It seems like in almost any conversation about freelancing, the word "hustle" gets dropped. But being your own boss doesn't mean a continual struggle to scrape up work.
Working smarter means using freelance design job boards to your advantage.
15 best websites to find freelance jobs
There are so many job boards designed for freelancers that finding new opportunities is just a few clicks away. Here are 15 freelancing websites to make your hustle less of a grind:
Upwork may be one of the best freelance websites for finding work no matter what type of freelancer you are. Those in web development, graphic design, and even freelance writing will find that Upwork has much to offer. The seemingly unending feed of job postings is continually updated. From small businesses to huge corporations, many different types of companies are looking to hire freelance designers through Upwork.
Upwork has a bit of a learning curve when you first get up and running. You have to learn the artistry to writing effective proposals, and you may have to bid below your pay rate to build up your feedback rating. Many freelance jobs are posted on Upwork, but there’s a hungry audience competing for them. Unless you’re an Upwork superstar, bidding on a project that already has 30 proposals usually isn’t worth it.
That being said, some freelance designers secure plenty of work on Upwork and score project after project. Upwork can be worth the time — it offers the potential for great returns once you’ve established yourself on the platform.
Designhill gives employers looking for freelance designers a few ways to find them. Employers can create a project contest, which will bring a slew of design entries straight to them, or they can seek out your services through a search box right at the top of the landing page. Design contests are pretty polarizing. If you’re someone who grumbles at crowdsourcing work on freelancing sites, we feel your pain. But not all design contests are a scam, and Designhill shows that they can be a legitimate enterprise.
Designhill has a lot to offer whether you’re a graphic designer, web designer, or pursuing other types of design. Designhill further courts their creatives by offering them the chance to design their own T-shirts, have them printed, and sell them in their online shop. This is a nice touch, giving freelance designers yet another way to get their work out there and to make some money off their artistry.
Toptal pitches themselves as a place to find the top 3% of freelance talent. Their screening process is so rigorous that out of the thousands of submissions they get every month, they only accept a few into their ranks. This exclusivity sets them apart from so many other freelance websites out there. It may seem intimidating getting in, but if you do, you’ll get the chance to put yourself in front of some pretty big names — Airbnb, Zendesk, and Thumbtack are companies that have used Toptal to find designers.
Do you have what it takes? The only way you’ll find out is to sign up.
Related reads: Passion or profit: tips to grow your freelance business
4. LinkedIn and LinkedIn ProFinder
Whatever your field, especially if you're a creative, you should have a LinkedIn profile.
You can post examples of your work for each role you've had, making it more than just a resume. And by having your skills searchable on this platform, you're bound to bring in some traffic to your profile and connect with people who may be looking for your exact design expertise.
Another smart feature that LinkedIn has rolled out is LinkedIn ProFinder, which helps businesses find qualified people to work for them. LinkedIn ProFinder also sends project leads your way via email, giving you the chance to write a proposal and bid.
And let’s not forget LinkedIn job postings — finding remote, part-time, or full-time work may be just a few searches away. There’s a reason why LinkedIn is one of the best job sites: they continue to deliver what job seekers are looking for.
5. We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely boasts that they get around 2.5 million users a month. That’s huge. They have a multitude of job postings with many design-related offerings. We Work Remotely may feel a bit less personal than more design-centric websites, but the volume of job postings makes up for this.
People or companies seeking designers have to spend a fixed price of $299 to list on We Work Remotely, which acts as a screening process and weeds out a lot of low-quality job leads. With heavy hitters such as Google, Amazon, and InVision all listed as companies who’ve posted on it, this is a legit platform. And what's even better, you don't have to create a profile — all you need to do is click on a job link and be brought straight there.
Whether you’re looking for part-time work or freelance jobs that will keep you busy full time, We Work Remotely has freelance jobs to fit your skill set.
When seeking creative inspiration, you've no doubt landed on Behance. It features so much great work to soak in, including illustrations, animations, web design, and more.
When you fill in your Behance profile with great examples of your work, your work is put in front of an audience of like-minded creatives. And if your work earns the coveted spot of featured project, you'll get even more positive exposure. Who knows who might see it and might want to hire you. Behance also functions as a social media network to connect with other designers. Expanding your list of contacts may bring you new design opportunities.
