Find virtual freelance work
Online global outsourcing portals for freelancers that will enable you to find underpaid International freelance projects in competition with people who live in countries with very low living costs (now you’re warned).
So: in a perfect world, you would get your jobs through stable client relationships, worth of mouth and a solid foothold as a good service brand. However, online freelance job boards can be somewhere to start and gain experience until you can no longer bear to race alongside subsistence freelancers from India and the Philippines.
Freelance job boards usually offer lock-in buffer systems for project fees to protect the freelancers against non-payment for their work. They also have procedures to resolve disputes. They usually charge a commission for their service.
General Freelance Boards for a Variety of Services
Typical freelance work is small projects with copy writing, programming and web design, graphic design, video production, data entry or data collection. General freelance job boards:
O’Desk is beautifully easy to navigate with a neat tab-based interface and most primary functions max. 2 clicks away. O’Desk features include ratings (contractors can be browsed by their feedback scores), payment guarantee when using O’Desk’s control software and procedures, invoicing capabilities, dispute resolution, contractor tests, and many other.
When you establish a contractor profile on O’Desk, you are asked a set of mandatory questions including your hourly rate, English level and primary role. Your primary role can only be either Programmer/Developer, QA Engineer/Tester, Technical Writer, Website/Graphic Designer, Data Entry Professional, System/Database Administrator, Project Manager or Consultant, so it would appear that O’Desk’s primary focus is freelance web designers and IT personnel. However, O’Desk does offer a much broader scope of available skills & projects including copy writing, translation, marketing e.t.c.
O’Desk charges a 10% commission fee and has a job application quota of 2 per week for a free membership.
O’Desk and Elance appears to be the two most popular freelance boards.
Elance is a sophisticated freelance job board with a professional looking and convenient interface, advanced systems to ensure that contractors get paid for both fixed-price projects and hourly rates, and that disputes are resolved.
The system includes milestone payments, time tracking, communication tracking and dispute resolution systems. Plenty of advanced settings and features. Projects well presented with sufficient information in a well organised manner. Neat and well organised freelancer profiles.
Contractor-client contact outside of the system is forbidden (unless the client pays a $750 opt-out fee for the contractor). Invoices are sent through Elance. Elance charges the contractor a service fee which is deducted from the contractor’s payments for projects. The size of the fee varies.
Ozlance is an Australian freelance job board with real genuine people answering support emails and contractors asking relevant project questions in proper English. The amount of jobs is limited (but up to date) and the functionality is basic. OzLance does not charge commissions, but it costs a tiny fee to contact a client and quote for a job.
Freelancer.com offers rock bottom project bidding in fierce competition with shaky-English writers from India, Pakistan and other developing countries.
The bidding and feedback system is eBay-like smart and offers a safe-guarding milestone system to secure payment for work.
Freelancer charges a commission of 10% (or USD 5 if higher) on won projects. Australian customers then pay additional 10% on all fees in Goods & Services Tax. Direct contact details are forbidden.
Freelancer.com.au specifically addresses the Australian market, but from the look of the projects’ communication boards you still compete with India and Pakistan on price.
Personally I don’t like Guru.com because it took me 3 minutes to find their fees and other basic information. Poor navigation wastes time and flashes a warning light to me.
Guru charges a membership fee of USD$ 9.95 – USD$ 45.44/month, plus offer a free basic membership. Guru also charges a commission of 7.5% per project for paid members (4.5% ‘project fee’ plus 2.95% ‘collection fee’) and 11.95% for free members (9% ‘project fee’ plus 2.95% ‘collection fee’). On the bottom line Guru’s fees are a bit in the upper end of average range of freelance board commissions, and their fee structure is complicated.
Freelance Market is an Australian freelance market place for professional services such as graphic design, accounting, legal assistance, engineering and copy writing.
Freelance Market charges the contractors a significant fee (+ GST) to facilitate introductions with potential clients, payable whether introduction results in work or not. It is worth paying attention to their terms & conditions. The service is free for clients (outsourcers) and seems to primarily cater for their needs
OBS. Warning against Freelance Market: an “Introduction” to a client – which they want to charge $50 + GST for in my experience and according to their Terms & Conditions – is not a face to face meeting with a client, but simply that they send your online contractor entry (which you wrote yourself) to a client, along with a few other contractors’ entries. I’m leaving Freelance Market on the list to share this warning with other freelancer, who might get caught up like I almost did. I hope it is clear that I do not endorse Freelance Market.
Work at Home Mums
Work At Home Mums (WAHM’s) is ‘more than a job board, and more than a networking portal – it is an online community for parents who are looking for the right work-life balance and want genuine support and practical assistance in their journey’.
Work at Home Mums’ job board provides a mix of self-employment/business opportunities and job ads for part time/flexible jobs. Work at Home Mum does not charge commission.
Freelance Boards for Translators
Freelance boards for outsourcing of translation and proof-reading projects.
While PROZ may not look impressive at a glance, it is a serious international freelance board for translators which offers many advanced features.
A Proz profile looks a bit like an index card and provides good options to present one’s translation field, payment methods and rates amongst other things in a reassuring manner. It includes some Facebook and Linked In integration.
Proz offers a free basic membership (includes many good features) and a ‘Pro’ membership for around AUD $100 per year. Pro membership gives extended access to outsourcer boards, access to accreditation, discounts on training, access to more projects, hosting and online invoicing e.t.c.
Proz does not charge commission for facilitating projects, but charges USD 1 per quote for free members. Proz allows direct contact between clients and contractors.
Freelance Boards for Graphic Designers
Freelance boards for outsourcing of graphic design and arts projects.
Artisan Jobs offers recruitment of freelance graphic designers, animators, art directores and web programmers
ArtsHub is an interest organisation for artist that offers an online job market place including for freelance work
The Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) connects clients to graphic designers through its ‘Find a designer’ directory. It requires membership of AGDA to create a designer profile in the directory. Membership fees can be found here.
Freelance Jobs posted on Ordinary Job Boards
Many ordinary job portals and online market places facilitate freelance jobs and, unlike freelance job boards, don’t usually charge a commission. Examples:
- Gumtree is a locally focussed online market place where freelance workers can advertise locally and source jobs
- Oz Free Online is an Australian online market place
- Craigslist provides another locally oriented online market place which advertises jobs and freelance jobs
- Major job search portals like SEEK display freelance job ads for graphic design, web development, writing and sales jobs. These portals include My Career, Australian Job Search (run by the Australian government), Byron Employment and Career One.
- Job search aggregators like Jobs77 compiles job ads from many different job boards
- Employment help: Job Access, run by the Australian Government, aims to assist people with physical or mental disabilities to secure and sustain work
Most of the content of this page is written in 2011, and not updated since