Top ten freelance websites to find jobs in 2023

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March 24, 2021
5 minute read

Word-of-mouth recommendations. Referrals from satisfied clients. Networking events. Those are the ways people found freelance jobs in the past. While those methods are tried and true, it takes time to build up a body of work that generates referrals, and you often need to connect with a potential client several times before a project suited to your great skill set comes around.

Fortunately there is a faster and easier way to find high-quality, interesting freelance jobs these days while you work from home—freelance websites!

The beauty of freelance websites

You might think freelance websites are a great way to find work only when you are first starting out, but they are also a valuable resource even when you are an experienced freelancer. It turns out three-quarters of freelancers said technology made it easier to find freelance work in a 2018 Upwork survey, and the majority said the amount of work they found online increased.

Freelance websites, or platforms, are actually virtual meeting places. Freelancers create an online profile that lists their experience, background, and a portfolio of their work. Businesses and organizations then search for the right person to fill temporary jobs or work on projects.

Besides matching freelancers up with clients, some platforms also offer other features, such as chat tools, online invoicing and payment, a job alert system, and resources to help build your freelance business.

What to keep in mind when using these websites

Freelance websites are a fast, easy, and cost-effective way for businesses and organizations to search for the freelance talent they need. And while these websites may bring a whole slew of lucrative freelance gigs your way, there are a few things to consider.

Many freelance websites charge a fee. The amount of the fee can vary from website to website, but it could pay off down the line with rewarding work and a steady pipeline of new and repeat clients.

Make sure you know if the platform has an exclusivity policy. That means you can’t independently market your services to clients after you finish a project or leave the platform. You can only work with them through the website.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you may be competing with freelancers from around the world, especially if you work remotely as a freelance copy editor or graphic designer. So while the opportunities might increase – so will the competition. This is probably a good time to make sure your portfolio and resume are up-to-date.

Great freelancer websites to check out

While there are freelance websites that focus on specific industries, like web development or graphic design, there are many excellent freelance websites that showcase a wide variety of job types.

Here are the top ten freelance websites to find jobs in 2023

#1 – FlexJobs: Individually researched job postings

This is a very well-researched freelance job website. In addition to posting freelancing jobs in a variety of industries and niches, it also includes other types of “flexible” jobs, such as remote job positions (both part-time and full-time), as well as jobs with flexible schedules. The best thing about this site is the fact that all the freelance jobs go through a thorough vetting process before they are posted. This is a huge plus as you can feel confident that these are good clients, and the job type, description job title, and requirements are accurately posted. It also helps eliminate spam and jobs that aren’t legit.

Besides partnering with companies to post jobs on the FlexJobs site, they also search through job boards and employer sites as well as business and industry blogs to find great freelance opportunities. It’s like one-stop shopping for freelance jobs, but it also means a position may not be exclusively found on FlexJobs.

All jobs pass rigorous criteria

Before jobs are posted, their team of trained researchers digs deep to make sure all freelance jobs pass strict criteria to ensure it is real and worthwhile. They also find the most direct way to apply for the job, which is not always through the employer’s website. Each job posting includes a job summary written by FlexJob staff, as well as information on the company or client. They also are good about removing job ads that have been filled or eliminated.

The website also provides tools, resources, and best practices to help in your search for freelance jobs and flexible work, as well as exclusive hiring information on more than 50,000 companies to help you get a leg up on the competition for those highly sought-after freelance assignments.

To access the job postings you have to pay a membership fee of $14.95 a month. But, they also offer discounts. It’s $29.95 if you sign up for three months, or $49.95 for a full year. A refund is offered within 30 days if you don’t like the site. You can also take FlexJobs for a one-week test spin for $6.95.

#2 – Upwork: The world at your fingertips

Upwork bills itself as the world’s largest network of freelancers with 8,000 new jobs posted daily, covering a huge variety of freelance specialities and niches.

Freelancers and clients alike flock to the website because of its sophisticated algorithms and search terms that help freelancers find good jobs and employers find just the right fit. Upwork also prides itself on the vigorous processes it has put in place to guard against scams and fraud.

Upwork also offers webinars, articles, and videos on a variety of helpful topics like effective pricing or beginning your freelance career, and there is an internal messaging service that can be used to send and receive files, as well as texts and videos.

But all that comes with a price. Upwork is free to join, but it charges you a sliding service fee that depends on the amount of work you do for each client.