Behance also offers a jobs sections, which has quite a few leads for quality freelance work. You won’t find an endless scroll of jobs, but what’s posted falls in line with Behance’s fantastic reputation.
SimplyHired doesn't charge people to put up job postings, which opens a floodgate of job opportunities. And for freelance workers wanting to be seen by potential clients, SimplyHired makes it super easy to upload a resume and get your profile up and running.
Their job search functions also come in handy, letting you narrow down your searches only to what you’re interested in. Having a focused search is much more valuable than sites that display only loosely related results.
The site also offers great resources for job seekers, with guides on resume writing, cover letter writing, and other information to help you out. SimplyHired puts those looking for work at the center of their experience, and what they offer shows that they are invested in helping others succeed.
Introducing The Freelancer’s Journey: a free course that teaches you how to succeed as a freelance web designer — from getting clients to launching their websites.
Wherever you’re at in your career as a designer, you need to have a profile set up on Dribbble, which continually amazes us with the quality and variety of killer projects that get shared and the community of supportive creatives.
Having a high-quality Dribbble profile is a great way to market yourself and to show potential clients what you’re capable of. Dribbble gets a lot of traffic, with plenty of clients looking for talented designers. All you need to do is write a stellar bio and show off the best of your portfolio.
Dribbble also gives you an easy way to update your work availability and lets you flip the switch on and off whenever you need to. And if you upgrade to the pro level, you get access to an exclusive freelance design job board.
Web developers, graphic designers, and others with related skill sets won’t only find inspiration on Dribbble but may also find their next freelance gig.
Having a presence on multiple freelancing sites gives you the most exposure.
Yes, many designers are offering their services on Fiverr, often cheaper and of questionable quality, but don’t let this discourage you. If you can create your own niche and specialization as a freelancer on Fiverr, it can be a reliable way to find new projects and earn additional revenue.
Some people may dismiss Fiverr, but it can be one of the best freelance websites if you’re willing to do the hard work it takes to be successful.
PeoplePerHour markets themselves as doing a better job of pairing clients with designers.
At the beginning of a project, a client inputs the important details of it. This data is then sent through an artificial intelligence program that analyzes it, then matches the client with designers who would be a good fit. PeoplePerHour aims for a more streamlined process, bringing together designers and clients on their freelance platform in a more precise way.
Guru has an authentic, grassroots feel to what they do. They encourage transparency on their freelance platform and value trust, making sure that whatever your role, expectations are met. These sensibilities also extend to their job postings, which all clearly communicate what a project entails. There's nothing sketchy here, making Guru a reputable source to go to if you’re looking for new freelance design work.
Freelancer covers many different facets of design work — everything from graphic and logo design to web design. Their website offers a good looking and easy to navigate space, removing the pain points for both designers and clients alike. They’re huge, and many people consider Freelancer one of the best freelancing websites to search for new design jobs. If you’re after flex jobs, remote work, or other types of positions, freelancer.com has a wealth of potential leads.
Working with startups can be exciting. You may get the chance to shape a brand’s identity and flex your creativity a bit more than with established companies. AngelList connects freelancers with these up-and-coming businesses.
Who knows which startup will rise up and become the next huge company? You may just get to be a part of the next big thing.
DesignCrowd covers lots of design disciplines and has jobs from all over the world. It’s a comprehensive freelance marketplace with a wide variety of job listings. Clients can court multiple designers, allowing them to find just the right fit. Like many freelance sites, they offer crowdsourcing to do their work. If that’s your thing, you should definitely check out DesignCrowd.
15. Working Not Working
If you’ve ever checked out the Working Not Working magazine, you know that they’re serious about design and empowering those with the tools to help people grow in their careers. This branch of their company works so well in complementing this mission.
Their landing page features profiles of some of the designers who inhabit this space. Read through these bios and you’ll see that the designers who come here are serious about their craft, with impressive credentials and skill sets. You’re among good company if you sign up for your own account.
Along with giving designers visibility, Working Not Working has a solid job board with a ton of great jobs.
Freelance websites are just one way to find work
Of course there are multiple ways to land new gigs. Which freelance websites do you think are great, and what other avenues do you use to find new work? Please share with us and other designers in the comments below.