Find Freelance Jobs: A Complete List of 101+ Best Sites for Freelance Job Hunters

General Freelance Sites

Upwork: How could we not kick things off with Upwork? This is the largest and most popular freelance platform on the internet, and it’s long been my go-to place for new leads, clients, and work. More importantly, it’s a great place to kick-off your freelance biz.

Freelancer: Freelancer claims to be “the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace”. The focus is its bidding system, where the freelancer who bids at the cheapest price tends to win the job (though, fortunately, that’s not always the case).

Guru: Guru is very similar to Upwork in essence; however, because it’s growing, it’s smaller and not as well known. The best thing about Guru is the fact that the freelancer fees are minimal, unlike Upwork who take 20%. Grrr.

People Per Hour : You might have already heard of PPH from spotting those pesky ads on YouTube playing recurrently in the last few months! PPH matches clients to talented freelancers worldwide, mostly in the creative industries.

Outsourcely: Outsourcely aims to “help startups find reliable long-term freelancers” from over 300,000 remote workers. And the best part? There are zero commission fees. Wahoo!

Yono Juno: I know, interesting name, right? Yuno Juno provides the client with “direct and unfiltered access” to its community of freelancers. It’s one of the most efficient freelance sites for clients in the sense that it enables them to book a freelancer almost instantly, by showing them who’s readily available to work.

Witmart: Witmart’s website might be basic, but this marketplace offers an array of jobs for freelancers. The most popular services that freelancers tend to provide for their clients include logo design, web design, translation, copywriting, and marketing.

GoLance: Freelancers must pay a 10% fee when they use this site; however, the unique thing about GoLance is that clients receive 2-5% cashback for every dollar that they spend on talent. Therefore there are always tons of clients posting multiple jobs!

Fancy Hands: Fancy Hands match US-based assistants to clients who have a huge to-do list and need a helping hand. The site focuses on mainly virtual assistance work, but clients have to subscribe monthly in order to access the talent pool.

CloudPeeps: provides work for freelancers in all different types of industries, from design, to SEO, to public relations. The site is free to use for freelancers if you’re only going to message 5 clients or less; however, you have to pay for the Business or Enterprise monthly subscription if you want more flexibility.

Hubstaff Talent: is similar to People Per Hour in terms of look and feel. Freelancers are able to browse jobs based on their geographical location, but they can also be contacted by worldwide clients directly if they think they would be a good match, regardless of what country they live in.

Zirtual: Similar to Fancy Hands, Zirtual has a team of Virtual Assistants available to work for entrepreneurs, professionals, and small teams based in the US. In order to be delegated to a client as their VA, you have to apply to Zirtual’s official job postings.

OneSpace: describes itself as “an all-in-one workflow automation platform with a built-in network of freelance talent”. In simple terms, a client develops a task that they can assign to their existing employees through the site, or they can choose to browse OneSpace’s network of 100,000 professionals.

iFreelance: The good thing about iFreelance for clients is that they can post projects for free and there are no transaction fees involved. The bad thing about iFreelance for freelancers? The high quality job postings tend to be few and far between.

Greatlance: When you Google Greatlance, you have to scroll to the bottom of the first page of results before you even find the site (take that as you will). The site might be basic, but they have an abundance of job postings for freelancers to browse through at their leisure.

Project4Hire: Project4Hire is exactly what it says on the tin; this freelance marketplace allows clients to find skilled freelancers worldwide who can help them with their project. These projects can vary in category, from accounting and finance to IT, software and programming.

LinkedlnProFinder: As a freelancer on ProFinder, you get leads mailed directly to your inbox. You can then offer a client a short proposal, which includes full access to your LinkedIn profile. If your offer meets the client’s needs, they’ll reach out, hire you, and start a conversation. It’s as easy as ABC!

Coworks: The premise of Coworks is for clients to attract, hire and build their own team of freelancers via the site. It’s apparently the “#1 freelance work platform for brands and agencies” – and it’s completely free to use!

Work Market: Work Market allows freelancers to “unleash their inner entrepreneur”, through uploading their resumes and finding client assignments in real time. The site’s algorithm matches each freelancer’s skills to the best opportunities for them which creates a win, win situation.

FreelanceMyWay: For programmers, designers, writers, admin support, and more. All freelancers must go through a three step verification process that’s thoroughly reviewed by our quality assurance team. Our focus is quality and efficiency, backed with the best customer support in the industry.

Workhoppers: Freelancers can easily find legit work in their own city thanks to a proprietary matching algorithm that connects professionals directly with companies. No middleman. No bidding. No commissions. Completely free to use.

Freelance Sites for Writers

TextBroker: As a freelance writer, TextBroker connects you to thousands of orders “to help you convert your writing talents to cash”. Its clients are high in quality and there is always a diverse range of orders available to work on.

Contently: Contently has a unique focus of content marketing and uses a data-driven approach to help remote content marketers find work. Boasting a network of 100,000 fellow journalists, videographers, graphic designers, researchers, and photographers, and high-quality job postings – it’s very tempting to sign up!

iWriter: iWriter functions a bit like TextBroker, where clients create “orders” of custom content that freelance writers can assign to themselves. The whole premise is fast and easy, with plenty of orders available at any one time.

Writer Bay: The Writer Bay approach is one of the most straightforward out there for freelance writers. It involves choosing a project, submitting the project on time, shooting it over to the client and then getting paid for it. A big benefit of the site is that it offers Writer Support Team assistance 24/7, should you have any issues.

Reddit: Discussion-based site Reddit isn’t used primary to find work; however, some subreddit communities sporadically post jobs and assignments for freelance writers to apply to. In my opinion, it’s best to subscribe to these specific subreddits, otherwise the jobs are difficult to locate.

Scribendi: Scribendi offers proofreading and editing services to clients. You can apply to be one of their editors; however, they give preference to freelance writers who are available full-time. Oh, and you have to be able to commit to at least 10,000 words per month.

Writers Access: Writers Access help over 25,000 businesses collaborate with 15,000 freelance writers. It is an “award-winning content creation platform” where freelance writers are paid per word according to their star review rating.

Contena: Contena is highly thought of amongst respectable freelance writers in the industry. This platform gives freelance writers all the tools and resources that they need in order to successfully launch their own business, including linking them to high-paying clients. However, pricing plans start from approximately $400 per year.

Constant Content: Constant Content allows clients to search for and buy articles that have already been created, as well as post requests for new custom content. This content ranges when it comes to form, subject, and length, which means that there is always a variety of work available for freelance writers to get their teeth stuck into.

copify: Copify is a UK-based platform for agencies and small businesses to connect with freelance writers and order content. New freelance writers can select an order, complete it and get paid for free; however, they are limited in the amount of work that they can undertake unless they upgrade to a different pricing plan.

Love To Know: Love To Know is not the average freelance writers’ platform. The site focuses on providing high quality, useful information on a wide range of topics to its readers. If you’re a freelance writer, with expertise in a certain topic, you’re invited to apply for related assignments. These assignments could include editing existing content, looking over content for accuracy, and developing new content. 

Online Writing Jobs: Online Writing Jobs: “where great writers meet great brands!” US-based freelance writers can use their unique knowledge and expertise to write content for clients via this site and get paid up to $50 per article. But first they have to apply to be one of their writers.

Freelance Sites for Designers & Developers

Envato Studio: Envato Studio hosts a community of designers, developers, and creatives, where clients can hand-pick the talent they’d like to work with on their individual projects. They have 3,000 services that they offer and accept freelancers worldwide to cover those services.

99 Designs: 99 Designs is one of the top freelance marketplaces for graphic design, which includes the creation of logo, packaging and websites, amongst other forms. It’s attractive to clients as, if they’re not fully satisfied with the work produced by a designer, then they will get 100% of their money back.

Design Crowd: Design Crowd has over 500,000 graphic designers as part of their online crowdsourcing platform – from 124 countries. Wow. There might be hundreds of different types of jobs in a variety of categories, but it’s also super competitive. So get your game faces on with those applications!

Toptal: Toptal is a US company based entirely online. It links skilled freelance software engineers, designers and finance experts to clients looking for help with their projects. Toptal claim to host the “top 3% of freelance talent” which means that the platform is fairly exclusive.

Codeable: Codeable has a USP of offering WordPress services to clients using their network of freelance web experts. From theme design or installation, to custom plugin development, they claim to host the best talent when it comes to WordPress and there are a numerous jobs available to keep web experts busy.

Hexi Design: Hexi Design, similar to Design Crowd, focuses on linking freelance graphic and web designers to client projects that will suit their particular skillset. You have to compete, like with most of these marketplaces, but the jobs are reasonably well paid compared to some of the other sites.

Coroflot: Coroflot might be one of the smallest marketplaces for freelance designers, but that’s because they’ve got a rigorous hiring process. If you want to be matched with top clients via their site, then you have to submit a portfolio of your previous work and meet specific qualifications.

48 Hours Logo: I wonder what this site is all about? (Heavy sarcasm.) Yes, that’s right. A business or individual can submit their request for a logo and talented freelance graphic designers will turn it around in 48 hours. The premise might be simple, but there’s plenty of work available, and pay starts at $29 per logo.

Top Coder: Top Coder focuses on being a top crowdsourcing platform for design and rapid prototyping when it comes to coding. From app design and development, to the creation of algorithms and analytics, Top Coder is not for the faint-hearted! Only apply if you class yourself as a “top coder”. Heh.

Crew: Crew claims to be “the perfect companion” for a client’s design or development project. The nature of the work available for freelance designers and developments includes the creation and adaptation of apps, websites, logos or brands. The catch? Apparently the waiting list to join the site is looong. You must be a verified professional freelance developer in order to undertake work via this site. They are “not like those other crappy freelancing sites where you’re competing with offshore code sweatshops”. (Their words, not mine.) They claim to have the best freelance opportunities on the internet and also provide training to those accepted into their talent pool.

Crowdsite: Crowdsite say that they are the “#1 agency for design and creatives”. Based in the UK, clients post their requirements through “contents” which fall into either the design category (logos and flyers) or the brainstorming category (name and slogan finding).

Folyo: Folyo allows clients to find the right freelancer in 30 days – or they get their money back. Projects get emailed to “perfectly-matched” freelancers in the design and creative fields, and then the freelancer can get in touch with the client if they want to work with them. Sounds great, right? Be mindful. There’s a one-time fee for both clients and freelancers to join the site. And this fee is pretty hefty. OnSite, like many of these sites for freelance designers and developers, is strictly invite-only. You must submit an impressive portfolio of work to be able to join, but the benefits of having high-paying clients providing you with high-quality projects would make it worth it.

Gigster: Gigster is all about the tech! If either website design, app development or custom software is your thing, then sign up to Gigster. They use artificial intelligence to match freelancers to projects for some of the top clients in the US industry; however they, too, have a solid screening process.

Joomlancer: Joomlancer is one of the most easily accessible freelance marketplaces in the sense that you can simply join and start bidding on jobs. All the jobs are pretty tech-heavy, so this one’s only for you if you’re a talented freelance software developer.

CrowdSPRING: CrowdSPRING is a site purely for freelance graphic designers and creatives, as the types of work involved include logo design, web design, graphic design and idea generation. It’s free to join and straight-forward to use, so what are you waiting for?

Juiiicy: Juiiicy is a bit different to all these other sites because it hosts a private community for freelance designers. The premise of the site is that designers are able to refer and/or receive work from each other – but it’s not a walk in the park to get in.

Rent A Coder: If a client needs a freelance developer, skilled programmer, or web designer, then they can sign up to Rent a Coder where they will have access to their global network of freelancers.

Talent Cupboard: Talent Cupboard works with freelancers to improve their employability in the design, development, and marketing fields. From creating your own digital CV, to learning tips from their blog, to finding your perfect client – the site aims to help you every single step of the way.

WorkMob: WorkMob is strictly for freelance developers and has a focus on networking. The site aids freelancers by connecting them with potential clients, as well as working freelancers just like themselves.

10x Management: The concept of 10x Management is to “find the best contract tech talent and match them with the world’s most amazing companies”. This “tech talent” includes freelance developers, coders, data scientists, cyber security experts, designers, and others; it seems that if you work vaguely in this field, you’re all set.

Freelance Sites for Micro-Jobs

Fiverr: Fiverr claims to be the world’s largest freelance marketplace for budding entrepreneurs. The premise is simple: create a gig, deliver satisfactory work to your client, and then get paid for it. However, like Upwork, there’s a service fee of 20%.

Speedlancer: Speedlancer works exactly the same as Fiverr; but, as a freelancer, you can also create a “bundle of tasks” – in addition to an individual task – for your client to purchase. Each bundle contains multiple services mainly in the fields of design, tech, and writing.

Amazon Mechanical Turk: Mechanical Turk gives “business and developers access to an on-demand, scalable workforce.” Freelancers work on the platform through a series of HITs – Human Intelligence Tasks – and get paid upon completion of each HIT. With up to 500,000 HITs available on a daily basis, there’s certainly no shortage of work!

Task Army: Anyone can become a freelancer with Task Army, but you have to be able to answer clients within a short amount of time, or else your account will be deactivated. The majority of the work is one-off tasks, ranging from article production to undertaking virtual-assistance-style admin.

Gig Bucks: Freelancers in any field are welcome to join Gig Bucks. The tasks are extremely diverse – from increasing social media followers, to creating lyrics for a musician’s song. But don’t expect to be paid much per task. The typical range is $5-$50, with most tasks listed as $5 for completion.

Fourerr: Fourerr goes one step further than the micro-job based sites I’ve covered so far. Instead of the usual marketplaces where people buy and sell services, freelancers on Fourerr earn rewards just for using the site. Oh, and the starting price for selling services is $4.

SEOClerks: SEOClerks is the “largest SEO marketplace” on the internet. Apparently. Freelancers can post any kind of task SEO-related to sell for as little as $1.

Taskr: Taskr is an India-based platform with all prices for tasks on offer in the native currency. Any freelancer can join Taskr, but the most popular tasks listed tend to be in the graphic design, marketing and tech industries.

Gig Dollars: Gig Dollars is a site “where outsourcers and freelancers come together”. It is very similar in look and feel to Gig Bucks, but the highest paying tasks are up to $200, which beats the top range at Gig Bucks.

Wiirk: Wiirk might be a freelance marketplace based in London, but they trade in the currency of Euros. (Yeah, I don’t quite understand it either.) Like Fiverr and Fourerr, you can sell your services depending on your special talents. The scope of work is on a more grandeur scale than Wiirk, with services ranging from finance and accounting, to business and tutoring.

Damongo: According to Damongo, they’re the “#1 online micro-jobs website”. Ever. (Go, them!) Freelancers can list their individual task services in the business, graphic design, online marketing, programming and tech, video and animation, music and audio, and writing and translation industries for $5+.

Gigblasters: Gigblasters is the first site I’ve come across that describes itself as “a fun micro-job site”. How’s it fun, I hear you ask? Some of the tasks seem quite bizarre. Freelancers can list any task for clients to accept, such as “I will do a mini crystal therapy session for you for $10”. Yeah, really.

Findeaver: Findeaver, unlike Gigblasters, is more business-related. The homepage of the website serves as a live stream feed of services that freelancers have to offer for clients. Findeaver claims to host experts in relation to SEO, resume writing, logo design, marketing, and blogging, amongst other services.

Zeerk: Zeerk is yet another freelance marketplace where you’re able to sell your services. The price points for these services range from $3-$300. It’s free to register, but the site takes a 10% commission.

CrowdFlower: CrowdFlower focuses on offering software as a service for potential clients from its pool of freelancers. It covers “training data, machine learning, and human in-the-loop in a single, essential platform for data science teams.” Er. Hopefully that makes sense to all you freelance developers?

FiveSquid: Simply put, is a site that consists of “things people do for a fiver.” Based in the UK with all tasks listed in £’s, you can buy, request or sell services for – you guessed it – £5.

Job Boards for Freelancers

ProBlogger Jobs: ProBlogger Jobs is one of the highest quality job boards for freelance writers on the internet. (Well, in my humble opinion.) Multiple jobs are posted daily with lengthy, detailed descriptions of what exactly the client is looking for – and the plus point is that each job is free to apply to! Score.

Be A Freelance Blogger: Be A Freelance Blogger is run by professional freelance writer Sophie Lizard. Not only does she share her expertise through detailed blog posts, but she also has a job forum where members of the site can post job listings for free.

Freelance Writing Jobs: is a great resource for freelance writing beginners and experts. Jobs are posted daily on its job board and there are plenty of opportunities available; however, these opportunities are only based to applicants in the US.

BloggingPro Jobs: BloggingPro is run by the folks behind ProBlogger, which means that the job postings are just as high in quality and meticulous in detail. The only difference? BloggingPro doesn’t seem to be updated as regularly as ProBlogger.

Canadian Freelance Writing: This job board posts listings every 2-3 days in full on the homepage, so you don’t have to spend aaages right clicking opportunities that look suitable and having them open in new tabs. It certainly speeds up the process, but the site only accept Canadian applicants. Sigh.

Contena: A lot of professional freelance writers rave about Contena, as the team behind the site dedicate their time to help beginners develop their freelance writing businesses. It seems like one of the best out there; the only downside is those hefty membership fees. (We’re talking hundreds of dollars!)

Craigslist: Craigslist is surprisingly effective for scouting out decent freelance gigs. If you’re based in the US, you can search according to your nearest city. If you’re not based in the US, have no fear! There are also worldwide opportunities posted daily.

Dribbble Jobs: First thing’s first: that extra “b” in Dribbble jobs is intentional. So now we’ve cleared that up – Dribbble posts freelance jobs for designers who are based all around the world. It might be free to apply for jobs, but you have to pay to post a listing.

Smashing Jobs: Smashing Jobs split their postings into three categories: design, programming, and other. Beware – the opportunities available are mostly full-time, which means the freelance jobs are few and far between.

Behance Joblist: Behance Joblist posts opportunities for freelancers based globally. The jobs are in the creative industries, and range from designers to writers to marketeers.

Authentic Jobs: Authentic describes itself as “the leading job board for designers, hackers, and creative pros.” The good thing about this job board is that you can filter it by either job type, skills involved, location, levels, company type, and/or compensation amount. It makes life easier!

