Discover how to earn a great living from freelancing.

ALL marketplaces are getting harder for new freelancers to thrive on. Competition is high and most marketplaces are flooded with capable freelancers.

PeoplePerHour is no exception, so is it worth investing your time and effort to find new jobs on it?

I have been in that position. Trying to work out what websites to focus on when it comes to finding work. If you are wondering the same thing, and considering PeoplePerHour then this personal story might help you make a decision.

Although I don't think any freelancer should completely depend on marketplaces to find work, they have benefits. If you are just starting out, or have a quiet period of work, then they can be great to get work quickly.

PeoplePerHour helped me earn over $6K a month early in my freelancing career. If you are a member of UpWork, Freelancer, Guru, PeoplePerHour or any marketplace, you will find some great tips below on how to succeed in these platforms.

The "common" freelance marketplace experience

Tell me if this rings a bell.

You sign up to a freelancing marketplace. Find a few small projects, low paying but enough to get you started. After a few weeks you start applying for bigger projects. You don't win any though because someone always outbids you with an outlandishly low price, or a unrealistically quick time frame that you can't complete with.

You don't want to keep doing tiny, low paying jobs so you quit and move on to the next marketplace.

Sound familiar? That's the usual freelancer experience on a marketplace, and that's not to mention the bots and scammers.

My early freelancing experience was exactly the same, trying multiple marketplaces and after an initial rush of little projects I would hit a wall.

The problem with most of these marketplaces is the freelancer who sends a proposal with the lowest bid, usually wins. Most clients on them are looking for someone to get the job done, cheaply, and not really caring about quality. If the quality wasn't good enough they would dispute the project and probably get their money back anyway.

This is a depressing feeling for a freelancer. Having to compete in a race to the bottom when you should be thinking about raising your prices.

I had MANY clients send me messages mocking my hourly rates.

$30 an hour, is that a joke??

I couldn't raise my rates over $30 an hour, or I would get hit with a backlash of clients who couldn't believe the price or would just hire someone else.

Why PeoplePerHour was different

One of the final marketplaces I tried early in my freelancing career was PeoplePerHour.

Wow, what a difference.

At the time they had fewer projects posted each day but you could see by the detail the client was posting about each job, that the quality was much higher. I got the feeling clients on the platform wanted SKILL over low cost.

I started applying for a few projects and was met with high competition from other freelancers for each project, but we weren't competing on price, it was skill and experience.

Now lets be real. I still came across some rubbish projects on the platform, but by now I had learned how to spot them a mile off and this helped me when looking for more quality projects.

I found it very easy to win some fantastic paying projects with great clients who ended up giving me lots of ongoing work on PeoplePerHour.

I put this down to two things:

  1. I was applying to projects which I knew had a client who valued skill. I could tell this by the effort they put into the project details. It wasn't 1 or 2 lines, it was multiple paragraphs.
  2. I only applied to projects in which my skills and experience matched perfectly with what the client needed.

After around a year of finding work on the platform I had got to a stage I was earning over $6K a month from projects just on PeoplePerHour. I was very happy!

When any freelancer asks me what freelancing marketplace I would recommend the most. I always say PeoplePerHour. This is purely because I personally had the most success with it. Using the 2 principles above, you could find success on any freelancing platform - but for me, it happened on PeoplePerHour.

Why freelancing marketplaces aren't bad

Forums online are full of freelancers who say marketplaces are the sins of all sins. A bottomless pit of low paying, rubbish work.

I have to tell you, you CAN find that to be the case on marketplaces.

BUT.

For every low paying job, there is a great client with an awesome project waiting to be found. One of my first $10k+ projects, I found on PeoplePerHour. You just have to know how to separate the bad projects from the good when looking through the listings. This is a skill you learn overtime using these platforms.

So why do I not think freelancing marketplaces are bad?

For a freelancer just starting out they are in my opinion the easiest and quickest way to find work.

NOT THE BEST. The quickest and easiest.

You won't have a large client list, you won't have inbound marketing, your portfolio probably won't even have traffic. So finding clients can be very tough. You can however, go on a marketplace and immediately connect with hundreds of potential clients.

This makes marketplaces very valuable at the start of a freelancing career and even an experienced freelancing career when you get a dry spell.

Not only that but you will gain a lot of experience. You will learn how to look for jobs, write proposals that get you clients, communicate effectively and position yourself above your competitors. You will also probably find a niche you enjoy working in which is critical to a long term career as a freelancer.

Never depend on freelance marketplaces

The reality is, you could have your top rated profile on any marketplace banned at anytime. Maybe you asked the client to pay you outside of the platform, or for their personal email. Poof, account gone.

This is obviously against the terms and conditions and to be expected but the point I am making is that your income should never be in the hands of someone else if it all possible to avoid it.

The chance that your freelancing career could be erased overnight is, quite frankly, scary.

As a freelancer it is very important to diversify your income sources and although freelance marketplaces are a great starting point, never depend on them. You should build up more stable sources of finding clients. Referrals, inbound marketing, becoming an expert in your field and crafting an amazing portfolio are a few ways to have a more stable source for finding clients.

Are there any alternatives?

Although I highly recommend PeoplePerHour to a freelancer looking to start on a marketplace, you have lots of options. A quick search on Google will return hundreds of potential marketplaces you could try.

The bigger marketplaces like UpWork tend to dominate the search results, but there are many smaller or new marketplaces that are worth trying.

A great tip is to sign up to newly emerging marketplaces as you will find the competition to be less and scam clients only tend to target the larger sites.

I have compiled a list of the 50 best websites to find projects:

50 Best Remote Jobs Websites to Find a Remote Job in 2020
As a freelancer we often spend a large portion of our time looking for the best remote jobs in order to fill up our schedule. If you don’t know where to look for great remote jobs then this list should help. If you have spent any time looking for remote jobs you will know some websites are better t…

Regardless of the platform you choose to use, remember these 2 principles for the best chance of having success:

  1. Only apply to projects that you know has a client who values skill. You can tell this by the effort they put into the project details. It shouldn't be 1 or 2 lines, it should be multiple paragraphs.
  2. Only apply to projects in which your skills and experience match perfectly with what the client needs.
You've successfully subscribed to Freelance Lemon
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Great! You've successfully signed up.
Your link has expired
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.