Need Some Cash on the Side? Try These 9 Freelancing Websites
Editorial note: This post was updated to reflect the changes in Upwork’s fee structure.
For whatever reason, you want a little side money.
You’re not alone. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 5% of U.S. workers have two or more jobs. But before you join their ranks, consider freelancing as a way to bridge the income gap.
It isn’t only for the journalist who wants to make money as a freelance writer, though that’s certainly an option.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to boost your income by freelancing — and you can find opportunities online in almost any industry.
The 9 Best Freelance Websites
No matter your skillset, there’s likely someone who’s willing to pay for your services. Usually, the hardest part is making sure the freelance work is legit.
There are plenty of freelance websites out there, but plenty of them are scams.
So we did the hard part for you and vetted some of the best ones. They’re not freelance job aggregators that leave you to fend for yourself with clients. All the work and pay is funneled through, and moderated by, the websites themselves. The best part? They don’t charge you money to sign up.
Each freelance site also has user reviews through Glassdoor, a jobs search engine that aggregates anonymous feedback and salaries from employees and rates companies on a scale of five stars. The listings below include the Glassdoor rating at the bottom and link to what freelancers and employees have to say about the company.
Here are nine freelance websites that can help you find the perfect gig, whether you’re looking for a one-time project or a longtime client.
(Note: The sites are listed alphabetically, not by order of importance.)
For budding copywriters, editors, designers and developers, CopyPress is a solid content mill to get your bearings.
The media company has in-house agencies in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Tampa, Florida. But it’s mostly used nationwide by outside contractors who collaborate on an internal content management system (CMS).
In CopyPress’ CMS, users don’t have to bid on freelance jobs. They can accept or decline tailored projects as they flow in. The system is straightforward, and the training materials are more than enough to get you started on the right freelancing foot.
CopyPress also has a contractor gig for “influencers” whose outlets (blogs or social media) meet certain popularity requirements in the travel, DIY or tech industries.
It’s worth noting that the Glassdoor rating for CopyPress is the lowest on this list, and it could be due to a few things. For instance, the reviews don’t distinguish between the website freelancers and on-location employees. Some negative freelancer reviews mention low pay and infrequent projects, but the reason this site made the cut is because the free training materials and tutorials are comprehensive. They’re worth your time even if you don’t use the site to supplement your income.
And when it comes to freelance sites, any Glassdoor presence is better than none.
To get started as a CopyPress contractor, register here.
Who Can Freelance: Copywriters, editors, software developers or graphic designers.
Glassdoor Rating: 2.9 (out of 5) stars.
You can find (and list) just about any service on Fiverr, a freelance marketplace through which giant brands and individuals alike can search for services they need on an internal search engine.
As a freelancer, you can list your services and prices (don’t worry, you can charge more than $5) and over time get ratings that help you rank higher in the search results.
It’s completely free to sign up as a “seller.” So is creating a listing. The fees come in when sales are made. For each sale, Fiverr takes 20% of the purchase amount, according to the company’s terms of service. The good news is that Fiverr has a deal with PayPal to waive withdrawal fees for any project completed on the site.
Who Can Freelance: Almost anyone, including pianists, translators and mathematicians.
Glassdoor Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars.
Want to deliver packages? Design websites? Write articles? Post it on Freelancer. It’s another solid marketplace option for projects big and small.
On Freelancer, both employers and freelancers can create listings and specify rates per project or per hour. If you’re interested in a project an employer posted, you can bid on it. That alerts the employer that you’re interested. The standard free membership includes eight free bids per month. You can add extra bids if you cough up some dough.
Freelancer’s fee system is somewhat complicated but lower than similar marketplaces overall.
“The fee for fixed-price projects is 10% or $5.00 USD, whichever is greater, and 10% for hourly projects,” the website states.
For services, Freelancer takes 20% from the payment amount. There are a ton of ways to promote your services, get fee exemptions and more, according to the fee breakdown.
To get started, make a free account and upload your portfolio.
Who Can Freelance: Almost anyone — ghostwriters and game developers alike.
Glassdoor Rating: 3.7 (out of 5) stars.
This one is for the techies.
Gigster is an on-demand software development website. Since its founding in 2013, the site has garnered the attention of well-known venture capitalists, including Michael Bloomberg and Michael Jordan. The website has received more than $32 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.
While Gigster does have a core software engineering team, it offers freelance work for designers, developers and product managers through its talent network. Projects range from wireframes and mockups to full designs. Compensation is based on the complexity of the project.
The talent network accepts applications from a wide range of candidates, from self taught to Ph.D.s. To get started, you can apply to the appropriate role here.
Who Can Freelance: Designers, developers and product managers.
Glassdoor Rating: 4.9 (out of 5) stars.