Programmer Meet Designer: The purpose of this job site is to find freelancers in the creative fields that can all work together to produce aesthetically pleasing, functional websites. It looks a bit like a forum and, in all honesty, I’m not quite sure how high quality the job posts are.

Stack Overflow: Stack Overflow claim to be “the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their programming knowledge, and build their careers.” It is made up of over 50 million developers so, if this is your field, get involved.

WordPress Jobs: WordPress Jobs post a mixture of full-time, part-time and project-based jobs relating to the subject of – you guessed it – WordPress. Position types include design, development, general, migration, performance, plugin development, theme customization, and writing.

Genuine Jobs: Genuine Jobs link freelancers to various work-from-home, telecommute, freelance and contract opportunities. The job database is updated on a regular basis for freelancers in a variety of creative fields – and is free to use.

Workhoppers: Workhoppers requires you to sign up as a freelancer in order to access their extensive job database. It’s free to join, and the site also provides training to help you market your freelance skills and win more jobs.

FlexJobs: FlexJobs is one of the most unique job boards currently on the internet. Its premise is all about listing jobs that are flexible, whether they’re remote, telecommute, or part-time. They cover a range of industries. Every industry you can think of, in fact. (Now that’s impressive!) has been in operation since 1999, regularly posting job listings to help freelancers in the creative industries find work. The site is primarily for freelancers based in the UK; however, it posts sporadic opportunities from clients based around the globe.

GitHub Jobs: The GitHub Jobs site is simple in premise and focuses purely on creative job gigs that are based anywhere in the world. Clients have to pay to list their jobs, which are mostly full-time opportunities, and freelancers can apply to as many jobs as they want to for free.

Django Gigs: Django Gigs offer a variety of permanent, temporary and freelance jobs strictly for developers only. Great if you’re a developer! Not so great if you’re not. (Duh!)

Jobspresso: Jobspresso: perhaps one of the most innovative names for a freelance job board. I like! Not only is the site visually pleasing, but it contains good quality job postings from high paying clients. If you work in a creative industry, you should definitely check it out.

Inbound Jobs: Inbound Jobs has a variety of creative categories to choose from when it comes to your job search. The opportunities tend to be either based in the US, UK, or remote – with a focus on marketing.

Remote Work Sites

Remotive: Remotive allows you to search remote jobs anywhere in the world. The jobs fall into one of seven different categories, including education, engineering, human resources, marketing, product, sales, and support respectively.

We Work Remotely: We Work Remotely claim to be “the best place to find and list jobs that aren’t restricted by commutes or a particular geographic area.” With clients having to pay a decent sum to post their listings, they’re certainly high in quality. However, there doesn’t seem to be too many listings on the site at one time. has one of the most varied job boards I’ve ever seen! It entails opportunities in every field you can imagine, from all different corners of the globe. It’s definitely not lacking when it comes to quantity.

Working Nomads: Working Nomads posts remote jobs for – you guessed it – digital working nomads. The site curates freelancing gigs from all around the world, in a number of different categories, which vary from education to healthcare.

Krop: Krop focuses on the creative, design and tech industries. It provides jobs listings for those looking for either full-time or freelance work, based in the US.

WP Hired: WP Hired, like WordPress Jobs, offer the latest jobs related to WordPress. The jobs are mostly based on the subjects of design, plugin and theme development, are worldwide and are either full-time, part-time, or freelance opportunities.

Remote OK: According to Remote OK, it has “the largest collection of 25,000+ remote jobs for digital nomads.” Updated on a regular basis, it covers the main job categories of: software development, customer support, marketing, design and UX, and non-tech.

Region-Specific Freelance Sites

Twago: Rather interesting in name, Twago is an online platform for programmers, designers, translators, writers and more! A client posts a job, you send them your offer, and – if you’re chosen – you claim the job. Simples.

OzLance: Calling all Aussies! This one’s for you. Ozlance is a freelance marketplace that posts job listings in the creative industries for freelancers based in Australia or New Zealand only. But mostly Australia.

Content Runners: Content Runners apparently “connects people who can write content with the people who need it.” But by “people”, they mean Americans. The jobs look intriguing, but you can only apply to them if you’re US-based.

FreelanceUK: FreelanceUK claim to be “everything for the creative freelancer.” But in the UK only. The site offers news, guides and information for freelancers, as well as its own personal job board.

Workana: Workana was created for freelancers in Latin America. The site has a range of job categories, including web and mobile development, IT and programming, web and graphic design, writing and translation, sales and marketing, and finance and accounting. There seems to be opportunities galore!

Trello Review & Tutorial: Why You Need To Start Using Trello In Your Business

My friends are avoiding me.

Not because I’m a bad person (at least I don’t think so), but because I can’t stop talking about friggin’ Trello.

This thing has become my obsession over the last few weeks, and the more I use it, the more I realized how powerful it can be for freelancers and small businesses alike.

In today’s post, I’ll be reviewing Trello as well as giving a complete tutorial of how you can use this versatile tool in your business.

What is Trello?

Depending on who you ask, Trello might be described as a collaboration tool, a productivity tool, a visual organization tool, or even a to-do list on steroids.

At it’s core, Trello is a versatile, Kanban-style project management software that can be moulded around a dizzying number of use cases.

Since it first arrived on the scene back in 2011, Trello has become one of the most popular and widely favored management tools to date, and there’s little sign of that slowing down.

How Trello Works (Brief Overview)

Unlike other big names in the industry, Trello is incredibly easy to pick up and start using right out of the box.

So easy, in fact, it’s probably faster to try and work it out yourself than to read this section of the review. (Okay, slight exaggeration.)



To get started, you’ll first need to create a Trello board, which is essentially an environment that houses your lists and tasks.

You can have as many boards as you like, but it’s a good idea to keep the board titles fairly broad as not to spread yourself thin.



Then, you create board lists. These are vertical columns that typically represent the different stages of a process from start to finish.

This could be anything from a content creation process, a client acquisition funnel, a building project, or anything else that can be broken down into manageable steps.



Cards are essentially tasks, and you can click on any card to open it up, allowing you to add extra information such as description, file attachment, team members, labels, due dates and more

You can then move these cards to any other column by dragging, which represents a change in status for that task.



After adding members to boards, you can also assign them to individual cards so they receive all notifications on that card, as well calling them in temporarily via a comment mention.

Of course, adding team members is optional and you can certainly use Trello if you don’t currently have a team.



Automation is another optional step, but one that will undoubtably take your Trello game to the next level.

Using Power-ups in particular, you can introduce rules that trigger on user action. With a good team and proper use of automation, you can (almost) let your Trello board run itself.

A Complete Trello Tutorial & Review

What I’ve outlined above is a very basic overview of how Trello works, but don’t be fooled by the simplicity.

As I said earlier, this a versatile tool and there are countless ways to use Trello in your workflows. Once you get going, it’s like opening a pandoras box of possibilities.

So with that in mind, let’s take a deeper look inside Trello, and go through each and every aspect of this software in more detail.

Getting to Grips with Trello Boards & Lists

Boards are the foundation of your tasks.

As I said earlier, you can have a single board that houses everything, or you can have multiple boards that help you better segment your projects and tasks.

Trello will prompt you to create your first board on sign-up, which will look something like this:

You’ll notice some lists already set up for you, and these make up the structure of your board.

You can add as many of these as you like, as well as change list titles to fit your specific use case. (Refer to the end of this review where I give Trello board examples and ideas.)

Adding a list is simply a case of clicking on the “Add another list” button at the end of your board.

On click, you’ll immediately and seamlessly be prompted to name your new list — and, by the way, this really highlights how efficient Trello is at the smallest level. Every click counts.

Reordering lists is just as easy, and can be done by dragging them to their new location:

(Lists can be moved regardless of whether cards already exist within that list, they just move with it. More on cards in just a sec.)

On the right, you’ll see a slide-out menu which can be closed to free up more space on the board:

Before you get rid of it though, there are a few settings here you should know about first.

For one, you can change the background color of your boards, which is useful for coordinating a larger number of boards. (You can also use photos but I find them quite distracting.)

Would be nice if Trello allowed custom colors here, but let’s be real, that’s far from a deal breaker.

You can also filter cards via this menu, effectively hiding any card that doesn’t meet your criteria, including:

  • By search term (keyword)
  • By label
  • By member
  • By due date

And the last one I’ll mention is the board activity feed.

This display directly in the lower half of the menu, and it updates in real time based on changes made by you and your team.

The “View all activity” link will open a scrollable feed of all activity that has taken place on that board, so you’re never left scratching your head.

Besides what I’ve covered above, the board menu allows you to do things like filtering cards, adding power-ups and applying funky stickers.

I’ll cover these shortly under the relevant sections.

The Anatomy of a Trello Card

Cards are your bread and butter.

As mentioned, these little devils reside within lists, and you can have as many of them as you want across your board. Well, in theory.

No surprises here, adding a card can be done by clicking the “Add a card” button under any list:

By default, your card will be added with a title and no additional details.

Once added, you can move any card to another list the same way you reorder lists themselves, by dragging and dropping…

If you’re following the typical Kanban process, moving cards to the next list will be done regularly as tasks progress.

While cards seem basic at first, these things can store a TON of information if leveraged in the right way.

To start, clicking on a task card opens it up:

From here, you can add several elements to it such as:

  • Description
  • Attachments
  • Comments
  • Members
  • Labels
  • Checklist
  • Activity

You can take advantage of as many or as few of these as you’d like, but understanding how to best use them is crucial for maximum efficiency.

Below is an example of how some of this stuff can be applied:

And this is just scratching the surface. The more you start using these elements, the sooner you’ll realize just how versatile they are.

For example, the ‘Description’ field supports advanced formatting, allowing you to fill it with more comprehensive content.

Like most of Trello’s user interface, this panel is neatly tucked away until (or indeed, if) you need it.

Another example is ‘Attachments’, in that they can also double up as board covers. This is actually default behaviour for the first attachment, but can be disabled with a single click.

The last one I’ll mention is Checklists.

These are essentially subtasks that are added to your main task (or card) and are only visible once the card is open.

But like any card element, checklists are optional, but once added, they have a number of functions.

These include everything from:

  • Adding multiple checklists
  • Adding multiple items
  • Checking off individual items
  • Seeing completion percentage
  • Hiding completed items

I could go on, but I won’t.

By now I hope you’ve had a taste of Trello’s brilliance, in that it’s versatile, yet seemingly basic at the same time.

This is best highlighted by the cards feature and it’s what allows this platform to appeal to both beginners and veterans alike.

Collaboration & Team Management

You don’t need a team to use Trello.

In fact, I used Trello for months without bringing anyone else onboard, and it was still one of the most useful tools in my day-to-day work.

But adding team members to your boards is how you begin to multiply the utility Trello offers.

You can create a team by clicking the plus icon in the top bar. (This works from any board.)

After naming your team, you’ll be taken to the dashboard for that team.

From the dashboard, you can create and assign team members, build Trello boards, and configure settings such as board visibility. (Yep, you can make boards public if you choose.)

Any boards you create here will belong only to that team.

The associated boards and task cards are only visible and editable by your team, assuming you haven’t made a board public.

If you click on the boards button in the top bar, you’ll get a categorized overview of all your Trello boards:

Not only can you quickly and easily switch between boards from this dropdown menu, but you can also see which boards are shared with a team, and which boards are personal to you.

But rabbit hole goes deeper still…

Once you’ve created cards for your team board, you can begin to assign team members specifically to those cards.

In this case, I added my main account to demonstrate how it works.

While this assigns the team member to a card, it’s not always clear what that person should do in order to complete the task.

That’s where the comments box comes in, allowing you to tag team members with additional instructions (or ask for input) without officially assigning them to the card itself.

In either case, team members will receive a notification of that event based on their settings. The key difference being that assigned members will continue to receive notifications when any changes are made to that card.

For example, they can be notified via Trello’s in-built notification system, your browser, or good ol’ fashion email.

Another thing to be aware of is even though you may assign a team member to a single card, they will automatically be able to view the board.

This is an intentional move from Trello (perhaps to give context to the task?), but one that unfortunately prevents the sharing of more sensitive data within team boards.

With Trello, however, there’s almost always a workaround via the many addons that exist alongside it. Let’s explore those next.

Trello Shortcuts, Exensions & Automations

This is where sh*t gets real.

Everything I’ve shared with you so far is akin to what most project management systems out there can do…

…until you get to this section of the review.

In this section, I’ll over some of the additions you can add to your Trello boards to put your workflow on steroids, including:

  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Enhancements (Chrome extensions)
  • Power-ups & automations

We have a lot to cover for each so it makes sense to give them their own sections, don’t you think?

Trello Keyboard Shortcuts

Shortcut junkies will be pleased to know Trello has a plethora of keyboard shortcuts for various actions.

I’m not going to cover them all since there’s already an official list here and Trello will obviously do a much better job of keeping that updated.

What I will do, however, is point out some of my favorite (and must-learn) keyboard shortcuts as I believe them to be the most productive.

So here’s my mini-roundup:



Hovering over any card with your mouse and pressing “C” on your keyboard will instantly archive that card. Much faster than using the fly-out menu.



Hovering over any card with your mouse and pressing “D” on your keyboard will allow you to pick a due date without fully opening the card.



Hovering over any card with your mouse and pressing “M” on your keyboard will allow you to assign team members without fully opening the card.



Hovering over any card with your mouse and pressing “Space” on your keyboard will instantly assign yourself to that card. Repeating this step will also remove yourself from a card.

Hovering over any card with your mouse and pressing “E” on your keyboard will open the quick editor, allowing you to change the title and other attributes without fully opening the card.

Trello Chrome Extensions

For those who use Chrome, you probably won’t be surprised to learn about the library of free extensions available for Trello.

(By the way, if you’re not using Chrome, you’re seriously missing out.)

Aside from the official extension, Trello keeps an extensive list of other Trello-based Chrome extension here, so I won’t even attempt to cover them all in this review.

But I will give a mention to some of my favorite third-party extensions:



This little beaut allows you to add cards to any of your Trello boards without even having to log into Trello. Perfect for those moments of genius when you just need to get it down, and get it down quick.



Taco hijacks your new tab screen and replaces it with a list of your open Trello tasks (as well as information from other apps), so you always have a reminder of what needs to be done next.



Got too many lists? Trello doesn’t come with many view options but this handy extension changes all that with shiny new options for list and grid layouts on your Trello boards. Amazing.

Trello Power-Ups & Automations

Power-ups are without a doubt my favorite aspect of Trello, as they turn ordinary lists and tasks and injects them with super powers.

So how do they work?

First thing you’ll need to know is that Power-ups are board-specific, meaning you have to enable them on each board, independently.

To do so, just hover over the menu icon and select Power-ups”:

As you’ll see above, this opens up the Power-ups library where you’ll find several categories, such as Analytics, Board Utilities, and Automation.

While not all of these are automation-based, this is where you’ll go to find the many of the automation tools you need.

Once again, Trello has a complete list of all the Power-ups, so I’ll just pick out a few noteworthy mentions here:



Possibly my favorite on this list, Butler allows you to create and add custom buttons to your cards, as well as define automation rules when a certain action is taken, or a set time is passed.



Another popular automation-based Power-up that creates an exact copy of task (card) based on a schedule you define. This one is great for tasks that are recurring, such as daily, weekly or even monthly to-do’s.



The last one I’ll mention is Custom Fields, a Power-up that allows you to add additional fields to your cards, such as dropdown menus, checkboxes and even an additional date field. You can also display these values on the card face.

Trello Board Examples

You thought I was gonna leave you hanging, didn’t ya?

One of the best ways to realize the potential of Trello is to see how people actually use it to manage and streamline their business.

What I’m about to show you is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should be enough to show you what’s possible and kickstart your creative juices.



Kanban style is perfect for the traditional sales pipeline, and you can take things to the next level with labels, due dates and custom fields.



Content marketing is a great way to attract new clients and customers, so why not leverage Trello to manage your editorial calendar?



While most Trello boards are used for in a production-line fashion, they can also be used to neatly house information about your team, products or company.

Note — Like I said, I’m only scratching the surface of possibility here, but Trello has a dedicated page for board ideas and inspiration. Knock yourself out.

How Much Does Trello Cost?

Trello is a freemium project management tool with some of the most generous limits I’ve ever seen on a free plan.

Here’s what the pricing looks like:

The forever free plan, unlike many other freemium tools, is a complete and very usable product right out of the gate.

In fact, you’d only upgrade if you needed:

  • More advanced app integrations
  • Multiple power-ups per board
  • A higher file size limit on attachments
  • Slightly more control over team members
  • Custom backgrounds and stickers (lol)
  • Stronger security such as 2-factor authentiction
  • Priority email or phone support

And while Trello asks a modest fee for these additional features, it’s worth noting there are also some in-app purchases. *gasp*

For example, while upgrading your Trello account allows you to use an unlimited number of Power-Ups on your boards, some of these also have paid tiers.

In the case of Butler, a Power-Up I mentioned earlier in this review, you only get a handful of command runs per week unless you pony up some cash:

This makes sense when you consider many of these Power-Ups are built by third-party developers, and no doubt a lot of time goes into creating and maintaining them.

It’s also worth noting you can upgrade a Power-Up without necessarily upgrading your Trello account… if that makes more sense in your situation.

Either way, I do feel this could be made clearer on the pricing page because it’s easy to assume an all-inclusive deal.

Personally, I haven’t felt very restricted on the free plan yet, but I wouldn’t hesitate to upgrade the moment that changes.

Wrapping It Up…

Phew… that was a long one. 😀

I gotta say though, I thoroughly enjoyed writing this review and showcasing what Trello can do, because I genuinely believe it to be game changing piece of kit.

If you haven’t tried Trello yet, click here to create a free account and take your business process up a gear. Thank me later.

Envoice Review: The Last Invoicing Tool You’ll Ever Need?

Let’s face it, accepting money from customers over the internet can be a technical nightmare if you’re just getting started.

And while companies like PayPal have long been an option, they’re far from being the most appropriate forms of payment for professional service providers.

The good news is, there are now countless options when it comes to invoicing and accepting online payments, and competition breeds innovation.

