“Side hustles”, freelance gigs, and remote positions have become increasingly more common among millennials—even for those earning a decent amount at their day job.
According to a report by Bankrate, more than 37% of millennials have a second source of income. While some need the extra cash to cover everyday expenses—thanks to the rising cost of living—many are using their side gigs to fund experiences, like vacations and concerts.
The challenge for many when looking for remote jobs is knowing where to start. While there’s an abundance of information on how to take off in the gig economy, not many of them are as useful as one might hope.
The advantages of remote work are big—and not just for the free-spirited freelancer. There are plenty of advantageous qualities on both sides of the coin.
With this comes a steady rise in a lifestyle called “digital nomadism”, (aka the most Insta-worthy life to live), which allows contractors to work and travel simultaneously.
Um, where do we sign up?
Read on to find seven job boards and platforms that can help remote job seekers kickstart their career in the gig economy.
With over 1.5 million active freelancers, Upwork is undoubtedly one of the largest platforms in the world.
The global freelancing platform has something for everyone, from writers to designers to developers and beyond. Freelancers can define their own pricing, whether it’s an hourly rate or fixed fees, find both short & long-term projects, and choose work based on their unique expertise and availability.
Becoming a freelancer with Toptal requires a bit of a different process than most other freelancing platforms.
Contrary to other platforms listed in this post, Toptal caters to more seasoned and specialized professionals. Freelancers are required to pass a rigorous screening process, but the result? Unique access to worthwhile clients and projects (such as Airbnb and JPMorgan) and very fair compensation (which means no low-bidding contests. Bingo!).
Toptal freelancers also get access to a community of fellow freelancers and enjoy frequent meetups & events sponsored by the company.
Similar to Upwork, Freelancer is a popular platform that allows freelancers to bid for millions of jobs.
However, the key difference between the two is that Freelancer allows you to compete with others in contests to prove your skills. If you don’t let it scare you away, it’s a great way to stand out in a competitive space, win over top clients, and polish your skills. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that gamifying your side gig—and winning—creates a sense of pride that most freelancers are vying for.
If you’re just kicking off your freelancing career and have skills in writing, SEO, illustration, and graphic design, among others, Fiverr is a worthy bookmark.
Fiverr is great for those with set prices and who want to build a stellar portfolio and reputation. Freelancers don’t have to bid for jobs, which helps take the stress out of existing in a competitive landscape. Instead, freelancers showcase their work and create packages that are affordable and within a client’s price range. Hello, #experience.
Would you describe yourself as someone with “mad design skills”? If so, 99Designs is a perfect avenue for you to test out your graphic design prowess.
The concept is similar to no. 3 on this list, Freelancer, in that members participate in contests to win over clients. Although that doesn’t always sound like the best way to grow a career, the (sometimes harsh) reality is that in the freelance world, proving your worth is just part of it. 99designs makes it easy for budding designers to do just that.
PeoplePerHour connects professionals in web development, design, SEO, and marketing with potential clients.
Although the list above is their specialty, freelancers from other categories can find work here as well. PeoplePerHour has been slowly gaining traction for their job quality and competitive pay. Keep this one on your radar!
Freelance gigs aren’t just for people with writing or design expertise. Kolabtree is a platform dedicated to scientists and academics looking for help with research, writing, and more.
This is a platform where PhD-qualified freelancers can find work writing, editing, consulting, and analyzing scientific data. Generally, fees are decided by both the freelancer and the client once a connection has been made.
Our best advice? Give yourself plenty of time to find a reliable, steady contract gig before taking the full-time plunge.
Although there are resources aplenty (i.e. the list you just read) to help you get started with your freelance career, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that it can’t—and most often doesn’t—happen overnight.
Starting and keeping a steady remote career takes motivation, grit, and a willingness to do it all on your own. With that said, it’s never a bad idea to consider snagging a side job or two to fund that taco Tuesday addiction. 😏