This is how the fee works

When a client hires you for a job, Upwork takes 20% off of the first $500 you charge the client. The percentage then goes down to 10% for total billings between $500.01 and $10,000 with that client, and then down to 5% for total billings that exceed $10,000. For example, if you agree to a $1,000 price for a job with a new client, you’ll pay 20% on the first $500 and 10% on the remaining $500.

Keep in mind that those figures are for lifetime billings. As long as you work on freelance jobs with that client, you will pay Upwork a percentage of your earnings.

All invoicing and payments go through Upwork, but they offer payment protection to ensure you get paid.

Because it’s so big, joining Upwork is great way to find a wide variety of freelance work. It’s also a great place to begin job searches as a rookie freelancer as it is easy to set up a profile. But since it’s so popular, that also increases the competition. If some of your competition lives in parts of the U.S. or the world that has a lower cost of living, they might be able to accept a much lower rate than you can.

#3 – SolidGigs: Let them do the searching for you

A big part of being a successful freelancer is managing your time well. And that’s about more than staying up all night to meet a deadline! You want to spend your time working and invoicing clients instead of chasing down freelance jobs. This is where SolidGigs comes in.

SolidGigs works differently than other freelancer platforms. It takes the heavy lifting off your hands by searching through almost 100 websites, freelance work lists, and job boards for the top 1% of freelance gigs, and then sends you a job alert with daily updates to their job list and weekly emails with the best freelance jobs suited especially for you.

But like other freelancer websites there is also a fee, and in this case it’s $19 a month. That actually turns out to be less than 4% in fees if you get at least $500 worth of jobs every month from the listings they send you. That is much less than many other freelancer websites like Upwork and fiverr. They also give you the chance to try your first month for $2 to see if you think SolidGigs is worth it, and you can cancel your membership at any time.

#4 – fiverr: A different kind of platform

fiverr gets its unique name from the fact that every job starts at $5. But hold on—before you move on to the next website on this list, know that you are able to set up tiers to move above the base $5 option and reach a higher fee. This range in prices is great for freelancers who are just starting out and need to build up a portfolio before being able to move on to better-paying gigs.

The best thing about fiverr is that it has more than 250 freelance categories, so no matter what industry you are in, there’s a good chance you’ll find jobs that match your unique talents.

fiverr works a little differently than other freelance platforms. Instead of checking out projects or jobs and then applying for the position you like, you create your own service page for clients to review. This page is called a “gig” and it is your opportunity to show off your talent, list your fee, and provide all the information you think prospective clients need to decide to do business with you.

No free lunch here

Although there is no fee charged for you to list your freelance services on fiverr, it is not free. If listing your services leads to a freelance job, 20% of your earnings go to fiverr.

Be aware that fiverr does have a reputation for “affordable” freelance talent (another word might be “cheap.”) That could make it hard to position yourself for the higher paying work you might be looking for.

You can always sign up for a free account and then look through the services other freelancers like you offer. After all, it’s always good to know what the competition is offering.

#5 – Freelancer: Great clients, complicated fees

This is a large freelancer platform that showcases high-profile clients like Amazon, Facebook, and NASA on its website. It also says it has posted nearly 20 million freelance jobs in more than 1,800 categories.

While it may be the gateway to some great freelance jobs, it has a fairly complicated fee system.

It’s free to sign up for Freelancer, create a profile of your skills, upload a portfolio, and bid on up to six projects per month. But if you want to bid on more projects you’ll have to pay an additional fee, or sign up for a paid membership, which ranges from $1.10 to $89.95 per month, depending on how many bids you want to make.

You then pay a 10% introduction fee for all posted projects you take on (or $5, whichever is higher). The site also posts contests for clients to receive competitive bids from freelancers. If you enter a contest and win the job you must pay a 10% contest fee. You are then charged a 20% fee if you are hired for additional work by the same client after completing a project or winning a contest. Whew! Did you get all that?

It’s also important to note that you have to pay these charges upfront, not on completion of the project. The site will also keep you on your toes, as you will be charged a maintenance fee of up to $10 per month if your account is inactive for more than six months.

Once you get a gig you can easily communicate with clients through the website or by using the mobile app to keep updated about project needs. You can also see if you qualify for the Preferred Freelancer Program, which gives you access to the projects with the biggest budgets and charges a lesser fee of 15% on the completion of projects.

#6 – PeoplePerHour: Using AI to find the perfect match

PeoplePerHour boasts of having a large international client base of high-profile organizations like Forbes and CNN, and of solving over one million problems by bringing freelancers together with businesses. They also claim to offer only high-quality freelance talent, and to do a better job than other freelancer platforms of pairing clients up with the right freelancer.