In today’s review—which is part of a larger review series of invoicing software—I’ll be taking a closer look at

What Is Envoice?

Envoice is an invoicing platform for small businesses and freelancers, founded by Emit Knowledge in May, 2017.

Unlike traditional invoicing software, Envoice is geared towards service providers, such as creatives and consultants, as well as those who sell physical products, such as ecommerce site owners.

So that’s a brief overview of the tool, but let’s dig into the individual aspects to see how it perform from a practical standpoint.


As I logged into my brand new Envoice account, I was greeted with a sleek onboarding wizard:

I’ve always been a fan of dedicated onboarding processes like this, as it saves a ton of time having to configure these things by yourself.

In this case, I especially liked the setup flexibility while still keeping things simple.

For example, I was able to select US dollars as my preferred currency despite having a different country of residence. (It’s nuances like this that many invoicing tools tend to overlook.)

You’ll also get to dictate the colour scheme of your invoices to better align with your branding.

I must admit though, the options here were a tad limiting.

Overall, the onboarding process earns Envoice major brownie points and I think more companies should follow suit.

Once you’ve set your preferences, you’ll be thrown straight into the main dashboard — so let’s explore than next.

Invoice Setup

I found this a little confusing at first, but the main dashboard of your account is actually where you create a new invoice.

Here’s what it looks like:

From an efficiency perspective, I totally get it. You fire up the website, log into your account, and immediately get to work creating your next invoice.

From a UX perspective, however, I think it could throw people off initially which makes it a tad ballsy… but I like that.

When it comes to setting up your invoice, the first thing you’ll want to do is integrate your preferred payment processor.

While Stripe and Paypal are the default options, you can click the ‘All payment providers’ button to see the full list.

And I was quite surprised by how comprehensive that list is, including 

  • St​​​​ripe (duh)
  • PayPal (extra duh!)
  • Square
  • WePay
  • Payoneer
  • Klik&Pay
  • RazorPay
  • HalkBank

I decided to connect my Stripe account for further testing, and had it hooked up and ready to go in a matter of seconds.

Next, I went ahead and added my logo, which will appear at the top of every invoice I create:

Again, the upload process was quick and painless. No complaints there.

What we’ve looked at so far will pretty much apply across the board for every new invoice you create.

Invoice Details

This is where you get down and dirty with the details.

For starters, you’ll want to assign this to an existing client by typing their name, or adding a new client by clicking the little ‘Add’ button. (At which point you’ll get the following popup…)

It was nice to see this being done with a popup overlay as opposed to being redirected to a new client setup page.

Envoice will also populate this field with the last client you invoiced. Again, speed and efficiency is clearly kept in mind and these little time savers quickly add up.

Next is the billing summary, where you can add as many line items as you want, complete with description, price, quantity and tax fields.

Pretty basic stuff so far, but clean and easy to use nevertheless.

Being able to add the appropriate taxes to an invoice is an area where other invoicing platforms have fallen short. Envoice delivers here.

Typing in your country-specific tax and clicking the plus icon will bring up another popup to configure the percentage:

Not only can you add multiple taxes to a single invoice, but all these tax values will be stored for next time, so you can add them in with a couple clicks.

I know this will be a huge deal for some people. 🙂

Moving on, you can tack on some optional notes/terms near the bottom of the invoice, as well as add file attachments to it.

I can’t say I’ve seen many invoicing platforms offer direct attachments to invoices, but I really love the concept here.

While there are likely dozens of use cases for this, attaching a contract might be one of the more obvious ways to leverage this feature.

As we come to end of the invoice, you’ll be asked whether you want to enable recurring invoicing.

As you can see from the screenshot above, this allows you to set automation rules for invoicing, including frequency and duration.

(If you’re a freelancer working on a retainer or a set billing agreement, this feature will be invaluable to you.)

I was a little disappointed that there’s no automated billing, which makes this more of a glorified payment reminder for your clients as opposed to a fully automated system.

Note — If this is a deal-breaker for you, you might want to check out AND CO for recurring billing. It works a treat.

Finally, we come to the payment options:

Since I already hooked it up with Stripe earlier, this is the only option I’m seeing, but you can enable as many as you have available.

So that’s the invoice creation process, but what happens next?

Invoice Delivery & Payment

Sending your invoice can be done in a single click.

Once you’ve saved your new invoice, you’ll be taken to the preview screen where you’ll find some new button options at the top.

Clicking the ‘Send’ button will fire an email to your client. (Remember, the clients email was already added earlier.)

If sending an email doesn’t float your boat, there’s another way.

The ‘Copy invoice link’ button will allow you to extract a URL that leads your client straight to their invoice.

This is useful when, for whatever reason, the client prefers not receive invoices via email.

My only complaint is the URL. It’s not very sharable considering how long and ugly it is.

Here’s what mine looks like:

Either way, when the client opens your invoice, Envoice will let you know from within the Action Center.

This is handy for following up with clients who didn’t pay, since you’ll know whether or not they actually opened it.

Assuming your client does open it, they’ll be able to click a button directly on the invoice to make an online payment.

Here’s an example of a Stripe payment:

If for any reason you’re client has an issue with the invoice, there’s a built-in system to handle that.

By clicking the ‘Reject’ button, they can quickly and easily can notify you of the problem from within the invoice itself.

A small feature, but one that clearly has the customer journey in mind.

Invoice Dashboard

I won’t spend too long on this because it’s rather simple, but it’s essentially an overview of all the invoices you’ve created.

This is what I would’ve expected the main dashboard to be when you log into Envoice, but that may just be my preference as opposed to an actual improvement.

Anywho, there’s a bunch of useful things going on here.

For one, you can filter your invoices based on time with the button filters, or the date picker for a more granular filter.

The buttons are a nice touch from an accounting perspective, and it’s something I’d love to see in other invoicing tools.

Then there’s the invoice status breakdown, allowing you to see what condition your invoices are in across the board.

These are also buttons that act as filters, so, for example, you can drill down into overdue invoices in order to start your follow up process.

The last thing I’ll mention here is the ‘Connect to accountant’ button.

This will prompt you for your accountants email address you can automatically forward all invoices.

Another small but mighty feature that makes running a business that little bit easier. Can’t argue with that.


The ‘All Finances’ tab is the last of the three main tabs in your account, and it’s where you’ll find a summary of your business finances.

(Or what Envoice calls your “statement of success” :p)

Just like the previous tab, you can adjust this statement using the button filters or date picker.

Scrolling down, you’ll find a breakdown of your overall income, as well as your total income per client.

(Granted, mines a little empty as it’s a review account.)

And below that, you’ll find a breakdown of what you’re owed per client, as well as your total income per work type.

Overall, I think it’s a nice report to have, and for some people it’ll be more than enough to work with….

…but it’s not going to replace a full accounting solution. At least not yet.

Notable Feature

There’s one feature in Envoice that I’ve neglected to mention so far, and it’s a pretty big one.

Online selling.

If you look at Envoice’s home page, you’ll notice they also cater to people selling products online — not just service providers.

To gain access to the online selling capabilities of this too, you’ll need to be on the E-Store plan, otherwise you won’t see any related options.

Once you upgrade, you’ll find a new option under your account to add products:

Once you’ve created a product, you can link to the checkout page from virtually any web property you own, whether it be your website, a social media account or an email.

Here’s what the checkout process looks like:

This is what takes Envoice from invoicing tool to shopping cart solution, and it opens a few doors that you might not have with other invoicing platforms.

For example, you could sell a training product for prospects who can’t afford your services… or even a training series that would put them in a better position to become a client.

A very nice option to have, and one you only need to pay for if it’s something you actually plan to use.


Envoice is a classic example of doing one thing, and doing it well.

When it comes creating and managing invoices, there are genuinely few tools that make the process as quick and painless as this, and believe me, I’ve tried them all.

Aside from the (very) minor faults I’ve mentioned throughout the review, the big addition for me would the inclusion of automatic billing. A way to charge my clients without having to chase them up every month.

It’s still early days for Envoice, and the early signs are promising. If you’d like to give the invoicing software a spin, click here for a 14-day free trial.

ProWritingAid Review: A Close Look At The All-In-One Copy Editing Tool

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… you don’t need to be Hemingway to be a great writer.

With an abundance of tools out there to guide your writing, it’s a case of knowing your options and taking your best pick.

Some editing tools are better than others, and while tools like Grammarly and Ginger are better known, today, we’re looking at a potential underdog called ProWritingAid.

What is ProWritingAid?

ProWritingAid is a cloud-based copy editing tool founded by Chris Banks back in 2012.

Developed for authors, the editing tool now boasts a healthy user-base of freelancers, indie writers, copy-editors, bloggers and students.

The software is first and foremost a web app, but it’s now also available as a desktop app, browser extension, WordPress plugin and Google Docs add-on for those who prefer to write via other platforms.

So that’s a quick overview, but how well does it perform from a practical standpoint?

Editing & Suggestions

Later in this review I’ll go into more details about the different apps and addons, as well as how they impact your writing environment.

But, as important as those things are, that’s not really why people buy text editing software.

The primary role of software like this is to find issues in your writing, and (spoiler alert), that’s ultimately where ProWritingAid excels.

Whether you’re using the web app, desktop app, or Chrome extension, the toolbar is where you’ll find your… well… tools.

From here, you can run a myriad of checks at the click of a button.

If you’re looking for a quick overview of everything, you can click the summary button to see where the majority of your issues lie.

Always a good place to start, but what if you want a deeper analysis?

The dedicated reports is where ProWritingAid really shines, proving that it’s a lot more than just a grammar checker. It’s an all-in-one solution.

These include reports on:

  • Style
  • Grammar
  • Overused
  • Readability
  • Cliches
  • Sticky
  • Diction
  • All repeats
  • Echoes
  • Sentence
  • Thesaurus
  • Synonym
  • Dialogue
  • Consistency
  • Pacing
  • Pronoun
  • Alliteration
  • Homonym
  • Transition
  • House
  • Plagiarism

An impressive list by anyone’s standards, but we both know this war isn’t won on features alone.

As with any editing tool, accuracy is key.

Testing Accuracy

I spent some time going through each of the reports to see not only how they work, but also how accurate and reliable they are.

(To make this a more robust test, I threw in some deliberate errors to see how, or if ProWritingAid handled them. So don’t judge me, k? :P)

In the interest of keeping this review sane, I’ll only a mention a few of the reports to give you a sense of how ProWritingAid performed.

First up for inspection, the ‘Style’ report.

As you can see, the editing tool flagged several issues in my writing, many of which I struggled to argue with.

This opened my eyes to how fluffy my writing is, especially considering that I tend to get compliments on my work.

In this instance, only one suggestion didn’t quite make sense to me:

(To be fair, it does say “may” be enhanced)

Aside from that, I was very impressed with the accuracy of these suggestions, and it read much better after the changes.

Next up, the ‘Grammar’ report.

Again, this offered up several valid issues to dig through.

I felt the spell-checker could be improved as it threw up a few false negatives on slightly more informal words.

Despite a few minor issues, this report was also very insightful, especially with catching my US/UK spelling inconsistencies.

Keeping things moving, let’s fire up the ‘Readability’ report.

One of the best ways to maintain engagement on your content is to make it more readable.

That’s why I actively strive for short and punchy paragraphs in my writing, and also why I wasn’t surprised to score so well on this one.

ProWritingAid even complimented me. *blush*

Finally, let’s look at the ‘Sticky’ report.

This one shows you sticky sentences in your writing, meaning you likely have too many “glue” words that can be removed.

By removing filler words like these, you instantly improve the readability of your content while maintaining the same message.

Basically, your readers will LOVE you for it.

All in all, these are a clearly great set of tools and I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible.

Like any tool of this nature, the suggestions weren’t always better (or even grammatically correct), so some common sense is still required to get the most out of these things.

Writing Environment

As I said earlier, there are several avenues you can take for writing your content under the watchful eye of ProWritingAid.

I started with the web application (which is what I’m writing this in at the moment), and it didn’t take long for me to get a good feel for it.

Here’s what it looks like:

Aside from the toolbar, I think we can agree it’s a fairly clutter-free writing environment.

I would have perhaps liked an option to hide those top buttons until I’m ready to use them, which is probably when I’ve finished writing.

It would’ve also been nice to see a full-screen, or otherwise known as “distraction-free” mode, which no doubt would’ve solved my toolbar issue at the same time.


As for fonts, the default ‘Lucida Grande’ is very workable. Not something I’d mess with, but again, the option to change font (and size) was something I expected to see. No luck there.

Must admit, I also found the line breaks a tad inefficient.

Pressing enter takes me down a single line, meaning I had to press it twice to start a new paragraph. Yet again, a setting would’ve made sense here.

Then there are headings…

As much as I tried, I couldn’t find a way to mark section headings without resorting to standard formatting, such as bolding.

This makes it hard to visually divide the page, and it’s something I’m struggling to overlook even as I write this sentence.

Finally… let’s talk images.

As someone who writes a ton of blog content (like this review), it’s important I take regular screenshots to illustrate and backup my points.

Since the editor doesn’t support images, I had to improvise with personal notes so I could find where to insert those screenshots later.

Note — I later discovered that pasting in text will retain fonts and sizes, as well as the correct formatting for headings. Perhaps I’m missing something?

The desktop application suffers many of the same issues I mentioned, and strangely, it also doesn’t sync up with the web app.

Appearance wise, though, it looks almost identical:

Despite the impressive editing capabilities of ProWritingAid, I must admit I was a liiiittle disappointed with their own editing software.

Fortunately, the addons solve many of the complaints I outlined above, so let’s explore those next.


Being someone who uses Google Docs on a daily basis, I couldn’t wait to test the Google Docs add-on first.

Copying what I’d written into a blank doc, I instantly felt more comfortable in the new writing environment.

I could remove all toolbars, go into full screen, change font and size, format headings, and even add images inline.

Once installed, you can activate ProWritingAid in Google Docs from the add-ons menu, which then opens up a sidebar panel:

While being able to function directly inside my favourite editor was cool, I must admit there was a slight performance issue.

What I mean is, clicking on any highlighted text would result in a 1-2 second delay before the sidebar changes accordingly.

You can see this in the GIF below:

Not a huge issue for shorter documents, but I can see this becoming a nuisance for longer pieces with dozens of suggestions.

A nice touch here was the highlight feature, which leverages Google Doc’s highlight formatting to emulate the web app. Smart.

And once you’re done, you can clear the highlights with the click of a button. (I think it should clear when you close the add-on sidebar, but no biggie.)

Note — there is an add-in for Microsoft Word, but I’m using a Mac so I wasn’t able to test it myself. Sorry.

Last up is my favorite way to use ProWritingAid.

You guessed it, the ProWritingAid Chrome extension.

This thing sits in your Chrome toolbar, and works with any virtually editing environment you use online, and I actually found it very efficient throughout my testing.

Below is a screenshot of me using it with a WordPress visual editor called Thrive Architect — a combination that seems to be the best compromise for both speed and writing environment in WordPress.

Side note — if you’re looking for a visual editor for WordPress, I’d recommend Elementor (free) over Thrive Architect (premium).

Notable Features

Before I wrap this up, I wanted to (very) briefly mention a few interesting features that I wasn’t able to cover in the bulk of the review.

The first is ‘Writing Style’ control.

This tells ProWritingAid what style and tone of writing you’re going for, and how aggressively you want the software to evaluate your work.

As someone who tends to write in a casual manner, I was pleased to see that ProWritingAid has folks like me in mind.

Next, we’ve got the ‘Plagiarism Checker’.

This tool will cross reference your article with the rest of the internet to see if the writing is plagiarized. Handy if you’re hiring writers.

You will have to buy credits in order to use this, but that’s pretty standard with these kinds of tools considering how resource intensive they are. (I normally use CopyScape for this.)

Finally, and this is a big one, we’ve got the ‘Word Explorer’.

This little beaut gives you a crazy in-depth breakdown of any word you throw at it, including definition, alliteration, rhymes and even cliches.

You can access it by double clicking a word in your text, or going through the menu options.

So if you’re ever stuck for inspiration, just fire up the Word Explorer.

There’s plenty more little nuggets to be discovered inside this tool, but these are my personal picks.


When it comes to improving your writing, there are few software alternatives I’ve seen that are as comprehensive and accurate as ProWritingAid.

The web and desktop editor could offer a cleaner and better optimized writing environment, and that’s undoubtably the biggest drawback of this software…

…but if you can overlook that aspect and use ProWritingAid for what it’s designed for (copy editing), you’ll soon struggle to live without it.

ProWritingAid—or the Chrome extension—has earned a place in my toolbox, and I’m excited to put it through its paces on future content.

Click here to get a free 14-day trial of ProWritingAid.

OnTheClock Review: Time Tracking, Payroll And Billing Made Easy

Times are changing.

As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, it’s natural for us, as a species, to begin challenging the norms of everyday life.

For many small business owners, a big part of that process is reevaluating the notion that employees should be in direct line of sight. Physically present, day in, day out.

And with studies showing that remote workers are actually more productive than traditional office-dwellers, it’s no surprise that time tracking software is making such a splash in 2018.

In this article, I’ll be continuing my review series of popular time tracking software. Today, the spotlight shines to OnTheClock.

What Is OnTheClock?

OnTheClock is a web-based time tracking tool founded in 2003 by Dean Mathews.

Unlike other, more generalist time tracking tools *cough* Toggl, OnTheClock was designed to offer a “punch in, punch out” system, so employers (or managers) could generate time cards and perform payroll.

The software was primarily built with small business owners in mind, though a small portion of their customer base are also freelancers.

Adding & Managing Employees

Adding employees is where the fun begins. After signing up to OnTheClock, you’ll be prompted to add all your employees to the system.

You can add these individually, or in bulk. Any more than 25 employees, however, and you’ll need to have them imported for you.

Here’s what the bulk interface looks like:

Personally, I think having to input this information for every single employee could be a little overwhelming for busy business owners.

Ideally, you’d only have to input email addresses, at which point an invite can be sent out that requires the employee to enter their own information.

Once you’ve got everyone added, you can click ‘Save’ to send the invites via text message or email.

From the Employees dashboard, you can click into anyone to view or add information to their profile.

