Finding freelance jobs can be tough when you’re a beginner, or when you’re going through the dreaded drought periods with few clients. But there are lots of ways to find freelance work, and I look at some of the best ways (and the ways I’ve used myself) below!
The 9 best ways to find freelancing jobs are:
- Join freelance marketplaces
- Browse freelance job boards
- Ask your existing network
- Use social media
- Build a website
- Try cold pitching
- Subscribe to newsletters
- Join groups and communities
- Search on Google
I’ll go through each of these in more detail below. I’ll draw on my own experience to explain how you can use each one effectively to get more clients as a freelancer.
If you just want a list of places to look for freelancing jobs, jump to this part of the article.
What To Do Before You Look For Freelancing Jobs
Before you look for freelance jobs, there are two boxes you need to tick. I’ll keep this part brief, before jumping into the list.
Optimize Your Portfolio
Regardless of how you find freelance jobs, it’s essential to have an online portfolio. A portfolio allows you to showcase the best examples of your work and easily share them with potential clients. You don’t need any web design skills to create a portfolio. There are plenty of online tools and portfolio builders that walk you through the process.
You also don’t need any previous clients to build a portfolio. If you’re an absolute beginner, create some practice pieces. Write a blog article on a topic you’re interested in or design the landing page of a fictitious business. If you make it clear these samples are for portfolio purposes only, there’s nothing wrong with using them as examples of your work.
Think About Your Rates
The other thing you need to do before you start finding freelance jobs is to think about how much you’re going to charge. You need to know the minimum you’ll work for, whether it’s per project or per hour (or per word if you’re a freelance writer).
You don’t necessarily need to set your rates in stone before you start getting work, but you will need to know what you’re looking to earn. If you’ve got some experience under your belt and you’re using this article simply as a guide for getting more clients, you’ll likely already know what your ideal rate is.
But if you’re a total beginner, you can get more guidance in our article on setting your freelance rates. Now, let’s get on with the list!
9 Best Ways To Find Freelancing Jobs
1. Join Freelance Marketplaces
Online freelance marketplaces are one of the most popular ways to find freelance jobs, especially for beginners. These platforms connect freelancers with clients needing a job done across a range of industries. As a freelancer, you can create a profile or gigs for potential clients to view, and you can also apply for projects advertised by clients.
Fiverr is one of the best online marketplaces for beginners. Some other popular freelance marketplaces include:
- People Per Hour
Keep in mind that the rates on freelancing job sites can be low, given the high level of competition for work. Job sites also charge a fee for their service, usually based on a percentage of the project’s price (for example, Fiverr takes 20%). But these platforms are a good way to build your portfolio, gain some experience, and find your first clients.
2. Browse Freelance Job Boards
It’s also work checking out freelance job boards, where clients post specific job ads. Some of the most popular job boards for freelancers are:
- Freelance Writing Gigs
- SolidGigs (subscription-based)
Like online marketplaces, there’s a lot of competition for the projects advertised on job boards. But they often pay higher rates than freelancing marketplaces and it’s a good way to find long-term clients. They’re also useful places to look for work once you’ve figured out your niche.
3. Ask Your Existing Network
When you’re wondering how to find freelancing jobs, it’s easy to forget to look at your existing network to see if there are any potential clients there. Make a list of all the organizations you’ve previously worked for. Can you reach out to someone there to see if they might need your freelance services?
Also think about the people you’ve worked with in the past. If they’ve since moved to another organization, then reach out to them to find out what they’re up to and whether they work with freelancers.
And don’t forget to reach out to friends and family. Even if the answer is no, you’ve let them know what services you’re offering. So, if they need a freelancer in the future, or know someone else that might, you’ll be the first person they think of!
4. Use Social Media
Social media can be a very powerful tool for finding freelance work. Twitter (now X) is a popular choice, with one method being to use the search function to search for hashtags like #hiring and #freelance work. But you don’t just need to stick to hashtags, and searching for phrases like “I need a freelance [your specialization]” or “looking for a freelancer” and sorting by latest posts can also yield good results.
Also start following other freelancers in your industry or niche on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Fellow freelancers know what’s it like when you’re first starting out. They will often repost job alerts they come across or use social media to call out for freelancers when they’re unable to take on more work.
5. Build A Website
While not a must, I strongly recommend creating your own website as a freelancer. It can function as your own fully customizable portfolio, while also opening up the opportunity for people to find you organically in search results.
Plus, it’s never been easier to create a website, as there are lots of no-code solutions out there. We’ve talked about some in our list of the best freelance website builders. It can take some time and financial investment to set up (although likely less than you’d think), but in my opinion it’s well worth it. You’ll also look a lot more professional too!
6. Try Cold Pitching
You don’t have to wait around for an advertised gig to put your hand up for it. Cold pitching or cold emailing involves reaching out to a business that you would like to work with and asking if they have any need for your services.
This approach can feel a little daunting at first and the response rate can be low (be prepared for a lot of rejection). But it pays off big time when you do get a positive response and find yourself working with a dream client!
I don’t recommend this method for absolute beginners looking for their first clients. But once you have some experience and a positive reputation in the space, it can be worth trying.
7. Subscribe To Newsletters
Like social media, newsletters are also a good way to keep up to date with freelance opportunities. For example, Freelance Writing Jobs by Sian Meades-Williams and The Writer’s Job Newsletter are weekly newsletters that round up the latest paid freelance writing gigs.
Do your own research too, to find out if there are similar newsletters in your specific industry or niche. They often provide you with a curated selection of relevant opportunities, saving you a lot of the leg work. See the resources section below for more examples.
8. Join Groups And Communities
You can also look into joining social media groups and other online (or indeed offline) communities in your industry. These include things like Facebook groups, but also Reddit communities and in-person networking events. This can help you meet likeminded people and possibly clients in need of your services.
9. Search On Google
Finally, you can always just search on Google! Search for variants of the following:
- Hiring a freelance [your specialization]
- Freelance [your specialization] jobs
- Work as a freelance [your specialization]
Often, it’ll be a lot of the freelance job boards and marketplaces I mentioned earlier that will come up. But many businesses do advertise jobs directly on their website too.
List Of Resources For Finding Freelance Jobs
Freelance Job Boards
- Peak Freelance
- Indeed (not freelance-specific)
- Smart Blogger
Freelance Job Newsletters
Go Get Your First Freelancing Job!
Now that you know how to find freelancing jobs, it’s time to get out there and land your first freelancing gig! It can take some time and it’ll definitely take more than one pitch, but don’t let this discourage you. Finding that first freelancing job will only lead to more work in the future!
For some extra motivation, check out our list of the best quotes about freelancing!
If you need more guidance for getting started, check out our beginner freelancer checklist.
Kate is an Australian freelance writer now based in Europe. She has contributed to Freelance Ready as both a writer and an editor, drawing on her legal background to write about the regulatory and financial aspects of freelancing. She’s also an expert at finding the best flat white within a 5km radius! Learn more about Kate here.
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