If you have tech skills, you can draw top pay in the freelance market. And your tech skills don’t even have to be extraordinary. Indeed, you can make a great living simply designing simple websites or emails for small businesses.
Dozens of online platforms connect people who need technological help — from troubleshooting to coding — with the digital experts who can do the job. Freelancers often set their own rates. And, even when the rates are set for you, they typically exceed $30 per hour and quickly climb to the $75-to-$100-per-hour range.
And most online platforms that cater to the technologically savvy are agnostic about your specific technological skills. They invite people expert in everything from analytics to WordPress to sign up, describe their niche, competence level and rates. Because the demand for almost every niche is great, these sites match your skills to job requests.
Here are a dozen sites at which you can score top pay for your tech skills.
If you have at least five years of experience, you can apply to join Braintrust. A tech cooperative, all prospective freelancers are given a piece of the network, so your acceptance hinges on being interviewed and accepted by the freelancers already there. Your Braintrust shares don’t pay dividends; they simply give you a vote in how the network operates. If you find a job through Braintrust, you’ll get 100% of your rate. The site will add a 10% fee to the client’s bill to pay network expenses.
Freelancers on the FreeUp marketplace are also heavily screened. But those who clear this hurdle say they find plenty of work and it’s well paid. You view open projects from employers. If you want to take a project, you contact the client for a 10- to 15-minute chat, during which the client decides whether to hire you. Freelancers are paid based on their skill level. The site doesn’t nick freelancers for fees, but it adds a 15% commission onto the client’s bill.
Robert Half connects workers with contract, temporary and permanent jobs in finance, accounting, tech, marketing, sales, healthcare, law and administration. This well-established staffing company also has a smartphone app that helps keep freelancers connected with work while they’re on the go.
Catalant uses software to help companies describe what skills they need. It then uses the same technology to search through its database of 70,000 registered freelance experts to find the right people for each job.
SMA Inc. enlists freelancers for software development, systems engineering, computer graphics and presentation, management analytics and other projects. The site asks freelancers to sign up with a detailed resume explaining not only what they’ve done in the past, but what systems they’ve used, how they measured their success and what roles they played in completing various projects. Those who make it through the screening process are invited to work on jobs that pay $28 to $80 per hour.
Toptal likes to brag that it hires only the crème de la crème of tech talent. It then markets that talent to corporate clients needing project work. In theory, freelancers set their own hourly rates and make their services available via the platform. However, a company spokesman says Toptal lets freelancers know when their expected hourly rates make them “uncompetitive.” The site is secretive about its markup, which is rumored to be substantial. But freelancers working here say they’re still well compensated.
Web design/user experience
WorkingNotWorking and Creatively are geared toward artists and designers. However, the positions these sites advertise are increasingly digital. So if you’re a designer of beautiful websites or a user-experience expert who can make websites and apps that are both intuitive and attractive, these are great places to post a portfolio and look for work. Neither site takes a commission from creatives who find work.
OnwardSearch is a staffing company that encourages workers to sign up online and post a resume and links to past work. It will try to match you with an employer who needs full-, part-time or temporary workers. Employers on this site hire workers in a wide array of technology and creative positions — project management and account services, web design and development, content and copy writing, video, animation and production.
If the client and worker agree on job details, Onward Search will handle the worker’s pay and provide the option of benefits. If the worker has benefits elsewhere, they can decline the benefit option in exchange for higher pay.
You don’t necessarily need mad coding skills to build a simple website with Wix or WordPress. However, thousands of people seek this service every year. If that’s your tech talent, you can find plenty of work on Fiverr. This broad-based marketplace allows freelancers to set the prices and parameters of the job they’re proposing. Clients come to you.
For instance, a designer named Zainsaeed100 proposes to build a three-page website for $100 and a 10-page site for $380. With more than 1,200 reviews, he’s probably made hundreds of thousands of dollars on the site. And since his web package is a fairly standard template, he can probably spin out new sites within a few hours.
Meanwhile, Fiverr Pros — those with more experience and credentials — offer bespoke sites at much higher rates, usually $1,000 to $5,000 per site.
Upwork is not a platform that SideHusl.com normally recommends. That’s mainly because the site has freelancers bid against one another for work. And that bidding process can drive rates into the basement. That said, if your technological skills are distinct and rare, you can make real money with Upwork. Just be careful not to get caught up in a competitive frenzy to win a job.
SkipTheDrive is a curated job board that helps you find telecommuting work in an array of fields from accounting to tech. Although many of the jobs are professional level, they also have a junior-level search function.
Most job listings are not original to SkipTheDrive. The site appears to scrape other job boards, such as CareerBuilder and ZipRecruiter, for many of its listings. However, SkipTheDrive does a good job of categorizing and culling for telecommuting work. And, unlike FlexJobs and many other curated sites, it does not charge job seekers for access.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent website that reviews moneymaking opportunities in the gig economy.