you to potential clients, it offers a platform for you to do the work and get your name out there.
Toptal is a very good resource if you’re an experienced finance, project, or product manager or are a software developer or designer. In order to be accepted as a freelancer, there is a very rigorous and through application process and Toptal prides itself on only selecting the top 3% of applicants.
They only source the top talent for their customers and stick by their guarantee. If you’re a professional working in this space Toptal is worth exploring.
Freelancer is the same idea as Upwork with many of the same features. It offers freelancers with virtually any skill set to browse through projects and submit a pitch to the prospective client. The size and scope of Freelancer make it a great place to find clients that are offering quality job opportunities where you can begin to build your reputation and showcase your skill set. Freelancer also handles all the payment pieces, meaning no invoicing for you, but they do take a cut of each project you complete.
So there you have it! Five great websites for you to take full advantage of to find your first client. Put in the time and effort to build yourself an effective profile on any or all of these sites and you’re well on your way to building a successful side hustle.