That means the site is not open to all freelancers. To join you need to complete an online application. If approved, you will be asked to create a personalized profile that highlights your experience and skills, along with supplying samples of your work.

After that their artificial intelligence system matches you up with suitable projects based on important details supplied by clients. You then submit proposals to try to win the projects. You can send 15 proposals per month for free, but if you want to bid on more projects you have to pay an additional fee.

As an added feature, PeoplePerHour will help you set up customized offers, and there is also what they call “project stream,” where you can communicate with clients, share assets and information, and receive feedback. In addition, there is an automatic invoicing system along with protection to ensure you are paid. As soon as you are selected for a project the client pays a deposit into an escrow account which is held until you finish the project.

A 20% fee is charged on projects less than $350, but that percentage goes down the more you make on a project. There is also a small invoice fee on each job.

#7 – CloudPeeps: Where clients search for the right “peeps”

With CloudPeeps, clients search for the freelance talent (called “peeps”) they need by looking at your profile. You can also submit proposals on job listings. You and the client negotiate your fee directly, although CloudPeeps does suggest some sample freelance rates.

While it’s free to sign up for CloudPeeps, they also offer paid subscription plans that range from $9 to $29 a month and give you reduced service fees on jobs as well as the ability to submit more proposals. For example, without a subscription plan you pay a 15% service fee on projects and cannot submit proposals. With the $9 plan you pay 10% and can submit five proposals, and with the $29 plan you pay 5% and can submit 15 proposals. There is also a 2.9% processing fee charged on each freelance job regardless of any plan.

#8 – Guru: Greater transparency and lower fees

Some freelancers feel that Guru has an authentic, grassroots feel. That’s because Guru says they do more than just connect employers with freelancers. They strive to create a transparent, flexible and secure environment. They even go further on their website, saying, “With transparency comes trust, and with a community that’s built on meritocracy, people are eager to set aside differences in geography, politics and religion to share and profit from economic opportunities.” So if that’s your jam, this is the freelance website for you!

Guru also has the lowest transaction fees in the industry. You can join for free and only pay 9% on every paid invoice. You can also bid on 10 jobs a month. If you want, you can join a membership plan to increase the number of bids you make and decrease the percentage you pay on each invoice. For example, for $21.95 per month you can make 50 bids and pay 7%. For $46.95 per month you continue to get 50 bids but only pay 5%. Membership plans also rank your profile higher on search results.

Once you join it’s quite easy to build your online profile. Then you search for jobs. You may also get job matches based on the skills and services highlighted in your profile. If you are interested in a job, you use a bid to send your quote, and employers will contact you if they are interested.

Once you are hired, a WorkRoom is automatically created to help you and the client share files, communicate with each other, and create invoices.

#9 – ServiceScape: No more bidding on projects

ServiceScape is a freelancer platform for graphic designers, writers, copy editors, and translators. More than 90,000 clients have used their services, and they have matched freelancers up with over 300,000 projects.

Unlike many of the platforms listed above, with ServiceScape you don’t bid on projects. Instead, you create a profile that details your skills and prices, and interested clients browse the freelance directory to select the freelancer that matches their needs and brand style. As you create relationships with clients and bring in positive ratings, your ranking will increase in the directory, which will hopefully drive more clients to your profile and bring in more jobs. ServiceScape also says it promotes and markets the services of their freelancers to their clients.

With this website it almost seems like you have your own talent manager or agent working on your behalf. But beware, there is a hefty commission! Your earnings are split 50-50 between you and ServiceScape.

#10 – Don’t forget good ol’ Craigslist

Craigslist has received a lot of bad press because of scams on their websites. And it’s true that when it comes to freelance job postings, Craigslist doesn’t check the legitimacy of the company or client behind the post. That being said, there are often good jobs posted on the site by accountable clients due to its wide reach and low job posting fees.

Just remember, if you are interested in applying for a freelance position, the best thing to do is meet up with the client in person—so long as there's a safe way to do it. And who knows, while you are looking over the job ads you might find a good deal on a couch.

Not all freelancer websites are created equally

As you can see, no two freelancer websites are alike. Besides having a different roster of clients, there is a wide range of fees and unique ways for bringing freelancers together with clients.

If you find the one that is right for your job type and your budget, you will start saving valuable time by bringing high-quality, interesting freelance jobs right to your computer screen.