If you’ve looked, you’ll know there are hundreds of digital outlets to find gig or temporary work online. They’ll all match you with a job in your preferred category, including:
Web, mobile and software development
IT and networking
Data science and analytics
Engineering and architecture
Design and creative
Sales and marketing
Accounting and consulting
Writing and translation
Business and finance
Product sourcing and manufacturing
Freight, shipping and transportation
Here are four of the best digital outlets to find gig or temporary work online, and some tips to get you started!
Upwork is one of the best-known digital outlets for freelancers to find gig or temporary work online. You’ll always find a steady stream of jobs in different categories, so you’re sure to find something that suits you. Because you have to pay, the site attracts a higher quality of jobs and freelancers. I’ve found it easier and more reliable than the other sites.
When you start, the system takes you step by step through creating a profile, which then takes about a day to approve. Once you’re approved, you can start applying for work.
You pay “connects” to submit proposals for jobs. As a free member, you start with 20 free connects, and you can buy more for $US0.15 each. If you become a member for $US14.99 a month, you get 70 connects per month and some other perks.
Upwork’s fees are:
20% of your earnings for the first $500 you bill each client;
10% for $500.01 to $10,000; and
5% for total billings that exceed $10,000.
Upwork has an escrow system to protect your payments. If you have a dispute with a client, Upwork will mediate.
The UK-based digital outlet peopleperhour has a simple online application and approval process. After you apply, you can pay £10 to fast-track your approval. Without that, they say it takes a week for normal approval. I didn’t pay, and it only took 20 minutes to approve.
Like the other digital outlets, this one has a bid system for applications. All members get 15 free bids a month and can buy extra bids. Free bid credits don’t roll over; paid credits do.
For each client, peopleperhour charges:
20% of your earnings for the first £250;
7.5% for £250 to £5000; and
3.5% after that.
When you find work, peopleperhour has an escrow system to protect your payments.
Guru is similar to the other digital gig and temporary work outlets. When you sign up, the site steps you through creating and verifying your profile and payment details. The verification process is finicky, but don’t give up – it is possible.
Memberships range from free to $US49.95 a month. Guru’s fees range from 5% for higher-level memberships to 9% for free members. You’re allowed 10–50 bids a month, depending on your membership, and you can buy more bids for between $US10 and $US100.
The downside of the free bid system is that there’s a lot of competition for jobs.
On the plus side, you can browse jobs without creating an account, and SafePay (escrow) is an option for all jobs.
Freelancer has a UK site, but it’s the same as the US site: it shows the same jobs, and it pays in USD. The site has similar gig and temporary jobs to the other digital outlets.
A free membership gets you 8 bids per month, while a paid membership for £7.14 gets you 100 bids per month and some other perks.
You obviously have to add a payment method to get paid. Annoyingly, when I did this, the site tried to auto-enrol me into a trial membership with auto-renew. There’s a “Skip for now” link hidden right at the bottom of the page.
The fees are:
12% or £4.20 for fixed-price projects , whichever is greater; and
12% for hourly projects.
Strangely, the site only offers escrow for Californian residents.
Always start with a free account.
Pre-write generic proposals, but always take the time to customise them for each application.
Know your worth, and don’t bid for jobs that are below your level.
Read the job requirements carefully. If you don’t meet the requirements, don’t bid.
Be prepared for rejection.
Consider international transfer fees and exchange rates.
Withdraw your money regularly. These sites are reputable, but if they go bust or lock your account you could lose your hard-earned money!
Once you’ve been paid from your gig or temporary work and put aside enough money to cover your essential payments, a good rule of thumb is to transfer the excess into a savings account. That way you can earn more interest than if the money were simply sitting in your regular bank account, and you’ll be less likely to dip into it for non-essential purchases!
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