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 FreeeUp 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 FreeeUp co-founder, Nathan, a few months after joining FreeeUp and seeing big success.
Since that interview, I’ve continued work with several of my original clients on FreeeUp and have added additional clients and projects as well.
Now that I’m a FreeeUp pro, I want to walk through everything you need to know as a freelancer interested in FreeeUp. Consider me your guide to FreeeUp.
Why FreeeUp is Amazing for Freelancers
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 FreeeUp. 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, FreeeUp is now the only marketplace I use to find work.
Find Work Fast
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 FreeeUp 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 FreeeUp.
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 FreeeUp 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.
FreeeUp 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.
Set Your Own Rate
You’ll often hear FreeeUp 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.
FreeeUp 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.
A Few Things to Consider
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.
Acceptance Turnaround Time
After you apply, it can take a few weeks to get an interview. That’s because FreeeUp 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.
You Might Not Get Accepted
FreeeUp 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.
Work Moves Fast
The inevitable downside of being able to land work fast on FreeeUp 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 FreeeUp offers clients a fast-hire experience, so you have to stay on your toes
Your Guide to Applying to FreeeUp
The first step to getting into the FreeeUp 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 FreeeUp 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 FreeeUp qualifies your application, you may get a link to complete a test or an interview invite. Because FreeeUp 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 FreeeUp home base.
Finding & Requesting Tickets
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:
- Skill Set
- Project Description
- Price Range
- US or non US?
- Length of Project
- Hours Per Week
- Availability Needed
- Voice Required?
- Speed to Meet Freelancer and Project
Tickets are also posted periodically throughout the day on the FreeeUp 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 FreeeUp support via Skype. You submit your desired rate and why you’re qualified for the project. FreeeUp support reviews each request and introduces the client to the best matches.
My Recommendations for Landing Tickets
Many of these recommendations align with FreeeUp’s best practices — after all, they know what they’re doing.
- Keep Your Rate Consistent – In general, you should have a standard rate range. Requesting $50 per hour for one client and $25 for another leads to questions and a breakdown in trust. Know what you want and need to charge, and stick with that range. For my hourly projects, all my clients are within $10/hour of each other in terms of rate — including clients I landed outside of FreeeUp.
- If You’re Looking for Work, Give it Attention – If you want to be successful on FreeeUp, you have to put the work in. If you’re looking for clients, spend time on the project board in the timeclock or on Skype. When I was getting started, I actually kept the Skype chat up all day and would request relevant tickets as they came in.
- Send a Relevant Intro – When you’re introduced to a client, take the time to send a professional introduction that addresses the information in their ticket request. Tell them why you’re interested and why you’d be a good fit. I also like to include a link to my portfolio website so they can learn more about me, and I always include a link to my Calendly so we can get an interview on the books as soon as possible.
- Follow-up – Clients are busy, that’s why they’re looking to outsource to freelancers — and because FreeeUp offers a fast-hire experience, FreeeUp clients can sometimes be busier than others. You may not get an immediate response after your initial introduction email. If that happens, send follow-up messages every few days. And if you still don’t hear back, let FreeeUp support know and they’ll see if they can help. I’ve converted several of my FreeeUp clients after the third or fourth follow-up because of timing and persistence.
The Guide to Getting Paid on FreeeUp
As I’ve mentioned, you set your own rate on all FreeeUp 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 FreeeUp 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, FreeeUp 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.
Tools for Success on FreeeUp
FreeeUp is a tool in itself, so you don’t need much extra outside of the built-in timeclock. (For example, for my non-FreeeUp clients, I have to have a system to track time, send invoices, and collect payments.) But there are some tools that assist in FreeeUp success:
- Skype – A lot of FreeeUp communication happens on Skype. FreeeUp shares tickets there (in addition to them being in the timeclock), freelancers share great tips and recommendations with each other, FreeeUp updates and best practices are posted, and some clients also prefer this communication channel.
- Calendly – Calendly syncs with your existing calendar and allows clients to schedule meetings with you without the email back-and-forth. I highly recommend grabbing a free account and trying it out.
- Email – FreeeUp notifications come by email. You can choose to create a specific FreeeUp email address (like firstname.lastname@example.org), or you can use your existing email address. Make sure to check your email frequently and respond to clients. In general, try to respond within 1 business day to all FreeeUp communications.
- A Task/Project Management Tool – As a freelancer, you’ll likely have a lot of tasks to do for multiple clients. Keeping track of your work is vital to hitting deadlines and meeting expectations. I’ve found success with Trello, Todoist, Asana, and even a paper planner, but there are hundreds of great tools out there for tracking your work.
- Document Sharing Tools – Depending on the type of work you do, you’ll need a way to share documents and resources with clients. I use Google Drive for many clients because most people have Google accounts and it’s a tool that allows for seamless collaboration. I also use Dropbox as my cloud server to store my business files as well as client documents.
- Tools of the Trade – Depending on the type of work you do, you’ll need access to different tools to help you work. These tools range widely, but as an example, if you’re an Amazon expert, you’ll want access to the relevant Amazon management and sales tools out there.
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.
Final Thoughts from Your FreeeUp Guide
I hope this walkthrough has been helpful. There are a lot of benefits to being a freelancer on the FreeeUp platform, and there’s also a lot to know.
The best way to see if FreeeUp 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!