As the "1099 economy" continues to grow, more and more professionals are taking their talents on the road and finding freelance or contract-based gigs with a wide variety of companies. The plethora of job-listing websites and social networks out there have made it easier than ever to track down jobs. But where should you begin? Whether you're looking to make some extra income or want to become a full-time freelancer, here are 11 sites that can connect you with great work opportunities.
99designs welcomes freelance designers of all sorts, whether they specialize in advertising, merchandise, packaging, graphic work or illustration. Companies seeking freelance workers build a design brief, which 99designs launches as a prize-based contest open to their global network of designers in that category. Although only one freelancer will ultimately win, entering these contests is great practice and can help you build up your portfolio.
Digital creative and marketing professionals can find work around the globe through Aquent staffing agency. You can choose from remote or on-site opportunities, and even look for contract-to-hire positions. The company also offers practical skills training through its free online courses, which can give freelancers a significant edge in the marketplace. [Want to Be a Full-Time Freelancer? What You Need to Know]
The Creative Group
A division of staffing services firm Robert Half, The Creative Group specializes in job placement for professionals in creative fields like marketing, art, graphic design, copywriting, photography and more. While the listings include some contract-to-hire and full-time positions, you can use the "freelance" filter to narrow your search.
Calling all freelance writers and editors: CrowdSource is one of the largest freelance work teams on the market, specializing in content creation, editorial review and moderation for retailers, online publishers and media companies. The company breaks larger editorial tasks into micro-tasks, which qualified freelancers can choose to work on through its WorkStation platform. If you perform well, you'll receive higher compensation and access to additional work.
FlexJobs offers listings for part-time and freelance positions in more than 50 career tracks. The company hand-screens each telecommuting job, so you can be sure that you're applying to a legitimate company. FlexJobs also offers skills testing, job search tips and special members-only discounts through the site's partners.
Fiverr is a little different from your average freelance job-listing website. Instead of having companies post their projects so freelancers can apply, this site has freelancers create "gigs" based on what they're best at. That way, freelancers sell their services to the companies that find them. You can categorize your gig by keyword so it shows up in multiple searches.
The "world's largest outsourcing marketplace" offers freelancers several options for work, including project-based jobs, hourly work and contests. Freelancer.com members can browse jobs that match their specific skill sets, and apply to their chosen openings directly.
Like many freelance job websites, Guru displays a freelancer's portfolio with reviews, past jobs and how much that person has earned through the site, so companies can verify the quality of a potential worker. The site also shows how much a particular company has spent on Guru freelancers, so job seekers can make an educated decision about the companies they want to work for. Search for work by category, location and fixed versus hourly jobs.
A job-search board and portfolio builder in one, Krop allows creative and tech professionals to put together personalized websites showcasing their skills to employers. The site features a mix of full-time, part-time and freelance work searchable by location and keywords.
If you're a software developer, Toptal can help you find great work opportunities, fast. This marketplace puts all of its applicants through a series of screenings, tests and interviews and only accepts the top 3 percent of applicants. Because of this rigorous pre-screening, being a member of Toptal's freelancer network lets potential employers know that you're highly talented and ready to work immediately.
In 2014, freelance marketplace giants Elance and oDesk merged into a single company. This past May, Elance-oDesk changed its name Upwork, a revamped, robust platform to connect companies with more than 10 million freelancers who are looking for contract jobs. Freelancers in knowledge work industries such as web and mobile development, writing, sales and marketing, design and consulting can chat with potential and current clients, and accept or decline job opportunities directly within the Upwork mobile app. You can also display your "work status" to interested companies, which lets others know how quickly you can reply to job invitations.
This story was originally published in 2014 and updated July 29, 2015.