Guru runs on a bidding system. An employer needs a document translated into French? Bid on it. Someone needs a logo for their cooking blog? Bid on it. An entrepreneur needs a ghostwriter for her new thought leadership book? You get the idea… bid on it. Alternatively, companies can reach out to you directly if they search your listed area of expertise.
Profiles are free to create. They include a basic membership, which comes with 10 bids per month. There are varying levels of paid memberships that give you extra bids each month, or you can purchase more bids directly if you don’t want to pay a recurring membership fee. It’s $10 for every 20 bids, or you can get discounts for bulk — $50 for 125 bids and $100 for 250 bids.
Similar to other freelance marketplaces, Guru takes a percentage from the selling price of the service, and it varies based on what kind of membership you have.
|Basic membership||Basic+ membership||Professional membership||Business membership||Executive membership|
|Fee deducted from payment||8.95%||8.95%||6.95%||5.95%||4.95%|
|Monthly membership fee (billed annually)||Free||$8.95||$15.95||$24.95||$39.95|
Interested? You can make a free profile here and select what membership works best for you.
Who Can Freelance: Almost anyone — customer service reps, legal experts, photographers and more.
Glassdoor Rating: 3.7 (out of 5) stars.
While you can offer writing services on almost all freelance websites, nDash is tailored for writers. Unlike most content mills, you can set your price expectations for projects based on the platform: blogs, in-depth articles, website copy and more.
NDash is refreshing in that it encourages writers to not undersell themselves. $30 blog post? Not here. The site has guides on how to set your prices if you’re new to the trade, as well as several videos to help you create your portfolio.
NDash’s clients include some pretty heavy hitters, including LinkedIn and HubSpot. The icing on the cake is that they don’t take payment fees from your earnings.
Create a free writer profile here to get started.
Who Can Freelance: Copywriters, marketers and journalists.
Glassdoor Rating: 5.0 (out of 5) stars.
Founded in 2007, PeoplePerHour is one of the oldest freelancing sites on the list. It’s based in the U.K. but available worldwide and to freelancers in most professional fields.
The company focuses on the quality of its freelancers. To get started at PeoplePerHour, you must apply initially to create your account. After you’re screened and approved for relevant topics or industries, you’ll have free rein to bid (or “quote”) on projects in your wheelhouse.
Basic accounts come with 15 free quotes per month. Once you burn through those, you can wait for them to renew or purchase more.
|Number of Quotes||5||10||25||50|
Based on the payout from the project, fees vary at marginal rates:
- For the first $500 dollars with a new client, the fee is 20%.
- Income between $501 and $4,999 is charged 7.5%.
- Fees for payments of $5,000 or more are 3.5%.
The scale starts over with each new client, so it incentivizes recurring business.
Who Can Freelance: Experts in almost any field, from tax pros to tutors.
Glassdoor Rating: 3.4 (out of 5) stars.
Toptal is for expert software developers and designers, financial experts, project managers and product managers.
This platform is unique in that its screening process is intense and can take upwards of three weeks. It includes a communication assessment (that requires in-depth English comprehension), a skill review, a live screening and test projects.
It boasts that when all is said and done, only 3% of applicants pass. If you make it through, you’ll have access to Toptal’s clients, some of which are top tier — Airbnb, Artsy, Pfizer and Zendesk to name a few.
According to Toptal’s website and terms of service, the company doesn’t take fees from its freelancers. Rather, it charges its clients for access to its freelance talent pool. Hourly pay starts at $60 and varies based on experience. Freelancers can be hired by clients per project, part time or full time.
To create a freelancer account and begin the vetting process, start here.
Who Can Freelance: Experienced developers, designers, finance experts, project managers and product managers.
Glassdoor Rating: 4.3 (out of 5) stars.
Upwork, aka the baby of Elance and oDesk, claims to have more than 14 million users from 180 different countries, which would make it the largest freelancing platform in the world.
It’s a marketplace format, meaning gigs in just about every professional field are up for grabs. Businesses can reach out directly to you, or you can bid on a business’ job listing. With so many users, the competition is hot. Making a good profile and crafting the perfect pitch are crucial to landing a gig.
Under new Upwork fees that go into effect in Summer 2019, freelancers must pay between 15 cents and 90 cents to bid on a gig.
Once a project is completed, Upwork charges marginal fees depending on how much you’ve earned with that client.
- A 20% fee for the first $500 with a client.
- For $500.01 to $10,000, the fee drops to 10%.
- Anything over $10,000 is charged 5%.
Again, the idea is to encourage recurring work with the client. The more they pay you, the lower the fees.
Think Upwork is the site for you? Click here to make a profile.
Who Can Freelance: Almost anyone, whether you’re a creative or a coder.
Glassdoor Rating: 3.9 (out of 5) stars.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder. He’s an avid freelancer and has personally used several of the sites above. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.