he era of the gig economy is here, and freelancing is a significant reason why. The best freelance websites out there make it easier for workers in the U.S. and around the world to do their work at their convenience. These sites are also making the lives of small business owners easier, allowing them to post freelance jobs in case they need a short-term hire. We drew from our own freelancing experience and researched the market to determine the best freelance websites to find or post work. For our deep dive, we created accounts in these sites, tried out their features, read testimonials from freelancers and small business owners alike, and analyzed both the functionality and design aesthetic of each page. Read on as we break down the 23 best freelance websites in the US (not ranked).
What is the gig economy?
We define the gig economy as:
A flexible workforce environment marked by short-term business ventures, freelance jobs, temporary contracts, and other work opportunities of limited length. Companies you might be familiar with that rely on the gig economy include Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Freelancer, and more.
When you’re starting your small business, or even if you need a hired gun to complete a specialized project for you, a freelancer can be a great asset. You can hire them on demand to take care of a part of your business as you continue to grow. And you’re able to do this without the commitment of hiring them as a full-time employee, especially if you're trying to bootstrap your business.
If you’re a freelancer, you probably value the convenience and flexibility of working on a project for a limited amount of time. Choosing the freelancer life makes you a small business owner in your own right as it might make you a sole proprietor, or you can register as an LLC. And if you’re starting as a small business owner, exploring the best freelance websites can help you find someone who can be an asset. Similarly, if you’re continuing to establish yourself as a freelancer, exploring the best freelance websites can help you find the right employer. Here are some of the most common types of freelance websites out there that we’ll cover today:
- General: Many freelance websites list jobs from every high-demand industry, and this category covers exactly that. A little bit of everything.
- Writing/Editorial: Content creation, marketing, and editing jobs are big these days. They play a vital role in forging and defining your business’ brand.
- Artists: This category offers everything from graphic designers for your fliers to musicians and film peeps for your first TV ad.
- Developers/Engineers: Here you can find resources for developers, coders, and engineers to find work in this section.
Continue reading about the 23 best freelance websites that entrepreneurs, freelancers, wantrepreneurs, and aspiring freelancers should know about.
The 23 Best Freelance Websites
Most people may not think of Craigslist as the place to find freelance work, but more often than not, the site’s job board is very legit. There’s a ton of great work opportunities there for writers, creative individuals, engineers, and more. In fact, some of these opportunities are only available on Craigslist, they can be quite niche, and they can pay exceptionally well. The website has been around for quite some time, it’s universally known, and it’s segmented based on where you are in the U.S. It’s also a simple website to use. The Craigslist design is no-frills, making it easy to post a job or search for freelance work without a hassle. The combination of these elements makes Craigslist an appealing choice for small business owners and freelancers alike.
If you’re in the freelance game and you haven’t heard of Fiverr, climb out of that rock you’ve been living under, and join the rest of us in one of the best freelance websites out there. And if you’re a small business owner, consider adding Fiverr to your list of places to post a job, because it’s one of the best freelance websites out there. The website is kind of like the Amazon of job listings, geared specifically for freelancers. In addition to its simple search function, the site divides work opportunities by categories such as Writing & Translation, Video & Animation, Programming & Tech, Business, and more.
Within each category, there are subcategories. For example, Writing & Translation has subcategories such as Technical Writing, Articles & Blog Posts, Podcast Writing, Press Release, and more. Within each subcategory, you can check out a list of freelancers who are skilled in that field. They are ranked based on the number and quality of ratings they’ve received, which go up to 5 stars (like Amazon). And if you’re a freelancer, it’s an easy system. You create a service you can offer, do the work, and get paid on time once you finish it. The site claims a job is bought every four seconds, making it a major player in the gig economy today.
Upwork is another great option to find work or post gigs in every in-demand industry. It is widely used by the freelance community, partly because it customizes your searches to suit your exact needs. For example, picking the Design & Creative category will prompt you to the next screen, which shows subcategories (much like Fiverr). Once you make a choice (such as Motion Graphics Design), the site will ask you about the complexity, length, and skill level of a freelancer or gig you seek. Another cool thing about Upwork is it allows you to get as professional as you want with various pricing tiers. There is a Basic option for free, a Plus tier with more customized search results for $49.99, a Business choice that comes with a team of advisors for $499, and an Enterprise option that varies according to your needs. Upwork is not the most exciting website as its layout looks a little too buttoned-up, but it’s efficient, and users embrace it. More than half a million customers give it an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, and small business owners in virtually every industry are using it.
