How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love

You’ve already seen Clickfire’s coverage of some of the most popular freelance sites out there, sites like Elance and oDesk. Considering both freelance sites are worthy additions to your own personal freelance arsenal of power, what will it take for you to consider adding a new site – and a new venue – to your repertoire?

As a humble freelancer myself, might I suggest that it actually takes very little. Diversifying and working across a range of media – a range of freelancing sites, at least – has the advantage of never being held hostage to the whims of any particular freelance site. And while Elance is unlikely to go down for extended periods of time, well, we live in an unpredictable world. A guy’s gotta be prepared.

Hey. Isn’t this a Freelancer review? You know, – the site I should be talking about? Yes, and before we get too far off topic, let’s start with the overall impression of the site in question: before I wrote this review I was a Freelancer myself and have found it to be one of the better, simpler, and more reliable options out there.

If you’re interested in adding Freelancer to your arsenal, hopefully this article will tip you right over the edge. But before you get registering, let’s take a look at the finer points of and see if this is a potential mainstay for your enterprise – or simply another bookmark you never visit.

This Freelancer review is upfront about its admiration for their quality service.

With a Name Like “Freelancer,” It’s Got To Be…Freelance-Related, At Least

If you’re in the market for some work on the side, there’s no reason not to sign up for Freelancer right now and see what kind of work you can garner. Why? Because there’s plenty of work to be had, and given the no-limits nature of working online, you’re probably going to visit Freelancer and mutter to yourself “Bad economy? Humbuggery.”

That’s because Freelancer’s got plenty of work with which you can occupy your time – or, at the very least – plenty of work that you can propose and market yourself to. There are never any guarantees when it comes to freelancing sites that you’ll ever, you know, get any work, so the question becomes simple: does Freelancer make job acquisition simple enough that you can handle your own marketing?

I like the simpler approach myself: think PlentyofFish as opposed to eHarmony. I don’t like everything set up for me with a whole lot of bells and whistles and hoops to jump through. I just want a way to contact the potential client, send him/her a few files and paragraphs and text, and be done with it. Elance does this well. How about Freelancer?

So how does it look? You can check it out for yourself, as I opened up a sample bid proposal:

A freelance site with an easy proposal system? Count me in.

Simple forms to fill out including basic project details…a big block into which you can enter your text…what else can you ask for? Okay, maybe an easier way to attach a file, like a portfolio sample, but if you have trouble getting people to check out your portfolio, that’s your problem – not Freelancer’s.

If I can log on and find a few worthy projects that are this easy to bid on, then you have no one to blame for your lack of freelance success than yourself. Freelancer does a solid job of making all of its work available within a few clicks of visiting their home page. There’s no labyrinth here, and considering that the price is right – which we’ll talk about more in the next section – there’s really no reason any honest freelancer should avoid Freelancer. Heck, it’s in the name, people.

Another nice feature over at Freelancer: if you’re looking for something long-term, you can browse by “full-time” jobs here. Any enterprising young freelancer looking for a steady income now has no excuses. Get on it, young grasshopper!

If the Price is Right, Go to Freelancer

Since it doesn’t cost anything to have an account on Freelancer and you’ll get a few bids with your free account – certainly more than you’ll find on Elance – the price is looking good. But what if you really want to make a mark on Freelancer and get paid the big bucks? How much of your income will you be paying in fees?

Well, if you spring for Gold membership – paying a fee each month – then you’ll only have to fork over 3% of your project’s income. That’s pretty low by just about any standard online, and makes Freelancer an attractive alternative to other freelance sites. Sure, it’s annoying to have to pay a membership fee every month, but wouldn’t you rather pay a flat fee than have more of your wages taken out like you’re paying extra taxes? Who needs commission charges anyway?

One complaint about Freelancer is that it doesn’t always make its information readily available. Digging around the “Gold membership” information myself, I find that I’m redirected simply to more FAQs than actual information. A small complaint, but something that Freelancer needs to get fixed without a doubt.

Become a Freelancer. Seriously!

The conclusion of this review is pretty simple: becoming a Freelancer should be mandatory for all freelancers who work primarily online. Of course, since I’m also a freelancer, I’m actually going to go ahead and recommend that you don’t sign up – that way there will be more projects for me.

With a small commission rate, readily-available and easy-to-browse projects, and a simple interface, there’s not much not to like about Freelancer. If you’re not all about Freelancer, you’re probably just a cold-hearted old maid who was once spurned by a client who also happened to enjoy Freelancer. Don’t take it personally: sign up to Freelancer, bid on some projects, and wallow in some nice independent income goodness.

And if you’re still stuck in this freelancing thing, then you’re probably going to want to find other work. Hey, it’s not for everybody – maybe there are other ways you can make money online.

At least that’s what I tell people who are thinking about being my competition on Freelancer.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating

Dan Kenitz

Dan Kenitz is a former professional Search Engine Optimization specialist and current freelance writer, commentator, and all-around entrepreneur.


  1. My problem i how to decide on the bid price

  2. Kostas

    A while back freelancer was full of scammers. Has it changed at all?

    • Emory Rowland

      I would like to know as well. My only experience was with RentACoder before Freelancer bought them. It was a terrible waste of time.

    • Heck Yes, there are gobs of freelance scammers on that site. However, there is a simple way to beat them: learn the signals and avoid job postings that emit those signals!

      For the most part, there are four signals. Three of them are available by browsing the project listings. The fourth is not readily discernible, unless you have excellent recall … or use the RSS feeds!

      1. New “Employer” – no ratings and no reviews
      2. Budget set at $250-750
      3. Project description issues (files are mentioned but not attached; description sounds like “homework”; little or no information that would allow you to make an informed bid.)
      4. Duplicate postings (not all dups are bad – sometimes more information is in the “reposted” project.)

      Taken together, these three signals send up a red flag. Of course, every legitimate employer was once new with no ratings and no reviews. They are easy to spot: they give clear instructions about what they want, even if they are not sure how that is to be achieved.

      It is up to you to decide whether to spend much time with any bid, legitimate or otherwise. I have found that the best filter for bogus projects is the RSS feeds provided by the site.

      If you get a feed reader that has instant notification enabled, you will spot the questionable jobs right away. They come in clumps of three or more, all with the exact same title and description, but with different, often nonsense user names.

      Your reader may have filters, but you can’t really filter these out, unless you are watching a category which attracts a lot of these. Then, you could look for commonly used keywords that don’t appear in legitimate descriptions. (Honestly, I don’t do this too often, as it is very easy to simply click past these feed listings.)



      • Emory Rowland

        Mitch, that’s a nice formula for filtering out the bad ones.

        • Thanks, Emory. It’s almost second-nature, now, for me to skim past bogus project descriptions. I used to notify Freelancer whenever I found an obvious one, but it never ends. (Freelancer does take them down, though, so good for them.)



      • Deacon W

        Hi guys,

        I’ve recently graduated from Computer Science and would like to do some basic coding tasks and/or technical writing or writing gigs, which I’m reputably good at.

        I’m naturally paranoid though and suspicious of getting ripped off by these sorts of sites.

        Is Freelancer an okay place to start? Thanks.

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