The Problem with Freelance Websites

I have been in the web design game for quite some time now. Unfortunately my lazy ass just decided to move away from Freelancing websites and focus more on marketing locally here in Atlanta. So why did I finally take the leap from the low pay, high expectations world of freelancing? It’s simple. I became fed up with the process and the clientele.

Let’s examine the process first.

Freelance websites allow you to compete with a seemingly infinite number of web developers and designers around the globe. I’ve seen as many as 200 freelancers place bids for a single job. What’s the odds of your bid, placed 144th, getting noticed by a potential client? I’m sure we can agree that the odds are not in your favor.

Most bids are well below market rate. I’ve seen bids as low as $35 for a complete website created by someone overseas (We all know what I’m referencing.) If I bid a proper rate of $2,500, I’ll never get noticed. In fact, potential clients will simply ignore me or decline my proposal based upon my rate. On average a website goes for approximately $300-$400. For that rate, most clients will demand full Search Engine Optimization, Graphic Design, and sometimes Hosting. You gotta be kidding me!

That brings us to the other issue with Freelancing; the clients.

Most clients have absolutely no idea what it costs to design a website and the value of your expertise in programmer. In some instances, I can’t blame a client for offering a few hundred bucks as freelance websites promote themselves as a low cost alternative solution to individuals and small businesses.

You also have a ton of design firms that charge clients market rates only to have you build the site for pennies on the dollar. You do the work, they make the real money. Sound fair? Of course it’s not fair. So what’s the solution (there’s always a solution)?

Let it go and move on. Find a better way to attract clients such as direct mail marketing, email marketing, Google AdWords, and excellent Search Engine Optimization. Increase your Social Media presence and create campaigns that are sure to attract your target audience. Promote your own brand and present quality work to your clients. Eventually word of mouth will also kick in and work tremendously in your favor.

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