You don't have to settle for a job where you're not growing personally or financially.
No matter what your background is you can build a successful freelance web design side hustle and build a better life for you and your family.
The truth is you can be a SELF-MADE WEB DESIGNER. And, I want to show you how to get there.
Join my mentor group, and I'll show you how to be a Self-Made Web Designer.
Get the free e-course
As a freelance web designer, it’s easy to go from feast to famine.
One month you’ve got more work than you can handle and the next month you literally have nothing. Zero, zilch…it’s depressing.
You get to the point where you’d be willing to do just about anything tech-related for just about any amount of money.
I once took a job making a banner for a lotion company. They filled their lotions with crushed diamonds. The particular line I was making a banner for sold at $599 for 50 grams of lotions. 😮
You might think differently BUT I’m not sure I believe that crushed up diamonds are going to do a lot for your skin. In short, I think it’s a gimmicky product.
I know there’s nothing morally wrong with taking a project like that BUT I didn’t get into freelance web design to work on stuff like that. Nevertheless, I needed the money. I was literally days away from getting engaged when I accepted the job and rings aren’t cheap
I’ve learned you don’t have to settle for the feast or famine seasons. And, you definitely don’t have to take on projects that make you feel like you’re compromising.
One way to avoid those types of scenarios as a freelance web designer is to make sure you have multiple avenues for finding web design projects online.
It’s the age-old adage of not putting all your eggs in one basket. In other words, DIVERSIFY!
Truth be told there are more places to find freelance web design projects online than you’ll have time to look.
You just have to know where to look. That’s why I’ve built a list to help you search. Use this to find more clients and keep yourself from having to make something for products that are probably just rip-offs.
The mother of all freelancing platforms is Upwork. There are an estimated 16 million freelancers on Upwork and it feels like just as many jobs to bid on.
I personally love Upwork. And, I don’t think it’s a race to the bottom.
I’ve found plenty of great projects from great clients willing to pay a freelancer what they’re worth.
It takes time and effort BUT it’s doable and in my opinion very worth it.
You do pay a portion of what you earn back to Upwork. It’s a sliding scale.
It’s 20% until $500 and then it drops to 10%. If you go on to make over $10,000 from one single client it drops to 5%.
You also have to pay to bid on projects but it’s pretty minimal.
Toptal is another great place to find freelance web design projects online.
They position themselves as the creme de la creme of the freelance tech pool. That being the case you have to go through an interview process that’s pretty intense.
As a designer, you have to submit a portfolio and go through a round of conversations with their team.
It’s not an easy process BUT you do get access to higher-paying projects. AND, the hourly rate you set is what you get for the job you do.
Toptal charges the client more than what your hourly rate is so they don’t have to take anything from you.
Fiverr is another platform built for a large variety of freelancers.
Like its name denotes Fiverr is marketed to being a low-cost leader for clients wanting to get a project done for cheap. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find quality gigs there.
In fact, website development is the second most demanded skill on the platform with prices ranging from $100 – $3,000.
It’s free to set up a profile BUT you will have to shell out 20% of your payment to Fiverr when it’s all said and done.
Freelancer is another platform that’s been around for a while. When I first started looking for freelance web design projects online freelancer was the second place I signed up.
But, I found Upwork to have higher quality projects at a much more consistent rate. BUT, that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience.
The fees are a bit messy to freelancers.
If you have a free account you get 8 bids per month. Then you pay 10% of the total amount charged to the client.
You can also bid for free on projects that marked as contests. BUT, you’ll have to do the work, present it to the client and hope they pick you out of the other people that are competing.
If you’re awarded the project you pay 10% of what you get paid.
You can also bid for free if you’re a part of their Preferred Freelancer Program. But, you will have to apply to be a part of the program and also pay 15% out of what you’re paid.
Envato Studio is another platform you have to apply to be a part of.
If you’re accepted you have a general rate that you charge for a service you provide. And, you can use add-ons according to anything additional you can do for a client.
You specify how long it takes and how many revisions the client gets.
The fee you pay Envato is pretty high at 30%.
We Work Remotely is a job board for online work.
Actually, it’s a specific type of job board called Tiny Boards that only take specific types of jobs with salary ranges.
The majority of the jobs posted are full-time positions BUT there is contract work available as well. You can sign up on their email list to be notified any time a new design job is posted.
You’ll have to apply for jobs just like you would in the real/non-online world with a resume.
It might also be a good spot to look for a full-time job 😉
Design News is a place to catch some of the latest news in the design community. It also serves as another Tiny Board affiliated job board.
