How to use the internet to find freelance work
The job market is extremely competitive at the moment so how can you utilise the internet to make some money and further your career?
During the day most of us spend a lot of time on the internet, for both work and leisure. But when you’ve stopped browsing your favourite news site or the celebrity gossip pages, it’s actually a great resource for increasing your bank balance.
Spending a little time each day on the right websites can help you make anything from a few pounds a week to hundreds a year.
Advertise your skills online
Nearly everyone has a skill they’ve developed, whether it's something you use in your regular day job or a hobby you work on in your spare time.
These skills could be valuable - people may pay you for them - and across the internet there are lots of websites where you can find freelance work. Here I've picked out three to start with.
People Per Hour
On People Per Hour you can advertise your skills and set a time limit and price. There are more than 300,000 freelancers listed. Right now there’s someone offering to make a typography poster in one hour for £19 and another who will design a website in 12 hours for £250.
For freelancers, it's an easy way to reach a huge audience of potential employers. When you register you'll need to create a profile and list your relevant skills. People in need of a worker will then post a job they need doing, and if your skills marry up, you'll be put in contact.
The money is paid through Escrow, a secure online transaction platform. Funds are released within seven days of the work being completed. There’s also an online team to help resolve any disputes which makes it safer to use than a site like Gumtree where there is no third party.
This Australian-based website connects people across the world and currently has more than 4,208,194 freelancers in 234 countries registered, making it one of the largest online resources for finding a job.
Freelancer.co.uk's size is appealing, with 2,228 projects posted in the past 24 hours alone, and as a freelancer it's free to register and build a portfolio.
However, there are fees involved if you're arranging a short-term hourly contract. In this case when you accept a job offer you'll be charged £3.50, or 10% of the total cost depending on which is greater. Employers also pay a fee once a job is agreed of £2 or 3% - again depending which is greater.
The website operates a bit like eBay and allows you to compare prices and negotiate payments in an online auction. This gives both parties the flexibility of choosing a price they're happy with. And if you use the site regularly, you can register for a yearly payment which means you won't be charged on individual projects.
Freelance Parents Network
Set up by a group of full-time parents, the Freelance Parents Network website aims to help out parents who are starting to go back to work. Instead of wasting time searching for flexible, freelance placements, the website gathers all this information for you.
It's free to register as a freelancer and also free (at the moment) to register a job advertisement.
Not only does the site give you access to jobs and workers, depending on what you require, it's also a network giving advice and information to parents who are thinking about going back to work but worried about costs such as childcare.
It allows people to work the hours they choose giving them time to fit a job into their children's lives. There are also home-based placements for stay-at-home parents.
To become a member you'll need to register by filling in a form from the website and then you'll get an email Welcome Pack followed by regular emails with local job alerts.
If you're looking for a specific job, there are also websites for this such as freelance:uk for creative placements such as journalism, photography and design.
As an employer if you're looking to hire several freelance workers for a project, a website like Guru allows you to do this from your desktop. It lists more than 350,000 freelance employees which you can hire for long and short-term projects and you can use the project manage tool to do the whole thing yourself online.
Promote yourself via social networks
Many businesses have cottoned on to using social media to improve their visibility and also as a direct way to get in contact with customers. But individuals can also benefit because having a strong social media presence is not only a good way to connect to people around the world, but also as a way to promote your own skills.
To ensure you're successful you need to use social media feeds regularly and make sure the information you post is relevant and professional. Although you don’t want to bore people, giving a professional outlook is a must because this is the main portal many potential employers will look at before considering you for a job.
The job market is extremely competitive at the moment so anything you can do to make you stand out will help. Links to recommendations and references will enable employers to directly find out more about you and cuts down the application process time.
Start a blog
These days blogs about just about anything exist on the internet, with some having significant financial success.
The best way to start a blog is to think of a niche subject (something pretty tricky given the number of blogs on the internet). This needs to be something you know about and will be happy writing about on a regular basis.
Creating a commercial angle will also help with the financial side of things so try and plan how you’ll use it to make money – either though selling products or services or advertising.
If you need more inspiration our article on the best ways to make money through blogging gives some great examples of popular money-making blogs.
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