Working freelance has always been an option, but thanks to the internet, being your own boss and finding customers has become easier than ever.
Working online has changed everything. Millions of people have decided that they love the freedom of working for themselves, either full time or by starting a side business. No longer are professionals bound to living in crowded and expensive metropolitan areas, and the possibilities for entrepreneurs with a vision are very real.
Freelancing is much easier than starting a small business. Whether you are a parent hoping to spend more time with your kids, a professional struggling to find a job near home, a retiree looking to supplement your pension and keep busy, or a traveler who loves to work as you see the world, freelancing may be your ticket to the life you really want.
If you don't know where to start looking, don't worry. There are several popular job portals with a large user base dedicated to connecting freelancers with businesses in need of your skills.
Here's our GET.com pick of the 7 best portals for finding freelance jobs.
Image source: Upwork Global Inc.
Originally called oDesk, it merged last year with Elance, which had been our favorite site. Upwork offers a wide range of job types, offers fixed-price and hourly contracts, and provides escrow services that protect buyers and sellers. Our only beef with Upwork is that they charge 20 percent for the first $500 of work, then 10 percent until you hit the $10,000 mark. After that the rate falls to 5 percent. But the truth is, that isn't bad compared to many other portals. The great thing about Upwork is that it doesn't limit you to jobs that require computer skills. You can find jobs in carpentry, plumbing and electrical engineering, amount other skills, though these are pretty limited compared to traditional IT freelance jobs.
Image source: Toptal, LLC
A sophisticated site for seasoned freelancers. After you pass the screening process, you'll have access to important projects from some blue chip clients, and the pay is good.
Image source: Guru.com
A good all-around site that helps you showcase your past work and match your skills to available jobs every day. The platform makes it easy to manage your work. Like Upwork, this portal also works for architects, mechanical engineers and other non-IT professionals.
Freelancer: A very competitive site with a zillion available projects. You have to be on your game to get work here, but if you're good, this is a fine way to build your reputation.
Image source: 99designs
A site dedicated to freelance designers, that offering contests for you to compete in. If you're looking to establish a name for yourself, this is a good place to start.
Image source: PeoplePerHour Inc.
Techies love this platform for web projects. If you're a web developer, SEO specialist or graphic designer, give this site a good look.
Image source: Constant-Content.com
This site takes a huge 35 percent of every dollar you earn, but you can find some higher paying gigs there that make it worthwhile. Many jobs are speculative, in that you don't know whether a buyer will pick up your article or not. This is a good place when you are first starting out, but you might want to go solo once you've gained confidence.
It's worth noting that Linkedin has started a freelance service called Profinder, and Facebook hosts dozens of groups dedicated to connecting freelancers with jobs.
If you don't already have a portfolio of work to show for yourself, you may want to start your career by accepting a few low-paid gigs in order to build one up. Establishing a portfolio of your work will make it easier to compete for new jobs. If you're good, your rate will rise over time and you'll have a better chance of specializing in the kind of work you like the best.
Learn to accept criticism, take courses and concentrate on improving your craft. You might not get rich, but you have a fair chance of actually liking your job.
Not just that. If you work and connect with customers entirely online, you won't be limited to having to live in expensive areas where jobs and business connections are plentiful.
That means you could save huge amounts of money by relocating to an area where taxes are low and buying a home, getting homeowners insurance and auto insurance, and purchasing goods and services is much more affordable. And unless you accept stay-in jobs away from home, you won't have to spend a dime on commuting.
On the whole, we give freelancing 2 thumbs up.