Freelance

Top Freelance Websites To Get That Side Hustle Going

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Side hustle” seems to be the buzzword of the moment (just like buzzword seems to be). If you have a successful hobby, have visions of running your own Brexit free empire or you simply just want some extra cash it can be a pretty fun idea to play with.

So how do you start said side hustle? There are many options, many people start by making things for their friends and colleagues, but one of the most common method is via freelance websites. If you haven’t already heard of these, these are websites designed for all kinds of freelancers. Most allow any type of freelancer, but as you will see, some are more specialised for certain freelancers, which many argue is a better way to get good, potentially higher paying jobs.

  1. PeoplePerHour

    UK centric company. Peopleperhour (PPH) accept any type of freelancer as long as you make it through the moderation team. You can apply to up to 15 jobs free per month, there after you have to buy credits to apply. You can create bundles which you sell, e.g. for £10 I will proofread a 500 word segment. This is great, especially if you get traction with customers. It’s also worth noting PPH do register you as a top seller if you are turning around a lot of business. Like any search engine, this means you will appear higher up the seller list when buyers are searching for freelancers. It is also worth noting that PPH commission is around 10% per job.

  2. Upwork

    The more international version of PPH, most freelancers can find work here because there is such a variety of jobs. Once you have applied and passed you can start applying to different jobs which are usually pretty high paying. The fee that Upwork takes is a little higher than PPH, but it is staggered per client meaning the first $500 you earn with just one client they take 20%, from $500 to $10,000 they take 10%, and then above that it drops to 5% (again this only applies if the earnings are from the same client everytime).

  3. Fiverr

    The biggest freelance platform worldwide. It caters to most freelancers, but you are likely to see a lot of other writers, developers, designers and editors. The idea is once you have created a profile you can create the gigs that you are going to sell. A bit like the others except it’s a bit more specific to you. You can charge anywhere from $5 to $10,000, and Fiverr takes $1 for every $5, so 20% of every transaction. This is pretty high in comparison to other sites, but on the plus side they have a Learn section which teaches freelancers how to really sell their services.

  4. TaskRabbit

    If building Ikea furniture is your calling Taskrabbit is perfect. It’s focused on mainly physical jobs such as cleaning and moving, but it does also list jobs for the likes of virtual assistants. It cost’s £20 to register, and you have to physically go to a meeting and prove your identity, but it notifies you by text when there is a job nearby. They take a 15% fee for each job.

  5. DesignWorks

    One of the staple freelancer roles is a graphic designer, as such DesignWorks came up with its website purely for Graphic Designers. It’s a simple system in which Designers can either apply for jobs, or they can enter design competitions which companies post. The competitions involve putting forward a design for a brief which might then be chosen by the company. DesignCrowd take a 15% commission.

Being A Bike Courier in London

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Shaf Hussain, who is 24 years old, has been a courier with Deliveroo, Uber, City Sprint and Rush. Now, for the last year, he has worked for Pedals Delivery and for himself as a freelance Bug Bounty Hunter. I spoke to him to see what being a bike courier at Pedals is all about.

 

JF - So Shaf what is your normal day like?

SH - For me it depends on what bug jobs I have, but I usually start around 8am or 9am. I might have some reoccurring jobs with Pedals, or I might have picked up some jobs from the Pedals website the day before. I probably do these in the morning and afternoon and then I might go to work on some bug bounty projects.

 

JF - What happens if the weather is terrible?

SH – You still cycle. I’ve cycled far in the rain sometimes, because it is raining so people might want more deliveries. You might get soaked, but I’ve got a good jacket.

 

JF – How far is far?

SH – I’ve cycled to Croydon before, I’ve cycled to Bermondsey, I’ve actually done those a few times for the same people.

 

JF – How do you know what route to take? Surely there are a million routes you can take? Especially is you have multiple deliveries?

SH – Pedals are really good, they give you the exact route you should probably take. I’ve cycled long enough to know how to get to most placed, but it can be hard to find the exact house/building/flat. Pedals are really good at directing you to the exact door, some courier companies can be pretty bad at that. You would spend ages wondering around looking for a company.

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JF – So you like working for Pedals?

