Freelance bidding sites like Upwork, Freelancer.com, Guru, or Fiverr are great places to get you started with freelancing and online jobs. But these freelance sites do not operate for free. Some of these have been great many years ago. Upwork for instance collects only 10% of a freelancer's earnings but fast forward to today, they now get a 20% share. The reason, simple, they too need to make money. They need to impose fees and charges to cover their expenses and of course reward their investors and stakeholders. And not for long, you will start getting charged for features that used to be free.
The solution isn't really to move away from these platforms or close your account. After all, the reputation that you've built on these platforms can still get you projects that you probably won't easily find on other platforms. My suggestion is, you just have to reduce your dependence from these freelance bidding sites to cushion yourself from the worst case scenarios.
Here are a few recommendations I have for you.
These recommendations are not free from its own challenges but the ultimate goal is to make your freelancing less dependent on a single platform and protect yourself from eventualities like accidental closing of your account, suspension, fee rate hikes, etc.
Sell your services on your own website
I've said this before, I'll say this again, freelance sites are like rented spaces. If they decide to raise their fees, you have no choice but to pay what they ask you to pay, otherwise, you'll get handicapped because of reduced features or privileges. So if you want to have the freedom to charge how much you want and get paid when you want, then creating your website and selling your services directly to clients is the best thing you can do.
Look for alternative freelance sites
There are hundreds of freelance sites and each has its own pros and cons. The key is to find a place where you are most comfortable with and feel you can find great opportunities. And of course choose one with a good reputation and not overly saturated. I've heard great things about FreeeUp and I can't wait to try out their platform. They do have a strict vetting process in accepting freelancers, but of course, you won't really know if you can until you try. So if you haven't checked them out, be sure to visit their website.
Ask for referrals
One thing you are probably missing out on or totally not doing is asking your clients both past and present if they can refer your services to their circles. I have received new clients because of my past clients referring my services to them without me asking them to do so, but what if I've asked the others too? You see my point? Clients who've experienced the kind of service we deliver are the best people to promote our services to others. It's not really our own pitches, but the testimonies of our clients that serves as our best advertisement. Not only that it is the most effective way of getting new clients, it's also cost effective as it's most likely for free (unless you offer some sort of incentive for them referring your service), which takes me to my next point…
Create an Affiliate Program
Affiliate program is a win-win solution for you and for the affiliate because they receive an incentive for promoting you or your services. There are many businesses who use this strategy. Amazon, Lazada, even these freelance sites that you work on like Fiverr, Freelancer.com, FreeeUp, 99Designs have affiliate programs in place. Why? Because it works. People are more likely to promote you if they get something in return.
Use social media to find freelance work
If you do your due diligence, there are dozens of Facebook groups dedicated for freelancers that does not only educate and provide great resources but can also can help you find work opportunities. Here are some that I know.
- Filipino Freelancers with Australian Clients
- Onlinejobs Freelancers
- Freelance Writing Gigs
- Online Filipino Freelancers
- Work at Home Heroes
Create new ways to make money
There are so many ways to make money online and the truth is, finding freelance work need not be your only source of income. I've seen (and heard) many stories of freelancers who've moved away from full time freelance and became YouTubers, affiliate marketers, and ecommerce business owners. And these are just some of the many other make money online opportunities that you can do. There are also earning opportunities for bloggers, vloggers, course creators, ebook writers and more.
The possibilities and opportunities are endless. And if you come to think of it, you don't really have to get yourself too attached and overly dependent on freelance bidding sites, instead, you can create your freedom by making sure that your income source is spread out to different channels. They say don't put all your eggs in one basket, I say don't get your eggs from only one hen.