Since our last installment, I’ve been checking out a few of the more popular sites, and one app, for freelancers. Though they weren’t any disasters, but I didn’t find any work, either. I’m here to double down on what I concluded last time. the best way to find work is still:
- Identify companies your interested and haunt the Jobs/Career pages on their sites.
- Join Facebook communities where you’ll learn about super-fresh openings and make connections.
Tispr is an app I put on my phone a few months back. It seemed like a good idea: Connecting clients looking to get things done and people looking to do those things without much of a middle man except the app itself. But it was a baffling and an unproductive experience for me. The same client requests were listed day after day, with no apparent way to remove the ones I’d already seen. I pinged a few clients with no response. It’s been a few months since I removed it, so maybe it’s improved since then.
Interestingly, before writing the above, I went looking for reviews and experiences from users and found none. Either no one is using Tispr or talking about it, or the company’s found a way to scrub reviews from Google.
Freelancer’s Union has been around a while, though I’ve only just signed up (it’s free). It has a few interesting aspects, and — though I’ve seen it compared to Upwork —it doesn’t do anything to connect clients and freelancers directly. It seems more about freelancers, and potentially clients, networking. This happens via chat channels called “hives” for meeting other freelancers. I immediately got into an enjoyable convo with some other tech writers. They also hold “Sparks,” live events in various cities. This is cool, but, of course, I live far from anything like that.
Maybe the most obviously interesting thing is that Freelancer.com offers freelancer insurance and tax advice, which are constructive things to offer, and is an advocacy group for freelance workers’ rights. Legal protections and tax structures really have to be rethought to accommodate gig-economy workers.
After I created a profile at Upwork, I felt optimistic about this one. Doc mocked me for saying, “I’ve got a good feeling about this.” (It’s the same attitude our cat Mal has when he breaks out of our bedroom and into the waiting maw of Plato, who wants to kill him.)
And then I read up on this site. It’s a merger of oDesk and eLance. oDesk, I’m pretty sure, is the service I paid a monthly fee to for a while without getting a single referral. Um…bye-bye, good feeling.
At least Upwork doesn’t do the subscription thing, but they do take 20% commission, which is pretty steep. Out of a $500 job, if it exists, they take $100? Yipes.
This inexplicably active site cracks me up. It’s the epitome of the freelance race to the bottom Most of the jobs it lists are for, yep, $5 fees. It’s amazing what some people will do for five bucks. Not me. You can list other fees — today I see a bunch of $10 gigs — but, boy howdy, this is scraping the bottom of the income barrel.
As always, I’d love to hear from others about their experiences with freelance apps and sites.
Eyecatcher by Pavel Medzun