SH – I’ve worked for people like Deliveroo, Uber and Rush, and Pedals is definitely the best. They really care about their cyclists. They also allow us to take a few breaks, you can easily call them if you have a problem, and they just care about us.  

 

JF – You didn’t take breaks at other companies?

SH – You did, but they were pretty short breaks. Working as a courier in central London is busy, and all couriers have an expected time frame, but some are pretty crazy, I knew one guy who worked for a big courier company and he got fired because it was a little slower than everyone else. He had just started so he wasn’t as fit as everyone else, but they got rid of him. It’s tough because most people have other gigs as well as being a courier so a break can be good to check in on them. And you are also cycling far and pretty fast so a break is nice.

 

JF – Have you learnt a lot by being a courier?

SH - You learn a lot about yourself. When I first started I thought I was fit, but I realised I was actually really unfit and really slow. Now it takes me 30 minutes to get from Farringdon to Fulham, but before it took me an hour, hour and a half. You also learn all the roads and lights in London. I know which route is the quickest and easiest, and which lights are the longest.

 

JF – Have you met any interesting companies?

SH - I’ve met loads of companies who I never knew about. It’s good because It is helping me understand companies and who is who. It’s useful if you want to setup a business! It’s good research.

 

JF – Would you have any advice for people who were thinking about being couriers?

SH – Enjoy it and have fun. Maybe also start with companies like Deliveroo or Uber, they may not pay as well or be a community like Pedals is, but you need to build up your road knowledge and fitness. It’s difficult, you do need to be really fit, especially if you go somewhere like the hills in Balham – one minute you are at the top, the next you have to cycle up a massive hill again. You also have to be alert! People, especially people with pets, don’t look or think about you when crossing the road.

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JF – I don’t cycle too much, but cycling in London is really hard, drivers and people don’t always look for you, and if they do I think they assume you are just a bike so they can squeeze past you - do you struggle with this? Does it put you off being a bike courier?

SH – You just have to watch out for everything and everyone. Cars always scrape up against you, and then they get annoyed if you somehow scratch their car. I try and watch out but sometimes it happens. It doesn’t bother me really because I like to be out and about, I’m not good at sitting at a desk, I am setting up my own business though, so I will stop one day. For now though Pedals makes it really easy and it fits with my other jobs. There are some people who make it their career. There is this one guy who has been a bike courier for 20 years. I’m not sure I could do that, but he loves it and it works for him.

 

JF – And, final question, what is the craziest and/or weirdest thing you have delivered?

SH – It’s not as crazy as some, but Pub Quizzes. I always thought pubs made their own quizzes until I had to deliver a punch of quizzes to different pubs. It think though the craziest things one of the couriers at Pedals has done is cycled with a sofa on the front of her bike.

 

JF – A sofa?! Not sure I could do that somehow. Thank you Shaf! Happy cycling.

 

This interview has been paraphrased in order for it to be shortened.

Young and Free(lance)

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I’ve been a freelancer since my university days ended, and although it is pretty empowering there are a few tips I wish I had known before joining the freelance genus:

  1. Get smart about where you work. Working in your room undoubtedly leads to cabin fever, but likewise working in the living room can come with flatmates, and working in a cafe comes with a coffee, tea, and that piece of cake bill. Either work out a routine where you alternate, or if you can stretch to it, look into a flexible co-working office where you can hot-desk.

  2. Dress to impress. Not only will it be a useful routine that will help your brain switch gears, but you do never know when a client might appear, even if you are working at home.

  3. Always aim to get a contract. In the beginning, especially if you don’t have much experience, it can be hard to negotiate this, but always try to. You may tell yourself that you are showing a client good grace by getting to the job straight away and sidelining things such as signing a contract, but it is likely someone will eventually walk away without paying you.

  4. Fear of numbers? Get an accountant. If the costs start flowing it’s likely you will do everything to save money where you can, this area shouldn’t be one of them. Accountants can be expensive, but not as expensive as a penalty charge when you fill in your tax return incorrectly.

  5. Be okay with making mistakes. You have to be on top of everything, and usually you are the one motivating yourself, so you will make mistakes, some of which will feel pretty obvious in hindsight. Learn from it, but try not to beat yourself up too much. The freelance game can be a draining one so as long as you are keeping yourself on your toes, give yourself room for errors.