The Truth About Freelance Platforms
Depending on who you ask, freelance marketplaces are either a blight or a miracle to the freelancing world. Not many people tell the truth about freelance marketplaces without being biased.
Here is the truth about freelance marketplaces. They can both be great and horrible for every freelancer. It depends on what the freelancer puts into learning and being successful on the platform and how each individual freelancer works. This is no different than any other way of working with clients.
Marketplaces make it both easy and hard to find clients. Clients are there ready to hire freelancers. The problem is thousands of other freelancers are there prepared to be hired. However, whether you are cold calling, networking, hoping for referrals, or looking for jobs on a freelance site, you are still competing against many other freelancers and companies. It all comes down to your reputation, ability to sell, and your skills and portfolio.
After you get a client, the next most important thing is getting paid. In general freelance marketplaces, do a better job of ensuring freelancers get paid as long as they follow the rules. The cost of this is paying the marketplace a small percentage. There also is the risk the site's support may decide with the client during a dispute. Working on your own lets you keep all the income, but it is up to keep yourself safe from scams, bad clients, and having to chase payments. No one will protect you when you are on your own.
These marketplaces are not horrible or a miracle by themselves. Like anything else, your success on a freelance site will depend on what you put into it and whether it is a good fit for you. Give them a try if you haven't. You might love it. Or you might hate it. Either way, it's a reflection on yourself and how you work, not on how good or bad these marketplaces are for everyone.