If you’ve been hanging out on this site for a while, even just a day, you already know how much we at FWU love Upwork. You may be building your portfolio or already a published novelist. In either case, Upwork is a great platform for finding, communicating with and billing clients.
When I first began freelancing, I had no clue where to start. In fact, I didn’t even know that I was freelancing. I’d take on gigs here and there. Sometimes a client would want web content, or a local business would want to start a blog.
But what I was doing was essentially door to door marketing. I’d cold call businesses and beg them to hire me, or sell my services online for mere pennies. After I realized I needed to develop a better strategy, I began to research. I found Upwork, and was quite successful with it. But Upwork competitors exist as well, and many are great alternatives. Here are a few which I’ve had success with.
I love Fiverr. When the site was first launched, it wasn’t one of the better Upwork competitors. The premise of the platform was that “doers” could post gigs: services they would provide for a flat $5. As a beginning freelancer, I needed feedback and clients more than I needed cash. So I began by posting, “I will write you a kickass 800-word blog post for $5.”
That’s right, my friends. I was working for less than a penny per word. But guess what? I nurtured solid relationships with clients, some of whom I still work for. And one now works for me.
Fiverr is a bit different now, thank the gods. Instead of committing to writing for five bucks, you can now set your own rate. As my Fiverr clientele and ratings have grown, I’ve landed gigs that pay considerably more, up to a dollar per word. Keep in mind that if you’re looking for high-paying clients, you’ll likely not find them on Fiverr. But it’s a great place to build relationships, or just to expand your portfolio.
The down side to Fiverr is that unless you’re an accomplished writer, you’ll need to start small. Begin with a $5 bid and you’ll gradually start to see your revenue rise as you earn trust within the community.
There have been mixed reviews about Textbroker. It’s actually not a bad little tool if you’re just looking for some income on the side. While it in no way offers the variety of opportunities on Upwork, there are some nice gigs on the site.
You’ll have to submit an application for Textbroker. Sign up using whatever login credentials you like, fill in your personal info, and then you’ll be prompted to submit a writing sample.
The writing sample can be a little tricky. Textbroker will generate a topic for you, and you’ve got to give it your best shot. The challenge is that you’ve only got about 300 words to play with. If you’re like me, you feel like you need many more than just 300 words to get your point across. But if you’re worth your salt as a writer, you can do it.
Once you submit your writing sample, your application will be reviewed by the kids over at Textbroker. They’ll assign you a “writing quality rating”, which runs on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Your star rating determines both your rate of pay per word and the specific gigs you can claim.
From what I understand, most writers applying for Textbroker get between a 3 and a 4 star rating. But once you submit more samples (in the form of paid work) Textbroker will automatically review your work again, and your rating can increase.
I’ve got two issues with Textbroker as an Upwork competitor. First is that the majority of assignments are ridiculously boring. Logging in now, the list of gigs offered include such brilliant subject matter as “Sawyer Howitt’s experience with racquetball” and “the manufacture of stainless steel construction equipment.” Not for me, but if that’s your cup of tea, go for it.
The second issue is that Textbroker is a free for all. Clients publish details about the content they need, and you claim the work on a first come first served basis. So if you’re not vigilant in trolling for great opportunities, you’ll be left to write about Eric Lefkofsky.
Negatives aside, though, Textbroker is a great place to start. It’s good to practice your writing and to build a bank of writing samples for more lucrative jobs.
In my humble opinion, Remote.com is the most serious contender for up and coming Upwork competitors. In addition to sporting a similar job board to that of Upwork’s, Remote.com also boasts a social networking feature. The platform is like a mashup of Upwork and LinkedIn.
The registration process is similar to that of Upwork and Fiverr. You’ll choose your username, then enter your personal information. Before you can begin searching for jobs, Remote.com requires that you build a profile. Include your photo, skills, bio and any social media profiles you’d like to share.
Once this is complete, you can take full advantage of the site. Like Upwork, the key to success is filling out a complete and impressive profile. Don’t overwhelm clients by listing every skill you’ve ever dabbled in. Instead, choose a few of your strongest skills and highlight them.
Now, there is one downside to Remote.com. It’s confusing. Here’s why: Remote.com is free to use, once you’ve booked work with the site. But in order to book through the site, you’ve first got to sign up for a (pricey) membership plan. The pro plan is $19 per month, and the executive plan is a whopping $49. However, once you’ve earned over $250 ($500 for executives), the site is free.
I think that Remote.com should kill the memberships. At that point, the platform could rival or even surpass Upwork’s popularity.
Now, it’s just my opinion that these are the three best Upwork competitors. There are a number of sites out there, like Freelancer, ifreelance.com and People Per Hour. These are just the few that I’ve had the most success with. They’ve got easy to use platforms and a nice variety of clients offering work. We’ve reviewed a few others on FWU, though, so look around and find one that works for you.