Job Search – Find a Freelance Job

February 26, 2009

If you’ve been laid off, your hours have been cut back, or you are simply making a job change due to relocating to a different city you’re probably looking for a way to make some extra money right away. Picking up freelance jobs in the industry where you have the most expertise can lead to some quick cash and thanks to the power of technology it’s easier than ever to find a freelance job. Here’s a list of a few websites where you can find freelance jobs:


Elance: You might be familiar with this site, but have you tried using it yet? Scroll or search through the thousands of jobs they have to offer and see how many you could bid on and successfully complete.


The way it works is you pick a posted job and bid on it. The person or company who posted the job will pick someone to fulfill the job based on the most competitive bid and your credentials to get the job done. If you open a basic account, there is no charge to create a profile and start bidding on work so you have nothing to lose if you want to just try it.

Elance has a private message board system where the person looking to hire someone will likely contact you for additional information once you place a bid.  If you have the winning bid, Elance also helps you work with the person hiring you to set project milestones, track progress, and resolve any issues that arise.  Depending on the amount and duration of the work, you may get paid at milestones throughout the project or at the end once you’ve completed the task. 

Using Elance’s escrow service helps make sure that you get paid for the work that you’ve done.  Elance doesn’t make money until you get paid so it’s in their best interest to facilitate the project and help things go smoothly.  Their fee for helping you find and manage freelance work is 4–6% of your earnings, depending on the type of provider account you have with them.  To get started as a freelancer with Elance – Click here


Craigslist: For as many permanent job postings as there are on Craigslist, there are probably more freelance job offers on Craigslist. If you are an accountant, software programmer, web designer, writer, or consultant, you can easily find a few jobs to apply for on your local Craigslist. If you’ve got an iPhone, you need to have the Craigslist application, it’s a great way to search for jobs and other things on Craigslist quickly and efficiently.

Guru This is another great site similar to ELance, and it has a sophisticated rating system for freelancers and employers. It shows how much a freelancer has earned on the site, a rating system, and quality points awarded after each completed project. Like eLance, there are thousands of postings in industries from web design to business consulting.


I have done freelance writing work for various websites for the past three years, and it has been great extra money for me and my wife. I have paid off thousands of dollars in debt from my freelance work. Even if you have a steady job, picking up freelance work here and there is a nice way to make extra income, and there’s no gimmicks about it. Freelance work is usually very straightforward, and that’s why I like it. Complete the task, and you get paid, it’s as simple as that.

Ben’s Notes

Technology has certainly made it easier to find freelance work but the people doing the hiring may be in a different part of the country or even a different part of the world so you have to work hard to build their trust to the point where they’ll hire you without ever having met you.

This is another reason why building your personal brand is so important, if you can refer potential employers to a place where they can learn about your skills, get to know you better, and see if you’re qualified they’ll be much more likely to hire you.

For a little insight into how employers view and approach hiring on Elance, check out this Elance interview from John Jantsch. I met John a few weeks ago, he’s a great guy and has TONS of resources on his site for small businesses.  Listening to how employers use Elance might give you some insight into ways you could gain some competitive advantage when bidding on jobs as a provider.


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Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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26 Responses to Job Search – Find a Freelance Job

  • p.sangeetha

    High paying jobs are most important in the current economic situation.
    Most of the companies are developing in India and there are lots
    of job openings in various indian cities, which provides high salary.

  • blackbv

    Thank you for your submission to the Small and Home Business blog carnival.

  • tina p

    kinda interesting to work as one. if you need tips on setting up a smart resume you can try out the tips provided in this blog good stuff here

    anyway, thanks for the tips in freelancing!

  • Frugal Work at home mom

    Another option would be to sign up for a work at home call center-many of them are flexible when you can work,

  • Shana

    I’m a freelancer and I’ve looked at elance, but I would never use it. As a writer, there is too much competition with off-shore contractors, and I won’t work for sub-par rates. For example, I won’t write a 500 word article for $2 — and that’s the level of competition for writing (and editing) jobs on elance. Even with other jobs there (editing, web design, webmastering), the rates are very sub-par because of the off-shore competition.

    There are plenty of other sites freelancers can sign up on and have clients find them. Though, I”m signed up on a couple and I’ve never been contacted, so…think twice before taking the time to sign up for one of those sites.

    Craigslist is good, though it’s necessary to respond within hours of a job being posted.

    What’s best, though, is to track down clients proactively. This is a lesson I’ve been learning, as being reactive to ads in this economy only sets me up against 100s of other respondees.

  • Greg / Wise Bread

    I’ve hired and gotten hired from Elance for a few small jobs. Not all employers are looking for the cheapest possible solution (ie., offshore providers). Granted, a LOT of jobs are still being awarded to low-cost providers, but there’s a trend of employers hiring American freelancers who have more experience and the requisite language skills (especially for freelance writing).

    Quick analysis of the trend here:

    So while price is one consideration, I think expertise and experience are even more important to consider. Experienced freelance employers know it will cost more to hire twice for one job, so they tend to spend more for expertise/experience.

    I think Elance and the other freelance sites are good for getting your foot in the door, building up a portfolio of work, and getting introduced to a few potential clients. If you do great work on a few (probably low-paying) gigs, then you can start getting private referrals and repeat business outside the freelance marketplaces.

  • Lauren @ LifeStyler

    I’ve tried both elance and Guru, and I haven’t had much luck with either of them.

    There are a lot of people vying for the small amount of decent jobs on there (meaning the ones that pay a fair rate). The other thing is that other freelancers tend to offer their services for extremely low rates. That’s fine if you live somewhere where the cost of living isn’t high, but I’m located in NYC, and I can’t set my rates that low — which usually gets me kicked out of the way for someone who will work for much less.

  • Sandra

    The above options are good. Some other legitimate options you might want to consider are:

    1. Being a website usability tester at They pay $10 bucks per review.

    2. Checking out some jobs for bloggers if that is applicable at:

    3. Also forums are a good source where people are looking to hire others with expertise in a specific area.

  • jim

    The difficulty about Elance, esp. in software, is that you’re competing against individuals with far lower costs of living, like developers in India. You get to see outsourcing first hand. :)

  • the weakonomist

    I signed up for elance, but I’ve yet to try using the system. With a stable job for the next 12 months and running a side business, it isn’t worth my time yet.

    However I might experience a big change this summer, and I’ll have more time on my hands. That might be the right time to jump in.

    Perhaps you could do a post on some success stories from elance?


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