You can filter between contract, freelance, full-time, and remote-friendly design jobs.
There are more full-time in-office positions available. But it doesn’t hurt to check every once in a while.
Remote OK is another job board similar to We Work Remotely. You can specify design jobs and even use the search option to filter through freelance jobs.
Dribbble is a well-known platform for designers to flex their abilities. It’s a place to go for inspiration or just to show off your skills.
But, there’s also a board with plenty of freelance web design projects.
I know of some freelance web designers that use Dribbble as their go-to source for finding freelance web design projects online.
People Per Hour is similar to Upwork. Clients post freelance jobs and a pool of freelancers bid on those projects. There’s an application process and the fees have a sliding scale as well.
Jobs that are $7k or greater are charged a 3.5% to the freelancer. Between $700 and $7k is at 7.5% and anything below $700 is 20%.
Guru is another freelancer platform. It looks like the most you’ll have to do is add a physical mailing address to be accepted.
There are various levels of memberships.
A free membership gives you 120 bids per year with a 9% job fee.
A Basic+ membership is $107.40 per year and gives you 600 bids and a 9% fee.
The memberships go all the way up to executive which $470.40 with 600 bids per year and a 5% project fee.
I found Work Genius when one of their talent professionals reached out to me on Linkedin.
It’s a freelancer/project board platform like Upwork. You have to apply with a resume or portfolio.
Whatever the price of the job is what you get paid as a freelancer.
Angel List is a job board made specifically for startups.
Like most job boards it prioritizes full-time jobs but you can use the search function to filter freelance web design projects.
Craigslist is a pretty unexpected place to find freelance web design projects online.
BUT, it can be a great source for all types of projects. I’ve talked about it more specifically here.
In short, there are 2 places to find freelance web design projects on Craigslist. One is under the gigs section and the other under services.
You create an account and either search for jobs or post your services and wait to be found.
I suggest a combination of both.
M Turk is Amazon’s go at the freelance market. There are all sorts of jobs and it’s easy to join.
You apply for a HIT or Human Intelligence Task and can even get paid with an Amazon Gift card!
Freelancer Map is a European based freelance project board.
There are no percentages charged to freelancers BUT there are different levels of memberships.
You get access to all jobs with an unlimited amount of bids BUT if you pay for a membership you get access to a legal consultation and priority listings on your profile.
Flex Jobs is like other job boards BUT it screens all of their applicants and handpicks all of the jobs they post.
There’s a fee to join. You can choose to pay for one month at $14.95, three months at $29.95 or a full year at $49.95.
Onsite is a Euro-based freelance talent pool. They say they handpick all of their “talent” and less than 5% of applicants make it.
So, do your best to impress them on the signup!
Solid Gigs has a bit of a different approach. You pay $19.95 a month and with that comes a weekly list of available projects that their team has vetted AND you get access to courses and tools on the platform to become a better freelancer.
So, it’s not really a freelancer pool OR project pool. But, it does a lot of the work for you and might be a great place to find projects that slipped through the cracks.
Let’s face it, if web design is your side hustle, you won’t have a ton of time to search for and find the best freelance web design projects online.
Cloud Peeps is another freelance talent pool with a membership model.
There’s a free plan but you don’t get any proposals just an opportunity to get found and then give 15% of your fee back to Cloud Peeps. It goes all the way up to the Plus Plan for $29 per month and a 5% fee off of your cut.
Oh, and there’s a 2.9% + $0.30 fee for every payment that’s processed.
Indeed is a huge and well-known job board without a lot of limitations. There’s also a ton of ways to filter and find the jobs you’re looking for.
Oddly enough I found my full-time job at Showit through Indeed and I think it’s also a great option for anyone looking to find freelance web design projects online.
Design Crowd is another freelancer pool specifically for designers.
There are some freelancers that have made over $100k on the platform. They vet designers that apply and you pay 15% of the total project fee.
Coroflot is a job board made specifically for designers. There are plenty of full-time jobs to be found.
The search options are pretty flawed. But, if you search for ‘freelance web designer’ or ‘freelance product designer’ a few positions pop up.
Smashing Magazine is a great place to find all sorts of resources tech-related. It’s been one of my go-to places for great articles and tutorials.
BUT, it’s also a great place to find freelance web design projects online. Smashing’s UX is great and it’s super easy to fine-tune the job search to exactly what you’re looking for.
No fees. No signups. Just jobs posted and a chance to apply.
