5 Unconventional Places to Scout for Web Work

Mar 27 2008 by Jacob Gube | 26 Comments

adrian on computer - photo by Bombardier from flickrIf you’re a freelancer or a full-timer looking for additional income, there’s a variety of places you can go to seek for project-based work.

There’s a ton of websites geared specifically for freelance workers, such as All Freelance Directory and Guru.com. Many of these sites do, however, charge you a subscription fee to access their job listings.

Typically, a lot of work comes from referrals, advertising in your local area, or through your website.

But if projects are running thin or you’re seeking to expand your project search, check out these 5 places you might not have considered before.

1) Google Advanced Search

Google Advanced Search screenshotThere’s a ton of sites you can visit to find project-based work, but it’s not efficient to go to each of these places and wade through outdated job listings.

If you want a speedier way, try out Google Advanced Search. You can customize how your search terms are used, extend the number of results per page, and limit the publish dates.

Here’s a few examples you can try (limited to “this week” dates):

2) eBay

ebay logo screenshotSo you’re really desperate, right? No one’s going to your website or responding to your local paper ads. No better way to get people to buy your stuff than on eBay.

If sellers can find people willing to buy a Wizards & Dragons musical snow globe (it’s nice, I’m going to get one), there’s a good possibility that you can get some jobs from there.

Here’s some categories you may want to list in:

3) Job Boards of Popular Blogs

technorati top 100 blogs screenshotThere’s a recent trend where top blogs are beginning to include a job listing section where readers can post and find jobs. It gives their audience – who probably have the same interests – a chance to meet and collaborate with other like-minded individuals.

Here’s a few job listing sections of some popular weblogs.

To help you find other blogs, here’s Technorati’s Top 100 blogs.

4) Classified Listings

Craigslist screenshotYes, craigslist isn’t only for finding dirt-cheap furniture and late night hook-up’s (or searching for your soul mate); you can also find web projects listed in your local area, as well as other geographical locations. Since it’s web work, many seekers don’t mind if you work remotely.

Aside from craigslist, check out these other online classifieds:

5) Websites That Need Work

Iceman Technologies screenshotIf you’re a web worker, chances are, you encounter lots of websites everyday.

Almost instinctively, whenever I see a website that I think needs a bit of work, I automatically check out the page source and reach for some Firefox Web Developer extension options like “Display Div Order“, “View CSS” and “View JavaScript“, looking for traces of Frontpage mark-up, or silly JavaScript code that can be harmful to a website’s security.

If you find a website that you think will benefit from a re-design, or if you find flaws that need immediate attention, shoot the administrator a polite email about the issues you find, and include your proposed fixes.

Contact them in a professional way, and they may hire you to remedy the issue. At the very least, you can feel good about not letting a poorly-developed site go on without doing something about it.

And yes, I am aware of the lack of padding on the left side of Six Revisions which affects people with smaller screen resolutions… and I’m doing something about it real soon. So, please, do exclude it from your list of “websites that need work”, thank you much! :)

26 Comments

Internet TV

March 28th, 2008

You may also want to try google or yahoo groups, which both have pleas from webmasters for paid help.

Bryon

March 28th, 2008

I actually need some web development done for a company I am trying to start. I had been trying to work with a web developer that I met through a friend but she has been slow to get back to me.

It will not be a huge site apx 10-20 pages. I would need a custom front end designed for the billing application I will be using http://www.freeside.biz/freeside/.

I am located in the Boston area so that would be my preference to work with someone in the area but not necessary. So please contact me with your info and some samples, and a list of languages you can code in, eg php, perl, css.

Thanks

Author’s note: Byron’s email address is Byron[at]AntsMarching[dot]net – comment filter didn’t let him post it – and I obfuscated it for him so he doesn’t get spam from crawlers.

Jacob Gube

March 28th, 2008

Hello everyone,

Feel free to post collaboration searches or jobs you need to fill, it would be great if — through this post — we can pair some people up.

Thanks,
Jacob

Bryon

March 28th, 2008

Humm my E-Mail was not included.
it is My name look above @AntsMarching dot net

- – -

I actually need some web development done for a company I am trying to start. I had been trying to work with a web developer that I met through a friend but she has been slow to get back to me.

It will not be a huge site apx 10-20 pages. I would need a custom front end designed for the billing application I will be using http://www.freeside.biz/freeside/.

I am located in the Boston area so that would be my preference to work with someone in the area but not necessary. So please contact me with your info and some samples, and a list of languages you can code in, eg php, perl, css.

Thanks

Eric

March 28th, 2008

#6 The comments section for this post =)

As with the above poster, I’m totally threadjacking this to bring your attention to a position at my company! This is for a full-time graphic design job at a video game company just outside of San Francisco. It’s a great place to work… take it for me!

http://www.telltalegames.com/company/jobs/graphicdesigner

Mike

March 28th, 2008

Considering the padding issue – I say don’t fix it. If people have screen resolutions that small, then they need to get over it and deal with the issue. Don’t bend over backwards catering to the minority because some schmuck using Windows 98 can’t see you website correctly.

Andrew

March 28th, 2008

Try putting a notice up at your local University’s Computer Help Desk. Most universities have them and anyone who works there will never take a job from a person who is looking. Ask them if you can put up a poster or to recommend you the next time someone is looking. :)

Penguin Pete

March 28th, 2008

@Mike

Need I remind you that there are now hand-held game consoles and cell phones that browse the web, too? I myself design for 100% liquid layout, so it fits anything from a wristwatch to a movie theater screen. It’s the only way to make even half of the people out there happy!