There are some really useful options here such as adding things like hours per day, overtime rules, and even group punching (clocking).

And that’s not even the half of it.

This page provides even more options to sift through if you’re looking to go the extra mile.

Let me give you a quick overview of what you can do here:

  • PTO Rules: Configure rules for the amount of paid time off an employee is entitled to.
  • Security: Configure security preferences such as IP authorization and fingerprint access.
  • Alerts & Messaging: Enable and configure SMS messaging, as well employee messaging.
  • Pay Rates: Configure different types of pay rates such as overtime, vacation and sick leave.
  • Automation: Configure automatic punch in/out time slot, as well as things like “auto breaks”.

I don’t know about you, but I find the level of control here pretty damn impressive. It feels as though every possible outcome is accounted for.

I should point out that you’re not required to go through these settings for every employee, but it’s certainly nice to have the option for those who want to get super granular.

There’s one last thing I wanted to mention before I wrap up this section, and that’s employee recognition.

What you see above is the public dashboard, allowing the entire team to view achievements awarded by their employer.

(This includes badges, such as employee of the month, or kudos, which is more of a custom achievement.)

Some might find this cheesy, but I actually like the concept. What I don’t like, however, is just how the poorly the graphics and public pages are designed, which makes it feel like more of a joke than a genuine achievement.

The Time Clock

The core feature of this and any other time tracking tool is, of course, the ability to track time — so let’s talk about that.

First thing you should know is that this is a cloud-based system, meaning your employees aren’t required to install anything to get this running besides a web browser.

(There was also mention of a downloadable app, but the welcome email didn’t link to it for some reason?)

Anyway, all your employee’s need to do in order to punch in, is log in, and hit the big green “Punch In’ button.

(Note: I got logged out immediately after punching in, and had to login again in order to punch out. Not very user-friendly.)

Aside from that, it’s pretty a simple system, but that’s how it should be on the employee side.

On the employer side, however, there’s certainly a whole lot more going on under the hood.

You can get to the time clock settings by first logging into the website, at which point you’ll be greeted by this dashboard:

At this stage, I really need to mention the interface.

It looks like something that was put together in the late 90’s, and considering OnTheClock was founded in 2003, that’s probably not far from reality.

Not taking anything away from the functionality of the software (which I’ll talk more about in a sec), in a visual sense, it’s not very welcoming and I feel that could easily be remedied with a more modern design.

*end rant*

Anywho, aside from setting up the basics, such time zone and pay periods, OnTheClock brings another interesting feature to the table.

The time clock “widget”.

The widget can be placed on your website (using the embed code) to display an interactive “Punch In” box.

Here’s a representation of what it looks like in action:

Seriously, how can you not like that?

My only complaint is the technical aspect of setting this up, especially with the absence of something like a simple WordPress plugin to make it easier for the average Joe to implement.

To sum it up, the time clock feature is feature-rich in all the right places, while maintaining a simple but effective solution for employees to track their time.


What’s the use in tracking time if you can’t make heads or tails of the numbers?

This is why reporting is such a crucial aspect of any time tracking software, and OnTheClock certainly has a few tricks up its sleeve.

The first is called “Who’s In?”, and this is more of a “real-time” reporting feature that allows you to see who’s clocked in right now.

You’ll also notice the option to manually punch someone in and out, though I’m struggling to come up with a good use-case for that one.

There’s no time like the present, but what about looking into the week (or month) ahead?

Well, for that, you may want to check out the handy ‘Schedule’ feature.

For most people, however, the most crucial reporting aspect of this tool is looking into the past to see how much time has actually been tracked.

And to do that, you’ll want to head over to the ‘Time Cards’ menu item.

Here, you can get a weekly breakdown of every employee, how long they’ve worked, what they earned, and a grand total of these values for everyone combined.

(You’ll be pleased to know OnTheClock also integrates with Quickbooks and a number of other payroll solutions)

Again, while this is clearly a useful and well thought out feature, the interface could really do with some love.

To give you just one example, choosing a time period gives you a HUGE drop down menu:

Not only does this menu go off my screen, but it removes any date flexibility by tying you into set weekly periods. It’s a UX nightmare.

A simple date picker would be a much better solution.

Not a deal breaker by any means, but these little inconveniences start to stack up quickly and it makes an otherwise very comprehensive tool feel somewhat outdated (excuse the pun).


Before we wrap up this review, let’s quickly cover pricing.

OnTheClock charges on a per employee basis, so the more employees you plan on plugging into this system, the more you pay.

If you’re a freelancer and/or run a very small team, you’ll be glad to know OnTheClock is free for up to 2 employees.

Pretty reasonable, wouldn’t you say? I would.

The thing is though, if you go even 1 employee over that limit, you no longer get those freebies… which I find a bit odd.

For example, by signing up with 3 employees, you’re effectively paying 3 times more for a single additional user.

You may have also noticed the “from $2.20 per employee” line at the top of the page when the pricing appears to be starting at $2.50 per.

Aside from consistency issues on the pricing page, there’s no doubting that OnTheClock is fairly priced and well worth the investment.


OnTheClock is undoubtably one of the most complete time tracking tools on the market, and it’s not hard to see why it’s now used by more than 7,000 companies today.

Not only do you have seemingly endless options to customize and tailor the time tracking environment to your business, but it’s also excellent for evaluating time sheets and sending to payroll.

For me, personally, the software is only held back by it’s old-school interface and some questionable UX decisions, which ultimately makes it difficult to really fall in love with.

If you enjoyed this review and would like to give OnTheClock a try, click here to get a 30-day free trial.

Toggl Review: The Best Time Tracking Software On The Market?

Time tracking.

With so many software applications built for this one thing alone, it’s easy to wonder what the big fuss is about.

The reality is, in some industries, tracking time is fundamental to both freelancers and clients to ensure that work is being done, and that payment can be fairly attributed.

So, while I’m not a huge advocate of billing by the hour, I do understand that some people rely on tools like Toggl in order to get paid.

What Is Toggl?

Thought you’d never ask.

Toggl is a dedicated, web-based time tracking tool, meaning it’s specifically designed to keep tabs on your hourly input.

Now, while that may seem like an incredibly niche piece of kit, it actually has a ton of practical uses for both clients and freelancers.

Today we ask the question: Is Toggl really “worth your time?” 😛

The Timer

When you first log into Toggl, you’ll be greeted with a (very empty) Timer report that looks like this:

From here, you have two options for adding entries to your time log.

The first is by blocking out time manually, which can be useful if you’ve completed work without remembering to run the timer.

Doing this is as simple as writing in a short description, choosing your time window, and hitting the green check button.

While this is handy to have, it’s not something you should really be rellying on if you want your reports to be anywhere close to accurate.

That’s where the time tracker comes in.

Clicking the little “timer mode” icon in the corner switches you over to the sleek looking timer interface.

Having this in the web application is nice, but it does also present some potential issues.

For example, you have to remember to switch back over the browser tab in order to turn off the timer when you’re done. (That’s assuming you’ve kept the browser tab open.)

There is, however, another way to track time with Toggl, and that bring me nicely to the next section…

The Chrome Extension

I’m sure by now you’re familiar with the wonderful world of Chrome extensions, right?

Toggl’s handy browser addon allows you to track time without ever having to open the web application.

(I know, I know… my extensions are out of control. I’m seeing a professional, just give me time :P)

Anywho, this, for me, is what takes Toggl from a nice idea to something that’s both useful an​​​​d incredibly practical.

By simply clicking the extension, you can do everything from:

  • Start a new time entry
  • See time tracked for the current time entry
  • Continue on from the previous time entry
  • Check time worked today
  • Check time worked for the current week
  • Continue tracking time for older time entires

As great as this is, and I personally use the extension, there is an alternative option that gives you even more power.

The Desktop Application

If you’re a PC, Mac or Linux user (AKA most people), you can get your hands on the free Toggl desktop application.

Here’s what it looks like:

As you might expect, the desktop application mimics virtually everything the Chrome extension can do…

…but it has a few other tricks up its sleeve.

Opening the Preferences menu, you’ll find a bunch of additional settings that’ll take your Toggl experience to a whole new level.

Some of these extra features include:

  • Autotracker: Set keywords that will automatically trigger the time tracker when related applications are active.
  • Reminders: Set reminders to track time at specific intervals and on specific days of the week.
  • Idle detection: Get notified when you’re away from the computer, and choose whether or not to discard that time.
  • Pomodoro: Use the proven Pomodoro technique with the Toggl timer to boost productivity.
  • Record timeline: Tracks every website or application that’s active for more than 10 seconds.

I’m particularly a fan of the Autotracker, as it removes the need to manually start and stop time when working on specific projects.

So, considering both of these options, unless you’re having to organize your time entries at a higher level, you’ll rarely find yourself logging into the web application.

And that brings me nicely to the next section (I’m getting good at this)…


As as I said earlier, you really have two options when it comes to tracking time with Toggl; manual entries, or tracked time.

Now, regardless of which way you go with this, it’s always a good idea to store your entries under the right buckets — or what Toggl refers to as “Projects”.

From the Timer dashboard, you can manage, select and create new projects by clicking the folder icon in the top bar.

Creating a new project will bring up a small window.

From here, you can give your project a name, attribute it to a workspace and client, as well as make that project private.

Let’s briefly talk about what each of these mean from a management perspective.

  • Workspace: Aside from your account itself, this is the top-most level and everything else sits inside of this “bucket”.
  • Project: Projects are created within a Workspace, and you can have multiple projects within a given Workspace.
  • Client: Clients are attributed to projects, and while you can only assign one client to a project, you can create multiple projects for the same client.

I must admit, I found these options a little confusing at first, and there are other nuances to the hierarchy that I haven’t mentioned here.

If you want to learn more about how it all ties together, I highly recommend reading this support post on the Toggl website.

In any case, once you do get the hang of it, it becomes a breeze to manage your time entries across different projects and clients.


Despite being a self-proclaimed “time tracking” software, Toggl is actually a reporting tool at heart.

If you think about it, we have time trackers installed on every device we own. It’s nothing new.

What you get with Toggl is a way to PRESENT that information in a manner that makes sense for everyone involved.

Here’s what a typical summary report looks like:

The section highlighted red is where you filter down by team, client, project or even tags and billable time.

(This is viewable by both the client and the freelancer, so it’s incredibly useful on both sides.)

Granted, it’s a pretty simple/basic interface, but that’s exactly what you want with something like this.

There’s also an option to get a slightly deeper report which breaks down the exact tasks that were worked on, based on the task description.

I’ve blurred some of the above out as it relates to a personal project I’m working on, but you get the point.

That’s pretty much the bulk of what you can expect from reporting, unless you’re a premium member…


As a premium member, you also get access to another, more advanced reporting feature called “Insights”.

As a freelancer, you probably wouldn’t benefit from using it.

But as a client, you can see everything from how profitable your projects are versus how much your spending, as well as labor costs and taxes that you can associate to each team member.

Here’s what the reporting area looks like:

Again, simple but effective.

This is one of their newer features so it’s still a little bare in terms of reporting options, but I have no doubt this will continue to see improvements.


The best thing about Toggl is the pricing.

For most people in most cases, the software works great without having to pony up a single penny.

For the paid plans, however, here’s how it breaks down:

Personally, I feel the majority of what you lose out on as a free user is mostly in the reporting side, such as Time Audits, Exports and Rounding.

If you’re a client who’s monitoring team members or freelancers, there seems to be a lot benefit to upgrading your plan than if you were a team member or a freelancer.

For a complete, side-by-side comparison of each plan, you can check out this handy page here.


Wrapping it up, it’s fair to say that Toggl is one the better (if not the best) time tracking software on the market.

Even as someone who prefers to bill on a project rate, I’ve found myself consistently going back to Toggl when hiring other freelancers to work under me on sporadic projects.

So if you haven’t sunk your teeth into this bad boy yet, why not take a free account for a spin?

Paymo Review: More Than Just A Project Management Tool?

For those fortunate enough to be working multiple clients at any one time, you know how crucial it is to have all your ducks in a row.

Here’s the good news:

Platforms like Paymo offer a seamless management solution specifically targeted at freelancers and small to medium businesses. (Psst.. that’s you!)

In this post, I’ll be taking a closer look at the Paymo platform to see if it’s worthy of a spot in your toolkit.

Want to test it out yourself? Click here to try Paymo for free.

Project Management

As you’ve no doubt gathered by now, project management is exactly what Paymo was built for.

(Despite marketing itself as such, I actually find it resembles a more all-in-one business solution — like AND CO and Plutio.)

So let’s get right into it.

Clicking the “Projects” menu item, I started a new project which lead to me to a simple setup screen:

Overall pretty straightforward, though I wasn’t sure what the ‘Project ID’ was used for, or how it was different from the ‘Name’ field.

Some tooltips would’ve been nice here. Just for clarity.

Anyway, the following screen gave me an overview of my project, including hours worked, tasks completed, and timesheet reporting.

From here, I jumped straight into the ‘Tasks’ panel to start planning out my action items.

Again, nothing too complicated. After filling out a title and description, the task was immediately added to my project.

You can also block out time for that task, start the time tracker, set start/end dates, attach files and estimate hours.

The task list feature was great for creating task groups, and the ability to expand and contract these groups was a very nice touch.

You also get awesome formatting options like bulleted lists and image attachments for each of these tasks, as well as the ability to save project templates for reusing later.

So far, so good.

Now, while I had no complaints about the basic view of the task area, I was super keen to check out the Kanban view. (Yep, I LOVE Kanban!)

After making the switch, I quickly noticed some weird overlapping issues with my boards:

Clicking the ‘Hide Backlog’ button seemed to fix the issue, at which point I was able to fully appreciate the new task layout.

Fast, simple, and clean — just how I like it.

Adding or removing boards was also easy enough, and can be done by clicking into the ‘Manage Workflows’ settings.

This is helpful if you want to define your own stages, as opposed to the typical Kanban progress stages.

Adding tasks in this view was also BLAZING fast. Seriously, just take a look how quickly I added 3 tasks in succession:

My only real complaint is the lack of “task hierarchy” in this view, whereas the previous view allowed for task groups.

Another awesome way to see your tasks is using the ‘Table’ view.

This gives you a more in-depth breakdown of your task at a glance, including who it’s assigned to, billing type, hours worked, and more…

The problem with this view, at least for me, was that I needed to zoom out in my browser (by a fair bit) to squeeze everything in. Not ideal for smaller/low resolution screens.

Alternatively, you can remove specific columns and/or resize them to make everything fit.

Overall though, I’m a huge fan of how Paymo handles project management, but I have to deduct half a point for the minor issues I pointed out above.

— I’ll give this a 4.5 out of 5

Proposals & Contracts

This is one area where Paymo clearly falls short, but that’s okay.

Like I said earlier, Paymo is a project management tool, and it doesn’t promise to be anything else despite offering features you’d typically see in more business-oriented solutions.

In any case, the closest thing you get to a proposal is an ‘Estimate’, which is an approximation of costs that a client can approve before work begins.

Here’s what that looks like in Paymo:

Once you get client approval, you can quickly turn that estimate into an invoice with one click.

Pretty sweet.

While estimates don’t replace proposals and contracts, it’s a prime example of a feature that you wouldn’t expect to find in a dedicated project management platform.

— Rating not applicable


Nobody enjoys the process of keeping their business accounts in order, but the right tool can certainly make or break your ability to stay on top of it.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the specific accounting features inside Paymo.


No invoice, no payday.

The good news? Paymo has an invoicing feature baked right into the platform, and (spoiler alert) it’s pretty damn good.

Here’s what it looks like when creating a new invoice.

It starts you off with a typical invoice template, but allows you to modify/add to it by clicking on the relevant sections.

(Did I mention these template are available in 18 different languages!?)

The invoice will also work out calculations for you (bit like a spreadsheet formula) so there’s hardly any fiddling with the numbers.

Invoice customization is pretty limited, however, so be aware that you’re stuck with a rather generic template outside of small position changes.

So how exactly do you get paid?

Well, with the check of a box, Paymo lets you enable online payments, which then prompts you to connect a payment gateway.

You get usual PayPal and Stripe options, but I was also pleased to see and Payoneer supported.

Overall, I was impressed.

To be honest, I was hoping to see a more open-ended payment option, like AND CO’s PayMe URL feature….

…but no luck.

— I’ll give this a 4 out of 5

Time Tracking

Because time is money, right?

Truth: I’m not a huge fan of this approach to billing, but I realise it’s something many freelancers and clients choose to rely on.

Here’s what Paymo’s time sheet looks like:

(Granted, my account isn’t saying much right now.)

Using that little ‘Add Time’ button at the top, you can assign time where appropriate, which then syncs up with the relevant invoices.

Of course, the best way to track time is to actually track time.

Paymo’s has a sleek little time tracker built right into the app, and it’s easily accessible through the sidebar.

(There’s also a desktop app for Windows and Mac, if you prefer)

But it get’s even better.

*giggles with excitement*

Paymo has an intelligent addon called “PaymoPlus” that tracks what you’re doing at all times, and allows you to go back and assign entries at the end of the work day.


If you’re the type of freelancer (or business owner) who simply needs to track time when billing clients, it doesn’t get much better than this.

— I’ll give this a 5 out of 5

Recurring Billing

Are you on a monthly retainer or recurring fixed fee?

One feature you may find useful here is ‘recurring invoicing’ – which allows you to automatically invoice for the same amount, month after month.

It looks like a lot like the standard invoicing setup, but with a few extra options such as ‘frequency’ and ‘occurrences’.

Handy, no doubt. But what about recurring billing?

One thing I really liked about AND CO is the ability to instantly charge the client every month as opposed to just sending an invoice.

This eliminates the need to “chase” clients for manual payments, as it just does it’s thing month-after-month until cancelled.

Unfortunately, Paymo falls a little short here.

— I’ll give this a 3 out of 5


As you’ve seen already, you do get access to things like invoicing and time sheets, but it’s not all about what’s coming in.

You know as well as I do, you gotta keep a sharp eye on those expenses, and you better believe Paymo has your back.

Here’s what the ‘Expenses’ interface looks like:

I particularly like how you can upload a photo of your receipt (if applicable), tie it to a client or project, AND mark whether or not it was invoiced.

