As a freelancer, there are so many marketplaces out there you can join. It can get overwhelming to know which one is best for you and how many you should join.
I’ve been on FreeUp since March 2018, and joining was one of the best things I’ve done for my freelancing business. Here’s an interview I did with FreeUp co-founder, Nathan, a few months after joining FreeUp and seeing big success.
Since that interview, I’ve continued work with several of my original clients on FreeUp and have added additional clients and projects as well.
Now that I’m a FreeUp pro, I want to walk through everything you need to know as a freelancer interested in FreeUp. Consider me your guide to FreeUp.
As I mentioned, there are so many platforms to choose from when you’re looking for freelance work online. There’s Upwork, Fiverr, TopTal, and a whole host of other networks. It’s overwhelming when you’re starting out. Each platform has its pros and cons and it’s hard to know until you try each one.
To save you time, I’m going to tell you what I love about FreeUp. And I bring these perspectives from having tried Upwork, Fiverr, People Per Hour, Freelancing.com, Thumbtack, and Guru. So I’ve been around the different platforms, and since finding it, FreeUp is now the only marketplace I use to find work.
I’ve been on a lot of freelance platforms, and it can get really frustrating. You put your name in for project after project and never hear back. It’s hard to get momentum when you’re competing against hundreds of other freelancers applying for a single project.
The way FreeUp works means projects move fast. Once a ticket is posted on the project board and/or in Skype, it tends to get filled fast. If you stay on top of the project board and Skype chats, and take the time to request tickets you’re qualified for, you can get projects really quickly after you’re approved to join FreeUp.
In my case, I got my first client within two weeks — and I’m still working with him to this day. I got my freelance business up to full-time capacity within three months of joining FreeeUp, with about half of my work coming from FreeUp clients and the other half from my local network.
My case isn’t necessary normal, but I’m certainly not exceptional above and beyond any other skilled freelancer.
I spent way too much time during the first three months of my freelance business applying for projects on Upwork and other marketplaces. I’d spend a good chunk of time selling myself and explaining to the clients why they should choose me. But each project would get hundreds of proposals, and I rarely got responses. In all my time on Upwork, I got two clients.
The worst part? I felt pressured to discount my rate in order to get hours and ratings on Upwork. Even though I had 10 years of experience in my field, I didn’t have experience, hours, or ratings on Upwork so I was stuck competing on price.
With FreeeUp, there are no proposals. Once you’re connected with a client, you get on a 15-minute interview to discuss the project. If it’s a good fit and they want to hire you, you start working and you start getting paid. So if a client wants a plan, strategy, or estimate, you get paid to put that together.
FreeeUp’s model of connecting freelancers and clients works really well for me and the thousands of other freelancers on the marketplace.
FreeUp takes both client and freelancer support very seriously. As a freelancer, if you ever need help with anything — details on a ticket, requesting a connection, help with the timeclock, etc. — someone knowledgeable is there to help you.
In addition to these assistants, the founders Nathan and Connor are very involved in answering questions, providing advice, and helping wherever they can.
On FreeeUp, you’ll never be left to your own devices if you need support.
You’ll often hear FreeUp people say, “It’s your business; you’re in charge.” And it’s true. Clients indicate their budget and rate range, but it’s up to you to set your rate and only take projects that meet your rate needs.
FreeUp does give clients some pricing guidelines based on experience because most clients have no idea what to expect, but you’re by no means bound to those limits.
While I’m a huge fan of FreeeUp, as you can tell, there are a few things I see freelancers get frustrated with. And as your guide to FreeeUp, I’m here to give you a realistic picture.
After you apply, it can take a few weeks to get an interview. That’s because FreeUp gets hundreds of applicants every week, and they always make sure to properly vet every freelancer that applies. But trust me, it’s worth the wait.
FreeUp prides itself on only accepting the top 1% of freelancers into the marketplace. That means when you apply, you might not get accepted. But that’s OK! Don’t give up. Go out, get some more experience, and then come back and re-apply.