Doug @ Straw Dogs

March 29th, 2008

This has come at a perfect time. I’ve not got much faith in the dedicated freelance sites as they seem to be rammed full of cheap offers from India which can afford to massively undercut.

Going to try these out – thank you.

Nurkowanie

March 29th, 2008

A great article, thanks! It’s also good to let all your friends know that you’re free right now and you await some webdesigning offers – I’ve learned that there’s always a friend of a friend that has a company that’s just looking for a webdesigner right now. :)

dm

March 29th, 2008

@MIKE

“Don’t bend over backwards catering to the minority because some schmuck using Windows 98 can’t see you website correctly.”

Schmuck? For pete’s sake, there are those among us who happily use a thrird/fourth hand Win98 laptop because we can’t afford/choose not to spend money on upgrading to the latest all singing, all dancing s/ware & hardware and wouldn’t dream of complaining about a layout!

Ivan

March 30th, 2008

Great article with some additional links I had not seen before. I have used some of the paid for freelance sites and got some work from them. Be thorough in checking out the comany offering the work and present your case and why (perhaps) they should hire you over someone much cheaper. Make sure you reply to any emails quickly and politely and you may just get some extra work and even a longer term relationship.

Trench

March 30th, 2008

Very nice write-up… and unexpected lols with that final paragraph. :D

A quick note pertaining to the last paragraph (rather, pertaining to Mike’s “leave it as is” comment): The padding issue doesn’t just affect smaller screen resolutions, I had my FF sidebar open when I first visited the site and I’m testing out FF 3 beta 4 right now – I seriously thought I borked the site. Which made the final paragraph even better. It’s something that definitely needs fixed but I’m glad to see the lolfactor embedded in the article.

(In-fact, since it *is* a part of the article, it might serve you well to leave it as-is until page views start dropping.)

Not to draw attention away from the fact that the full article is good-stuff, which it is… I’m just suggesting that designers with a sense of humor heart this article. And its acknowledged borken padding.

(After the fix, I suggest creating a small button labeled “for Mike” which negates the fix when clicked. ftw)

Chaitanya Sagar

April 1st, 2008

That’s interesting.

Actually, its easier to look for freelancing work on our website – p2w2.com where you can not only earn money through freelancing work, but also learn (www.p2w2.com/blog/index.php) and connect with others of similar interests.

gabgab

April 4th, 2008

Muchas gracias for the info.

I still think that the good job ads are can be found at the sites with subscription.

Jennifer Sanders

April 5th, 2008

Hi Jacob,

I knew about ProBlogger’s job board; however, this post sure does offer a very extensive list of many places to search. I never thought about checking eBay.

There are many places that charge a membership fee to gain the job listings. Kinda sucks for people who need to get a job and are broke. I do understand that the paid job board needs to make money too, but there are tons of people who just can’t afford to pay the memberships of job boards.

I am really glad to see that you wrote this guide, I am sure that many people will find it in the months to come and find if very useful.

liam

April 21st, 2008

Very Good post, a Great list of resources. The best tip is that advanced Google search, I Didn’t know you could do that with Google and its such a good idea. Thanks for this.

Designer

November 24th, 2008

nice post. thanks

ravi

September 24th, 2009

A great article, thanks! It’s also good to let all your friends know that you’re free right now and you await some webdesigning offers – I’ve learned that there’s always a friend of a friend that has a company that’s just looking for a webdesigner right now

Justin Harter

October 27th, 2009

I’ve found that the larger site job boards like Smash Mag and Elance are packed to the rim with cheap Indian labor. Frankly, I’ll take any client from most anywhere if the job is something we can do, but I stick to my guns and shoot for local clients in and around Indianapolis, Indiana.

priyankar web designer

January 29th, 2010

I found some good work at http://www.shopfordesigns.com

Its a new site and hence less known. The competition is still low there.

mandarmani

September 27th, 2010

I have had good luck with classified listings… great place to look for work

Jeremy Warne

February 3rd, 2011

While freelancer sites are packed with cheap third world responses, don’t forget the natural advantage that you have in this area. Most people (or certainly a usable proportion on those sites) have a good understanding that you get what you pay for. In addition, almost all of those cheap responses are badly written, cut-and-pasted responses. If you write a proposal which directly responds to the detail they’ve given and requests more, in a professional way, the client won’t believe their luck. Do the first little bit for a discounted rate, then as you build a relationship you can raise it a little.

Another tip: email web agencies in your area and let them know that you’re around. You never know when you’ll chat to someone who’s just finished griping about how they really need just a few extra developer/designer hours in the day to finish a project.

Mark

May 5th, 2011

My advice would be:
1) Ask your clients to recommend you to people they know. Very powerful as it gives you credibility.
2) Approach companies that are in a similar industry/product. Most companies prefer to use suppliers that have knowledge of their industry.
3) Be persistent and network as much as you can.

Casey Strouse

July 5th, 2011

I’m gonna give #5 a shot. I’ve had lots of bad experiences with Craigslist, some mild successes with elance.com and freelancer.com, and am looking for a better way to get some work.

Jason Havner

August 29th, 2012

Jacob, great post. I was very surprised to see eBay on the list!

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