As the name suggests, FlexJobs is all about flexibility. What do they mean by that? The site specializes in remote jobs (both full time and part-time), freelance jobs, and on-site jobs with “flexible and alternative schedules.” Even though the layout is a bit cluttered and outdated, FlexJobs truly understands that we’re living in the gig economy era. It casts a wide net as there are more than 50 work categories on the site, including underrepresented freelance fields such as Call Center, Animal & Wildlife, Food & Beverage, Sports & Fitness, and many more.
The site has been around since 2007, making it one of the oldest and most reputable freelancing platforms out there. And it cares about the little guy, advertising opportunities for underserved members of the U.S. workforce. These include parents who want more flexible schedules, people looking for a side hustle that matches their skillset, military spouses looking for remote work, those with physical or health issues, retirees, competitive athletes, and more. And if you’re a small business owner in a niche market, your gig may be listed in the “100 of the Most Surprising Flexible Jobs” section. This segment includes unusual listings such as Subtitler, Outdoor Gear Tester, GIFs Animation expert, and Desert Tortoise Biologist.
One of the first elements that pops out when you check out this site is how simple it’s layout is. It has big, bold letters, colors that pop (but not too much), and modern-looking icons. Freelancer uses a simple formula: you post a job, choose a freelancer who suits your needs, and pay them through a secure portal.
The homepage also highlights some of the most popular gigs in a variety of industries with their respective price tags slapped on. Once you dig deeper, you’ll notice some similarities between Freelancer and Fiverr. They both have a wide range of categories along with listings of freelancers with their rating, number of reviews, and pricing. However, Freelancer has a more intuitive advanced search function. You can search for categories, specific locations, hourly rates, and other elements. It’s also possible to limit your search to freelancers who are online, and you can chat with instantly with them, helping you determine if they’re a good fit for you. In addition, Freelancer has an auction function for freelancers. That means you can make offers for a project with a detailed sales pitch. The pitch often includes a brief description of why you’re the best person for the job, how much you’ll charge, and how long it will take you to complete it.
Exclusivity is the name of the game for Toptal. They are not fu**ing around. The site markets itself as “an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers in the world” who make up the “top 3% of freelance talent” out there. It’s not free, but Toptal makes it easy for you to find the right freelancer for your gig in 48 hours with a 98% “trial-to-hire success rate.” That second part means there’s an excellent chance you’ll be happy with the freelancer Toptal selects for your business.
The site finds the right person for you in a similar way to Upwork, asking you detailed questions about your project. Toptal goes even deeper, asking questions about your business’ size, how soon you need to hire someone, how much you’re willing to pay, and whether or not you’re open to bringing in a remote worker. If you’re a freelancer, you can apply to become a Toptal player by sharing your name, email, and what services you offer. The site then takes you through a confidential screening process to determine if you’re up to snuff. It’s not for everyone, but Toptal is ideal for those who are a cut above the rest.
Everyone knows LinkedIn as that professional site where people write inspirational posts. However, the site is also a gold mine for freelance job opportunities in virtually every field. There are plenty of job boards out there, and LinkedIn has become a competitive one in its own right. The great thing about applying for a job on the site is that the recruiter can see what you have to offer by checking out your LinkedIn profile, which shares more info than just your CV would.
If you’re a freelance blogger at the top of your game, look no further than Problogger. The site is curated better than most editorial job sites, providing a selection of jobs that are usually well-vetted and pay a pretty penny. Bloggers of all types are welcome, including ghostwriters, SEO consultants, influencers, researchers, and more. Problogger has been around for over a decade, and it has consistently delivered high-quality gigs to top bloggers.
If you’re a small business owner looking for a writer, the site can be very beneficial for you. It won’t be cheap to post your job, but the testimonials speak for themselves. Here’s what Graywolf had to say:
The job applications I got from ProBlogger were consistently higher quality than the ones from Craigslist. The applicants had more experience and were better qualified. At the end of the process, 6 of the 7 bloggers I hired came from the ProBlogger Job Board.
If ProBlogger is about selectivity, Freelance Writing is about variety. If you’re in the editorial game in any shape, way, or form, these guys probably have something for you. The site posts more freelance writing gigs than maybe any other site, adding more than 50 opportunities on an average day. Freelance Writing includes SEO writing opportunities, as well as blog writing, marketing content, music journalists, translation/transcription work, technical writers, and more. It even includes pseudo-writing gigs such as producer jobs, communications specialists, social media managers, and more. So if you’re looking for a website that contains all things content- and communications-related, Freelance Writing might be your best bet.
