If you want to move abroad (or travel more or just generally have more freedom) finding remote work can be really important! I've compiled a list of my 5 favorite platforms along with tips and tricks for each one that have been the most successful for me in bringing in new clients and new work.
But, even on these platforms, you have to apply to a lot of jobs/projects before you find the right fit. Don't get discouraged! Just keep applying! The more you apply, the better chance you have. Patience and perseverance is key!
Upwork led me to a ton of freelance projects. I had a range of small one-off projects to months-long engagements. Upwork really lets you filter the types of jobs you want to apply to, by choosing hourly/flat-rate projects, keywords, client location and more. It also works both ways in that you can apply to any job you want, but clients can also invite you to their projects if they think you'd be a good fit, so the work doesnt all have to fall on you, which is nice! This is where I got most of my serious/well-paying clients.
Tip: Upwork seems to favor freelancers in the U.S. (in fact there are TONS of jobs that you can only apply to if you are a U.S. based freelancer). If you are American, even if you are abroad, as long as you still have a US bank account and US address, definitely say that you are U.S. based. You get a lot more job options, and a lot of higher paying jobs (both extremely important!)
Tip 2: Make your Upwork profile as complete as possible...this includes portfolios, work experience, taking Upwork skills tests and more. If you can take smaller projects at first to build your Upwork experience (previous number of projects worked on is an important metric to some clients!) then do that as well.
Tip 3: Keep in mind that your clients will rate you after you complete the work and that your rating is visible to all clients (and they can filter/exclude freelancers that dont have a high enough rating) so always produce a high level work and ensure you have good communication with your clients (which is always a must in freelancing of course!) Once you get a high enough score, you will get a "Top Rated" badge on your profile. Getting this badge got me a lot more bids than I ever won in the past, so definitely work to get that!
I found the jobs on Fiverr to be generally smaller and less profitable than Upwork, but its always good to cast a wide net! Fiverr is a great way to get work in slow months, and depending on your industry, it can actually be better than Upwork. But for me in data analysis and business intelligence, I found it to make me less money. But, for graphic designers, it can be an amazing way to get a lot of income!
Tip: The job structure is different from Upwork in that the job listings arent continually updating and you can only apply to 10 jobs per day. So try and save some offers in case you see something really fitting later in the day!
Indeed has a lot of remote positions listed on their site (just make sure to include "Remote" in the Where section). I found of all the job boards, this one was most remote friendly (even before COVID!) Because this is more of a job board than a place for freelancing these are usually part-time or full-time jobs. Depending on what youre looking for, this can be an awesome gig. It means guaranteed work! But also maybe means more hours than you want to spend if youre looking to travel. For me, I was willing to take something with more hours (I actually preferred that) as long as the hours could be done from anywhere. But, its all about preference! Anyways, because you will be working for a company remotely, the companies usually look for a lot of experience (sometimes 10+ years!) so you may need to dig a bit to find jobs you qualify for but they're there!
4. Facebook and Instagram
Using your network is usually your easiest and most successful bet! I posted an Instagram story that I was doing BI and data freelancing and I got tons of messages!! Some from people I know and some from people I don't. Same with Facebook. If you let your network know what youre doing, then on the off chance they hear about an opportunity, you will come to their mind! This doesnt need to be anything fancy or time consuming...literally just get the word out there! For people you know better (think parents, siblings, best friends etc.) reach out directly and see if they can put out feelers in their network and see what comes up. Again, cast a wide net!
Tip: If you don't have an Instagram/Facebook dedicated to your business, then try not to spam your personal followers advertising your skills every day, but totally let them know what youre doing every once and a while to keep yourself at top of mind!
5. Make a Website of your Own!
I made myself a business website with pretty minimal effort, I just focused on a portfolio and comments from previous clients so that people would have an idea what I can offer them (check out my simple site: www.samanthaherrick.com). Just make sure you have good SEO on your site!! That's the major key. I did share my website to LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram but having my site show up in Google results actually led to business for me, which is huge! Getting a client like that is really exciting and such a good way to expand your network, so SEO to your hearts content! It will pay off!
As I mentioned before, getting started out in the remote world can be frustrating, but stick with it! And if you need any advice, feel free to shoot me a message! Good luck and good wandering!