by Sarah K. White

8 ways to find legit freelance work

Sep 14, 2015
CareersIT JobsIT Skills

If you're looking for more freedom in your work schedule or you want to make some extra cash, you are probably considering freelance or IT contract work. But there's a lot of competition out there. Here are eight sites that can help you land legitimate freelancing gigs.

freelance intro title
Credit: Thinkstock

8 websites that help you build your freelance career

If you’ve ever looked for freelancing work, you probably had to wade through an overwhelming number of websites and job listings, only to come up empty. There’s a lot of competition for freelance work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t land the freelancing gig, or gigs, of your dreams. These eight websites connect freelancers with legitimate contract work in nearly every industry imaginable.


1 upwork

Upwork lets you keep your options open as a freelancer, because you can sign up and create a searchable profile that helps employers find you when they have a new project available. The site has categories for Web developers, mobile developers, designers, writers, virtual assistants, customer service agents and many more. When you create your profile, you can include your relevant skills, experience and examples of what you have worked on in the past. Once hired, you can get paid through the website using a credit card, PayPal or your bank account. Upwork collects a 10 percent fee, however, so if you get paid $20, you will only receive $18.


2 guru

Guru has a number of categories for freelance work, including some you may not have considered before, such as software and IT, engineering and architecture and even legal. The more common freelancing categories are still there, of course, including design, art and multimedia, Web and writing. Jobs are listed with a short summary of the role, a price range, when it was posted and when the job expires. You can also see how many people have been quoted on the job, so you can decide if it’s worth your time to apply.


3 craigslist

While surfing for sublet apartments, you can also venture to the employment section of Craigslist. Depending on your field, there are categories for different industries that you can delve into and find freelance work. If you’ve ventured anywhere on Craigslist, then you’re familiar with the fact that there are no bells and whistles. It’s very straightforward, and as the site regularly reminds you, it’s important to verify any listings in case it’s a scam. Still, plenty of legitimate companies head to Craigslist to post ads for short-term and freelance work, as well as full-time work. For businesses, Craigslist is quick, easy and free way to get listings out to job seekers.

99 Designs

4 99 designs

If you’re a Web or graphic designer, and you are looking for a site that caters to those types of jobs, check out 99 Designs. It’s specific to designers and it works off a contest-based system, and the more bids you win, the more money you’ll make. Basically, if you get on the site and find a “contest,” you can check out the details and collaborate with the client to submit your design. If your design wins, you automatically get more opportunities down the line, and you can even keep the relationship open with that client to perform more work for them. It’s a great option for those driven by competition and a desire to win, but if you lack a competitive spirit, you might want to go for a more traditional site.

College Recruiter

5 college recruiter

If you’re a college student looking to pick up extra work to supplement your income while getting your degree or if you need to find an internship check out College Recruiter. It’s also a great service to find entry-level work after you finish your degree to start building up your resume. Besides offering a huge number of available positions, you can also get tips on entering the workforce on the blog. College Recruiter even offers a resume service, where you can get your resume critiqued for free by a resume writing expert.


6 toptal

If you’re a developer looking to find contract work, Toptal might be the best choice to land a freelance gig. Toptal claims it’s developed a rigorous screening process so that only the best developers get on the site. Out of the thousands of applications that Toptal receives each month, the site has an acceptance rate only of 3 percent. But if you can get past the initial screening, it also means you’ll have less competition when vying for freelance jobs. You’ll be tested on language and personality and you will need to pass a timed algorithm test. After that, two Toptal engineers will contact you to perform an interview along with a live coding exercise. And it’s still not over as you’ll need to perform a test project that can range from one to three weeks long, and if you finally do get accepted, you’ll need to maintain a good reputation in order to stay on the site. So if you’re confident in your developer skills, check out Toptal to become part of the “top 3 percent.”


7 fiverr

If you need to make a quick buck – or five – check out Fiverr, where you can test out the freelancing world in a different way. Users are identified as “buyers” and “sellers,” rather than employers and freelancers. Essentially, as a freelancer you are selling your services, and employers can opt to purchase your services starting at $5 and going up to $500. There’s also an optional service called Gig Extras, where you can charge up to $1,000 for a service. Fiverr caters to graphic designers, online marketers, writers, animators, video editors, programmers and many more. Sellers post ads saying what they can do for buyers, for example, a seller might list an ad saying “I can create a logo for your company,” or “I will proofread and edit marketing materials.” It’s a unique spin on the traditional freelancer format, so if you want to make extra cash and keep it interesting, Fiverr might be for you.


8 freelancer

If you want to go a more traditional route to find freelance work, then you should check out Freelancer. You can get quotes on different projects, from designing a t-shirt to building an entire mobile app to creating 3D renderings. The minimum fee for a project is $5, but the site takes a 10 percent cut of every transaction, so keep that in mind when perusing job openings. You can join for free, but you can put in only eight bids per month and you can’t use direct deposit. From there, you can choose different membership levels that give you more access to the site and available projects.