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A guide to the best freelance websites and platforms

There are plenty of ways to find work online, even when it can seem like a challenge to keep cash flowing. You can have a huge existing network of clients in your industry, but they won’t always have work for you. Or, you may be new to freelancing and are yet to find clients.

Online freelance networks, such as Fiverr and PeoplePerHour, are global marketplaces in which clients can find freelancers for specific tasks – making it one of the easiest ways to get work. This guide will explain how to use the platforms, highlight some of their best features and assess which industries they work for.

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How freelance marketplaces work

There are several freelance marketplaces available online. Two of the most popular are Fiverr and PeoplePerHour, and we focus on these in our guide below.

Fiverr

By signing up as a ‘Seller’ on Fiverr, you can create a freelance profile to advertise your skills. You can upload images – either of yourself or your work – a bio, a description of your skills and the services you offer, and your fees. The site advertises itself on people selling their skills for $5, but you can create ‘add-ons’ or charge more if you wish. Clients are then able to find you on the site by searching for your skills or role, for example ‘copywriter’ or ‘French translation’. Once the client has found your profile, they can purchase a package from you depending on the service they require. Previous clients can also rate their experience to help boost your profile. Remember this can also make you less desirable if they feel you didn’t offer a great service.

While some marketplaces may charge you a one-off sign-up fee or a monthly charge, Fiverr makes its money by charging you a 20%* commission on the services you sell. So, if you sell a service for £200, you will actually receive £160 of that.

PeoplePerHour

PeoplePerHour almost works in the reverse of Fiverr – rather than clients finding freelancers, businesses can advertise for projects they need a worker for. As a freelancer, you can scroll through job advertisements and find projects that match your skills.

You will still be required to build a strong profile as clients will assess if they want to work with you. You may not be the only one applying for a project, so you want to stand out in the best way. Add details about your career experience, outline the skills you have and include examples from your portfolio.

As for the fees, similarly to Fiverr, PeoplePerHour charges commission on each payment. However, the fee* they charge depends on the value of the transaction. They charge:

  • 20% commission on payments up to £250
  • 7.5% commission on payments between £250 and £5,000
  • 3.5% on payments above £5,000.

The best bits about freelance marketplaces

While both sites work around a similar structure, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour offer different features.

Fiverr

Without even searching for a keyword on Fiverr, the site has a range of categories and sub-categories, from invitation designs to dialogue editing, financial consulting to cyber security and data protection. This is a great chance for freelancers like you to scope out the competition and find your niche.

Additionally, if you search for a keyword or term, Fiverr offers a range of features to help narrow down your search – which will help clients find you. You can opt for a category within your searched term or choose a more specific service option. For example, if you search ‘copywriter’, you can select between ‘website content’ or ‘sales content’. This can help customers find a writer with the right skillset, such as the languages they write in, rather than approaching the wrong freelancers and wasting time. You can also specify pro services, local sellers and online-based businesses (Link to: A step-by-step guide to launching your own online-only business) and workers.

You can use these selective features to find a specific person to work with – from their location to the language they speak. Fiverr also offers ‘Seller Levels’ – with the categories of ‘Top Rated Seller’, ‘Level One’, ‘Level Two’ or ‘New Seller’. While the other two categories are quite self-explanatory, the levels are granted by Fiverr once certain criteria have been met.

Level One seller

To become a Level One seller, you must have:

  • completed at least 60 days as an active Seller on Fiverr (not ‘Out of office’ and no paused jobs, or ‘gigs’)
  • completed at least 10 individual orders (all time)
  • earned at least $400 (around £310)
  • maintained a 4.7-star rating over the course of 60 days
  • a 90% response rate over the course of 60 days
  • a 90% order completion over the course of 60 days
  • a 90% on-time delivery over the course of 60 days
  • no warnings over the course of 30 days (you can receive a warning for breaching the Terms of Service or reported misconduct).

Level Two seller

To become a Level Two seller, you must have:

  • completed at least 120 days as an active Seller on Fiverr
  • completed at least 50 individual orders (all time)
  • earned at least $2,000 (around £1,550)
  • maintained a 4.7-star rating over the course of 60 days
  • a 90% response rate over the course of 60 days
  • a 90% order completion over the course of 60 days
  • a 90% on-time delivery over the course of 60 days
  • no warnings over the course of 30 days.

As a freelancer, you may opt to take on some low-paying jobs to build up your seller status before you can charge a premium.

PeoplePerHour

One of the best features of PeoplePerHour is the use of artificial intelligence. The website uses AI to match freelancers with projects, asking for those uploading a project to provide as much detail as possible. The site will then contact potential freelancers, who can then choose to respond with their own tailored proposal. Freelancers can browse jobs also.

PeoplePerHour also requires all clients to pay a deposit to those working on their project before they begin, ensuring that freelancers will be properly paid for their work. The money is sent through its protected payments system, so there’s no need to chase invoices (Link to: Ultimate guide to invoicing).

Prospective clients are also able to find and contact freelancers through the site’s directory – similar to Fiverr. The search tool also has refining options, such as location, industry, popularity and hourly rate, so make sure you complete your profile in detail.

Which is the best network for your role?

While both websites provide a network for freelancers, they take different approaches to being an online marketplace. As neither site charges you a recurring fee, it’s always worth signing up to both!

Fiverr

The freelancers on the site range from copywriters to app developers, voiceover artists to graphic designers. So, whether you work in social media marketing or are a musician, this website caters for all.

This site is ideal if you want to pick up some more work on the side. Rather than allowing you to take a direct approach to finding projects, it allows customers to find and contact you – and you can approve or reject any of the proposed ideas.

Some of the highest paying jobs on Fiverr include:

  • Video marketing
  • Website building
  • Mobile app development
  • Search and display marketing
  • Chatbot development
  • Graphic design
  • 3D and 2D models
  • Business copywriting

PeoplePerHour

Unlike Fiverr, PeoplePerHour doesn’t immediately let you see all the industries it covers straight from the homepage. You may have to do a little more digging to see if it supports the skills you have on offer.

However, the site gives you more control over finding future work. You can use the search tool to find projects related to your skills, as well as waiting for the AI solution to match you to jobs.

If you want to expand your skills and work on your portfolio, you can use Fiverr or PeoplePerHour for upskilling and reskilling (Link to: Upskilling and reskilling resources), as well as sites like Simple Hired, FlexJobs and Guru. Whether you’re a graphic designer wanting to branch into screen printing or a copywriter that wants to find their niche, by taking on smaller projects within your skillset, you can expand your horizons and build your CV.

International business payments

If you have UK clients outside of freelance networks and you only have a foreign bank account, they could use a reliable international payments app like PagoFX to make secure international transfers to you. Backed by leading global bank Santander, sole traders and UK-registered limited companies can easily use PagoFX to make international business payments to more than 50 countries. With low, transparent fees and no mark-up on the exchange rates, businesses can pay their freelancers and other expenses abroad with confidence.

*Figures correct as of 19 January 2021

This article is provided as general information purposes only and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topic. We recommend that you take professional and specialised advice before taking, or refraining from, any action based on the content of this publication, as this article is not intended to constitute expert advice. We do not guarantee, explicitly or implicitly, that the content of this article is accurate, complete or up-to-date. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from PagoFX or its affiliates.