It’s no secret that more and more people are turning to freelancing on the side to earn extra money, hone their skills, and maybe even build a business of their own.
Whether you’re just looking to supplement your day job income or eventually strike out on your own, you’ll find dozens websites and marketplaces to connect you with potential clients.
But which ones are the best for you? That depends on your skills and expertise, and also what you want out of your side gig.
Are you looking to earn a few extra bucks this weekend, or is this something you could see yourself doing for a while and racking up some serious cash?
Here are some of the best places to find your first side hustle job, and they all have a unique angle and strategy. Check out the list and see where it makes the most sense for you to set up shop.
Great at what you do? With a multi-step application, interview, and vetting process, FreeeUp.com matches clients from all around the world with workers that represent the top 1% of online freelancers.
The new (established in 2015) freelance marketplace specializes in e-commerce, digital marketing, web development and virtual assistance. You’re free to set your own schedule and rates, sometimes north of $50 an hour depending on your skills.
Payments are made weekly and the company takes a 15% cut for facilitating the connection.
- Best for e-commerce and digital marketing experience
- Free to join (but you have to be good and get accepted)
- Mention me, Nick Loper, to expedite your application.
Steady is a cool new app and website that consolidates all sorts of “gig economy” opportunities. For example, you can find work from home gigs, flexible “anytime” options, and even regular full- and part-time jobs.
In browsing through the listings, I found the usual array of delivery and rideshare gigs, but was pleasantly surprised by some of the other offerings. There were a number of local opportunities I’d never heard of in brand ambassadorship, political advocacy, mystery shopping, transcription, and more.
Steady acts as a portal to all these gigs and gives you a convenient central location to browse. After you create your account, you’ll be able to see everything available online and in your local area.
The app also provides a centralized platform to account for all your various gig earnings, and see which ones are truly the most profitable for you.
Every day, SolidGigs curates the best freelance jobs in:
This alone is a huge value-add because it can be incredibly time-consuming to dig through all the available listings on dozens of freelance sites — time you’re not getting paid for.
But where SolidGigs gets even better is an awesome built-in library of resources to help you learn how to best pitch and price your services. This is a platform built by freelancers, for freelancers and is really vested in your success.
SolidGigs is just $2 to try for 30 days.
What can I say? I’ve got a warm place in my heart for the quirky Fiverr marketplace, where many services start at just $5.
I’ve been a Fiverr seller for years and it’s actually where I scored my first freelance editing clients. With a few different gigs, I ended up making over $7000 in my first year on the platform.
What’s cool about Fiverr is that it’s a search engine for services, and in recent years they’ve added a lot more capacity for sellers to charge higher prices with package offerings and even custom offers up to $10,000.
(They’ve also added a Fiverr “Pro” level tier for experienced service providers.)
As a side hustler, you’re free to create listings for whatever service you can provide — and say how many days it will take you to deliver. Think of what type of gateway service would get clients in the door to your world.
- Simple, popular platform
- Free and easy to get started
- Rates can be low
5. Facebook Groups
This is another one of my favorite ways to land clients. How it works is to embed yourself in communities where your target customer is already hanging out, and being as helpful as possible in the comment threads.
On The Side Hustle Show, Gabe Arnold even gave the tip that you can use the search box to find posts where people are asking questions, using search keywords like “help”, “recommendation”, “question”, “?”, “know anyone”, etc.
Of course, be tactful and try and provide as much public support as you can. Don’t just go in yelling, “Hire me, hire me!”
I have a few friends who have completely mastered this strategy and become the go-to people in their communities for services like podcast editing, website support, virtual assistants, and Facebook ads.
I even landed a few book editing clients by being part of a couple self-publishing groups on Facebook. Do a keyword search for the type of customer you want to serve and see what kind of groups pop up.
- A longer-term strategy
- Free to get started
- Can be time-consuming upfront, but hey, if you’re already on Facebook, you might as well plant the seeds
This is the largest resource for remote jobs, and also includes some expert resources to help in your job search.
FlexJobs charges a nominal monthly fee (save 30% w/ promo code FLEXLIFE) to access their listings, but you’ll easily earn that back and then some with one job.
Local social network NextDoor helps you connect with potential clients (i.e. your neighbors) nearby. This platform can be very effective for in-person or local services, such as:
- child care
- pet sitting / dog walking
- pet waste removal
- personal training
- house cleaning
- pressure washing
- event planning
- and more
Just like on Facebook, keep a pulse on the conversations that are happening in your community, and offer to help wherever you can. Don’t be shy about letting people know what you do in your profile.
