On Oct. 19, LinkedIn announced the launch of a pilot program called ProFinder, which connects companies to talented freelancers. Though the website SF Gate reported that ProFinder is only open to Bay Area professionals in accounting, graphic design, and writing and editing at present, the program is expected to grow and succeed because of LinkedIn's massive membership.
But the social network has its work cut out for it — with sites like Upwork and Freelancer.com leading the way over the past decade, LinkedIn is pretty late to the freelance marketplace game. As the "gig economy" continues to flourish, more and more professionals have been 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 has made it easier than ever to track down freelance gigs. But where should you begin? Whether you're looking to make some extra income or want to become a full-time freelancer, here are 13 sites that can connect you with great work opportunities. [Want to Be a Full-Time Freelancer? What You Need to Know]
99designs welcomes freelance designers of all sorts, whether they specialize in advertising, merchandise, packaging, graphic work or illustration. Companies that are seeking freelance workers build a design brief, which 99designs launches as a prize-based contest open to its 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.
3. 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.
Crowded simultaneously recruits independent workers and aggregates freelance job postings from hundreds of on-demand platforms to solve the supply-and-demand problems on both ends of the freelance equation. For freelancers, Crowded helps gather a wide variety of opportunities in one place, making it simple to find a steady stream of jobs.
Calling all freelance writers and editors: CrowdSource is one of the largest freelance work teams on the market, specializing in content creation, review and moderation for retailers, online publishers and media companies. The company breaks larger editorial tasks into microtasks. Qualified freelancers can choose to work on these tasks through the website's 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 for a position with 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, which includes 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.
11. Peer Hustle
This recently launched app makes the process of finding and accepting jobs almost instantaneous. Like Tinder and Uber, Peer Hustle relies on geolocation, meaning you're only competing with freelancers in your area for jobs posted by local companies. You can work remotely or in person, and communicate with potential clients in real time. Peer Hustle also guarantees that you'll be paid for a job well done: Your gig doesn't begin until the client funds an escrow account, which is released to you when your work meets the client's satisfaction.
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 prescreening, potential employers know that members of Toptal's freelancer network are 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 to Upwork, a revamped, robust platform that connects 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 Oct. 22, 2015.