For many freelancers, the hardest aspect of getting your business up and running is acquiring your initial set of customers. And with the U.S. projecting its workforce to be nearly 50.9% freelance in 2027, it’s imperative you’re able to cut through the noise and get in front of your target audience. However, with the wide range of platforms available today that allow you to show off your work, finding your ideal clients has never been easier.
To help drum up additional business and receive the greatest ROI from the time you invest in building out your portfolio, we’ve put together a list of the most popular freelance platforms to showcase your work and attract new clients.
Before determining what platforms you would like to work with, it’s helpful to ask yourself the following questions to guide you to the appropriate channel:
- What is your niche or your particular subject matter experience? (e.g., PHP coding? Graphic design? Copywriting?)
- Who is your target audience?
- Where is your target audience located?
- What price-point are your service offerings generally going to be set at? Where does the price for your services fall relative to the price of your competitors?
Once you have developed an idea of where your services lie within the freelancing ecosystem, you’ll want to select your freelancer platform and begin building out your profile. Here are some of the most popular platforms freelancers are using in 2018:
9 Platforms Freelancers Can Use to Showcase Their Works
This website is an extremely popular platform of choice. Upwork differentiates itself from the majority of competing platforms, and is particularly attractive to freelancers because of its relative payscale. From the perspective of the freelancer, this platform tends to pay out on any given ‘gig’ or ‘job’ at a significantly higher rate than the average rate at which most of its competitors do. Although not exclusively unique to Upwork, the platform’s capabilities in enabling freelancers to easily showcase prior work samples in an aesthetically pleasing way is also a major value-add.
Freelancers also often prefer Upwork over its competitors because the process of garnering new clientele is not as daunting compared to other platforms. In short, Upwork enables freelancers to seamlessly filter through requests for bids so that they can easily find projects containing needs that match their particular skillets, while simultaneously enabling customers to find the freelancers and encouraging the customers to invite freelancers to check out (or place on bids on) jobs they have posted.
This is also another commonly known and popular platform for freelancers. It has been around for a substantial amount of time, and has a large community — both on the client-side and on the freelancer-side. Freelancer.com claims to connect over 27,822,441 employers and freelancers across 247 countries, and that it has well over 13.5 million jobs posted.
This platform has many similarities to Upwork. First, it is not industry, or niche specific. The platform’s freelancers have a wide array of expertise, ranging from software development, to writing and design, to engineering. It even has providers that specialize in legal services.
Second, freelancers can get paid out on an hourly basis or on a fixed-price (milestone-based) basis. Finally, Freelancer.com now offers a new and intuitive user-interface that showcases a drag & drop feature that enables freelances to quickly and easily showcase their work. Referred to as “The Freelancer Showcase” there are tons of design templates available, and particular categories to choose from, which makes finding your ideal showcase design a breeze.
This platform is niche-specific and is built just for freelance developers. Apart from being developer-focused, what separates Toptal from the rest of the pack is its unparalleled degree of exclusivity in terms of freelancers allowed to utilize the platform. Freelancers must go through an incredibly rigorous vetting process and be approved by Toptal before being able to leverage its capabilities. Only 3% of those who go through this vetting process actually get approved.
This platform shares similarities with both Upwork and Freelancer.com in that the platform is suited for freelancers across a wide range of fields and is not niche specific. In terms of average payout per project, it is comparable to Freelancer.com.
This platform is not exactly niche-specific, but tends to lend itself towards more creative freelancers such as designers, artists, animators, photographers, etc. Some unique features this platform offers are its (very frequently used) social network which contains jobs, postings, and the capability to ‘follow’ people you like. A user can also ‘appreciate’ work samples of other members on the platform. Creating a profile and a showcase on this platform is also very quick and easy.
This platform is highly recommended for showcasing work from graphic designers. With a freelance user base that includes high-quality designers from around the world, portfolios are constantly updated with their newest projects and samples of work. The process of acquiring new clientele is said to be relatively easier on this platform than that of most others.
This platform is perfect for showcasing work done by photographers. Though very niche-oriented, this platform’s showcase feature is phenomenal – intuitive and user-friendly, and allows for significant customization in terms of portfolio design. An added plus about this platform relative to some of its competitors is that the Viewbook allows you to upload as many work samples and images to your showcase as you want. There is no cap placed on the number of images you can upload.
This platform is primarily home to freelance writers who specialize in journalism, content writing, and blogging. Do note that this is one of the very few (if not the only) platform that does not offer any free or ‘freemium’ plans.
This platform is niche-specific and is also targeted towards freelance writers. Contently claims to have 100,000 professional freelancers currently using the platform. Contently positions itself as home to extremely high-quality freelancers. Contently provides its clientele with curated sets of freelance writers from which to choose based on the client’s project needs. Because Contently has few users relative to other platforms, many freelancers who specialize in writing like this platform because of the lower competition they face when bidding on projects.
Once you decide which platform you will go with, be sure to built out a strong profile to attract the top clientele. It can help to utilize project management tools as you ramp up your freelance business to ensure all projects are turned in on time and you don’t miss any important deadlines or deliverables.
About an author: Michael Rausher is a researcher, and regular contributor to TrustRadius, where he shares his knowledge of the latest trends in B2B news and software.