6 Great Crowdsourcing Sites For Freelancers

James Thomson
James Thomson
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Crowdsourcing is one of those wonderful concepts that only exists because of the internet. A decade ago it would have been unthinkable that a small company in Brisbane could have tapped into the huge pool of brilliant computer programmers in India or cutting-edge designers in Russia. But crowdsourcing isn’t just one of those cool web 2.0 ideas — it’s a quick and practical way for freelancers to save thousands on a huge variety of tasks. For a few hundred dollars, it’s well worth giving it a go.
  • 99designs: SitePoint’s sister site, 99designs, is the place to go to get everything from a logo to a web site designed by the huge community of professional designers. It’s easy to use and has a strong community, so you are very likely to get the design you want over the course of a seven-day contest.
  • ScriptLance: Don’t get an expensive local computer programmer in – put the job on ScriptLance and outsource your task to the cheapest bidder. Think about it – with armies of underutilised programmers sitting in Asia and Eastern Europe, there’s bound to be someone around the world to prepared to do your job on the cheap.
  • Guru: Guru is a bit of a one-stop crowdsourcing shop, where you can find freelance professionals to help you with everything from legal matters to design to IT to engineering and accounting.
  • NameThis: Need a name for your new product or business? Simply post a description at NameThis, pay $US99 and in 48 hours the community will come up with a selection of three names for you to choose from.
  • iStockPhoto: If you need a cheap image for your corporate brochure, website or presentation, iStockPhoto is the place to go. It also has video files and will soon offer audio files for sale.
  • Threadless: Loved by fashionistas and businesses alike, Threadless is a crowdsourcing design site dedicated to t-shirt design. If you want to get a great t-shirt design and create a bit of buzz about your brand, this is the place to go.

The Fine Print

Be prepared for a bit of an adventure if you decide to use a crowdsourcing site — you can never be quite sure what you are going to get back from the community involved. On design sites such as 99designs, you will need to be prepared to wade through a large number of different designs, some of which will be entirely inappropriate. You might even find that your contest ends without you finding the right design, in which case you’ll still have to pick a winner and pay the prize anyway (it’s considered bad form not to). The best way to get around problems like this is to be as specific as possible in your brief. Tell the community exactly what you want, provide examples where appropriate (such as your corporate style guide, preferred colours and other designs you like) and keep communicating with the community to refine your idea.

Frequently Asked Questions about Crowdsourcing Sites for Freelancers

What are the benefits of using crowdsourcing sites for freelancers?

Crowdsourcing sites offer numerous benefits for freelancers. They provide a platform where freelancers can showcase their skills and talents to a global audience. This increases their visibility and chances of getting hired. These sites also offer a variety of projects across different fields, giving freelancers the flexibility to choose projects that match their skills and interests. Additionally, they provide a secure payment system, ensuring that freelancers get paid for their work.

How do I choose the right crowdsourcing site for my skills?

Choosing the right crowdsourcing site depends on your skills and the type of projects you are interested in. Some sites specialize in specific fields like design, writing, or coding, while others offer a wide range of projects. Research each site, check the types of projects available, and consider the payment terms and conditions. Reading reviews from other freelancers can also provide valuable insights.

Are there any risks involved in using crowdsourcing sites?

While crowdsourcing sites offer many benefits, there are also potential risks. These include competition from other freelancers, potential non-payment, and the possibility of encountering fraudulent projects. It’s important to thoroughly research each project and client before accepting a job.

How can I increase my chances of getting hired on crowdsourcing sites?

To increase your chances of getting hired, ensure your profile is complete and professional. Showcase your skills and experience, and provide examples of your work. Regularly check for new projects and apply promptly. Tailor your proposal to each job, highlighting how your skills and experience make you the best fit for the project.

Can I work on multiple projects at the same time?

Yes, many freelancers work on multiple projects at the same time. However, it’s important to manage your time effectively to ensure you meet all project deadlines and maintain high-quality work.

How do payment processes work on crowdsourcing sites?

Payment processes vary across different crowdsourcing sites. Some sites hold payments in escrow until the project is completed, while others release payments once milestones are achieved. Always read and understand the payment terms before accepting a project.

Can I negotiate my rates on crowdsourcing sites?

Yes, many crowdsourcing sites allow freelancers to negotiate their rates. However, it’s important to research average rates for your skills and experience to ensure you price your services competitively.

How can I protect my work on crowdsourcing sites?

To protect your work, always have a contract in place before starting a project. Some crowdsourcing sites provide standard contracts, but you can also create your own. Ensure the contract clearly outlines the scope of work, payment terms, and intellectual property rights.

Can I build long-term relationships with clients on crowdsourcing sites?

Yes, many freelancers build long-term relationships with clients they meet on crowdsourcing sites. Delivering high-quality work on time, communicating effectively, and providing excellent customer service can help you build a strong reputation and attract repeat business.

Are there any fees associated with using crowdsourcing sites?

Most crowdsourcing sites charge a fee for their services. This can be a percentage of your earnings or a flat fee. Always check the fee structure before signing up for a site.