I believe it.
I’ve been using Upwork to find freelance writing jobs since 2015, and it works incredibly well as a one-stop-shop to connect with clients, communicate about projects, submit work, secure payment, etc.
While I don’t have as much experience with other freelance platforms, I’m sure they’re just as powerful at connecting freelancers with clients.
These platforms have completely transformed the business development process for freelancers around the world. Continue reading to find out how.
The Old vs. New Way to Find Freelance Work
Imagine starting a freelance writing business in the 1980s. You would likely market your business by creating business cards, printing an ad in the yellow pages, calling a list of leads, or launching a direct-mail campaign. You might have even knocked on doors of agencies or dream clients.
What a pain in the backside.
In the 2020s, we all have the tools and technologies to start and launch freelance businesses from anywhere in the world. All you need is a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, and you’re off to the races.
Freelance platforms make the process of starting a business and finding your first client even easier. Rather than building a website, you can use your platform profile to share who you are, what you do/offer, as well as samples of your work. And freelance platforms also have thousands of users on the other side of the relationship — potential clients that you can use the platform to connect with.
The 5 Benefits of Freelance Platforms
Why choose a freelance platform rather than going it alone? After all, some freelancers swear by cold pitching via email or LinkedIn, or even picking up the phone and calling prospective clients.
I prefer freelance platforms. There are many benefits to using these platforms that make them superior to the alternatives. Here’s a look at 5 simple reasons why you should choose a freelance platform and leverage it to find work and connect with dream clients.
1. No Need to Build a Website
You can waste a lot of time and money on creating a website that has the perfect logo, the right design, compelling words, and that generally helps sell your services. But who has that kind of time and money to waste?
Freelance platforms accelerate your business by allowing you to get up and running in minutes. Simply create a profile, and then start filling out the details. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience or work samples to share yet, there are plenty of entry-level jobs on freelance platforms that help you gain experience and create work samples.
A lot of experienced freelancers preach consistency and months spent building a following on LinkedIn or other social platforms. Once you have a following, you can start selling them your services.
There are few shortcuts in life, but freelance platforms give you a shortcut to starting and scaling a freelance business. All you need is desire and a commitment to put in the work, and you can be generating income in less than a week.
2. Potential Clients Waiting for You
There’s a huge pool of potential clients on most freelance platforms. These are individuals and businesses that have work that needs to get done as quickly as possible — and they are ready to hire the right freelancer.
That’s where you come in.
There are other approaches to connecting with clients, as mentioned above, including email and LinkedIn outreach. But you can rest assured that prospects on freelance platforms have work that needs to be completed right now. When you start cold outreach, there’s no way to know if your contacts even need freelance support.
3. Messaging and Project Management Made Easy
Freelance platforms concentrate your messaging and project management in one place. I speak from experience when I say: This is a really nice benefit.
If you aren’t using a freelance platform, your various clients will expect you to adopt their messaging and project management platforms. One asks you to use Asana, another wants you to use Basecamp. One wants to give you a Google Workspace email account, another wants to chat on Slack or Discord. One pays via Bill.com, another pays via Gusto.
The administrative burden is way too much when you have that many platforms to onboard and master, and it only gets harder as you add more clients. You end up with multiple messaging and project management platforms that you’re expected to use each day, and it quickly becomes overwhelming.
Freelancing should feel like a game that you can win. Freelance platforms give you a single interface where you can play the game and make the most of your business.
4. Secure Payments
Most freelance platforms operate on the same secure model. When a client hires you for a project, the client puts funds into escrow. When you submit your work and the client approves it, the funds in escrow are released to you.
You don’t have to send an invoice. You don’t have to sign up for a different payment portal with each new client. You don’t have to wait weeks for your payment to arrive. Everything happens right inside the platform.
5. Review Systems
You have power as a freelancer when you use a freelance platform. Yes, clients get to review your work when it’s complete, but you also get to review the clients. This review system helps good freelancers get more work, and it also helps warn freelancers from taking on clients that are difficult to work with.
Upwork: My Freelance Platform of Choice
I highly recommend Upwork as a freelance platform when you’re getting started. There are multitudes of clients across different industries and functional areas, and they are just waiting to connect with you.
And this isn’t just something that would-be freelancers in the United States can do. More and more professionals in Germany, in Australia and in countries around the world are leaning into freelancing as a way to earn some extra cash or leave their full-time gigs altogether. Freelancing is even a great way to recession-proof your life.
So spend time creating a profile and then start applying for jobs. You’ll be side hustling in no time.