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What to look for
Being a freelance graphic designer or a freelance illustrator, or a freelancer of any kind, is not easy. How do you find clients? Well there are several sites out there for freelancers to help you and a potential client connect. This article will discuss three of them which I have tried out.
Most of these sites, at least the three I will discuss, work in the following way. A potential client posts a job. The artist (you) finds a job listing you like and places a bid on it. Other artists bid on the job and the client chooses who they want to hire for the job.
Before I get to the sites, there are a few things you should look for when researching these sites.
Cost? What is the cost of being a member on the site? Some of the sites have free membership options and paid options. Of course, the paid options are more feature filled than the free options, but some of the free options are very good allowing you to bid on jobs.
The site’s cut? How much of the fee you are charging for your service does the site get? The site is like an agent and they usually take a percent of the fee you are charging the client. One site I will mention does not, which is great. Many times your membership level will dictate the percent amount the site takes.
Bids? Next to the cost and the fee the most important thing is how many bids do you get? Bids are what you need to apply for a job. You usually get a certain allocation of bids per month. Again, this depends on the level of your membership.
Portfolio? Most of the free memberships come with an online portfolio allowing you to post images of your artwork. As with the fee you pay, the portfolio features are relative to your membership level.
Conflict Management? Does the site help you if you have a conflict with the client? Some site do, some sites don’t.
Other features? Some sites let you communicate through the site and deliver work through the site. In fact, you can often complete your entire job through the website.
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Here are three sites I have tried and belong to.
iFreelance – iFreelance is one of the most affordable freelance sites. The monthly fees are very reasonable. You can even pay under $5/month. The best thing about iFreelance is that the money you make is 100% yours. The do not take a cut, just a monthly fee. The free membership has no bids, only a limited portfolio which people can view and contact you through.
Guru – Guru has a ton of features and they are adding more features all of the time. I really like the free membership. You get 10 revolving bids and an online portfolio. The do take a cut of your pay per job. As I mentioned above, fees and membership features will vary depending on the membership level you pick.
Elance – Elance is the third site I have tried. Like Guru, it is feature packed and member benefits depend on the level you choose. The free membership allows you to have a portfolio and three bids/month.
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One final note
One last bit of advice with these freelance sites. Competition for jobs is fierce. I have bid on hundreds of jobs and only been hired a few times. However, I still bid. It is still a great way to find clients, or just ideas for portfolio pieces.