When I wrote The Online Writers’ Companion, I focused heavily on Upwork. That’s because I spent a lot of time on Elance and oDesk before I wrote the book, and was adapting to Upwork while I finished it and edited it. In the initial draft, I also included a chapter where I covered many more freelancing platforms. These didn’t make the cut because these platforms are smaller, they tend not to stick around, and we didn’t want the book to be outdated as soon as it was published.
But because I didn’t want to see that go to waste (and because I could use the extra content) I have included that deleted chapter here. Bear in mind that this was one of the first chapters I wrote for the book, and I haven’t checked to see if these platforms are still active.
This site was created exclusively for freelance writers and has been around since 2005. It is a little hard to become a member, as writers need to pass a test and then be approved, but this helps to keep out the time wasters. There are plenty of projects on Textbroker, and much of the advice contained within this book can be used in the Textbroker system.
This is one of the newer ones brought to my attention. It looks slick enough, but it works on a different system to the sites mentioned previously, and it is very difficult to turn this platform into a full-time job. As it also works by asking freelancers to bid on projects, and as it lacks the in-depth profiles that Elance and the others have, it all comes down to price. You can’t earn a respectable, full-time income from writing by being the cheapest writer out there. Still, it does have value as a part-time platform, filling-in the gaps between major projects you find on other websites.
This is a simple site with a simple layout. There are many jobs here for writers and artists, while designers, programmers, and others can also get in on the act. As with iFreelance, this isn’t ideal for full-time writers looking for a platform on which to build, but if you have the credentials, you can apply on a job-by-job basis, picking up the slack when Upwork and Guru dry up.
Zintro is a free platform that connects companies around the world with consultants looking for work. It spans a wide range of skills, and although it doesn’t work as well for writers as the other platforms mentioned here, there are positions for skilled journalists. It also provides an outlet for those writers who have something to offer in terms of consulting work, such as publishing consultants and creative consultants.
Bark used to be known as Skillpages. Like Zintro, it helps clients to find people with specialist skills, while also giving those skilled contractors a place to advertise their talents. This only works for clients and freelancers who live near each other, but it can be a good way to find work as a journalist or as a ghostwriter for memoirs.
Again, this is not specifically for writers, but writers can still use this system to find work. Referral Key works by creating a database of skilled workers who receive referrals from other workers, getting endorsed and using those endorsements to find clients. This is not a website I have spent a great deal of time on, but it is clear that its value to writers is very minimal when compared to the other platforms listed here.
At Blur Group, professionals offer their talents for businesses that need them. This is a little different from anything else mentioned in this chapter, but the end result is the same in that talented writers, artists, programmers, and more can find work with businesses around the world. It was first launched in 2007 and claims to have processed over $300 million worth of projects since, which is certainly worth paying attention to. However, this would probably only suit those with more niche talents who struggle to find suitable jobs on the bigger platforms.
At the time of writing, this site isn’t very old, and at the moment there aren’t many members or jobs. It seems to work in the same way as Fiverr or People Per Hour, with writers offering their services via “gigs,” as opposed to clients posting jobs and then having those writers apply. The most recent jobs were published several months ago, and unless this receives a huge marketing push, it won’t go anywhere. If it does get that push, then it could be decent.
As with Maven, this is a small company, but it looks a little more professional and seems to be more active. It calls itself a telecommuting company and is family owned, staffed by very few people. There are jobs for many professions, including writers, with remote vacancies available for employees based in the United States. This is a long way from the likes of Upwork and Guru, but it’s one to keep an eye on for the future.
Social Media and Personal Websites
There are still freelance writers out there who sell their services entirely through personal websites and social media. These are the ones who often trawl writing forums to find work, seeking out editing jobs where they can. This feels like a very archaic way of making a name for yourself, but it is still possible to make a living using these methods.