Finding freelance work today is easier than ever before. Freelance marketplaces are springing up like mushrooms after the rain across the web. There are a variety of big marketplaces and niche marketplaces, some that offer a multitude of freelance professional fields and some that focus on a single area. Marketplaces are an excellent opportunity for both new and seasoned freelancers to score gigs, find new clients and get steady work.
Let’s take a look at some of the best online marketplaces for freelance designers

1. Upwork

If you’ve been a freelancer for any stretch of time, you’ve likely at least heard of Upwork. Formerly oDesk and Elance, this mega marketplace has a reported 12 million freelancers registered and over 3 million job postings a year. On Upwork, clients can either post gigs and wait for freelancers to come forward, or look for individual freelancers they want to hire. On Upwork, all freelancers are listed with their hourly fee.
Experience and reviews are the name of the game with this marketplace: the more, the better. Clients have several different ways to filter freelancers in their search and many of these filters relate to the freelancer’s work history on Upwork. Conversely, freelancers who are new to the site are sometimes highlighted as suggestions for Rising Talents.
Upwork holds many great opportunities for designers. There are currently over 345,000 Upwork freelancers categorized under Design & Creative on the site. Freelancer profiles have room for highlighting designer portfolios and including links to works or a website. With job posts for anything from a logo design to long-term retainer contracts, designers in any speciality can find success on this platform.

2. Fiver

Fiverr has a unique approach to freelancers and the freelance world. This site takes the term “marketplace” quite literally, positioning freelancers as “sellers” offering their expertise for sale to potential clients. Originally offering freelance services starting at $5, there are currently several million freelancers working with Fiverr.
Fiverr’s layout is very designer-friendly, relying heavily on design-centric elements. For example, an example of the designer’s work is highlighted in place of a headshot on search pages. Seller pages include a headline that starts with “I will…”, to help potential clients visually filter through the results. Designers are encouraged to offer price packages for their services to give clients options for projects. Clients can also filter their search by style (versatile, flat/minimalist, retro, etc), the file format and time frame they require.

3. 99designs

99designs is a marketplace for design projects. With a community of 1,128,000 designers, this marketplace highlights the strengths and diversity of the freelancers to clients. 99designs is a continuous crowd-sourced design contest: Clients looking for designers post a design brief, detailing their needs and requirements along with some background info. Designers brainstorm and submit ideas to the client, and after 7 days the client picks the designer they choose to work with. Clients also have the opportunity to hire designers directly on the site if they have already established a professional relationship with them. The gigs on the site range from requests for tattoo designs to app design and book illustrations. There are opportunities here for designers of every niche, and many big-name clients come here looking for talent.

4. Envato

Envato is a multi-faceted collection of marketplaces, offering digital products, courses and services for sale. As of 2016, Envato’s community listed over 7 million members worldwide. Envato Studio is the marketplace where freelancers can sell their services to clients. Similarly to Fiverr, the search results page is designed to be heavily visual, offering designers the opportunity to make an impression right away. Freelancers can list packages or services individually at a set and expiration date for the package rates. Envato’s subcategories within Design & Graphics include everything from photo editing and enhancement to 3D and modelling. The variety of required skill for these gigs can open doors for beginning designers looking to earn some cash while building up their skills.

Payment Challenges and How to Overcome Them with Payoneer

The beauty and allure of freelancing for many is that you can work anytime, from anywhere in the world. You can work from Paris or Bombay, whether you live there or are travelling. But being your own boss can have its own challenges, one of the biggest ones is financial stability. When managing your income is your own responsibility and there’s no reliable monthly paycheck, money concerns can suddenly become very real. In today’s freelance society, when you’re likely to be working with clients from all over the globe, payments can seem even more daunting.
Thanks to the rise of digital global payments solutions, freelancers can now receive payments from their international clients quite easily. Introducing: Payoneer.
Payoneer helps freelancers around the world get paid by clients and marketplaces, including all the ones listed above. By providing freelance designers with the tools and services they need, receiving and managing payments no longer need to be a hassle. Let’s take a look at a few of the challenges and very real concerns freelancers are dealing with in regards to payments and how they can be resolved:

  •  Challenge: Client or marketplace is on another side of the world. Thanks to the internet, freelancers can score gigs with clients and companies on the other side of the planet. Marketplaces make the matchmaking process even easier. But what happens when your French client has a local euro bank account in Paris, but you need to get paid in dollars in the United States? Or vice versa?
    Solution: Multiple ways to get paid. Make it easy for clients and marketplaces to pay you, no matter where either of you is located. If you’re charging clients directly, you can send them a Payoneer payment request; clients will be able to choose if they want to pay via credit card, local bank transfer or eCheck. If you’re getting paid by freelance marketplaces, you can receive payments directly to your Payoneer account. When payment is received, you can withdraw it to your local bank in your local currency.
  • Challenge: Traditional money transfer methods are slow and expensive. Have you ever put through or received an international money transfer? They can be painfully slow and expensive. Wire transfers between countries and currencies can take up to 15 business days in extreme cases, and the high currency exchange fees (along with the transfer fee) can leave you with a lot less money than you expected.
    Solution: Use a payment solution that’s faster and cheaper. When you receive payments, they’ll take a couple of business days to show up in your Payoneer account. No surprise fees, no high currency exchange rates.
  • Challenge: Client pays late (or doesn’t pay at all). You’ve agreed to the project terms and your rate, but when the project is delivered the money is nowhere to be found. Late payments are a serious problem for freelancers; in a study conducted by the Freelancers Union a few years ago, 71% reported that they have had trouble getting paid at least once in their careers.
    Solution: Send reminders or get the marketplace involved. Many freelancer marketplaces will handle payment disputes or late payments when there is a problem. This insurance is one of the big perks of working in a marketplace. If you’re working directly with a client locally or internationally, Payoneer will send automatic reminders periodically once a payment request is sent. This helps keep your payment a priority for the client and can significantly reduce the chances of a late payment.

Get Set Up on Payoneer for a Limited Time Offer

With its multitude of services for freelance designers, Payoneer truly is a wholesome payment solution. Getting paid by marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr, 99designs or Envato is super easy. Sign up for Payoneer today to enjoy a special offer: $25 off your Icons8 subscription!


About the Author
Minnie is a content marketing strategist at Payoneer, with an extensive 12-year background in writing, editing, translation and marketing. Minnie is passionate about people, the written word and driving international communities together..