Are you tired of the office setting? Would like to change careers, or go fully for remote works? This article will help you start on your freelancing journey. You can find places and platforms where you can possibly land your first gig. We’ll answer questions like why freelancing is a viable career option, why it’s better than ever to start working remotely now. Explore the differences between various job sites and platforms that offer remote work opportunities for web developers.
State of Remote Work
According to recent research, 50% of the workforce will be remote by 2020. Moreover, what’s also interesting is that almost 30% of all remote workers are actually women. And the numbers are steadily growing. So if you think you don’t stand a chance among your male colleagues in web development, we’re here to encourage and inspire you to try anyway. Because as it turns out women are just as good if not better at web development than males. The number of 100% remote companies in the US is steadily growing as well. So, there are more and more chances for remote work opportunities with each day. Since the world doesn’t really end with the US, there’re many European and Asian companies looking for freelancers. So, choosing a freelancing path at this moment in time seems like an opportunity hard to miss out on.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Remote Work
The benefits of remote work as opposed to working in the office include cutting costs on commuting. You don’t have to travel back and forth. You can save up on foods and drinks. Because there’s no need to pay for lunches; you can cook just as easily at your house or apartment. You can spend more time with your family, especially if you have little kids to take care of. Being able to work from anywhere, including cafes, and at any time, provided you agree on a flexible schedule with your employer.
Speaking of disadvantages, there are quite a few as well. For example, you might find that you’ll get paid more in the office rather than remotely; you can actually end up working more hours than in the office. You can also find yourself in a pretty awkward predicament of being lonely and desperate for communication. Nevertheless, the benefits still outweigh the disadvantages; however, if you’re an extrovert, it might be really hard for you to adjust at first.
Overview of Freelance Platforms
Now, let’s look at some of the most popular freelance platforms in 2019 which you can use in your search for remote jobs.
Upwork is one of the oldest platforms on the freelance market with its story beginning over a decade ago in a Silicon Valley. Since then, Upwork has changed its name, the marketing strategy, the branding. But the idea behind the global freelancing marketplace remained the same. Businesses across the globe should benefit from access to a large pool of talent that might not be available to them otherwise.
Upwork welcomes professionals in various fields of business; from the web and mobile development to SEO to content marketing to graphic design, etc. To start using Upwork, you need to set up and complete your profile with examples of previous projects. And as soon as your profiles checked and approved, you can start searching for relevant projects, reply to job postings, respond to clients’ invitations, and so on. The Upwork platform has an amazingly convenient and user-friendly interface. They also have a mobile app. So you can stay up-to-date on your current projects or browse relevant job posting while on the go. All payments happen through Upwork, and the process is as smooth as it can get. Moreover, you can either agree on hourly-based or fixed projects. You can choose from multiple payment options, such as direct deposit or ACH, PayPal, Wire Transfer, Payoneer, and so on.
The downside of Upwork:
However, expect to pay for the Upwork services of giving you the platform and opportunity to search for jobs. Because both freelancers and clients are supposed to pay service fees. A freelancer service fee is a sliding fee based on your lifetime billings with each client. For example, if you’re paid less than $500, you’re charged 20% across all contracts with your clients; between $500 and $10,000, you’ll pay 10% for total billing; and finally 5% for total billings with your client that exceed $10,000.
The downside of using Upwork is that there is a large pool of qualified freelancers. If you’re really new to the freelance marketplace, then you’ll end up working small jobs and being paid far less than you deserve before you establish your customer base and get enough reviews saying that you can be trusted and your work is somewhat exceptional (just an example, but you get the idea). Also, being charged 20% before you reach $500 mark is a little too much for some. But still, Upwork is the best platform for freelancers that is really worth checking out before you move on to some other platforms that are specifically dedicated to the niche industry you’re specializing in, like CrossOver and Gun.io (for web development, for example).
Freelancer is yet another popular platform that has already connected more than 35 million employers to freelancers from nearly 250 countries. The Freelancer marketplace primarily specializes in software development, data entry, writing, and design (just as Upwork). Before becoming a full-fledged freelance platform (that’s now even trading on Australian Securities Exchange), Freelancer has also acquired several outsourcing websites, including GetAFreelancer.com, Rent-A-Coder.com, Webmaster-talk.com, and many others. Judging by the names of the websites Freelancer has acquired over the years; you can get an idea of the jobs you can most obviously get hired for; web developers, coders, you name it.