Crowd Spring is a contest based freelance pool and it’s for designers only. So, there’s no development going on here.
Like all other contest based sites, you submit a design and compete against other freelancers. The client picks the one they like the most and they get paid.
You could be competing with up to 90 designers BUT there’s also a 1 to 1 option.
Working Not Working is a platform that a lot of top design talent go to in order to find work and a lot of top companies go to in order to find designers.
The concept is pretty simple. You make an account and apply for jobs. It has a social aspect as well in that people can follow and vouch for you if they’ve worked with you before.
Followers and vouches increase the chances of getting hired.
Ask Lorem is a fairly new freelance pool that focuses entirely on building websites. They focus specifically on platforms like Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix.
They also tout only allowing 5% of all applicants to make it past the interview process. They also say that freelancers don’t have to bid on projects. They just come to you.
Ask Lorem does take a cut of the freelancer’s pay BUT doesn’t quite say how much that is on their site.
Make it past the 95% of applicants and come back here and tell us.
Rent-a-Coder is a freelance pool of developers, programmers and software engineers. You’ll find everything from C++ to Web Design.
It’s a membership-based model where the more you pay monthly the more benefits you get. The good news is you split the fee with the client who will always pay a minimum of 5%.
10 x Management was started by Rishon Blumberg who began representing musicians like John Mayer and Vanessa Carlton until he decided that the next rock stars would be from the tech world.
That’s when he started 10 x management with co-founder Michael Solomon. Think of 10 x as your talent agent for finding freelance or career work.
You apply and if they need you you go through a vetting process.
Codeable is a talent pool specifically for WordPress developers.
The good news: they guarantee rates from $70 – $120 per hour. And Codeable sets the guidelines and boundaries for how you interact and charge clients.
So, you don’t have to worry about scope creep or having to haggle with clients all on your own.
The bad news: only 2% of all applicants make it.
So, if you suck don’t apply. Their words not mine.
Zip Recruiter is another job board that you can filter jobs to find freelance web design projects online.
The fun thing about Zip Recruiter is it lets you know if someone looks at your application.
Trust me, when you’re looking for projects it’s nice to know you’re getting noticed.
Virtual Vocations is a monthly membership job board for those who love the remote life. They filter through the best jobs out there and send you a custom list based on your needs.
You can choose to pay for a 1 month, 3-month or six-month subscription.
It’s definitely geared toward full-time work but there are freelance postings available as well.
Foylo is a newsletter that sends you new opportunities every week. Their aim is to find projects that are remote, fulfilling, and high-paying.
You don’t pay a percentage of what you earn but you do pay to be on the newsletter.
Freelanced is a job and freelancer pool for all sorts of different things. It’s a membership-based site that starts for free and goes up to $7 per month.
If I’m honest, Freelanced looks like an older version of Match.com. They say it’s a social network for freelancers.
Despite it needing a design overhaul, it’s another place to look for quality freelance web design projects online.
Skip the Drive is a pretty basic job board site that focuses solely on remote jobs. It’s not a fancy site by any means.
But, it’s free to use and there’s no registration required.
Skip the Drive is the remote arm of Jobs 2 Careers.
Working Nomads is a job board tailored for those who refuse to be tied down to a physical location.
It’s a pretty basic job board that doesn’t require any sign-up or payment BUT you can get notifications for new jobs.
Remotive is another remote job board with a twist. There are a. bunch of resources for remote workers and a community to join as well.
The job board is free but if you want to join the community you have to pay either $99 per year or $149 lifetime.
They also recently opened a community for leaders in remote work that’s specifically for people that lead remote teams.
Krop is a job board for people with a creative bend. BUT, it’s also a portfolio builder.
You can add your portfolio for the chance to get found by a potential client or employer. You can also build a portfolio site with their builder.
It looks like the jobs here are location specific and mostly full-time. But, you never know what you might find if you sign up for their email list.
MeFi was started in 1999. The jobs on the board can be full-time, part-time or volunteer.
It’s free to use BUT if you want to be listed as an available employee there’s a $5 signup fee and pretty strict rules of engagement.
If the $5 is tough, you can ask for the signup fee to be waived.
Aquent is a creative staffing agency. You can signup to have a profile BUT it’s all free.
They have a list of tailored job opportunities and you can include or exclude remote jobs.
They also have an education component where they offer free courses for all sorts of skills at The Gymnasium.
LinkedIn Pro Finder is LinkedIn’s freelance arm of the career-minded social media platform.
