Over the past five years, the number of freelancers has increased by 3.7 million in the U.S. While some of the increase represents the desire to take control over one’s career, it is also bolstered by technology improvements that make connecting online easier. As a result, more sites are tailoring their services to the gig economy, taking advantage of the increased interest. Here are five websites that cater to the world of freelancers and the businesses that need their help.
Since launching in 2010, Fiverr has become a giant in the gig economy space. The site’s name is a reflection of the company’s origin when the starting price for services was a mere $5, and freelancers came up with creative options based on that price point.
Now, Fiverr lists over 100 service categories, ranging from writing and translation to video and animation to programming and tech. Freelancers can easily charge more than $5, though many of the available jobs still come in between $5 and $10.
However, the addition of FiverrPro, a segment of the platform for highly skilled professionals and more complex projects, shows that the site isn’t limited to small tasks. Plus, the company touts some of the biggest brands in the world as clients, including Disney, CNN, and Sony.
Whether you need help with a project or want to offer your skills to companies, Fiverr is a site dedicated to the gig economy that is worth exploring.
In 2013, freelancer sites oDesk and Elance announced a merger. Then in 2015, the companies came together formerly as Upwork. The Upwork platform is designed to facilitate communication between companies needing assistance and freelancers with the right skills.
Upwork is another major force in the gig economy. The sheer amount of work categories available is staggering, ranging from customer service to accounting to software development. While some of the projects are fix-priced and short-term, certain positions are long-term and hourly instead, creating two paradigms inside one site.
Using Upwork is a streamlined experience. Everything from work submission to messaging to payment processing is handled through the website. Hourly workers can even track their time using Upwork’s tracker, simplifying payment requests based on actual time worked.
While Upwork also offers a form of payrolling service, it still caters mainly to the gig economy.
TaskRabbit represents a different portion of the gig economy. Instead of focusing on online services, TaskRabbit connects “Taskers” with people who need assistance in their local area.
For example, TaskRabbit has a few major job categories, including moving and packing, furniture assembly, mounting and installation, general handyman, and home improvement. There is even a section for heavy lifting when you simply need some muscle to help you with a task, and a whole segment for “IKEA services,” when you need help putting together the company’s furniture.
Since the work varies a great deal, freelancers can find opportunities even if they don’t have much prior experience. For example, moving and packing may just require a level of strength and endurance, while furniture assembly could be ideal for anyone who is adept at putting together pieces that require assembly.
However, some of the sections are best for taskers with expertise, especially when it comes to installing and mounting certain devices or completing specific types of handyman work.
In comparison to many other gig economy websites, Toptal is a bit more niche. The site only covers three primary categories: finance experts, developers, and designers. Additionally, they restrict their list of freelancers to individuals with strong skill sets. Whether you need a top-tier professional for a project or want to offer your exceptional skills to a company, Toptal is a great option.
The developer category includes a range of specialties, such as software engineers, coders, and architects. Together, freelancers who work through the website cover hundreds of technologies.
In the designer category, you’ll find everything from UX specialists to Photoshop experts to animation experts. Most of the design work is digital, so keep that in mind if you head to the site.
The available finance experts can handle tasks like funding or venture capitalist consultations or helping a startup get on their feet. There is even a segment for interim CFOs, ensuring companies have the high-level skills they need for the ideal amount of time.
As a bonus for companies, Toptal actually does the matching for you. If you don’t have time to screen freelancers, this could be ideal. Plus, they have a risk-free trial period for every match, so, if the person they select isn’t perfect, it won’t cost you a dime.
Not unlike Upwork, Freelancer allows gig workers to connect with companies who need their help. However, technical services, such as mobile development and SEO marketing, dominate the site.
One of the unique features on Freelancer is the presences of contests, mostly in the design category. A company can essentially crowdsource a solution, and they only have to pay for submissions they select.
However, Freelancer isn’t ideal for entry-level gig workers, as it genuinely favors professionals. The starting prices for services may be higher than other platforms, and some less experienced freelancers may not find suitable opportunities that align with their experience level.
Ultimately, all five of the sites above truly tailor to the gig economy, allowing freelancers and companies who need their services to connect quickly and efficiently.
Do you know of any other sites that tailor to the gig economy? Share them in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.