Everything you input here is neatly organized and easy to refer back to at any time using the sidebar.

It’s simple, but this is exactly where simplicity excels.

— I’ll give this a 5 out of 5

Notable Features

Before we wrap this up, I wanted to do a short quick-fire round for features that didn’t quite fit into other sections of this review.

With Paymo, I HAVE to talk about the reporting aspect.

When you first log in, you’ll be greeted with a complete overview of your business, including things like hours worked, your finances, unpaid balances and total number of clients.

Not only is this crazy efficient, but it’s also just beautiful to look at, wouldn’t you agree? (I’ll just go ahead and assume you agree)

In fact, the client reporting area is just as pretty, giving you a dedicated breakdown of how much the client owes, what’s been paid, and what tasks everything relates to.

Here’s what it looks like:

Finally, becoming a premium user of Paymo gives you access to a pretty unique feature.

Gantt charts.

This is essentially just another way to “view” your project tasks, but it could be a game changer depending on your personal preferences.

Again, isn’t very busy, but the more you have going on, the more valuable these viewing options become.

Anyway, there’s so many nuances to this tool, but those are the features that really stood out to me.

Final Thoughts

It’s fair to say I put Paymo through it’s paces in this review. While it’s not technically an all-in-one business management tool, I decided to test it against that criteria anyway.

Partly because I felt it had the feature-set to compete, but also to give you a better idea of how it stacks up against other, more holistic alternatives on the market.

To give credit where due, Paymo certainly rose to the challenge.

Not only is this a well-crafted solution to project management, but it also throws one hell of a punch when it comes to invoicing, time tracking and general project accounting.

Convinced? Click here to try Paymo for free.

AND CO Review: A No Nonsense Look At The Free Business Management Software

Running a freelancing biz is no joke.

You need to think about everything from creating invoices, writing proposals, drafting contracts and, of course, tracking expenses.

Fortunately, we have plenty of options when it comes to freelancer-focused business management software, and this one certainly has a strong foothold in the market.

With Fiverr’s recent acquisition of AND CO, the $168 annual fee has now been removed, making the software 100% free to use.

If there was ever a good time to take this thing for a spin, this is it.

Project Management

Given the initial barebones feel of AND CO, I was expecting to tell you that it doesn’t have any project management capabilities.

I guess that’s why they say you should never judge a book by it’s cover.

Don’t get me wrong, this thing isn’t going to replace the likes of Asana or Trello anytime soon.

I mean, there’s no Kanban or timeline layout, no templates or complex workflows, and no custom fields or colour coordination.

You do, however, get an organized way to keep track of projects, add tasks, associate time, record expenses and even attach files.

I’d argue that anything more should be left to a dedicated project management tool like the one’s I mentioned above.

(Though it’s fair to say that Plutio, a competitor of AND CO, seems to be an exception to the rule.)

Overall, not a whole lot more to talk about there. It’s fairly basic, but solid.

— I’ll give this a 3 out of 5

Proposals & Contracts

I don’t know about you, but writing out proposals and contracts has to be one of the most boring aspects of running a freelancing business.

AND CO proposes a solution that I think you’ll like.

It starts you off by asking you to set the project terms:

Not too overwhelming, which is always nice.

You enter a project name, set the total project fee, payment terms, start/end dates, deposit amount, etc.

Then, you click next, and AND CO works some magic to generate a pre-formatted, proposal based on your inputs.

While a lot of the work is done for you, it’s still fairly basic as far as proposals go, so you’ll need some manual input.

As you can see from the screenshot above, AND CO does let you slot in a new sections to bulk out your proposal with more information.

You then pop in a virtual signature and send it off to the client. Easy peasy.

And contracts?

The great thing about this process is, AND CO will ask if you’d like to attach a contract to your proposal.

At that point, it’ll give you some new options that look like this:

All the thinking is done for you.

You literally just have to make sure the values are accurate, with many the fields offering a simple multiple choice.

Then, you guessed it, AND CO turns it into a pre-formatted document.

You can even request payment on approval, meaning you don’t have to follow up with an invoice if the client agrees to move forward.

This is done through the “deposit” option, and set as a percentage of the overall project fee.

After setup, AND CO will send your prospective client a link to view the proposal/contract.

Fortunately, the client doesn’t need an account in order to approve the proposal and make payment.

Overall, super easy to set up and a very smooth process on the client-end as well… what more do you need?

— I’ll give this a 5 out of 5


You can’t get paid without first sending an invoice, which makes invoicing one of the most crucial aspects of running your business.

The good news is, AND CO has an invoicing feature baked right into the platform, and as you might expect by now, the step-by-step setup interface is just… flawless.

From here, you can edit the billing terms and even add a time sheet based on specific activities. (More on time tracking in a mo)

Clicking next will generate a pre-formatted invoice that can be easily customized to your taste.

Once you’re happy with changes, simply hit send and wait for your client to make payment.

Speaking of payment, what payment options are even available?

Well, you get the usual Stripe and Paypal integrations, and these sync up nicely with your invoices and subscriptions.

You may also notice from the screenshot above, AND CO gives you something called a “PayMe” link.

This is essentially a way for clients to make quick, custom payments without you first having to generate an invoice, etc.

I think it’s a great idea and something I’d certainly use myself.

Granted, AND CO doesn’t offer the most feature-packed invoicing solution on the market, but they’re clearly focusing on simplicity.

Is that a good thing? That’s up to you to decide — but I can totally see why some freelancers would go for this over more complex solutions.

— I’ll give this a 4 out of 5

Time Tracking

Ahhh, time tracking.

While I’m not a huge fan of this approach to billing, I realise it’s something many freelancers and clients rely on.

After clicking the ‘Time Tracking’ menu item, you’ll be able to choose from any of your active projects in order to start tracking time.

Here’s how that looks in the web app:

(You can also do this through the AND CO desktop app.)

As basic as this all looks on the surface, there’s a few key features that are actually quite useful when you dig into them.

For example, AND CO allows you to assign time to individual projects, create and group activities, as well as automatically create invoices based on your timesheets.

Much like other areas of this tool, the time tracking feature alone isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s certainly an easy, reliable solution for freelancers looking to track time and bill accordingly.

— I’ll give this a 4 out of 5

Recurring Billing

For anyone on a monthly retainer or recurring fixed fee, this is a MUST have feature for you.

Even the most basic invoicing tools will have you covered with recurring invoicing, which essentially just automates the sending of your invoice at the end of each month.

AND CO goes one better with subscriptions, allowing you to automatically charge your client at the end of the month.

(That means no more reminders. No more chasing.)

You simply set up a subscription and fire it off to the client via email, they input their payment details, and the software does it’s thing every month – like your own personal debt collector.

A very simple feature that’ll take you less than a minute to implement, but one that could result in significantly more revenue, and less headaches.


— I’ll give this a 4.5 out of 5


It was nice to see some accounting options here, which allow you to record both income and expenses in your business.

Here’s what the main dashboard looks like:

From here, you can either add income or expense items.

Clicking into one of these will take you to an interface that allows you to add more information.

It gets better.

Yon’t won’t have to do this manually in most cases, since AND CO will automatically update your accounts based on your invoices.

And, if you connect up your business bank account, you’ll be able to automate virtually all of your expense tracking.

Very simple, but also very effective.

Finally, once you’ve got everything running like clockwork, you’ll have access to a super clean reporting interface to get a quick overview your income and expenses at a glance.

Here’s what that looks like:

Despite not being a dedicated accounting solution like Freshbooks or BillyApp, I really can’t fault what AND CO has managed to do here.

— I’ll give this a 4.5 out of 5

Notable Features

Before we wrap this up, I wanted to do a short quick-fire round for features that didn’t quite fit into other sections of this review.

The first is the notification system.

Whenever you send out an email through AND CO, they’ll not only tell you when it’s been accepted, but also when it was viewed.

Why does this matter?

Well, for example, knowing that a client has looked at your invoice or proposal will give you an indication of both when and how to follow up.

I should also mention that you can see a full feed of all your notifications by going into your dashboard. <3 it.

The next notable feature is the Shoebox.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t entirely sure what this was at first, but I immediately fell in love with the concept.

It’s basically a collection for all your scrappy bits. You know, like random files, documents and receipts.

You can even send these things to your Shoebox via email, by simply addressing your email to “”.

Seriously, how can you not love that?

Finally, I want to mention custom branding.

From the settings panel, you can apply some branding changes that will affect your account globally.

So you can have your company logo and colour scheme on every email and invoice that goes out, without having to do this every time.

Can you say #effeciency?

Final Thoughts

It’s fair to say that while AND CO isn’t exceptional at any one thing, it is reliably good at everything.

The clean, simple and easy to use interface makes it a viable option for the less tech-savvy freelancer, as well as being perfect for the more time-sensitive folk who just want to get in, get it done, and get out.

Considering AND CO is now a free solution, you really can’t ask for a better business management tool at this price point.

Click here to try AND CO.

How To Become A Freelance Writer In 2018 (with ZERO Experience)

So you want to be a freelance writer, huh?

Well, I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news. Let’s start with the bad.

Building a successful freelance writing business is no walk in the park. It takes a LOT of hard work and dedication. Especially in the beginning.

You will f*ck up.

You will doubt yourself (a lot).

And you will feel like quitting.

If that’s not something you’re willing to accept, you better close this page now and go back to playing Candy Crush.

Still here? Great.

Because the good news is, this article will guide you through the EXACT steps you need to take in order to become a professional freelance writer.

(And, more importantly, how to get paid a decent living in the process — something even experienced freelance writers struggle with at times.)

Let’s talk structure…

Here’s How I’ll Break This Down…

I spent a lot of time thinking about how this article should be structured, and believe me when I say there were multiple iterations.

What I’ve ended up with, I believe, is the most logical way to approach starting your freelance writing business — especially as a beginner.

We’ll go through this in 3 phases, like so:

Phase #1: Finding Your Market

Knowing what kind of service you’re going to offer is not enough. In order to fast-track your success a freelancer, you’ll need to establish your position in the market and “nichify’ your offering.

Phase #2: Developing Your Craft

Once you’ve identified a market and honed your focus on a particular sector of that market, you can then use the methods discussed in this section to become an “overnight” expert.

Phase #3: Bringing In The Moolah

It doesn’t matter how much you know or what you can do, if you don’t know how and where to market yourself effectively, you’ll never turn your skill (preferably passion) into revenue.

Please, don’t skip this section.

If there’s one mistake I see plenty of new freelance writers making, it’s branding themselves as exactly that…

…a freelance writer.

Unless you’re Jeff Bezos (Amazon Founder), you should never try to be all things to all people. It’s FAR more effective to narrow your focus and serve a small portion of a larger market.

I know, it sounds backward; after all, how does appealing to less people help you make more money?

The answer is relevance.

The more closely your service (or solution) speaks to the job (or problem), the more desirable you will ultimately be to the client.

Relevance is often valued over things like experience and qualifications — even if some clients aren’t consciously aware of that fact.

Not sold it yet?

Well, niching down comes with various other benefits, including:

  • Easier to identify your preferred clients
  • Allows you to establish yourself as an expert
  • Increases the chance of referrals
  • Higher possibility of repeat business
  • Significantly less competition

It’s fair to say not everyone will agree with this approach. In fact, the whole “big fish, small pond” argument is often debated.

The reason I think it works so well with freelancing, is because you can slowly expand your offering as you begin to outgrow the pond.

It’s easier than you think.

As someone who uses Upwork as their primary source for new clients, it’s literally a case of adjusting my title and bio.

(And yes, I do recommend using Upwork when you’re starting out, but I’ll talk more about that later.)

Like I said, easy.

Assuming we’re we on the same page about the importance of positioning, I think it’s time for the real meaty stuff.

How To Find Your Positioning And Dominate A Smaller Market

There are essentially two angles you can take when it comes to positioning yourself.

  1. Selecting a niche market
  2. Selecting a writing niche

(I recommend taking both angles to some degree, but this will start to make more sense later.)

Let’s talk about what they mean, exactly.

Angle #1: Selecting A Niche Market

Despite me using the term “niche market”, you don’t actually have to go very niche with this at all.

In fact, you can be a successful freelance writer without choosing a niche at all:

Do I recommend it?

No, I don’t. Especially if you’re a beginner.

Instead, you’ll give yourself a much easier ride if you focus on serving clients in a specific niche market, like:

  • Health & Fitness
  • Finance
  • Law
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Real Estate
  • Technology
  • Etc.

And where the demand is strong, you can niche down even further. For example, there are a number of sub-niches for “Health & Fitness”

  • Weight loss
  • Pregnancy
  • Dieting
  • Body Building
  • Skin Care
  • Etc.

We’ll talk about validation shortly, but don’t be afraid to venture deep when it comes to niching down.

Note: This is an interesting podcast interview with Kendell Rizzo, a freelance copywriter on FIverr who niched into ‘crowdfunding’ (a subsection of finance) and is now making 6-figures as a result. (Yes… you can charge a lot more than $5 on

Angle #2: Selecting A Writing Niche

This one is REALLY going to influence the next phase, and it’s the one I recommended spending the most time getting right.

What am I talking about, exactly?

Well, the key here is to zero in on specific sectors of writing, not just writing as a whole.

Some examples of writing niches include:

  • Academic Writer
  • Article Writer
  • Content Writer
  • Blog Writer
  • Sales Copywriter
  • Business Writer
  • Copy Editor
  • Creative Writer
  • Journalist
  • Press Release Writer
  • Screenwriter
  • Technical Writer
  • Translator
  • Book / Ebook writer
  • Ghostwriter
  • Guest blogger

Note:  If you want a more exhaustive list, this is an excellent resource covering 50 writing niches you can potentially dive into.

Another thing to keep in mind:

Some of the writing niches I’ve listed above encompass a wider selection of smaller, but still profitable “sub-niches”.

A good example is copywriting, which can be further drilled down into email, sales pages, webinar pages, squeeze pages, etc.

Validate Your Niche Market (And Avoid Setting Yourself Up For Failure)

The screenshots above are from my go-to freelance platform, Upwork.

Since this is a marketplace with over 12 million freelancers and 5 million clients, it’s also the PERFECT place to validate a freelance niche.

So how do you a validate a niche, exactly?

It’s simple. If other writers are doing well in a given niche, it’s very likely you will too.

(In other words, they have already proven the demand.)

As you’ve no doubt guessed, we’re going to do that by looking at the freelancer database on Upwork — based on your prospective niche market.

Sticking with the “Health & Fitness” theme, let’s say you were interested in offering a writing service around ‘weight loss’.

Step #1: Head to the freelancer search page. (You can even do this from a freelancer account.)

Step #2: Open up the filter options, and apply a filter to show only freelancers under the “Writing” category.

Step #3: Apply a second filter to show only Freelance Writers that have earned over $1,000 through the platform.

Step #4: In the search box, use common keywords to describe the angle (or angles) you’d like to validate.

​​​Step #5: Scroll through to see how many other writers are having success in that particular niche.

What should you do if you struggle to find others making money in your preferred?

You can always try going broader, but if that doesn’t work, I’d strongly recommend finding an alternative.

(Remember, you can always change this at a later date if you feel your niche is not working out for you.)

PHASE #2: Becoming A Master Of Your Craft… In A Matter Of Weeks!

Now that you’ve nailed your positioning (wait, you have nailed your positioning, right?), we can talk about the writing itself.

Coming into this, you may already have some experience as a writer. Even still, it definitely doesn’t hurt to go through this section and brush up on your writing ability.

If you have virtually NO experience as a writer, this section will help you get into the game as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The good news?

You can become proficient in almost any online skill in a matter of weeks, and writing is no exception.

(In fact, the idea behind doing phase #1 first, is to make phase #2 EVEN easier than it would have otherwise been.)

Rapid Skill Learning & How I “Wasted” 2 Years Of My Life

‘Rapid Skill Learning’ is the process of becoming proficient in a given skill over a very short period of time.

Not years. Not months.


I know it smells like BS, but hear me out.

During my 2-years at college, I studied software development. (Yeah, I thought I wanted to be a programmer.)

The saddest part?

I somehow managed to walk away with a marginally better understanding of software development. I mean, it was laughable.

Soon after, I decided to invest in an online course on coding a website from scratch, using a tool called Adobe Dreamweaver.

Within 1 week, I had gone through all the videos and learned more about coding than I had EVER learned over that 2-year period. No competition.

That’s not even the crazy part.

I paid $59 for that course.

That’s right. Fifty f*cking nine dollars for something I valued more than my 730-day stint at college.

Like it or not, online courses are just as — if not more — effective at teaching you something than going through the traditional education channels.

(The key difference being, you can get through the material in a FRACTION of the time.)

Moral of the story?

Online courses are the way to go if you want to break into freelancing writing, but don’t have the writing ability to back yourself up.

Shortcut Your Way Into Freelance Writing Through Online Course Marketplaces

Before I dive into courses specifically, I should clarify that it’s not the only channel when it comes to rapid skill learning.

There’s books, PDFs, blogs, podcasts, videos, etc.

The reason I’m so big on courses is because they’re organized into a complete, end-to-end system.  In other words, the information is structured — very important for RSL.

(The other channels can, and should be used to supplement what you learn via a paid course.)

Note:  In case you were wondering, I do have my own course that teaches freelancers — including freelance writers — how to use Upwork to land high-quality clients and kickstart their online freelance business.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can join the waitlist here.

So, where do you actually find these courses?

Well, with everyone and their mother throwing themselves into an instructor role these days, several marketplaces have emerged.

Let me break down some of the more popular options:


Avg. Course Price





$25 / month




$15 / month

Course Marketplaces

As much as I love these learning platforms, a lot of the good stuff is, unfortunately, buried amongst low-quality information.

In this section, I’ll show you how to flesh out the gems.

Firstly, depending on your writing ability and confidence, you may want to brush up on the basics before going full-throttle.

What I mean is, looking for general courses that cover things like spelling and grammar.

For the real ROI, however, you need to leverage the second positioning strategy I outlined above.

Your writing niche.

Granted, some writing niches will be better served than others, but you should be able to find a handful of good courses in any case.

For example, sales copywriting:

Many of the courses you’ll find on these platforms are only a few hours long, but that’s often all you need to get started.