Freelancer actually works as a bidding platform, where the cheapest and yet the most adequate bidder wins. The project fees are a little less than on Upwork. For example, you’re charged 10% on every hourly-based project and 10% on the winning bid or $5 whichever is greater. Any subsequent payment incurs the same 10% fee.
Fiverr is yet another freelance platform that deserves to be covered. But honestly, that’s not my favorite one. Every time in the past that I had to hire freelancers from Fiverr, they turned out to be not as professional as their profiles implied. But that’s an employer’s point of view, not the freelancer’s. So, you might still like it and find great work opportunities. And, who knows, end up having lots of good leads and deals. So, don’t rely on my words too much, just sign up and see for yourself.
Just like in the previously discussed platforms, you can find jobs here in graphics and design, web development, digital marketing, and other web-related content and programming jobs. You can also sell some of your previous work on Fiverr; you can go the long way and actually add videos to introduce yourself and your work. This is especially relevant if you’re doing voice/video gigs.
The downside of Fiverr is undercutting your fees to gain more exposure and build up a portfolio. There is a long and painful payment process that can take up to 14 days to receive the money from a completed project; there is a lot of scams; and a quite high commissions at times, up to 20% off the revenue from each gig. And you’re, of course, left on your own with paying out fees while withdrawing money based on your location and currency.
If you’re specifically looking at web development jobs, perhaps, it will make more sense to look into the niche freelance hiring marketplaces that specialize exclusively on development and software engineering jobs. Hereinbelow, we’ll cover the most popular platforms worth discovering.
Toptal is one of the most popular and acclaimed platforms that’s been in business for about a decade and was created by engineers for engineers. It has fantastic reviews and a huge budget to burn on advertising. So, everyone’s in the industry is pretty aware of the platform. There’s a great pool of technical experts that Toptal represents; from blockchain consultants to corporate finance specialists to creative directors, illustrators, web, app, and mobile developers, and so on. As stated on Toptal’s website, it hires only the top 3% of freelance talent all over the world. They have a very rigorous process of screening, testing, and interviewing candidates.
If you’re a developer, expect to get paid $60-95/hour, a designer — $70-150/hour. The payments are usually charged to clients twice a month; so you can expect to get paid twice a month (as well) after the payment has been processed.
There’s not much information on fees charged both to clients and developers. But, as the rumor goes, clients can be charged up to 100% in commission on development services.
Gun.io is one of my favorite alternative platforms for software engineering jobs. This was born from the Open Source community as a way to help open source developers find appropriately amazing gigs. From the clients listed on the website, Gun.io serves/d Tesla, Cisco, Zappos, etc. So, as you can see, a pretty good range of renowned clients.
Freelancers usually get paid $75-150/hour with all commissions paid by the client. Definitely worth checking them out, provided they have part-time and short-term gigs. Even the possibility of on-site work for the client (in case, that’s something you might be interested in).
Soshace is a relatively new platform that has been around for about three years, nevertheless has already scored positive reviews both on Clutch and Glassdoor. It’s a very nice platform with the lowest commissions on the market, which start from as low as $5. However, Soshace does split the commission between clients and developers; but it’s still way less than on any other platforms, including Upwork, et al. You, as a developer, would be asked to complete several stages of an interview. It includes an English test and live coding. But the whole process should not take long if you’re a professional developer above junior level. Soshace offers full-time remote work only.
CrossOver is the last platform that we’ll cover. It’s a huge company with over 3,500 partners from around the world and full-time freelancers from more than 110 countries. The company was established in 2014, yet skyrocketed and grew substantially over the last five years. CrossOver has a great pool of jobs covering everything from technical support to chief architects. All payments are made through Payoneer, however, you’re responsible for your own taxes. The work is monitored and taken care of with WorkSmart, calendar management and productivity tool created by the company itself. The rates differ tremendously: from $15/hour to as much as $200/hour.
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Having covered the freelance marketplace platforms, we’re confident you won’t be unemployed at least in 2019. All jokes aside, each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages. But all of them are reliable and trustworthy resources literally filled with opportunities for remote work. So, check them out, if you have not yet. Also, let us know in the comments below what experience you had with any.
This article is written by Marina Vorontsova. She is a copywriter from Soshace, a hiring platform for web developers. Marina primarily writes about hiring remote developers, entrepreneurship, startup and internet culture. She also interviews developers about their experiences while searching for freelance jobs and their achievements in web development and beyond. Follow her: Twitter | LinkedIn.