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In many ways it has never been a better time to be a freelancer in fields such as graphical design, web design and coding.  The internet allows freelances to connect with potential customers from around the work whilst living where they want and working the hours they want to work. On the minus side, competition is stiffer and prices often lower as customers can now access workers in low wage countries such as India.

This article looks at the most popular online exchanges for freelancing work and gives some tips for successfully winning work.

Leading Job Marketplaces

The four biggest online job marketplaces are:

  • oDesk ( The world’s largest jobs marketplace by contractor earning.  Fees are around 10%.
  • Elance (  Second largest marketplace with 140,000 registered companies.  Fees start at 8.75%
  • Freelancer (  Large marketplace with fees range from 3%-10% ranging on membership level
  • Guru (   A smaller marketplace which still covers a wide range of disciplines.  Fees are either 7.45% or 11.45% depending on membership level

These marketplaces all cater for just about any service which can be delivered remotely from accountancy through to XML programming.  Broadly speaking they offer the following services:

  • Create an online portfolio
  • Build a reputation score based on past work
  • Secure messaging and file sharing
  • Forum posting and pitching for work
  • Agree contract and set milestones
  • Monitor progress
  • Arrange payment through a secure system
  • Deal with disagreements

Like on eBay, customers can leave feedback scores and comments on suppliers and there is a system for dealing with disagreements between counterparties.  These feature taken allow geographically disparate counterparties who have not interacted before to successfully work together in confidence.

– Tips for winning work –

Be selective

You can’t be all things to all people.  Decide what your target market is and be selective about the jobs you go after.  This way you can spend more time on individual pitches and improve your win rate.

Write detailed proposals

Pretty obvious really, but if you really want a piece of work you should write a carefully constructed pitch which is individual to each project.  Your proposal should be succinct, easy to read and should address every point raised in the posting. Also remember to:

  • Attach links to your work.  Don’t assume that potential clients will visit your portfolio
  • Include a detailed timeline

Ask questions

Asking questions reassures the client that you are thinking about the proposal and not just saying you can do it.

Nurture your reputation

Having a high feedback score reassures customers and is a huge asset in winning work.  Also, you should take time to construct a compelling online portfolio which highlights your USPs.

Check out our previous articles!

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Posted by Designraid

I love architecture and love sharing beautiful design with others!


  1. If you understand Czech or Slovak language (maybe Polish people could be interested too) you could try these websites: (the biggest one -> kind of digitalpoint clone), or . Just my 2 cents ;).

  2. I personally prefer oDesk and Elan. We can hire real professional there. Thanks for remaining marketplaces list.

  3. Definitely i`ll use elance and odesk
    freelancer dot com seems not really good for me

  4. I don’t know if it is just me but when a someone offers me a job and I email back asking questions, they never reply. Maybe there is something in my questions, I really don’t know. Anyway, I am happy with and odesk. These are two sites where I had high chances of getting projects and jobs. Its free, legitimate and easy to use.

  5. I agree with the the blogger and the is the best option for online jobs recently it took over script lance .

  6. nice post
    the sites listed above are for the experience freelancers with skills but now sites with small gigs are also coming up and making huge incomes .

  7. Good one. But actually as far as I understand all the mentioned freelancing websites to charge their users fees when applying for projects or when taking the projects? I think in this case there are better and especially cheaper platforms available e.g. Sign up is for free and the users can upload a profile and apply without any contact limit for projects. I also did not need to charge a fee to the platform holders when I was hired by the companies there.

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