For some people, joining a freelance writing platform is a way to diversify how they find work.
Here’s our take on the pros and cons of 5 popular freelance writing platforms.
Aquent is a recruitment agency that connects employers with skilled contract-based creative, design or marketing professionals.
You need to go through a vetting process if you want to join the pool of temp workers or the pool of employers looking for talent, which means they hold professionalism and quality of work to a high standard - which is usually a good sign.
The type of work offered is often very short-term and remote, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking for long-term relationships, though it can be a plus if you’re looking for short-term contracts.
Freelancer.com is a crowd-sourcing platform, similar to a marketplace, that businesses can use to advertise contract jobs on. It’s one of the biggest players in the freelancing platform arena.
There are a tonne of jobs on offer in different industries, from freelance writing to admin, IT and web design. Because Freelancer.com positions itself to businesses as the platform to find what you need for less, there are perhaps more jobs posted there than any other platform. Make up your own mind about what that means for the general rate of pay across the site.
There’s a lot of competition, which comes with a platform of that size. People are often trying to outbid each other on fees. As with many freelance platforms, you have to pay in order to bid on projects. The other downside is that your bid will rank a certain way based on the feedback you’ve accumulated on specific skills. If you decide to apply for a project that requires a different skillset that you haven’t received much feedback for yet, your bid will rank lower.
Upwork is a crowd-sourcing platform as well, that matches freelancers with employers looking to hire people for a specific project or on a short-term basis.
Upwork is another giant in the freelance platform industry. They also have a large number of jobs listed in industries such as IT, design and creative, sales and marketing, writing, data science and analytics, and more.
Upwork only approves a very small amount of all freelancers who create a profile on the site, which means your chances of getting through are low. It helps if you’ve got a good amount of experience in a niche that they don’t have enough freelancers in. You also have to pay to bid on jobs. Payment can be slow, I’ve sometimes had to wait five days after a client releases payment to get paid, which is a painfully long delay.
Fiverr is a platform that allows freelancers to offer their digital services to companies and customers worldwide.
Fiverr only allows project pricing, so no hourly rates can be found here. Project rates can be a great way to keep things streamlined and easy, but it can also be a downfall if a project turns out to take a lot more time than expected. Fiverr features a lot of different opportunities in a range of industries, from an array of different writing jobs (think technical writing, blog posts, podcast writing, grant writing and more) to gaming, video animation, programming and digital marketing. Fiverr is different from other platforms in that it’s geared towards the freelancers, not the person hiring. Let’s say you’re a graphic designer. You have to create gigs on your account (mini sales pitches of your best work) to convince people to hire you. When a business searches for someone to do a book cover design, your “gig” will show up together with others for them to choose from.
This is one of the many platforms that expects too much from freelancers (in both volume and quality) for far too little money.
Valilly (previously Crowded)
Valilly is different from others on this list because they use data to connect businesses with applicants.
The AI-powered recruitment process is a double-edged sword, with pros and cons for applicants. One of the pros is that you don’t have to manually apply for every job, the algorithm takes care of it.
Their algorithm sorts applicants and ranks them based on their skills, fees and experience. Because AI takes care of the ranking, you can’t put your best foot forward with a dashing cover letter or reasoning behind wanting to work for the company. It also seems they only work in two industries, healthcare and technology.
Not worth the hassle?
It can be a painful process to sift through the thousands of highly underpaid jobs on freelance platforms to find the few gems. But it’s essential that you do your due diligence and check the credibility of the company you’re wanting to work for to avoid being scammed or left unpaid at the end of the project. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of people have had bad experiences on pretty much all of these platforms. It takes a quick google search to find a whole heap of bad reviews on any of them - either in terms of pay rate, customer service, delays in getting paid or even just the amount of freelancers that are unsuccessful on any of these platforms due to the huge amount of competition.
So it is worth it?
My view is the freelance writing platform route is not worth the time investment it requires. Instead, I’d suggest you try directly pitching clients instead. In my experience, you can create better quality professional relationships with better pay and have a higher chance of securing a long-term collaboration. It may be scary at first, but I promise you the thrill of getting a pitch accepted makes it all worth it.