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Last Updated on March 18, 2023 by Chris Panteli
Earn Money as a Freelancer
How much time do you spend marketing yourself as a freelancer, creating complex systems to manage dozens of projects for different clients, and tracking which invoices are still unpaid?
All of these are unpaid admin tasks eating away at your productive work hours.
Fortunately, technology has made it easier to automate some of this repetitive work so you can focus on providing your services and improving your skills.
Both new and veteran freelancers can benefit from a little tech boost, so here are the best apps and platforms successful freelancers recommend to connect with clients, simplify your work process, and build a thriving business.
Is freelancing a legitimate source of consistent income?
Freelancing can be a legitimate source of consistent income for some individuals, particularly those with specialized skills or expertise. However, like any self-employment opportunity, it can also be unpredictable and require significant effort to build up a consistent client base. Success as a freelancer often depends on factors such as networking, marketing, and reputation building, as well as the ability to deliver high-quality work and maintain positive client relationships. Utilizing online platforms such as LinkedIn, Upwork, and Fiverr can also help freelancers find clients and drive income.
Best platforms to find clients
Businesses need freelancers and freelancers need clients. If only there was a platform to connect users with matching needs!
It’s hardly a surprise that the career-focused social media site is one of the best places to find clients.
Almost every business has a LinkedIn page and several hiring managers, business owners, editors, and content directors are active on the platform. This gives you an easy and free way to connect with the people and companies you want to work for.
“You don’t pay a commission to find projects and often receive free inbound leads,” says Dr. Nsisong, a freelance writer covering healthcare for publications like WebMD, Healthline, and Insider.
To put their profile in front of more eyes without paying anything, freelancers like Dr. Nsisong regularly post on the platform, sharing industry updates and actively applying for new projects in their niche.
But how do you find these projects to apply for?
“The search function on LinkedIn makes it easy to find and apply for freelance projects,” says Paige Lyman, a freelance writer covering culture for publications like NYT, WIRED, and Digital Trends. “You can type in your specific search (a common one I use is “looking for freelance writers”) and sort by the latest posts.”
Here’s an example:
If there’s only one social media account you want to maintain as a freelancer, pick Twitter.
The platform is full of freelance opportunities with businesses directly sharing project information like what they’re looking for, how much they can pay, and how to get in touch.
Here are a few examples.
If you’re a writer, Pro Blogger is a free platform for applying to beginner to mid-level gigs. Job posters have to pay $80 to advertise their project so you’ll rarely find scams.
The projects span a wide range of industries like sports, business, finance, and art so there’s something for every type of freelancer.
The site also has podcasts, e-books, online courses, and events if you want to learn more about how to succeed as a freelancer.
Media Bistro is an all-in-one platform for freelance creatives, offering:
- Media jobs
- Freelance gigs
- Online courses
- Webinars and Q&As
- Publication contacts
- Resume writing services
- Interview coaching sessions
- Freelance directory (for clients to hire someone)
One of their paid services is a freelance directory “lets you create a profile and upload samples of your work so that prospective clients can find you,” says Ashley Cisneros Mejia, a freelance writer and business coach for other freelancers. “Because of my presence on that website, one of my most lucrative and long-term clients found my profile and called me and my Media Bistro membership paid for itself over and over again.”
Bidding sites like Upwork
If you’re new to freelancing and don’t know where to start, bidding sites Upwork can instantly give you access to thousands of open projects, secure invoicing and payment tools, and a dedicated profile to collect work samples and reviews.
Upwork also offers features like real-time messaging and dispute resolution so clients and freelancers can handle any problems quickly and effectively, says Hamid, a freelancer offering marketing and SEO-based services on the platform.
An important note: Bidding sites like Upwork are used by millions of freelancers from all over the world so every project receives hundreds (if not thousands) of “bids” or applications. This can make it harder to get noticed and actually receive a project despite applying for hundreds of gigs. Many of these opportunities are already low-paying and the strong competition makes it easier for clients to find extremely cheap freelancers.
However, many freelancers have found success on the platform and now charge a premium for their services.
“Upwork was a great springboard for me into the freelance writing world,” says Emma Loker, a freelance writer and editor who is now a regular contributor and psychology expert at Healthy Minded. “Now that I have built up my profile, new clients come to me, inviting me to interview for their roles rather than me spending hours applying for projects.”
Best platforms to get paid
As you start taking on client projects, you need to set up systems to generate invoices and get paid. Here are some apps and platforms to help with that.
PayPal is one of the best ways to get paid from most countries in the world. The platform offers a free invoice generation tool and even sends payment reminders if your invoice is not paid on time.
PayPal supports dozens of currencies so you can collect payments from international clients. It is particularly helpful for freelancers as many freelance gig sites like Upwork let you receive payments through PayPal.
Wise lets freelancers hold a multi-currency account to receive payments from clients all over the world. It’s free to set up an account and you only have to pay for currency conversion and withdrawal.
You can also send money in different currencies if you expand your business and start hiring sub-contractors. Plus, you can get a global card to spend the money anywhere in the world.
Indy is an all-in-one freelance platform that lets you manage all your projects, track work hours, create contracts, design proposals, and send invoices – all in one place.
The basic features are free to use but you can also buy a $9 a month subscription for advanced tools.
What is freelancing?
Freelancing is offering services to clients on a project-by-project basis, without being tied to a particular employer.
Can you make money as a freelancer?
Yes, there are a variety of platforms and tools available to help freelancers connect with clients, simplify their work processes, and build a thriving business.
What are some of the best platforms to find clients?
LinkedIn, Twitter, Pro Blogger, Media Bistro, and bidding sites like Upwork are all popular options for freelancers to find clients.
How can you get paid as a freelancer?
PayPal, Wise, and Indy are some of the platforms available to help freelancers generate invoices and receive payments from clients.