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Freelancing for beginners

September 8, 2017

You have heard of freelancing, know some freelancers, and perhaps even used their services before. It seems like a good way to earn some cash while you’re on a long break from work, or to turn your interest into a living without having any prior professional experience.

Many people have asked me where I got my freelance jobs from and why is it that I always manage to find some form of side income. Most recently, an old friend asked for freelance design job recommendations as she plans to resign from her full-time work. Below, I compiled 3 platforms where you can begin your freelancing career from.


When do I get paid: Upon job completion.
Funds withdrawal: Paypal, Fiverr Revenue Cardâ„¢, bank transfer, or direct deposit (US only).

Fiverr has a huge community of freelancers offering all sorts of services from design to career advice to relationship advice and even pranks. The range of ideas people on Fiverr have is just mind-blowing. As the name suggests, service fees starts from $5 and thereon, you can list your services according to whatever price you deem fit. Potential customers simply look up the specific service they require, usually something that matches their preferred price and quality. You can then talk to your potential customers using the messaging system within the website or on the iOS or Android apps, and discuss any details or make any clarifications. I found the app to be really useful for contacting clients and freelancers on the go since they may be living in a different time zone and I would want to catch them at a time convenient for both parties.



When do I get paid: Before project, by milestones, weekly, or upon job completion.
Funds Withdrawal: Paypal, Skrill, wire transfer, Freelancer debit card (Mastercard), or local bank transfer (selected countries).

There are 2 types of jobs on Freelancer.com: Projects, where you bid for it by stating your rates, and contests, where you are required to complete the work and upload it without guarantee of being paid. With a free account, you are entitled to 10 bids per month and can submit entries to an unlimited number of contests. I personally do not like the idea of contests which is in favor of the client. While this may be offensive to most professionals, it works for people who are new in the field and want to practice their skills with actual projects and do not mind not getting paid. It is good to know that Freelancer.com tries to protect your works (in contests) from being copied by only releasing a low-res version of your work before a winner is selected. That said, Freelancer.com is a highly user-friendly website that does not require much time to figure out. The only drawback for me is that there can be hundreds of people bidding for the same project so it’s not as easy to win the job.



When do I get paid: By milestones or upon job completion.
Funds withdrawal: Direct deposit/ACH, Paypal, wire transfer, local funds transfer, Payoneer, and Skrill.

Unlike Freelancer.com that suggests tons of jobs using preset filters, Upwork requires you to search for the specific job that you are looking for, then lets you set filters according to your needs. If you are like me and want to look for a variety of jobs, this can be annoying as you will have to individually search each job type.

Instead of bids, Upwork uses a credit system called ‘connects’. Members start with 60 connects that refreshes every month, and can purchase more if desired. To be considered for a job, simply use 2 connects to submit a proposal. In the proposal, you can state your fees, answer any questions the client may have, and state why you think you are the best person for the job. You can also attached your portfolio or any previous related work. Personally, I find Upwork to be much less user-friendly and though the client base is huge, the work usually requires a high level of expertise.

Tip: You can cheat by leaving the search field empty and just click the search button, then filter based on category later. This, however, is still not ideal since everything in the related category will come up.


Work from anywhere, without worrying about payment

The good thing about these platforms is that you can work from anywhere at anytime, just as your large pool of potential customers can be based anywhere in the world. The benefit of going through a third party is the use of escrow payments as it ensures that you get paid in case the client disappears after you begin working. This is obviously a huge plus since many first time freelancers are unaware of how to identify cheats and often get delayed or no payment for their work, especially if they are not based in the same country or you have not met them in person.


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