Why freelancing platforms are crap

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You can call them freelancing platforms, online marketplaces or crowdsourcing websites, but their purpose remains the same, and it might not please everyone.

As for me, after a few years spent working through freelancing platforms, I can say I don’t exactly see a bright future for those expecting to make a full-time living out of freelance marketplaces.

Here is why I believe that you should invest time in something else rather than bidding

Why you should avoid freelancing platforms: 10 tips

1: One-project stand

Your chances of establishing a long-term partnership with your clients significantly drop since most jobs are advertised as one-off projects.

2: No rules

The regulation behind crowdsourcing gigs is very little or inexistent, and this is bad for both parties; in particular, workers cannot be 100% sure of getting what promised without a physical jurisdiction in place.

3: No credits

Too often, freelancers receive no recognition or credit for their work, and this might result in a motivational issue for most.

4: Working for nuts

The pay rates offered are frequently too low and don’t follow any professional standard. Plus, you will be competing against people living in the poorest countries of the world that are ready to work for nuts.

5: A lot of confusion

Sometimes your clients barely know what they are looking for.

This is a good example of a job advert that is far too generic and underpaid: they offer $8 for an 1850-word English to Italian translation and tell you that you must be ready to accept low budgets to work with them.

No details whatsoever about the file format, niche, content type and so on are provided.

So, instead of wasting your time trying to get 10 quid out of these freelancing marketplaces, I recommend you try to do the following:

6: Personal branding

Focus on your personal brand: promote your personal blog or website, connect with qualified colleagues and trustworthy business owners, learn new skills and actively look for well-paid projects in your industry.

7: Quality rather than quantity

Being a successful freelancer is not about landing as many projects as you can handle. Rather, it’s more about landing the right freelance work for yourself, those significant assignments that will make you grow as a professional.

8: Quality rather than quantity

Use social networks, in particular, LinkedIn, to connect with the right people, and always keep an eye on both online & offline events related to your industry.

9: Facebook groups

Facebook groups might also be useful to grow your network and get new assignments, but only if you pick the groups that are truly relevant to your field. The same applies to other social media channels.

10: Don’t rest on your laurels!

Actively market yourself rather than passively waiting for clients to find you, and do it regularly and consistently.

Last but not least…you want to be a freelancer, don’t you? Hence, don’t forget to enjoy the freedom that comes with it!

★ Do you disagree with the author of this post and think that freelancing platforms are amazing? Read our guide on how to make the most from Upwork

★ For more resources about freelancing, also see how to survive as a freelance translator, how to freelance in the UK after Brexit and our freelancer’s life survival guide

About The Author

Freelance localisation specialist

Roberto Popolizio is an Italian localisation specialist. Online marketing and audiovisual content production are his bread and butter. He's been helping e-commerce stores, web developers, and video producers improving their translation processes since 2011.