ClearVoice is awesome if you want to get deeper into the persona of a freelance writing person (which could be you). The site is a content marketing platform with content creation tools, dashboards, integrations with apps like WordPress and PayPal, and much more. However, it also operates as a job site for freelance content professionals and businesses looking to hire them. For freelancers, you can create a high-level, customized CV with different sections, PDFs, headlines, images, and other elements to distinguish yourself from the pack. ClearVoice calls itself an “Entrepreneurial Ladder” interested in building a relationship with freelancers, and helping them grow.
If you’re a small business owner, ClearVoice walks you through the process of creating a strong content strategy. It helps you find the right talent for you capable of writing everything from articles to eBooks, case studies, infographics, and more. Plus, the site has advanced functions to improve day-to-day menial tasks with calendars, payment features, publishing tools, and more.
If you’re a bookworm or wordsmith who appreciates tradition, you may fall in love with these folks. The first thing that jumps out of Freelance Writing Gigs is the old-timey aesthetic that draws from some of the classic literary magazines in the U.S. These guys respect the craft of writing, and they attract freelancers who bring passion into their work.
It has a simple layout that shows new writing jobs for each day in a simple and straightforward way. All you have to do is click a date, and it shows you what gigs were added on that day. Freelance Writing Gigs also makes things easier for you by segmenting jobs based on categories like Technical Writing, Copywriting, Proofreading/Editing, Resume Writing, and more. As the website states, one of its primary goals “has always been to nurture a community of freelance writers online.” The site also includes blog posts with writing tips for any budding freelancers.
The Compose.ly brand is contemporary and sleek, similar to how a startup’s website might look. The site is different from most freelance writing sites because it focuses specifically on content marketing services. Compose.ly claims that its marketing expertise helps businesses outrank Wikipedia in some cases. The site is able to do this by hiring the cream of the crop, claiming less than 1% of its applicants become content writers for them.
It also excels in variety, offering content marketing writing services in several areas. These include finance, fashion, spirituality, education, music, medical, and more. Compose.ly is easy to use, and it’s a solid choice for both freelancers and small businesses working to level up.
13. Who Pays Writers?
The Who Pays Writers? motto is scientia potentia est, which is Latin for “knowledge is power.” The site is a low-key incredible repository of awesome writing gigs for freelancers of all skill levels. Plus, the layout is super simple: it has top available jobs on the right, and a selection of publications you can write for on the left. The Who Pays Writers? list of publications is extensive, and it includes everything from Afropunk to Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Espn Esports, Vice, and Arabian Horse Life. The gig listings are very straightforward too. They include how much the job pays per word, how long the story will be, and how much research is needed. Some gigs are only available if you have a pre-existing relationship with the publication, but there is no shortage of options for you to choose from.
If you’re either freelancing as a visual artist or in the market for one, Behance could be right for you. The homepage highlights the eclectic style of visual artists today, showing there’s a style out there for just about anyone. You can find those who specialize in graphic design, photography, illustration, product design, architecture, advertising, fashion, and more. When you open someone’s profile, you can see what their past work looks like, and how many “thumbs up” they’ve received over the years.
One of the great things about Behance is that it has no fluff. The site includes categories, images, and ratings.
Artrepreneur looks like an art gallery, and it has an honorable mission. The site wants to “empower” creatives who are “curious, driven, and courageous” with the resources they need to succeed. In the website, freelance artists can post their art, build a portfolio, enter a competition, check out art for sale, or find a job. Artists can find freelance (or full-time) work on the job board. Production artists, photographers, UX designers, and fashion workers are encouraged to browse through it. And if you’re a small business owner, it’s easy to post a gig. The Artrepreneur dashboard comes in handy for those looking for work, and for those seeking a freelancer. It sends you alerts, stores applicant information, and it allows you to customize acceptance and rejection letters.
Are you a musician with chops? Do you need a soundtrack for your brand? Are you a bar owner looking for talent? Check, check, and check. SoundBetter is a really cool resource for freelancers in the music biz.
The site has dozens of categories, ranging from producers to female singers, beatmakers, fretless bass players, YouTube cover recording engineers, and more. Each artist has their own profile with reviews, a description, and samples of their work.