Instant Proofreading With These KILLER Writing Tools

One last thing I’d like to cover before we move into the next phase, is writing tools.

You would be AMAZED at how good some online tools are at finding mistakes in your writing.

Grammarly is probably the most well-known.

You can install it as a Chrome extension (to monitor your writing in, say, Google Docs), or write directly in the web application.

The premium version gives you some nice benefits that are also worth considering, though certainly not necessary to get started.

Another one is Hemingway app.

It’s a free web-based tool that grades the reading age of your sentences. Believe it or not, but the key to great writing is having a lower reading age.

I find Hemingway to be a little too picky at times, but it’s definitely worth a quick check before submitting your work.

There are a bunch more, but those two will be plenty to get you off on the right foot.

Note: If you’re interested, I actually wrote a HUGE post outlining 60 similar writing tools. You can read it here.

PHASE #3: How To Secure High-Paying Clients For Your Freelance Writing Biz

If you skipped everything else and jumped straight to phase 3, I can hardly blame you.

This is easily one of the biggest question people have when they jump into freelancing.

How do I find clients who will actually pay me to write?

As it happens, this is also where my advice differs from most other freelance writers out there. At least to some extent.

While many will tell you to avoid freelance platforms like Upwork, I’ve actually found them to be a great channel for kickstarting (and even maintaining) a freelance writing business.

So, rather than just give you my own experience of what works, I’ll try to be as objective as I can here.​​​​

Note: It’s also worth mentioning that I compiled a huge list 101+ sites to find freelance work across several different fields, including freelancing writing.

The Case FOR Upwork (And Why You Should Ignore The Naysayers)

I’ll say it now, Upwork isn’t perfect. Far from it.

I’ve personally read/heard from plenty of people who have had a bad experience with Upwork, some worse than others.

What people don’t realize, however, is that 99% of these situations could have been avoided.

Take this classic example, posted on Reddit:

Note the highlighted section; Upwork told this freelancer exactly why his earnings were not protected.

If he had bothered to read up on what qualifies for hourly protection, he would know that he didn’t meet the requirements.

Do I think this freelancer deserved to lose out over not putting memos in his work diary?

Nope. Of course not.

Do I think Upwork has some pretty sh*tty rules that are not always in the best interest of freelancers?


But if the cost of tapping into this highly-lucrative freelance platform is taking some time out to make yourself AWARE of these nuances, surely that’s a worthwhile investment… no?

Like I said, most of these situations can be avoided if you just familiarize yourself with the way Upwork works.

Note: If you’re still shaky about Upwork, I wrote a post that’ll hopefully clear up any remaining doubt you have.

Why You MUST Diversify Your Client-Acquisition Channels

Many freelancers, including myself, have relied solely on Upwork to acquire new clients whenever needed.

The truth is, Upwork is large enough to supply you with all the work you could possibly need as an independent freelance writer.

No question.

But that doesn’t mean I recommend doing that — even if I don’t follow my own advice at times.

As great as Upwork is, putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good strategy. When it comes to running a freelance business, diversification is key.

So, while I am saying to focus solely on Upwork in the early stages, you should also eventually start building new channels to deliver leads to your business.

That way, if one channel was somehow removed from the equation, the damage that has over your business (and income) is severely mitigated.

There are a number of ways to achieve this, but none come so highly-recommended as the one I’m about to cover.

Building Your OWN Channel For The Craziest Conversions You’ll Ever See

You guessed it, a website.

Having your own website is one of the BEST ways to attract and convert potential leads for your freelance business.

It’s professional.

It projects authority.

It establishes credibility.

And, most importantly, YOU control every aspect of what prospective clients will see and experience as they navigate your site.

That’s everything from your branding, messaging, pricing and promise…  to the more granular details, like which portfolio items and testimonials to show (and where).

The best part?

These days, a complete beginner can have a professional-looking site up and running in as little as a day. (That’s right, no coding experience necessary.)

Of course, it does take a bit more work upfront to get it generating consistent leads, but it’s absolutely worth the effort if you’re serious about freelance writing.

Note: If you need some guidance with this one, I highly recommend Elna Cain’s course, WriteTo1k.

It’s a complete system that not only takes you through the foundational stuff, but also gives you a step-by-step process for setting up, designing and attracting prospects to your website.

Wrapping It Up

As I said in the beginning of this article, getting your freelance writing business off the ground won’t be easy.

Sure, reading guides (like this one) will soften the blow, but you gotta hustle if you want to make it in the freelance world.

The good news?

If you follow the steps I’ve outlined, you will give yourself the best chance to succeed, with the least amount of friction possible.

Good luck!

Make Money on Fiverr: 17 Advanced Tips to Optimize & Promote Your Fiverr Gigs

Let’s face it, it’s 2018 and this “Fiverr” thing isn’t getting any easier.

You spend hours setting up your gigs, days waiting for orders to roll in, and weeks trying to hustle your first few sales.

And then…. crickets.

I know, because I’ve been there myself. I did the research. I put in the long hours. I took consistent action. And I gave up… multiple times.

Any of this sound familiar?

The good news is, Fiverr isn’t a lottery, and your ability to make money on this platform rests largely on strategy… not luck.

What you’re about to read isn’t just another half-assed, rehashed Fiverr optimization post. In fact, most of what you’ll learn here isn’t even been taught anywhere else online.

But first, let’s quickly cover…

How Fiverr Works For Sellers (Hint: It’s All About Quality Signals)

How is it that some Fiverr gigs have endless orders queued up, while other, almost identical gigs can go months without getting a single sale?

The answer is visibility.

Fiverr has hundreds of thousands of gigs listed on their site, with hundreds more being added every day.

So, when someone does a search, Fiverr has to decide which gigs to show on page 1, and which gigs belong page on 100. (In other words, it’s a search engine, just like Google.)

It’s pretty obvious when you think about it, but it’s easy to forget that appearing on any page other than the first will drastically reduce your gigs visibility.

And this principle even applies at the page-level to some degree…

So how does it actually work?

Well, the ranking process is handled by Fiverr’s proprietary algorithm, which looks at different “quality signals” in order to determine which gigs deserve visibility over others.

(I know, that was a mouthful. But stick with me.)

While there’s no public record of what this algorithm looks at, most established Fiverr sellers would agree that it boils down to four fundamental signals.

Your ability to…

  • Attract visitors
  • Engage prospects
  • Convert leads
  • Fulfill: orders

Everything I’m about to share with you feeds into at least one of these quality signals, whether directly or indirectly.

17 Advanced Fiverr Strategies You Can Start Using Today

Now that we’ve covered Fiverr’s quality signals and how they impact your visibility on the platform…

…let’s get into the actionable stuff. 🙂

1. Hack Your Gig Title To Get A More Sharable URL

Ever looked at your Fiverr gig URL?

For 99% of sellers, it’ll probably look something like this:

This URL is actually generated from your gig title the moment you hit publish on a new gig. It can also never be changed.

If you want something shorter and more memorable — which always helps with promoting your gig outside of Fiverr’s platform — you’ll need to use a little hack when you first create your gigs.

In the gig title field, write as few words as possible (minimum is 4) that accurately describes your gig.

Here’s an example:

The “I will” part won’t be included in the URL, so in this case, the end result will end up looking like this:

Now isn’t that a more a favorable URL?

As soon as you publish your gig, you can then go back in and edit your gig title to something more appropriate.

It’s such a seemingly small difference but it adds another level professionalism to your approach that the overwhelming majority of Fiverr sellers are still oblivious to.

Note: You can also generate a shortened “social” URL through your Fiverr seller dashboard, but I still like to do this since you can’t count on every person to use and share your social link.

2. Use Keyword Modifiers To Get More Exposure On New Gigs

I’m a strong believer that when it comes to naming your gigs… shorter, punchier gig titles are the way to go.

In the early weeks (and sometimes months) of a new gig, however, you’ll likely struggle to get much visibility as Fiverr slowly gathers data on your gigs performance.

One way around this problem is to use keyword modifiers as they tend to be FAR less competitive than the obvious head terms.

Let me explain:

If someone types “modern logo” into Fiverr’s search box, the search algorithm has to decide which of the 3,951 results to show on the results page.

That’s gonna be a tight squeeze for a brand new, unproven gig.

On the other hand, if someone types “modern logo 24 hrs” into the search box, you’re only competing against 986 results, which gives you a MUCH better chance of actually making the cut.

The great thing about this approach is that you can STILL rank for those head terms because they still a part of your gig title, so you only stand to gain.

Here are a list of other gig modifiers you can experiment with:

  • “24 hours”
  • “fast”
  • “unique”
  • “custom”
  • “bespoke”
  • “2018”
  • “using illustrator”
  • “using photoshop”
  • “with after effects”

One more thing:

These are very niche specific so it’s worth doing the research (like I did in the screenshots above) to see which modifiers narrow down your competition, as not all of them will.

3. Eliminate Competition By Niching Down Your Gigs (The Right Way!)

This might seem like another angle on the last tip, but it’s different in the sense that it actually changes your gig’s fundamental offer.

Most people understand the idea of niching down — in that you’re targeting a smaller subset of a bigger market — but few people (especially on Fiverr) seem to execute on this properly.

I’ll explain this one using the “Article & Blog Posts” subcategory.

The screenshot above conveniently highlights one of the first mistakes I see people making on this platform — assuming that Fiverr’s subcategories are niches.

News flash: they’re not.

The truth is, these subcategories contain thousands, if not tens of thousands of listings, and so creating a gig that offers “article & blog writing services” will put you up against 100% of the sellers in that subcategory. 

That’s a guaranteed way to #fail on Fiverr.

Instead, you need to go deeper into a subcategory to identify where clients are really spending their money — and this another area I consistently see Fiverr sellers drop the ball.

The idea isn’t to guess your way into a profitable niche, but to identify top selling gigs by looking at the correlating data. In the case of Fiverr, the closest data we have is the number of reviews a gig has.

Note: From my experience, around 60% of clients who order on Fiverr will leave a review, so you can almost double the number of reviews to get a rough idea of how many orders a specific gig has amassed.

There’s no magic formula for this, it’s simply a case of navigating into your chosen subcategory and noting down (or favoriting) any gigs with a significant number of reviews.

The more pages you sift through, the bigger your sample size and the better your understanding will be of what actually SELLS.

4. Leverage Your Fiverr Username For A Boost In Search Visibility

If you haven’t already started your Fiverr account, or you plan to create a new one for whatever reason, this one’s for you.

(If you do have an existing account, just skip ahead.)

As you’ve probably guessed by now, Fiverr is heavily reliant on keywords to understand the nature of a gig, whether these words appear in your gig title, description, or tags.

What you may not know about this, is that Fiverr caps the number of times you can mention your keyword in your gig.

This restriction is likely in place to protect the user-experience, since sellers will naturally start spamming the f*ck out of their gig description in an attempt to rank higher in the search results.

There is, however, one sneaky workaround you can leverage if you’re just starting out on Fiverr.

By putting a relevant keyword — as in, a keyword that sums up the majority of your gigs — into your username, you can squeeze a little bit of extra relevancy onto each of your gig pages.

Here are some other examples I just made up:

  • “CopywritingNinja” — offers copywriting services
  • “LogoDesignChick” — offers logo design services
  • “MrDataEntry” — offers data entry services
  • DrSnuggles — Offers cuddles (okay, scratch that one)
  • You get the point…

If ranking higher wasn’t incentive enough to do this, it also helps your conversions since potential buyers will view you as an expert in that field.

5. Move Away From $5 Gigs & Raise All Your Package Prices By At Least 50%

If there’s one counter-intuitive truth I’ve learned from my time as a freelancer, it’s that charging more money doesn’t necessarily cost you sales.

In fact, from many of my own “experiments”, I’ve actually found the opposite to be true. Yep, sales increased when I raised my rates.

(I’ve written about this phenomenon before in my Upwork pricing post, and the same principles apply on Fiverr.)

Here’s the thing:

While you can technically charge as little as $5 for your services, Fiverr has been actively moving away from the $5 marketplace model, and most buyers today will only expect to see that as an absolute minimum.

And there’s probably more to it than you think.

Not only can it be easier get clients with a premium price-tag, but the clients themselves tend to be MUCH nicer to work with.

They’re friendlier, they know what they want, they communicate clearly, they’re less picky, and, most importantly, they’re happy to pay extra for quality.

In fact, it’s clients who actively seek out these $5 bargains that give the platform a bad name. When you cater your services to these kinds of people, you’re just asking for trouble.

And believe me, I get it.

Raising your prices is a hard a barrier to overcome for many freelancers, but it’s something you NEED to get comfortable with if you wanna start making some serious cheddar on Fiverr.

Note: The only exception is at the very beginning when you’re trying to get your first few sales and reviews, but even then, charging less isn’t always the way to go. Don’t be afraid to test.

6. Encourage People To Favorite & Share Your Gigs For A Cheeky Boost In Rankings

You can favorite any gig with a click of a button, either from the search results page or the gig page itself.

(As a side note, I actually use this a lot when I’m doing gig research, so I can quickly refer back to gigs I’d like to emulate myself.)

The fact that there’s a counter on this metric indicates to me that Fiverr uses this as a quality signal, so always encourage people to favorite your gigs… even if they don’t place an order.

At the very least, a high number of favorites contributes to your social proof which will also help conversions, so it’s a win-win.

If you want to be really sneaky, you can participate in some of the “favorite exhange” groups on Facebook:

And yes… Fiverr HATES this kind of group manipulation, so abusing it could result in you getting your account banned.

Basically, ifyou’re going to do it, do it in moderation.

(And don’t even think about crying to me via email me if you get into trouble. You were warned.)

7. Create A Gig-Network To Multiply Your Customer Lifetime Value

Did you know it takes anywhere from 4x to 10x the time, money and energy to acquire new client as opposed to retaining an existing one?

(Nope, I didn’t pull that out of my ass.)

It’s easy to sit back and wait for Fiverr to send you new leads all day, but with the right strategy you can effectively double or triple the value of your existing leads through the power of a gig-network.

A gig-network IS that strategy, and it’s essentially just a series of gigs that offer a logical next step for your clients; a natural progression from one purchase to the next.

This usually requires a more holistic approach to Fiverr that most people never even stop to consider.

Essentially, it means no longer creating services from individual gigs, but using individual gigs to create a single, unified service.

Need an example?

Ok, let’s say I was an expert on YouTube (for the record, I’m not), I might create a gig-network like this:

  • Gig #1: Set up your channel & optimize keywords
  • Gig #2: Create your channel cover art
  • Gig #3: Write your YouTube channel or video description
  • Gig #4: Optimize your video title, description & tags
  • Gig #5: Create your video thumbnail art
  • Gig #6: Share your video on social media
  • And so on…

As you can see, there’s a clear, natural progression.

A client could realistically order my YouTube gigs in sequential order to have everything covered, and that’s EXACTLY what you want to achieve.

8. Incentivize Referrals By Bribing Your Existing & Past Clients

This little nugget is something that almost nobody is taking advantage of on Fiverr; referral marketing.

There’s no better person on the planet to recommend your service than someone who’s just had an amazing experience with your service. (Sounds obvious when you read it, right?).

Often times, people just need a little nudge (or incentive) to actually fire off an email to a colleague, or inbox a friend on Facebook.

Here’s some ideas you can experiment with:

  • An improvement on what they just received, whether that’s an upgrade on the actual deliverable, or something extra to enhance it
  • Double up on the deliverable (such as 2 logo concepts instead of 1)
  • A free order for every person they refer to you

Once you have your incentive nailed down, it’s just a case of messaging your clients after they’ve left a 5-star review.

Here’s a script you can use:

“Hey [client name], thanks again for your order!

Just wanted to let you know that I’m offering [incentive] in exchange for referrals. If you could mention me to anyone in your circle who might be interested in what I do, I think we could both benefit from it.

Either way, stay awesome!
[your name]”

9. Prevent Negative Feedback With This (Almost) Bulletproof Script

Not so long ago, refunding a client would automatically remove any feedback left by that client, including a negative review.

While this was a reasonable trade-off for sellers to maintain ratings on their profile, it didn’t exactly leave buyers with an accurate/reliable scoring system.

In 2017, Fiverr put an end to all that.

The update meant that once a review is left by a client, it cannot be changed or removed unless it breaks terms of service or the client is willing to modify it  — even if you issue a refund.

(Personally, I don’t think this is the direction Fiverr should be taking to solve the issue, but I digress…)

In response to the change, Fiverr sellers now need to be a lot more proactive when it comes to client satisfaction.

The trick is to set the right expectations in your delivery message. (As in, the message you send with your attached deliverable.)

Here’s another script you can use:

“Hey [client name], please see the attached [deliverable].

Before leaving feedback, please let me know if you have ANY issues with your [deliverable] and I’ll do everything in my power to correct it for you at no additional charge.

I want you to be 100% satisfied with my work, otherwise I insist that you ask me for a full refund. No hard feelings.

​Thank you,
[your name]”

In 98% of cases, even the most disgruntled clients will play nice after reading this message.

Reason being, even if they’re not satisfied with the deliverable, you’ve already presented them with not one, but TWO easy resolutions.

And the other 2%? Well, unfortunately, there are some people in this world who would rather hurt your credibility (and ultimately your income) than accept their money back.

In these cases, there’s very little you can do to fight it (which is exactly why I don’t agree with the change, but heigh-ho.)

10. Inject New Gigs With Targeted Traffic To Generate Engagement

As you know, engagement is one of the fundamental quality signals that determine which gigs rank where on Fiverr.

Engagement being anything from:

  • Favorites
  • Social shares
  • Direct messages
  • Sales

(Basically, anything that pulls someone out of “browsing mode” and gets them to take a specific action.)

The only way to generate these engagement signals is to start sending traffic to your gig, because without them, Fiverr will be reluctant to send you some of their own traffic.

You’re basically saying to Fiverr:

“Hey, look guys, I’m sending all these people to my gig and they clearly like it, you should give me some credit here.”

Make sense?

Of course, your gig needs to be on point if you want that traffic to actually resonate and engage with your gig. This doesn’t work without a quality offering in the first place.

So the question is, how do you actually send traffic to your gigs?