An online directory for freelance writers, Contena.co collects the best writing opportunities from around the web and compiles them into one central job board.
What I like about Contena is that the writing jobs here usually pay well — for instance, you might find requests ranging from $150 up to even $1000 an article. Now of course to command those prices you’ve got to deliver great work and know what you’re doing.
What I don’t like about Contena is it’s not free, and they’re not particularly upfront about it. (You can create an account for free, but to actually pitch the jobs, you’ve got to pay up — $99 a month for 6 months.)
In fairness, it might only take one or two gigs to earn back your investment, and the included freelance coaching and training provided could jumpstart your writing career.
Contena’s main value proposition is as a time-saver. Since you don’t get paid for the time spent looking for gigs, many writers swear by it!
- Great for freelance writers
- Curated database of well-paying legit writing jobs
- Paid plans include freelance coaching and training like how to pitch and how to spruce up your portfolio
Hired.com helps designers, engineers, data scientists, and managers by connecting them with prospective clients. Using artificial intelligence, Hired matches clients with candidates from their deep pool of talents with the results emailed out in just a few hours.
Unlike other recruitment services, Hired helps its talents by coaching and guiding them through the entire recruitment process.
One thing that’s cool about Hired is they also help you get the best offer by letting companies compete for your services instead of having you get into a bidding war with other workers.
The company caters to people looking for full-time, part-time, and freelance gigs.
- Free to join
- Many opportunities are for full-time traditional jobs, but you can find remote or part-time gigs
- Earn top dollar
Toptal.com is one of the leading freelance marketplaces but only caters to developers, designers, and finance experts.
With its strict and extensive screening process, clients are assured that they are only getting the top 3% of applicants in the given field. (Toptal stands for “top talent”.)
Toptal contractors do mostly remote work (you can pass on the jobs that don’t fit your schedule) and are paid very well. If you’re confident in your abilities and want to work with fast-growing startups and name-brand clients on challenging projects, this is the platform for you.
- Free to apply
- Earn great pay (think hundreds of dollars a week, even for part-time)
11. Craigslist Gigs
Did you know that buried in the corner of Craigslist is a section specifically for side hustle opportunities? It’s called “gigs” and inside you’ll find everything from manual labor projects like moving or landscaping to graphic design to brand ambassador gigs for local events.
In just a few minutes of browsing I saw posts for writers, photographers, models, house cleaners, and tutors. Naturally, avoid any gigs that sound too good to be true and do your due diligence before meeting any strangers.
- Great for selling yourself locally
- Good for one-off gigs to earn extra cash
- You have to sort through some scams to find legit gigs
TaskRabbit is perhaps a more organized and legit-feeling version of Craigslist Gigs. The company specializes in matching individuals and companies in need of short-term help with “taskers” (you).
Most of the gigs are local and in-person, but you can find some virtual opportunities as well. I used the platform as a customer to find a local handyman, and he told me he usually does 3-4 jobs a day and makes a good living on it.
My handyman charged $75 an hour, but other workers on TaskRabbit might start around $15-25 an hour. As your reputation and performance on TaskRabbit grows, you can increase your rates.
- Good for legit, local gigs
- Revenue can grow as you do more jobs
- Free to join
Peopleperhour.com is another popular freelancing platform that helps you find jobs that you can do remotely. The site seems to have more traction in Europe, and gigs are mostly about graphic design, writing, SEO, and coding among others.
As a freelancer, you can bid on the jobs already posted, or create your own “hourlie” — a little package of what you’ll deliver for a fixed price. Rates are still competitive here, but often higher than similar packages on Fiverr.
- Great for virtual work
- Bid on jobs or create your own service listing
- Free to join
14. Specialty Marketplaces
If you have a specific skill or service in mind, odds are there’s a specialty marketplace just for that. For example, you might consider:
- VIPKid for teaching English online
- Wyzant for tutoring
- Rover for pet sitting
- Sittercity or Care.com for babysitting or child care
- Dolly.com for moving help
15. A Bonus: Your Own Website
A website isn’t necessary for a lot of side hustlers starting out, but it can be an important element to your business to showcase your expertise, highlight your portfolio, and share testimonials from past clients.
In time, your content might be indexed by the search engines and potential customers can find you through Google local searches.
Here’s my free guide on the fastest and cheapest way to set up a website for your service business.
Marketing 101 says to get in front of your customers where they already are, and in this post I’ve tried to outline some common places your customers might be hanging out.
What do you think? What have you found as the most effective place to find side hustle gigs?
Let me know in the comments below!