Finding Freelance Work – Marketplaces, your network and referrals


When you’re first starting off, you will need to find the best ways of finding freelance work for your industry. There are various ways of finding new projects to work on and this will be a quick rundown of the different ways to do so.

Freelance Marketplaces

There are websites like, upwork and various niche marketplaces for web design, marketing, 3D design etc. You can often add yourself as a service provider and people can find you by keyword search, or you can search jobs posted to some sites and pitch for those projects.

While this can be a quick way to get started, there are a few downsides.

  1. If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you won’t have any reviews on these sites and may find it hard to get new projects.
  2. You will be up against people working in countries with lower cost of living. This difference in costs means that if you’re in a Western country, you will be getting undercut by people in India, Thailand etc. While some people might say they are cheap because they aren’t very good, that’s often not the case and the difference in currency means people can employ excellent freelancers from other countries at a fraction of what we might charge.
  3. The platform will take a cut of your profits and may not pay you straight away. This can be damaging to your cashflow and you may end up working hard and getting paid much later. Ideally you’ll be taking deposits for work so you’re getting paid part of the fee up front and this might not be possible if you’re working through a freelance platform.

Your Network

Depending on what you do and how you’d like to work, either contracting or working from home, you might now people who work for companies or agencies that need some help when they get busy. Don’t be shy – let your professional contacts know you’re available for freelance work and a rough idea of your day rate.

Here are some good tips from Sophie de Albuquerque on how to build your network as a freelancer


This is the number one way I have built up my freelance web design work. Offering a referral fee encourages people to pass your details on to their contacts. As long as you take on work you can effectively deliver, your network of referrers will grow over time and you might not need to do any kind of marketing!


We’ve looked at three main ways of finding freelance work in this article – Freelance marketplaces, your network and referrals. I’ve found referrals to be the most effective way of building my freelance business without having to do other forms of marketing.