The inevitable downside of being able to land work fast on FreeUp is that projects get filled really fast. If you’re not on your game, reviewing and requesting tickets, you may miss out on your ideal projects. It happens, but luckily there’s plenty of work to go around.
Just remember that FreeUp offers clients a fast-hire experience, so you have to stay on your toes
The first step to getting into the FreeUp marketplace is applying to be a freelancer.
The application is pretty straightforward. You submit basic demographic information, details on the experience you have and the services you provide, and answers to questions about your communication styles and goals.
You’ll also complete an internet speed test. Because FreeUp is a remote platform and relies on internet connection to conduct business, they need to verify that you have access to a reliable connection. In light of this, you’ll want to apply wherever you plan to work from — like your home or office — and not from a coffee shop or public wifi network. You also don’t want to game the system by using an awesome connection to apply then actually working with lousy speeds because you’ll get found out.
Once FreeUp qualifies your application, you may get a link to complete a test or an interview invite. Because FreeUp is serious about vetting freelancers, interviews are often scheduled several weeks out.
The interview is conducted on Skype as a chat interview (not a call or video). You will be asked about your experience, your desired rate, work samples, and other things related to working as a freelancer.
If you’re selected to join the marketplace after your interview, you’ll get added to the group chats and do onboarding exercises where you’ll learn some really helpful best practices about working through the marketplace. Then you’ll be given access to the timeclock, which is your FreeUp home base.
Within the aforementioned timeclock, the open project board lists all of the tickets that clients have requested. Each ticket includes some, if not all, of the following information:
Tickets are also posted periodically throughout the day on the FreeUp group Skype chats.
When you see one that you can fulfill to the expected standards, you request it through the timeclock or signify your interest to FreeUp support via Skype. You submit your desired rate and why you’re qualified for the project. FreeUp support reviews each request and introduces the client to the best matches.
Many of these recommendations align with FreeeUp’s best practices — after all, they know what they’re doing.
As I’ve mentioned, you set your own rate on all FreeUp projects. You can do hourly rates or fixed bid, depending on client preferences, your preferences, and the project requirements.
In general, clients won’t ask to negotiate rates too often. And you definitely don’t need to go through any arduous negotiations like you might with offline clients or on other platforms. The FreeUp process makes it so the expected rate is very clear to both the client and the freelancer. With my hourly clients, the most I usually have to do is provide hour estimates and get approval for those. And as you build trust with clients, that gets easier and easier.
Work is all logged in the timeclock. For hourly tickets, you log all time spent on that project. For fixed bid tickets, you still log it in timeclock, just in fixed increments instead of hourly.
In terms of actually getting paid, FreeUp makes it super easy to receive the money you’ve earned. I reliably get funds in my PayPal account each week. Each billing period runs from a Wednesday to the next Tuesday, and the payment for that is remitted the week after that on Thursday. So the money you earn this billing period would be sent to you next week. Once you’re in the platform for a few weeks, and doing work consistently, you get consistent pay every week, which is awesome.
If you want to make a little extra money each week, you can refer clients and freelancers to FreeeUp and get paid for each hour they hire for or bill in perpetuity.
FreeUp is a tool in itself, so you don’t need much extra outside of the built-in timeclock. (For example, for my non-FreeUp clients, I have to have a system to track time, send invoices, and collect payments.) But there are some tools that assist in FreeUp success:
In addition to having access to your own tools, sometimes clients will give you access to their platforms. For example, you may need to login to a client’s website, Amazon Seller Central, or a server. The comfort level of giving this type of access will depend on each individual client. To manage access to these tools, it’s handy to have a password manager like Passpack or LastPass to secure the login information you get from each client, and to keep track of them all.
I hope this walkthrough has been helpful. There are a lot of benefits to being a freelancer on the FreeUp platform, and there’s also a lot to know.
The best way to see if FreeUp is right for your freelance business is to browse the freelance resources on the site’s main menu and the blog. If it looks like a fit, simply apply and try it out.
I’ll see you on the inside!
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