My favourite strategy is to use highly-targeted Facebook groups along with something I call the “feedback technique”.

If I were promoting a video editing gig, for example, I’d join a YouTube community, integrate myself a little, and then make a post.

Here’s yet another script you can use:

Hey guys, I’d really appreciate some feedback.

I’m a freelance video editor and I’ve recently been trying to drum up more leads for my business. (Don’t worry, I know better than to pitch you here.)

I’ve just set up a gig on Fiverr, and since nothing is really happening I was hoping I could get some feedback from this community.

Here’s the gig: [insert URL]

Any ideas why it’s not converting? Any help is appreciated.

Unlike most peoples attempt to blatantly self-promote, this approach actually encourages members of the group to get on your side.

Better yet, you’ll get genuine feedback on your gig from the very people who will likely buy it.

Win-win, baby!

11. Capture More Sales By Creating Multiple Variations Of Your Own Successful Gigs

The Pareto Principle (also called the 80/20 rule) is something everybody should be aware of by now.

It states that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. (Read more about it here.)

How is this relevant?

Well, you can see evidence of this principle at work by looking at the gig sales (or reviews) of any popular Fiverr profile.

I can’t fit them all into the screenshot above, but this seller has 23 total gigs with top 3 making up around 80% of their total review count.

Surprised? I’m not.

Thanks to the Pareto Principle, there will always be a small handful of gigs that outperform the rest, and ultimately account for the majority of money you make on Fiverr. Period.

Here’s where the magic happens:

Once you identify these gigs, and it may take some time, you can make similar versions of the same gig in order to target related, but also more specific keywords.

Looking at the example above, you can see that the best selling gig focuses on product label design.

And if you look even closer, you’ll notice the seller has already started to capitalise on this information by creating a version for bottle labels.

I’d go even further…

A bit of research shows me that people are also interested in product boxes, packages, bags and even gift box designs.

Why is this important?

Because those keywords don’t appear in the sellers product label gig, which means Fiverr probably NEVER show it for these search terms.

You have to treat the algorithm like a baby. Assume that it can’t associate words with one another and feed it with those variations.

12. Create Gig-Specific Bonuses To Boost Client Satisfaction On A Budget

If all you take away from this article is to give an unexpected bonus on every order you get, it’ll be worth the weeks I spent writing it.

Seriously, this is one of the easiest ways to overdeliver and get clients singing about your services.

The reason most people don’t do it, however, is that it can be too expensive and time consuming to come up with a bonus for every new order — especially when you’re only making a few bucks on it.

(Plus… people are lazy.)

The good news? You don’t have to. In fact, I advise against it.

The secret is to have something relevant enough to be genuinely useful to the client, but not so relevant that it can’t be given to other clients who order the same gig.

In other words, instead of creating bonuses that are order-specific, you need to create bonuses that are gig-specific.

To give you an example, let’s imagine I have a logo gig offering clients 1 logo concept for $20.

Which bonus would be better?

  • Bonus #1: An extra logo concept on every order
  • Bonus #2: A video showing how to edit one of my logos

While the first option is good, it requires infinitely more work to deliver vs the second option, which can recycled for every order without any additional production time.

THIS is how you should be approaching your free bonuses, and you can apply this kind of logic to pretty much any type of gig.

Here’s some other ideas for you to chew on:

  1. A checklist
  2. A cheat sheet
  3. A PDF guide
  4. Course access
  5. Community access

13. Offer High-Value Gig Packages To Instantly Increase Revenue

Gig packages.

If you’re not using these on ALL your gigs, you’re leaving money on the table. No question about it.

Here’s an example of gig packages in action:

Not only do packages allow you to charge more for your services, but it also opens up another opportunity.


The ability to directly influence how much people spend on your product, simply by offering them a choice.

This isn’t theory I’m spewing here.

Plenty of experiments (like the one below) have been carried out to prove that this psychological phenomenon exists.

“People were offered 2 kinds of beer: premium beer for $2.50 and bargain beer for $1.80. Around 80% chose the more expensive beer.

Now a third beer was introduced, a super bargain beer for $1.60 in addition to the previous two. Now 80% bought the $1.80 beer and the rest bought the $2.50 beer. Nobody went for the cheapest option.

Third time around, they removed the $1.60 beer and replaced with a super premium $3.40 beer. Most people chose the $2.50 beer, a small number chose the $1.80 beer and around 10% opted for the most expensive $3.40 beer.”

To sum up, when people are presented with a 3-way choice:

  • Most tend to go for the middle option
  • Some will always go for the most expensive option

So, by only offering a single price, you remove the ability for those people to give you more money for a more premium service.

You want more monies, don’t you?

I recently put this theory to the test by adding a $300 high-end gig package to one of my existing gigs.

And within a week… BOOM….

If you’re not taking advantage of high-value gig packages, you’re literally leaving money on the table.

Get it done.

14. Use An AFK Message Template To Maintain A Stellar Response Time 

Average Response Time is a big deal on Fiverr.

If you’ve ever browsed the platform as a client, you’ve almost certainly looked at average response time before pulling the trigger.

Not only would I consider this a direct ranking factor, but a stellar response time will also encourage engagement and sales.

In other words, it MATTERS.

The problem for anyone with a semblance of a social life, however, is that being on call at all hours of the day, every day, is simply an unrealistic to run a business — and I couldn’t a agree more.

So how do you keep this little metric in tip-top shape?

Well, the first thing you should know is that Fiverr only measures the time difference between a clients message and your first reply.

That means all interaction (or lack thereof) between you and the client after your first reply isn’t counted towards your Average Response Time.

Here’s how you take advantage of that:

By using a generic AFK—or ‘away from keyboard’ message—you can immediately reply to any message, politely let the client know when to expect a personal reply, AND maintain your response time.

I like to add a template using quick-responses, which I can then quickly insert through the website or mobile app. (And yes, you should definitely have the mobile app installed.)

You can add a new response right from the inbox:

This way, no matter how busy you are, you can always take 20 seconds to open up your laptop (or whip out your phone) to insert your AFK quick response.

You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging on a script, did you?

“Hey there,

Thanks for your message. 

Unfortunately, I’m currently away from my computer so it’s a little difficult for me to properly respond your query at this time.

Give me a few hours and I’ll personally get back to you on this. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.


[Your name]”

15. Strategically Plant Keywords In Your Client Reviews

We’ve talked a LOT about keywords already, but I couldn’t end this post without giving you the heads up on this ninja tactic.

You already know that gig reviews are a big deal on Fiverr. That’s old news.

Bu with all the hype surrounding reviews, it’s easy to forget that Fiverr also gives YOU (the freelancer) an opportunity to review your client.

You NEED to be actively doing this.

Not only does it show Fiverr and potential customers that you’re responsive, but it also gives you an opportunity to reinforce your gig’s keywords.

When writing a client review, take note of which gig it relates to and strategically work in your core keywords.

Okay, example time.

If I was responding to a review on my (hypothetical) ‘Facebook ads consulting’ gig, I might say something like:

“Thank you so much for ordering my Facebook ads consulting gig!
[NAME] was amazing to work with and I hope to have many more clients like him/her in future.”

And don’t just say the same thing for every review, though.

You should take the opportunity to mix things up, and even hit other keywords potential clients could be searching for.

For example, the next one might be:

“I enjoyed working on [NAME]’s Facebook ad strategy, and we were able to work together to create several profitable ad campaigns. AMAZING.”

16. Leverage Gig Authority To Break Out Of Your Niche & Skyrocket Your Sales

I talked earlier about the importance on niching down on Fiverr, but some savvy-eyed folks are quick to point out the obvious.

If you look hard enough, you’ll find there are plenty of Fiverr sellers still crushing it with generic gigs, like this guy:

This broadly-targeted gig not only has an impressive 499 reviews, but it’s also consistently bringing in new orders with 7 currently in queue.

Gigs like this encourage newbies (and even sometimes experienced sellers) to set up their own generic gigs, but in the vast majority of cases, they’re left scratching their head as to why nobody’s buying.

So what’s their secret?

Two words; gig authority.

The more authoritative a gig is — as in, the more sales and positive reviews it has — the more exposure it is ultimately given in Fiverr’s search results.

If we look closely at the URL of this gig, you can start to get an idea of what it actually started out as:

As you can see, this used to be a gig offering article rewrites to pass an online plagiarism service, called Copyscape.

This was the “foot-in-the-door”, so to speak.

With only a handful of other sellers to compete with, this guy was able to consistently generate sales and reviews over time.

Once he managed to build up enough authority (and ultimately ranking power) on this gig, he was then able broaden and “rebrand” the service in order to sell to a larger audience.

But it gets better.

While this trick is mostly used to tap into a larger market, it can also be used to transform a service-based gig into a product-based gig.

Easy when you know how, right?

17. Build Up Your Profile Authority To Lift Your Entire Gig Portfolio

This one follows the same principle as the last… with a key twist.

While gig authority represents the overall “ranking power” of a gig, profile authority applies at the account-level.

It represents your ability to not only get people clicking the buy button, but to also deliver a quality service, on-time and to each and every clients unwavering satisfaction.

Fiverr gauges this through the same quality signals I’ve been banging on about throughout this entire article.

There’s no official metric for it, and there’s no r​​​​eal way to actually measure the “authority” of your Fiverr profile.

But I we do have the next best thing.

Of course, I’m talking about what Fiverr refers to as ‘Seller Levels‘ — where freelancers are essentially “promoted”.

Why is this important?

You know what they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.

If there’s one thing I’ve seen from my time on Fiverr, it’s that promoted accounts get more visibility on ALL of their gigs — old and new.


So here’s what you need to do make it happen:

  1. ALWAYS focus on those quality signals
  2. Stay within the rules (read the reqs here)
  3. Be consistent, and be patient. Fiverr takes time.

I hate to end on such a dampening note, but this is perhaps the single most important tip to take away from this post.

Fiverr is a marathon, not a sprint.

Give it the time and attention it needs, and soon enough, you’ll have an asset that can easily generate thousands of dollars in revenue each month.

Wrapping It Up…

If you want to start making money on Fiverr, you need to finally ditch the post-and-pray approach.

It doesn’t work, and it never will.

Fiverr’s algorithm runs on a set of principles that, once understood, allow you to turn this once low-level platform into a powerful sales engine for your freelance business.

Feed it with the same quality signals I’ve outlined here, and I guarantee you’ll see an amazing shift in the way Fiverr treats your gigs.

If you have any questions or you have an advanced Fiverr strategy that I haven’t covered here, please let me know in the comments.

Happy selling. 🙂

The Rapid Rise Of Freelancing & What It Means For You In 2018 (And Beyond)

According to a study conducted by Upwork and the Freelancer’s Union, freelancers comprised 36% of the US work force and contribute $1.4 trillion each year to the economy.

The same study predicts that by 2027, freelancers will actually make up the majority of the workforce in America.

This is an unprecedented rise in popularity given that not too many years ago full-time freelancers were only a tiny fraction of the workforce in the US. So what is that has thrown gasoline on the fire of the freelance economy, and what can we expect the future of freelancing to hold?

Factors Contributing to the Growth of Freelancing 

In recent years, a number of factors and scenarios have come together to create the perfect storm for freelancing.

It isn’t any one of these factors that’s been the only force behind the growth of freelancing, but rather a combination of all of them together. Some of the main factors contributing to the rapid rise of freelancing are:

Technological Advances

By far one of the biggest driving forces behind the growth of freelancing is the technological advances that have made it possible for freelancers to perform a wide range of jobs while working remotely.

Popular online freelancing platforms enable freelancers to connect with clients who are looking to hire someone to complete a project.

And, through various apps and software, freelancers can perform everything from graphic, design and even software development using only their laptop and WiFi connection.

Changing Ideals of the Perfect Career

A couple generations ago, the ideal career was a steady nine-to-five position in an office with good benefits and a good salary.

For many people, this is still the ideal career. For a growing number of others, though, the ideal career has changed. More than ever before, people are starting to value other career benefits such as the ability to set their own hours and the ability to work remotely and travel when they please.

This is especially true of the millennial generation, who, on the whole, value these benefits more than any generation before them.

Since freelancing offers these career benefits in spades, it has become a natural choice for those who want something different out of their career than what a traditional career offers.

Increased Demand for Freelancers

As the freelancing economy has grown, many companies have begun to realize the benefits of hiring freelancers as part of their workforce. Freelancers allow companies to be more flexible and versatile in how they go about completing various projects.

For example, if a company needs a logo designed, they are able to quickly hire a freelance logo designer online for a one-time project rather than having to go out and recruit a graphic designer to join their company as an employee.

Freelancers also provide companies access to a diverse base of skills and backgrounds that they can leverage.

Before the freelancing economy, a US company would be largely limited to hiring US employees and local ones at that.

Now, though, a company can recruit freelancers from all over the world and make use of their diverse backgrounds and skillsets to come up with more innovative, out-of-the-box solutions.

Combined, these three factors have created the perfect conditions for freelancing to rapidly grow, and right now we are just looking at the beginning of freelancing and the rapid increase in popularity.

So, What Does The Future Of Freelancing Actually Look Like?

Experts agree that we are in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and plenty of big changes are still to come in regards to the way people work and the careers they pursue.

This is true for both the freelancing economy as well as the more traditional careers. Outlined below are some of the possibilities for what the future of freelancing holds in store.

Automation Remains a Big Concern

There’s no doubt that automation is eating into many of careers that people once commonly held. Today, automation taking the place of employees remains a big concern.

However, freelancers are better prepared to survive this challenge than most employees. For one, surveys show that freelancers are more aware of the challenge that automation presents, with 55% of freelancers saying they are concerned about the impact of automation versus just 29% of non-freelancers.

Beyond this, the roles that freelancers play aren’t likely to be replaced by a machine anytime soon.

Robots and AI may be able to fulfill many positions, but we’re still a long way away from coming up with an AI that can adequately perform creative tasks common in freelancing such as sales copywriting and design.

The Freelancing Economy Will Continue to Grow

The factors driving the growth of freelancing aren’t likely to slow down anytime soon, and, as already mentioned, freelancers are expected to comprise a majority of the workforce in the United States by 2027.

Freelancing may have experienced a major boom in recent years, but analysts agree that we are just at the beginning of that boom rather than the end.

Freelancers Will Begin to Exert Political Influence

In one study, 72% of freelancers surveyed said that they would consider crossing party lines to support a political candidate who indicated that they would support the interests of freelancers.

Freelancers face several political hurdles, such as high small business taxes and access to healthcare. As the freelancing workforce continues to grow, you can expect their political influence to grow as well.

Wrapping It Up…

There’s two ways about it, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be involved in the freelancing economy.

Businesses all over the world have just begun to realize the value that freelancers are able to offer, while at the same time talented workers all over the world are just now beginning to realize the benefits that freelancing offers over a traditional career.

As the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues to shape the way people work and the roles they fill, freelancers are uniquely positioned to make the most of the ever-evolving economy that we have today.

Fiverr Review: Why You Should NEVER Use Fiverr For Freelance Work

I’ll be honest, I always liked the concept behind

Just a few clicks and a client can place an order with a freelancer based on a specific set of deliverables.

Easy peasy, right?

Sure, but it comes at a cost. A big one.

This is one the few freelance platforms where buyers are given free reign to abuse, threaten and outright blackmail sellers any way they like.

Why? Because Fiverr turn a blind eye to it.

In this post, I want to share a recent bad experience as a seller on Fiverr, and why I decided to give up on the platform altogether.

How A Regular Order Quickly Turned Into A Hostage Situation

While I’ve been using Fiverr myself (on and off) for a while, this particular experience relates to my girlfriend’s account, not my own.

(I’ve been advising her on building up a reputable account, and how to go above and beyond with every last order. Everything stated is her doing, I’m just an observer.)

In this case, she had just gotten another $5 order on her logo gig, which seemed to be like any other… or so we thought.

The order was fulfilled in good time, and my girlfriend had even included a bonus logo concept as well as the source file (which is usually part of the more expensive package).

The client “loved” one of the concepts and so we proceeded to send her the appropriates file sizes, as stated in the gig description.

Soon after, things got a little weird.

The client came back asking for a social media kit to go with the logo, something that is clearly not offered as part of her gig.

Against my advice, my girlfriend decided to deliver the additional work, despite not getting paid any extra for it.

After that, the client responded with even more demands and some changes to the social media files.

At this point, she agreed enough was enough.

Despite every effort to please this person, they were clearly overstepping their boundaries here.

So, she sent the client a polite message:

The next reply was the nail in the coffin.

This is when the client went from simply overstepping boundaries to unquestionable blackmail. (The equivalent of taking my girlfriend’s Fiverr reputation hostage.)

F*cking disgusting.

While she took some time to ponder a response and reach out to Fiverr support for assistance, the client did eventually go ahead and leave a 1 star review.

Presumably this was to show her he/she wasn’t kidding.

Soon after, while still waiting on Fiverr’s response to the support query, the client paid an extra $10 for the social media kit.

Of course, the payment was accompanied by yet another threat.

At this point, all I wanted to do was go all Liam Neeson and hunt this person down so I could repeatedly punch them in the face.

(Seriously, I would have paid good money for the privilege.)

But, at the time, I still had hope that Fiverr support would step in and rescue my girlfriend from this PITA client.

Enter The *Almighty* Fiverr Support Team

When the response came back from Fiverr support, they told her they couldn’t force the buyer to accept the order.

Okay, that’s fair enough. (Even though the buyer already accepted it, technically.)

They also suggested drawing up a list for the buyer to show the work has been completed in accordance to the gig requirements.

Honestly, this reply just didn’t cut the mustard.

My girlfriend communicated in her initial email that the client was trying to extort her for free work outside the agreed terms, by leaving a negative review if she didn’t comply.

Of course, it wasn’t really about the work, it was about seeking protection from an abusive client who was blatantly pushing their luck.

Their reply didn’t give either of us any confidence that Fiverr really understood that, and even at this stage we felt like they didn’t want to get involved.

Here was her reply to Fiverr:

At the same time, she also responded to the buyers latest threat, explaining that she would not continue to work with them unless the feedback was changed/removed.

(Again, this is feedback that was clearly and intentionally left to bully her into providing work outside of the agreed terms.)

