The Ultimate Guide to Freelance Remote Job Sites for Small Business Owners

As an entrepreneurship consultant who has helped numerous small business owners and startups drive growth through leveraging freelance talent, I‘ve explored the breadth of popular freelance platforms in depth.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share my insights on the top 21 freelance remote job sites based on features, models, processes and more – to help you make informed choices as a business owner seeking remote freelance support.

Overview of Popular Freelance Platform Models

The freelance marketplace has evolved to offer diverse models to connect businesses with independent talent. Here‘s a quick overview:

Listing model: Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer allow freelancers to create profiles and listings showcasing their services. Clients can search profiles and directly hire.

Bidding model: Freelancers bid on projects posted by clients. Allows clients to compare proposals before hiring. Used by Freelancer, Guru etc.

Niche model: Platforms like DesignCrowd, Contena cater to specific niches like design, writing. Allows specialized freelancers to stand out.

Curated model: Toptal, FreeeUp and other platforms manually vet freelancers through selective screening and interviews. Focuses on quality over quantity.

Now let‘s explore the top freelance platforms for small businesses to find remote freelance talent.

1. Upwork

  • Over 12 million registered freelancers covering over 75 skill categories.
  • Made over $1 billion in freelancer earnings in 2020.
  • Has an easy sign up process and project dashboard for clients to post jobs.
  • Charges clients between 5-20% fees on project payments made through Upwork.

With its massive pool of freelancers and range of skillsets, Upwork is my top recommendation for small businesses to find tested remote freelancers quickly across diverse needs – from content creation to web development and more.

2. Fiverr

  • Over 3 million active freelancers or "sellers". Made over 50 million purchases in 2020.
  • Freelancers offer specific "gigs" or services starting at $5. Wide variety of digital services.
  • Ideal for small businesses to get started with freelancers. Handles payments securely.
  • 20% commission from sellers on orders. But expanded features for power sellers.

Fiverr‘s unique gig model offers an easy entry point for small businesses to test freelancers for bite-sized projects. The pre-priced services and built-in delivery timeline make the experience smooth.

3. PeoplePerHour

  • Over 2 million registered freelancers. Projects start at $50.
  • Covers software development, design, writing, marketing, admin services.
  • Allows small businesses to post projects and receive proposals from freelancers.
  • Charges clients 3.5% processing fee on payments to freelancers.

PeoplePerHour makes it simple for smaller businesses to post projects and bring on flexible freelance talent across many niches. I recommend PeoplePerHour for its breadth of digital freelance services at lower minimums.

4. Toptal

  • Claims to accept only the top 3% of applicants through rigorous screening.
  • Strong network of seasoned developers, designers, finance experts.
  • Higher pay than competitors – Over $100k average annual income for toptal freelancers.
  • Minimum hourly rate of $60. Higher project totals than other platforms.

For small businesses willing to pay premium rates for exceptional talent, Toptal grants exclusive access to elite, highly-vetted freelancers. Useful for mission-critical projects requiring niche expertise.

5. Guru

  • Over 1.5 million freelancers and 3 million+ clients
  • Freelancers set their own rates through reverse auction bidding.
  • Broad range of talents in writing, design, development, administrative work etc.
  • Clients pay a standard 2.37% payment processing fee to freelancers.

Guru is ideal for small businesses that want freelancers to compete and offer their best rates through bids. With its large global pool of freelancers, Guru makes it easy to get competitive proposals.

6. Designhill

  • Specialized marketplace for creative design services like logos, branding, web design etc.
  • Uses contest model. Businesses offer prize money. Designers submit entries.
  • Small businesses can access designs from hundreds of talented designers.
  • Additional services like design briefing and dedicated support available.

For small businesses seeking creative design assets like logos, I highly recommend leveraging the crowdsourcing model offered by Designhill. It‘s an affordable way to receive high-quality designs from global creative talent.

7. Cloudpeeps

  • Curated marketplace for hiring virtual assistants and freelancers.
  • Freelancers are vetted through an application process before joining.
  • Services like social media, marketing, customer experience, design offered.
  • Fixed packages starting at $599 per month for businesses.

Cloudpeeps streamlines the process of bringing on flexible virtual assistants. Through curation and fixed bundles, quality and experience are ensured -ideal for small business owners seeking ongoing remote freelance support.

8. Contra

  • Global network of vetted independent professionals.
  • Focus on high-skill services like engineering, product design, marketing.
  • Longer, more strategic projects compared to traditional freelance platforms.
  • $1000 minimum project size. 5% platform fee for clients.

For small tech startups and businesses seeking strategic expertise through larger, more complex projects, Contra‘s global talent network and selective onboarding provide access to proven remote freelance professionals.

9. Hubstaff Talent

  • Over 200 remote talent skills across development, design, writing, marketing etc.
  • Integrated time tracking, reporting, scheduling and payments.
  • Talent vetted through skill tests and background checks.
  • 15% service fee. Weekly payroll for freelancers.

Hubstaff Talent makes hiring and managing remote teams easier through its end-to-end freelancer management platform. Small businesses can leverage built-in tools with vetted talents specialized in serving remote clients.

10. Codementor

  • Platform for expert developers to offer programming assistance and tutorials.
  • Freelancers screened for programming competency before joining community.
  • Businesses can get help with dev projects or learn new skills.
  • $69 for 15 minute intro session. Ongoing support from $2/minute.

Codementor provides small dev shops and startups access to elite developers for ongoing mentorship. The instant 1:1 support helps resolve coding issues and skill gaps efficiently.

Key Takeaways as a Small Business Owner

  • Try both listing and bidding models – Each has pros and cons. Assess project complexity and flexibility.
  • Leverage niche platforms – Specialized sites have higher caliber talent for specific needs like design.
  • Consider curated marketplaces – More rigorous freelancer vetting improves long-term relationships.
  • Define clear project scopes – Set expectations for deliverables, timelines and communications upfront.
  • Use built-in collaboration tools – Platforms like Hubstaff Talent improve project transparency and organization.
  • Give feedback to freelancers – This helps strengthen working relationships for potential repeat hiring.

By matching your business needs with the right freelance marketplace model, small companies can effectively tap into the global talent pool of remote freelancers to drive growth in a scalable way.