Stage32 is similar to SoundBetter, but it specializes in film, TV, and theater instead of music. The website’s database includes more than half a million artists. These include screenwriters, script readers, actors, cinematographers, live streamers, and more. Sound mixers and graphic designers can find work here as well.
It’s also worth mentioning that Stage32 offers more than work opportunities. The site has meetups located all around the country for artists to mingle, share ideas, check out film festivals, and more. Freelancers can take advantage of these meetups to connect with other artists and find work, while small business owners can meet potential freelance hires for a brand video project.
When opening the 99design page, the first word that comes to mind is “hip.” The site is cool as you like, with trendy images, techy icons, and warm font colors, so you know they mean business. 99design is for graphic design professionals, and likely designed by them too. It’s perfect for small business owners looking for someone to design their logo, website, icons, and more. Similarly, freelancers can create a 99designs account to show employers they’re made of. There are two ways to acquire talent on 99design. The first is by working directly with someone who suits your needs (which the site helps you find). The second is by starting a contest where creative freelancers strut their stuff, and you pick your favorite. A new design is created on the site every two seconds, and they now have more than 97 million works of art available.
If you’re in the hunt for a developer or engineer, Developers for Hire is a great resource. The website cuts out the fat and leads you to a freelancer who suits your needs. The site is great for small business owners of all coding experience levels because it simplifies the selection process for you. First, it’ll ask you how experienced your ideal team is, its size, how urgently you need them, whether you have product specs ready, what your budget looks like, and more. Developers for Hire then searches for candidates who may be right for you.
As the website points out, the goal is to help you find an individual or team who can do the job over a short period without breaking the bank. And you don’t have to sign up to find candidates on the site.
20. Stack Overflow
Everyone in the coding world has heard of Stack Overflow. It’s an incredible community with a Reddit-style forum where developers can ask questions, share tips, and fix bugs. What some may not know is that Stack Overflow is also an excellent resource for linking up freelancers with small business owners. Something cool about the site’s job board is how specific the gigs are. Titles like “Front-end React/Angular developer with experience on the back-end” and “Rails/React Developer to own & revamp existing, successful product!” make it easy for freelancers to find an opportunity tailored for them. And small business owners can share what they’re about with the Stack Overflow forum community, who can teach these entrepreneurs what type of developers they should be looking for.
The site’s name and the cowboy-hat-and-sunglasses icon are designed to let you know: “Hey, here’s where you can find a hired gun.” Gun.io provides “elite freelance technical talent” that you can select following a more rigorous vetting process than most of the best freelance sites.
If you’re a small business owner, the process begins with a phone call. You talk to the Gun.io talent team to determine what the ideal candidate will look like for you. Next, you choose freelancers you like, and you get to interview them in a virtual setting. Finally, you connect with your freelancer and inform them of how many hours a week you need them for, paying them as you go. To freelance for Gun.io, you have to undergo a seven-tiered vetting process. If you want to establish yourself as the elite of the elite in the development space, this may be the site for you.
Another site that prides itself on delivering the best in the world of developers is X-Team. To become part of the development team, the first step is simple: type in your full name, your email, your Linkedin URL, and tell them how you heard about them. Beyond this step, X-Team recommends that freelance developers have a few attributes to prove their competency. These elements include being an independent problem solver with a proactive attitude. Beyond that, you have a solid chance of becoming a member of X-Team if you have the technical skills to back your positive mindset.
If you’re looking for a developer, X-Team provides you with a simple process. All you have to do is: type in your personal information, mention the type of developer you’re looking for, and add how long you need them for. The site will then pair you with top workers who fit your mold.
While Freelancers Union is not the site you go to when looking for a job, it's one of the best resources for freelancers today. "We're working to secure a better future for independent workers," the website's homepage reads. And as the name suggests, it operates as a union to make sure freelancers are taken care of. You can join the Freelancers Union free of cost, and it provides freelance workers with health care insurance benefits. It also hosts several communities around the U.S. to help freelancers connect with each other, while also offering resources to benefit freelancers, including a blog.
Plus, the organization also advocates for policy changes to honor and protect freelancer rights from nonpayment. You can read more about them here.
We believe the best freelance websites all stand out because they are unique in their branding, pricing, and functionality. These sites are designed to help freelancers show employers what they’re capable of by shining a positive light on them. Similarly, they make it easy for small business owners to find reliable freelancers who fit their needs at an affordable price. If you're a freelancer looking for a business bank account, sign up with Novo today. Check out 5 reasons why freelancers need a small business bank account.