A fair request by anyones standards, right?

Well, apparently not.

Rather than acknowledge what the buyer had done up until this point, Fiverr immediately turned the tables on my girlfriend.

Turns out, she was the one breaking all the rules.

Because she had asked the client to change their feedback, she was no longer entitled to any help from Fiverr support.

You can imagine how we both felt reading this.

Everything that the buyer had said and done prior to her last message was now being swept under the rug — as if never happened at all.

Fiverr essentially chose to support a manipulative bully, leaving my girlfriend with a permanent stain on an account she’d worked so hard to build up.

Case closed.

What a f*cking joke.

Think This Was Just A One-Off? Think Again.

If everything that happened wasn’t upsetting enough, it’s knowing that this person is still running rampant on Fiverr, preying on defensless sellers without a shred of repercussion.

And believe me, there are plenty of buyers doing exactly this on Fiverr, knowing they can and will get away with it.

How do I know?

Well, as all of this was happening, I did some research to see if any other sellers went through a similar ordeal with a buyer.

Very quickly, I found a number of almost identical cases on the Fiverr forum dated years back. (that’s right, years.)

Here are just a few examples:

And this…

And this…

I could go on, but I won’t.

This is clearly something that’s been going on for a long time and it all stems from giving buyers too much power over sellers.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Fiverr, it’s that clients are ALWAYS more valued than freelancers.

Doesn’t matter how much time you put into a project, or how hard you worked on it, or even how well you handled communication during a dispute, when it really comes down to it…

…freelancers have little to no protection.

Even when it’s a clear cut case in your favour, there’s still every chance the client will come out on top. All it takes it one tiny thing you “did wrong” according to their terms of service and EVERYTHING else is disregarded

The worst part?

Looking at the evidence, it’s obvious to me that Fiverr is well aware of what’s going on, yet is still willing to sit back and let it happen.

Tut, tut.

A Final Message To Fiverr…

If you’re a decision maker at Fiverr and you’re reading this, I implore you to seriously reconsider your current support procedures for freelancers.

It’s not right that someone can put all that time and effort into building up an account and over-delivering at every possible opportunity, only to be shot down by the very people you rely on to protect you.

Look, I don’t want to abandon Fiverr.

I don’t want to be telling people to avoid your platform.

But after everything that has happened, you haven’t left me any choice.

Until something is done to protect freelancers from this kind of abuse, I will continue to spread this post and do whatever I can to prevent others from falling victim to your one-sided support team.

The second you actually do something about it and give freelancers a way to fight back, I’ll be more than happy to update the post.

How To Get Your First Job On Upwork Using These 3 “Secret” Ingredients

You’ve signed up for a freelancer account.

You’ve spent hours filling out your profile to perfection.

And you’ve wasted countless days pumping out proposal after proposal without so much as a rejection email to show for it.

Sound familiar?

Well, you’re not alone. In fact, this is something a LOT of new freelancers struggle with when they first jump into the difficult world of Upwork.

And, sadly, it’s an experience that ultimately leads people to come to false conclusions about the platform as a whole.

But, as I often find myself saying these days, the problem isn’t Upwork. The problem is your approach to Upwork.

Flawed Advice

I want to start off by saying that it’s not your fault.

The internet is riddled with garbage advice on every topic imaginable, from relationships, to marketing, and, of course, freelancing.

Most of the stuff you read about Upwork is based on traditional thinking. Approaches that work great in the real world, but in reality, they fall flat in the kind of online environment that Upwork harbors.

Despite popular belief, success on Upwork (or any freelance platform, for that matter) isn’t predetermined.

The truth is:

  • You don’t need previous experience
  • You don’t need a portfolio
  • And you don’t to be qualified

Any “resource” that says otherwise is just spewing flawed advice that’s long passed it’s sell-by-date. The kind of stuff that lingers on old forums and blogs like a fart in an elevator.

It doesn’t matter how dedicated you are, if you’re following the wrong advice, you’ll just keep spinning your wheels until, eventually, you burn the f**k out.

Why Should You Listen To Me?

I just told you that most of the “Upwork advice” out there is total crap, so what makes mine any different?

It’s a good question, and one I hope you at least pondered in the back of your mind.

All I can say is, unlike most of what you read nowadays, I’m actually applying what I teach in my own business. (In fact, you can head over to my Upwork profile right now and confirm for yourself.)

And what I’m about to share with you is the exact strategy I used from the beginning, allowing me to secure copywriting work at $35/hr, and closer to $100 only months later.

And I did it…

  • Without ANY copywriting experience
  • Without a SINGLE portfolio piece
  • With ZERO relevant qualifications

But more than that, I did it regardless of having virtually no history on Upwork, and with more established copywriters were charging less than I was.

How I Pulled It Off…

I’d like to tell you that I’m gifted. I’d like to tell you that I’m incredibly intelligent and that I somehow managed to “hack” my way to the top.

But the truth is, I was just lucky.

Before I started freelancing on Upwork, I was already very familiar with the platform because I’d been using it to hire freelancers for almost 5 years.

Being on the other side of the fence for so long gave me a distinct , unfair advantage when I eventually did switch sides.

And because of that, I was quickly able to reverse-engineer the core ingredients. The same ingredients I’m about to share with you.

The 3 “Secret” Ingredients

I put “secret’ in inverted commas because, despite very few people actually implementing these, they’re not really secret at all.

Ready to have your mind blown? These are the 3 core ingredients we’ll be tackling in this post:

  1. Authority
  2. Credibility
  3. Likability

Before you face-palm and click away, bare with me for a moment.

You already (hopefully) know that being authoritative, credible and likable are crucial ingredients for success. That’s not a new concept by any means.

But, if there’s one thing I’ve come to realize, it’s that just knowing this stuff isn’t enough by itself.

The key is getting a handle on these ingredients, and actively working them into your overall approach on Upwork. Then (and only then) will everything else start clicking into place.

That includes:

  • Your profile overview
  • Your proposals
  • Your work samples
  • Your communication

Alright, it’s time to get your wetsuit on because we’re about to do a deep-dive.

Ingredient #1: Authority

Being an authority, in laymen’s terms, is simply establishing yourself as an expert on a given topic.

And that’s the word people get hung up on. In fact, most people don’t see themselves as being an “expert” on anything.

The truth is, you’re hardwired to think that way, and it originates from a cognitive bias called the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Hence, the corollary to the Dunning–Kruger effect indicates that persons of high ability tend to underestimate their relative competence, and erroneously presume that tasks that are easy for them to perform also are easy for other people to perform. – Wikipedia

To put it plainly, “authority” is subjective.

Clients go to Upwork because they don’t know how to build a website. They don’t know how to write compelling copy. They don’t know how to build an iOS application…

Assuming you know more than they do, in their eyes, you are an authority. All that’s left to do is help them realize that fact. (And again, it is a fact.)

How To Project Authority On Upwork

Being an authority — or being knowledgeable on a given subject — is not enough to land clients on Upwork.

You need to know how to project your authority and market your expertise before you can really start to capitalize.

So let’s look at a few specific tactics you can use:

#1: Offer Suggestions To Demonstrate Value

Whenever you get the opportunity, take some time to make tailored suggestions based on the subject matter of the task.

For example: if a client is looking to improve the conversion-rate for a landing page, check out the page and offer a killer tip that can be implemented for a quick-win.

Not only will this prove to the client that you know your shizzle, but this value-first approach will land you more gigs than you’ve had hot dinners.

#2: Dig Deep Into The Client’s Needs/Pain Points

All too often do I read proposals that are entirely focused on the freelancer and their experience, qualifications, ability,… blah blah.

The problem here is that you don’t become an authority by telling someone you’re an authority. It’s perceptive, and the best way to influence that perception is to put the spotlight on the client.

Whether it’s in your profile overview or in your cover letter, you should always be aiming to help the client, as opposed to selling yourself. (I cover this more in my cover letter analysis post.)

There’s a huge difference between the two and trust me, the mindset you go into this with will almost certainly be carried over in your writing.

#3: Communicate With Power

Alright, so this isn’t a “tactic” per se, but your ability to communicate with power is possibly the single most important factor when it comes to projecting authority — so it has to be said.

For them most part, communicating in the right way stems from believing not only in your ability to deliver results, but also in the true value of your services.

(Wait, you do believe in the value you’re offering, right? Good.)

Not only that, but once you stop clamouring for clients and and start putting yourself in an “overbooked mindset”, you’ll naturally remove any semblance of desperation from your communication.

Ingredient #2: Credibility

Being “credible” ultimately comes to down to whether or not the client believes you can do the job.

Of course, you do inherit a certain level of credibility when you effectively position yourself as an authority…

…but that’s not always enough.

Not only do you need to demonstrate your expertise, but you also need to provide some form of evidence that YOU can get the results.

This is where, for many people, huge portfolios and high-level qualifications play a big part, but they’re not necessary. (In fact, they are among the least effective ways to establish credibility in my opinion.)

How To Establish Credibility On Upwork

There are a few ways I like to do this on Upwork, and each one is tailored to a specific, but universal goal.

Paint a picture of the end result.

I realize that’s sometimes easier said than done, but let me give you a few specific tactics you can use to achieve that.

#1: Give Them The Blueprint

This is something I’ve yet to see any other freelancers using, and it’s a technique I dubbed, “The Mind Map Method”.

Basically, it works by creating a mind map (or any other visual medium) that outlines your process from start to finish. I won’t go into it here because I wrote an entire post on it, so I highly recommend you check out.

There’s a fair bit of setup time to it, but once you’ve created your mind map, it’s something that really sets you apart from everyone else. Besides, it can be used repeatedly, so it’s absolutely worth the upfront investment.

#2: Attach A Highly-Relevant Sample Piece

Yes… I told you that having a portfolio isn’t a necessary component to being successful on Upwork. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Samples are still incredibly important when it comes to conveying credibility, and if you don’t have a portfolio to choose from, you can simply create them on-the-fly.

The biggest impact you can make with your proposal isn’t by submitting something super long or complex, and it isn’t even necessarily about outstanding quality…

…It’s about relevance.

Fortunately, starting from scratch and creating proposals on a need-to-have basis puts you at a massive advantage, because you’ll always have a scarily relevant sample to attach alongside your cover letter.

#3: Cough Up Some Stellar Testimonials

Nothing screams credibility like someone else vouching for your services, especially when the results speak for themselves.

If you’re just starting out on Upwork, you probably don’t have any Upwork feedback to leverage for this, and that’s okay. While this does seem like a bit of a catch-22, there’s a pretty simple workaround.

All you have to realize is…

Nobody said your testimonials must appear exclusively on your Upwork profile, and neither did anyone say they should come from Upwork itself.

In other words, you can source testimonials from from past clients, colleagues, or even friends and relatives, and then you can simply paste them straight into your cover letter.

Ingredient #3: Likability

“Likability” is often attributed to in-person scenarios, but I can tell you now, the same principles apply online, and Upwork is no exception.

The funny thing is, most freelancers tend to overlook this ingredient, and it’s one that will almost always give you the edge over your competitors.

Fortunately, only a slight shift is needed to take full advantage of this, and you’ll slap yourself once you realize just how powerful it is.

How To Be Insanely Likable On Upwork

A lot of this stuff comes down to just being human, and, as obvious as that may sound, you’d be amazed at just how many proposals read like a letter to the President.

Again, let’s look at a few specific tactics you can use:

#1: Address Each Client By Name (Seriously)

If there’s one stupidly easy way to set a good impression right from the start, it’s by addressing the client by their actual name.

Yet, even when I’ve clearly listed my name in the job description, I find more than half of applicants still fail to start their cover letter with it. (Which promptly lands them in the rejected archives.)

Can’t see a name? I’ve got some sneaky tricks for finding any client’s name, but I only share them with subscribers so you’ll have to gimme your email if you want in. 😉

#2: Inject Complements Where Appropriate

I struggled with this myself at first because I really hate forced compliments. (They’re so pronounced and full of intent.)

But I quickly figured out that even a subtle compliment slipped into your cover letter can go a long way, and if you know where to look, it’s really not hard to find a genuine reason to make one.

It could be as simple as…

  • Complementing the design of the client’s website
  • Acknowledging a need for the client’s product
  • Showing an interest in the client’s business or market
  • Thanking the client for a detailed job description
  • And literally dozens more…

Such a small thing, but it really does work wonders when it’s said in the right way and with conviction.

#3: Show Dem Pearly Whites

See the little circle that appears next to your name on Upwork? That’s right, your profile photo.

That little beaut is one seriously overlooked piece of real-estate, and using a cropped FB picture from your friends stag-party just isn’t going to cut it. Not this time.

The biggest impact you can make with your profile photo is to smile. And not just a casual smirk, but the biggest full on ear-to-ear smile you can muster.

A genuine smile is incredibly powerful. It communicates ease and openness, approachability and trustworthiness. It is perhaps the single most immediate way to express likability. –
The 11 Laws Of Likability

Wrapping It Up

Understanding and applying these core ingredients will not only allow you secure your first job on Upwork, but they are the key to landing consistent work on the platform.

And while I’ve only scratched the surface on the individual tactics, the lessons in this article alone will put you head and shoulders above the competition.

Feeling confident? It’s time to get yourself back on Upwork and win yourself that first job.

Good luck!

Getting Paid on Upwork: Are You Following These 6 Crucial Rules?

Navigating a freelance marketplace like Upwork can be a bit of a minefield at times.

That’s why it’s important to do your homework, especially when it comes to getting paid. After all, getting paid is one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, you are freelance writing. Duh.

Whether you choose to undertake hourly assignments or fixed-price contracts, the trick is to ensure that you’re adhering by Upwork’s payment policies in order to avoid getting yourself into any disputes or sticky situations.

You’ve worked hard, you’ve completed the contract and now naturally you want what you’re owed. Read on for my 6 crucial rules that you must follow so you can get paid successfully on Upwork.

#1: Leverage Hourly Protection

If you’re already familiar with Upwork, you’ll know that the site offers payment protection to freelancers for the hours they work, as long as the freelancer meets certain criteria.

First of all, you have to ensure that you’re logging the hours that you’re putting in through the timesheet on the Upwork Desktop app. You can simply download this app for free from the site as soon as you sign up.

Then, you need to make sure you’re regularly updating your Work Diary with activity labels. This is so you can demonstrate the tasks that you’re performing for the purpose of your client.

If you’ve never worked with a particular client before, this hourly protection is ideal if you’re unsure about them, or if they’re suspicious, in any way. Trust me, it’s a trust builder. But once you’ve got the hourly protection down, then you can proceed to kick ass at those fixed price contracts!

#2: Fix Your Timesheet To Avoid Disputes (Hourly Only)

There are some instances where freelancers won’t qualify for hourly payment protection. I know – what’s up with that, right?

At the end of each week, you’ll have a brief window which you can use to help you clean up your timesheet. Make sure you check over and edit it before you send it off to your client.

The key is to remove any segments that are added manually, as well as any incorrect or missing memos. If you have long periods of low activity, you might want to remove them too, as this won’t work in your favor if there are any disputes. It’s also worth taking out any screenshots that are irrelevant or inappropriate.

Basically, keep things tidy and you’re laughing!

#3: Leverage Fixed-Price Protection

Not only does Upwork aid freelancers working on hourly contracts, but the site also offers payment protection for fixed-price contracts.

When you first start working with a new client on a fixed-price contract, there is the option to split heavier workloads into milestones. The client must always fund the next milestone in the contract. Then the money will be held in Escrow until the work has been completed to, what the client deems, a satisfactory level. Then the client approves the milestone and you gain access to your dollar. It’s as simple as rice and peas.

Like with hourly protection, fixed-price protection allows you to develop trust between yourself and your client which will hopefully result in a happy long-term relationship!

#4: ALWAYS Submit Your Work For Fixed-Price Jobs

What a lot of freelancers don’t realise is that sending work through Upwork’s messaging service or via email is considered as unofficial delivery. I was also guilty of this in the beginning!

The best way to go about it is to submit your work through the Upwork contract which will then kick off a two-week review period. The client can request changes or edits to be made to your work within this time limit. When the client is satisfied, they will approve the milestone and you will get paid! Happy dance!

However, if the client gives you the silent treatment and you don’t hear from them within these two weeks, you will still be sent the payment at the end of the review period. Another happy dance!


#5: Set Up Automatic Payments

You can choose the way that you get paid by Upwork, both through the payment method and the payment schedule.

In terms of method, you can decide which way you’d like your mullah to come through to you. The most popular methods are direct to your bank account or via PayPal. You can also have the funds wired to your bank or delivered through Payoneer.

In terms of schedule, you can choose to either get paid weekly (every Wednesday), twice per month (the first and third Wednesday of the month), monthly (the last Wednesday of every month), or quarterly (the last Monday of each quarter). Choices, choices!

However, make sure you choose carefully. As you get charged a flat-fee for every withdrawal, it’s better to specify a higher payout amount. Think about it.


#6: Don’t Be Tempted By Outside Payment Methods

As originally talked about in this article, there are plenty of clients who try to coax you into being paid outside of Upwork. The little rebels. Now it goes without saying that you will lose Upwork’s protection by agreeing to this.

I can understand why it’s so attractive; you get to skip the 324 fees of Upwork which end up taking a big chunk out of your wage (okay, slight exaggeration). And you can get paid according to your own terms and time schedule.

However, this is a little risky. If you get caught by Upwork then you could lose your account. Say what you like about Upwork, but it is a core driver of leads for your business as a freelance writer. So, be careful.

It is tempting in one sense, but completely not worth it in another. If you choose to get paid via PayPal for example, and there’s a dispute, PayPal tends to favor buyers over sellers. So not only would it be bye bye client, but it would also be bye bye money! Not cool.

If you really, absolutely, unequivocally want to take your client off the platform, there is an opt-out fee that few freelancers even know exists. It’s pricey, though.

Wrapping It Up

Essentially, it’s all about putting measures in place and respecting Upwork’s policies in order to protect yourself and your wages.

Being a large freelance marketplace, I know Upwork can be overwhelming at times. The getting paid side of it can be a little challenging to get your head around, especially when you’re new to it all, but if you follow these 6 rules then you won’t go far wrong.

And you’ll be an Upwork pro before you know it!

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