By now, we’ve all seen those ridiculously long lists of places to find freelance work online. (I'm in the process of creating my own, but with a unique twist to make it actually useful.)
And while list-posts like that are an invaluable resource for any freelancer trying to kickstart (or grow) their business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by just figuring out where to focus your energy.
In this post, I’ll tackle two biggest freelance platforms on the interwebs right now, giving my perspective on which of these monsters you should really be paying attention to.
Who Are These Giants?
In case you’ve been living in your Grandma’s basement for the past couple years, let’s quickly establish why we’re even comparing these two juggernauts in the first place.
Upwork is the result of a merger between oDesk and Elance back in March, 2014, and, as a result, it’s now the biggest freelance exchange in the world.
The platform is estimated to receive 43 million visits per month, and is said to house over 5 million client accounts, and 12 million freelance accounts, with jobs worth more than $1 billion in revenue each year.
Fiverr, established in February, 2010, is the $5+ marketplace that now ranks in the top 100 most popular sites in the US.
The platform is estimated to receive 35 million visits per month, and is also said to facilitate close to 1 million transactions per month.
Understanding The Key Differences
Despite both Upwork and Fiverr having a huge presence in the online freelancing world, and despite being compared side-by-side in this post…
...they aren’t actually all that similar.
Yes, they both allow you to connect with clients across various skill categories, but the similarities stop there for the most part.
Truth is, these platforms function very differently, and before you can even begin to know which platform is best, you need to really understand those key differences.
In a nutshell, this is how it looks:
- You offer services closely related to your skills
- You bid on jobs to win client contracts, where scope is set by the client
- The earning potential is broader
- You offer gigs that can span across any number of services
- Clients buy your gig, where the scope is set by you - the freelancer
- The earning potential is on the lower side (initially, at least)
So… Which One Is Better?
The reason I can’t give you a straight answer to this question is because it’s the wrong question to begin with.
One isn’t inherently better than the other.
Both freelance platforms compliment your freelance business in entirely different ways - as highlighted in the comparison above.
Tapping into either of these can be lucrative -- and you can absolutely benefit from both -- but it’s more effective to master one strategy before moving on to another form of lead generation.
To summarize: Upwork is better for finding high-paying, long-term clients, while Fiverr is better for offering multiple high-volume, narrow and repeatable services.
The Real Question
The real question you should be asking has been staring you point-blank in the face since you started reading this article.
It’s not: “which platform is better”. That’s always going to be subjective.
In fact, it’s the same question I embedded into the title of this article… “Which one Is right for YOU and YOUR business?”
And if I frame the comparison in a slightly different way, it becomes a whole lot easier to identify which is the best fit.
Wrapping It Up
Look, I don’t know what business you’re in. And I don’t know what services you offer.
What I do know is, you should be able to take what I given you and figure out pretty quickly whether or not sites like Upwork or Fiverr fit into your business (not the other way around).
If for some reason you can’t do that, then you need to take a step back and figure out what it is you’re actually offering, and what format best fits that offering.