5 Tips for freelancers to succeed on bidding on Tasks

Millions of clients and freelancers are converging on online task sites like Upwork (previously oDesk),  Toptal, Elance, Craigslist, Guru, TaskRabbit, Fivrr and other portals. With greater awareness of the portals, there is also increasing competition from bidders and freelancers seeking work. Even the popular professional social media site Linkedin has jumped the bandwagon with its profinder initiative.

Here is a recent query from a reader asking “How should I create my profile on Upwork to get projects? I am in software testing and I am bidding for the last 6 months to get my first project.”


Our editor, Mohan has been sourcing work from freelancers and interns for a very long time. As an astute ‘buyer’ on some of these sites, he has gained insights into the inner workings. He responds to the query with these fundamental tips for freelancers.

  1. Appealing Profile: The first thing that stands out is the completeness of profile with attractive taglines, pictures and links to examples of work done.
    • If I can see examples of work similar to my needs, I am more likely to engage
  2. Fit-for purpose: When I am looking for an editor, I review his/her editorial credentials and skim through other details
    • As a software tester, you need to show your testing expertise. At the same time, you need to highlight your understanding of SDLC and the life cycle.
  3. Stars and reviews: This is a chicken-and-egg challenge for newbies on the platforms since they may not have reviews from work done… and to do some work they need to showcase reviews.
    • The way to break through this is to start small and charge low to get a few clients and request good reviews
    • It is important to maintain ‘five stars’ or ‘best’ ratings consistently
  4. Responsiveness – Do not underestimate responsiveness.
    • People like me are busy and we need our work done ASAP. Guess who is more likely to receive my work? The bidder who is prompt and responsive.
    • Once you see a proposal you want to bid for, go and bid for it ASAP. Reviewers like me sort and follow-up on proposals as we receive them
  5. Continue engaging on a platform – There are several popular platforms for freelancers.
    • If you are new, build your network and credential on a single platform – e.g Upwork, Fivrr, Guru, Elance etc – before you expand to other platforms

Here are the top 10 online task platforms for freelancers (As of Nov 2017)

  • Upwork – Perhaps the ‘largest freelance ecosystem, it was formed by the merger of two large freelance job sites, oDesk and Elance. The Upwork network currently has 9 million freelances and over 1.5 million clients.
  • Guru – Started in 2001, Guru has over 1.5 million freelancers on its platform. It claims that freelancers have completed 1 million jobs and received $200 million in payout till date.
  • Fivrr – Another popular task/job site for freelancers. It claims to “world’s largest freelance services marketplace for lean entrepreneurs to focus on growth & create a successful business at affordable costs”
  • Freelancer – The portal boasts of over 17 million registered users. Freelancer regularly hosts contests in which employers post a project with a money prize, and freelancers bid on the project with their submissions.
  • Crowded – It is a “marketplace for on-demand workers.” The network is aiming to fix the supply and demand problem with freelance job opportunities.
  • FlexJobs – This is a freelance job site used by employers for identifying and vetting freelancers. This is a paid platform that charges freelancers to be listed.
  • Simply Hired – It is a large job site that isn’t focused on freelance work alone
  • LinkedIn’s ProFinder – The professional social media giant is getting into freelance by promoting its ProFinder initiative. It tries to help freelancers listed on LinkedIn to showcase their credentials and respond to freelance requests for proposals
  • Reddit – The social media site Reddit is also very popular among freelancers who respond to jobs on groups like  ‘forhire’
  • Craigslist – It is another popular social media site with a very active jobs, tasks and ‘wanted’ section. The big plus of Craigslist is that it is a global portal with a hyperlocal capability.

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