Joining a Freelance Collective: Is it for You?

Freelancers face a multitude of work responsibilities that those in traditional 9 to 5 jobs wouldn’t even think about. Luckily, online freelance collectives have provided a network for garnering clients, managing finances, and networking with others. Here are the top 3 reasons to consider joining one.

1.Take the backseat when it comes to marketing & business

Many new freelancers often worry they do not have the proper marketing, finance, and technology skills to be successful. With freelance collectives, you don’t have to know all the ins and outs of the business to get started! Many freelance collectives provide online webinars and even personal financial advisors that guide you in various ways. Everything from how to properly file taxes to how to best market your business and brand. A majority of collectives also provide you with special perks and freebies on recommended products and annual subscriptions.

Many of us freelancers would agree that the best way to develop professionally is simply through experience. If you’re just starting out on your own, it’s important to get advice from freelancers more experienced in the industry. Furthermore, collectives can help you connect to other, more seasoned freelancers in your industry. They can provide you with advice on common dilemmas. For example, not knowing how much to charge for your services or how to deal with difficult clients. It takes a wide array of skills and knowledge to develop professionally as a freelancer, and collectives can provide you with the proper information to do so.

2. Reach more clients.

Across all freelancing industries, recruiting (and retaining) a network of clients is one of the most difficult burdens. Fortunately, freelance collectives have created an easy outlet for publicity and advertising to potential clients. Collectives provide you with a profile page to showcase skills and experience. You then become part of a large database where clients can search for your services. Clients look for specific gigs based on criteria such as price, specialty, and customer reviews. 

A majority of large companies have an entire department dedicated to marketing and advertising, but us freelancers face the task of independently getting publicity. Instead of starting off with zero followers on social media, freelance collective members are advertised on the collective’s websites and social media pages. This means they are able to reach a much larger audience. Advertising yourself on a well-established collective page helps you come across as much more reliable and professional. 

3. Feel part of a community.

While it may sound awesome to be able to work from your couch and wear pajamas every day, being a company of one isn’t always a good thing. A 2018 report on “Freelancing in America” conducted by Upwork and The Freelancers Union found that 56% of full-time freelancers say working on their own makes them feel isolated. Isolation can cause many freelancers to lose passion in their work that in turn, make their businesses suffer. Luckily, freelance collectives have become an online forum where solopreneurs worldwide can connect and form a supportive community.

Most freelance collectives have their own Facebook group where members can get advice on roadblocks, plan meet-ups, and consult with others on ideas. Remember, there’s a big difference between working for yourself and being by yourself. In the US alone, there were 56.7 million people doing freelance work in 2018. Collectives are there to help you connect with them!

Which Collective Should I Join?

There are countless freelancer collectives on the internet today that range greatly in size, membership benefits, and even industry. Below are three major collectives we recommend checking out! 

Fiverr

Fiverr, one of the original online platforms for freelancers is probably the most well-known collective around the world. Sellers are split into three different levels so customers connect with freelancers who have the ideal skill sets and rates. Fiverr doesn’t offer much room for negotiation: customers just put a product (like a banner ad) into a shopping cart and pay the listed price. Therefore, Fiverr is better-known for small, quick gigs and services like an easy infographic or essay edit. Signing up for Fiverr is free, but they keep 20% of what you make on each gig. 

Upwork

Upwork is another freelancer database that’s very similar to Fiverr. A big difference between the two is that the freelancers on Upwork reach out to potential clients. Members bid on jobs by sending their application and cover letter as a response to a potential client’s job posting. Upwork tends to be used for bigger, long-term projects and usually requires a bit more time to get a client. The Upwork basic (free membership) plan offers 60 points (aka Connects) per month. A certain number of Connects gets used up each time you apply for a job. A $10/month plan allows for up to 70 Connects per month and up to 140 Connects to be carried over each month. Upwork charges 10% of what a client pays a service provider. 

Freelancer.com

Freelancer.com is another global crowdsourcing site similar to those listed above. Freelancer offers multiple membership options ranging from no cost to $70 per month. Pricier plans give freelancers more bids per month and allow them to add more skills on their profile. Paid memberships also offer other benefits like contest entries and custom cover photos.