To succeed as a freelancer on LinkedIn Pro Finder you’ll have to work to beef up your LinkedIn profile. So, you’ll need to fill it up with recommendations and up-to-date content.
You can apply here.
Stackoverflow is a great resource for solving problems as a web designer. In fact, I encourage everyone to create an account and get familiar with the platform in my free course teaching you how to go from knowing nothing about design or development to having the tools you need to succeed.
Stackoverflow is also a great place to find freelance web design projects online. It’s a. job board like any other. You can filter jobs to your liking and sign up to be notified when a job that fits your requirements pops up.
Authentic Jobs is a job board for creative folks. It’s been around since 2005. You’re only charged to post a job.
You can search for jobs until you find the one that works best for you. There are tons of freelance opportunities and a newsletter to signup for.
Dice is a job board specifically for tech positions. Feel free to browse jobs and add your resume to be found. Think of Dice like you would Indeed just for tech jobs only.
A lot of the jobs I first found when I decided to go full-time in web design were on Dice.
If you’re looking for WordPress jobs why not go straight to the source. WordPress Jobs is a job board from the Auto-matic team.
You can filter through theme customization to full plugin development.
WP Hired is a job board for all things WordPress. Just like all other job boards, you can filter according to what you’re looking for.
Design Hill is another freelance talent pool. You can either work one on one with a client OR be a part of a contest.
It looks like the only fee they charge to freelancers is if you use something other than their platform to receive payments from clients.
99 Designs was one of the pioneer sites for freelance design contests. But, you can also work one on one with clients.
You pay $100 upfront with a client and then a percentage of what you make on the project. That percentage varies on what level of designer you are. There’s 3: Top Level which pays 5%, Mid Level which pays 10%, and Entry Level which pays 15%.
There are tons of great opportunities that fall under the same category of social media.
These aren’t job boards or talent pools BUT I’ve found plenty of good projects on social media platforms.
It’s all about how you use the platform and approach a potential client.
Twitter is a great platform to make connections with tech professionals. Some of the biggest names in the industry are on there and regularly post.
A good strategy for finding freelance web design projects online through twitter would be to find business owners and build relationships with them.
After you’ve proven you’re not a spammer reach out to them and let them know you’d be happy to help with their web design project.
Instagram is another great place to find freelance web design projects online. The strategy for finding projects is the same as twitter.
You follow leaders and even companies. Interact with their posts and then offer your services. Make sure to add value and put the relationship first.
You can also search through hashtags for relevant postings.
Facebook has plenty of business postings to look through and find freelance web design projects online.
The best thing to do here is to search through the business pages and find their websites. If they have great looking websites don’t worry about connecting with them.
If their site needs some help, that’s your cue to reach out and offer help.
Finally, we’ve got LinkedIn. Don’t confuse LinkedIn with LinkedIn Pro Finder.
It’s a platform that is first made for social connection. But, it’s also a great chance to connect with people and find freelance web design projects online.
But, be careful not to come across as a spammer. Don’t go in for the kill shot on the first connection. Build relationships. Make friends and when the timing is right see if you can help someone.
Before I started writing this blog post I didn’t know just how many sites there are dedicated to finding freelance web design projects online.
It’s a little overwhelming. But, it makes me excited for all the opportunities out there for freelance web designers.
My suggestion would be to pick a few and figure out the nuances of those platforms for a season of time.
A lot of times it takes some getting used to and you won’t be successful right at the very beginning. So, stay focused and give it some time.
BUT, don’t think that just because one avenue doesn’t work that none of them will.
The main thing to do is to keep putting yourself out there. Keep connecting with people in a genuine way. Find ways to tailor what you’re saying to each person you reach out to.
You’ve got this! And, if you need help, I’m here.
What about you? Any places you like finding work online that aren’t mentioned here?
Send them my way in the comments and I’ll add them if they’re legit.
December 28, 2019
Watch my free Course
My ultimate goal with the Self-Made Web Designer is to truly be a resource to people beginning their journey in web design or help those who have already begun.
Do you need a bit of advice getting started? Maybe a little stuck on a project currently or having trouble figuring out how to handle a client? I'd love to help.
I have nothing to sell. There's no strings attached. Just my honest efforts to be as helpful as possible. In my toughest seasons as a web designer, someone was there for me. So, I'd like to return the favor.
It's not a pipe dream to want a better career and a better salary. There's never been a better opportunity to become a web designer and make that dream a reality.
This 4 EMAIL COURSE will walk you step by step through the process.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO SETTLE