Choosing the Best Freelance Site
Technology has weaved its way into our daily lives, so much so that children are growing up learning to code, hack, and develop – it’s second nature for them. As the first generation to grow up with technology, millennials are in a unique position and they know how to harness technology to market themselves and their skills to businesses looking for new and innovative talent. Outsourcing might be the perfect solution to break free of your local bubble to find that allusive talent. Hiring freelancers or working with employers remotely has a lot of benefits for both parties, often opening a pool of candidates and employers around the world for reasonable prices. Finding the right freelance site for your project or to work on as a freelancer can be a little tricky, though. Now that it’s taking off, there are dozens of sites to choose from, all with their own benefits and drawbacks.
Type of project
The type of projects you’re interested in should drive your decision. Some major websites are a one-stop shop, offering virtual assistants, data entry jobs, writing, website development, graphic design, and much more. Obviously, this can provide a wealth of services but if you are looking for something specialized like engineering, coding, or graphic design, niche outsourcing sites exist and may be more selective about their members than massive sites with all kind of work.
The benefit of most freelancing sites isn’t just to provide a pool of jobs and freelancers ready to work, they should also provide a secure platform for payment and transactions and a way to deal with disputes. Most allow you to link PayPal, credit cards, or bank accounts to the secure platform so your money goes through the site. Usually, people buying a service place the money in the site as a guarantee and release it after the work is submitted and reviewed.
Most sites provide some level of customer service to work out disputes, too– for example, if an employer isn’t happy with the work, they might be able to get their money back while a freelancer can contact the outsourcing platform to try and get unpaid funds released. Although not always ideal, it’s much safer than finding someone online and agreeing to direct payments.
Contest vs. one-on-one hiring
There are two main methods to completing a project through outsourcing – you can either post a job and wait to see which freelancers apply and review their applications before selecting one to work on your project or you can create a contest. Contests allow employers to post a description of the project, and any freelancer can submit the work, so you’ll actually be viewing dozens of finished projects and may even be able to give the freelancers feedback to improve. At the end of the contest, the employer selects a winner and pays them to acquire ownership of the completed work.
There’re advantages and disadvantages to both – hiring one person allows you to find the best candidate and ask for revisions but contests allow you to choose the best submission. On the other hand, if you create a contest and don’t like any of the submissions, you may still have to choose one and pay for it. If you don’t guarantee a contest (to avoid having to choose one of the submission), many talented freelancers will be discouraged from applying.
Hourly vs. set price
Most platforms allow the buyer to create a project for either a set price or to pay by the hour. To protect hourly payments, many also have work tracking software to document screenshots and keystrokes so you can make sure someone working remotely is really working.
Freelance sites need to make money too, and they can do it in a number of ways. Some charge either the buyer, freelancer, or both a commission fee. They may also create special features or offers you have to purchase to access.
You should always choose a site with robust search features. Whether you are a freelancer or a potential employer, you need to be able to search for people and projects that meet your requirements based on the job, the skills you need, the talent, and how much each party charges or pays for the work.
Many freelance sites are free, so you can always create a profile on a few, but managing different accounts can be difficult, and most sites create a ranking system based on feedback, interactions, and projects you complete. It might be worth it to check out each site to get a feel for which one you like best, but developing a reputation on just one or two may help you attract the best employers or freelancers. Outsourcing is great for short term projects, but they can also be a boon for making connections and long-term relationships for reasonable prices and work in a way that’s convenient for everyone, no matter where in the world you are.