The bad news: Your last project just ended, and now you must look for work again. The good news: there are plenty of places to look!
Ah, the life of the freelancer. So free. So flexible. So . . . unpredictable.
As gratifying as it is to work for yourself at home, you may not know where your next job is going to come from. In some ways, this is exciting because it could be a really cool project, a huge client, or just something simple and fun. But in other ways — financially, typically — this can be alarming because you have food to buy and bills to pay. Ideally, you should have regular work from a client coming in, perhaps not at a lot, but something to keep you going until the next big gig. If not or if you’re looking to add more to your plate, consider these five job sites to begin your search:
I admit up front to be a little biased about Upwork because it’s where I first started freelancing and where I still get most of my clients. It used to be called oDesk until a couple years ago, and if you were on oDesk before and haven’t yet checked out Upwork, it’s pretty much the same . . . except green. The site connects those who want virtually any type of work done to those able to do it, a typical client/freelancer arrangement. I wrote a little how-to guide for using the site, though it may be a little outdated now. Just make an account and start looking for jobs you want to apply to!
As the name (sorta) implies, Fiverr is marketplace freelancer site where every job is $5. Like Upwork, there’s more you can advertise or search for besides editing. If you want a graphic logo made for your blog, $5. Round of proofing done for your web article? $5. Don’t be alarmed by the low rates; most copy editors, for example, charge the $5 for 500-1,000 words, and you can set up your profile to allow for larger word amounts and up the dollar amount accordingly (thus, a 30,000-word novel manuscript might be $5 per 500 words, so $300). The idea, however, behind Fiverr is easy work delivered quickly at a low price. Just try not to take on more work than you can handle!
This site is kind of a mix between Upwork and Fiverr. OneSpace is a marketplace for freelancers, but instead of either applying for jobs or waiting for them to come to you, clients set up the tasks they need done and you can just jump in and do it. Most aren’t strictly editing jobs; it could be research, data entry, quality assurance, etc., and the pay isn’t always great. But it’s consistent work and you get out of it however much you put in. The downside is that in order to get access to most of the tasks available, you have to pass two qualification tests, one easy and the other fairly difficult.
A strictly copy editing/proofreading site, Wordy is for those who need edits done and done quickly. A client puts in their task, and it gets sent to one of the many, many editors on the Wordy team. They hire people from all over the world, in all time zones, in order to get that task completed as soon as possible. It’s sort of a livestream kind of editing, like OneSpace, with no applications necessary to claim jobs. If you want to be registered as a Wordy editor, you have to sign up, fill out a profile (included two named references), and take a language test. If you pass, you’re in and can start doing work!
Editor’s note (22 Feb 2017): Wordy’s entire platform is being updated, so editor registration is paused for a few months.
I know, this isn’t really a freelancer site, but FlexJobs promotes telecommuting and other remote jobs available for those who work at home, including a large variety of copy editing and writing projects. It’s possible to find business clients here, including companies that may want to hire you as a full-time contractor or even employee, not just a freelancer. Unfortunately, FlexJobs requires a subscription to apply to their jobs. It may be worth it, however, to pay for at least a month ($15) to apply for a project(s) that you really want, and then hope for the best!
There are plenty of other job sites out there besides these five, and don’t forget to look at independent publishing houses or colleges/universities that may have editing positions open for just the right candidate. If you know about any other job sites for freelance copy editors, please let me know in the comments!
I wish everyone the best of luck, and keep moving forward!