Finding freelancer jobs in South Africa can be pretty challenging. Beginner freelancers are hardest hit by the overall challenge of landing freelance jobs in the country. In spite of this, the demand for freelancer jobs in South Africa is on the rise as more South Africans embrace the gig economy through online platforms. The digital space also revolutionises the job markets by opening up job spaces that were initially hard to get into. It does this through online job boards, social media, and other online job platforms. First, however, you have to master the inner workings of the freelancer jobs and the gig economy to comfortably earn a living and enjoy the freedom that comes with it.
What is a Freelancer?
A freelancer is an individual who provides services to clients without subscribing to conventional employment terms. Typically, freelancers are self-employed and work on multiple projects at the same time.
Unlike employees in formal employment, freelancers earn money either per task, per day or per hour, and most freelancing jobs are short-term.
While freelancers are not employed by any particular company, they might get into agreements with businesses to limit their services to a specific company until a project is completed. However, some companies allow freelancers to work for other businesses as they deliver on their projects.
Types of Freelance Jobs?
Most freelancer jobs are in the creative space, such as copywriting, photography, graphic design, transcription and web development. Beyond this, a freelancer can work in all service-based sectors such as coaching, consulting, accounting, among others. Here are the types of freelancer jobs available in the job market:
Developer (Programmer, Coder)
Developers are in high demand in today’s digital space as companies, businesses and creative projects attempt to establish a strong online presence. These organisations hire the services of a coder to develop apps and websites for their organisations.
Writer or Copywriter
Writing is held in high regard in the digital space, increasing a writer’s demand in the gig economy. A writer’s main role is to create written content for blogs, websites and other digital platforms. In today’s marketing circles, content is declared king, making a writer a valuable asset for any company seeking to establish a strong digital footprint. In turn, companies assign heavy budgets for creating high quality written content, i.e. press releases, blogs, articles and guides.
Like other digital skills, creating written digital content as a writer requires adequate training, stellar grammar, and a knack for storytelling.
Creative design is an important component of digital content. It involves logo designs, web design and brochure design. Designers with a wealth of experience and a good portfolio often land more jobs than they can actually handle. However, to attain this level of experience, you need to build a name for yourself in the design space over time.
The demand for marketers with digital skills is on the rise as more companies build a strong online presence. Working as a marketer online might mean a lot of things, from consulting, revamping website copy, running social media ads, and coming up with digital strategies for companies.
Digital marketers are responsible for creating, implementing and optimising digital marketing strategies that touch on every aspect of a buyer’s journey. Therefore, a digital marketer should have a deeper understanding of fundamental online marketing concepts like SEO, user experience, data analytics, email marketing and best conversion practices, among others. The demand for diverse skills in digital marketing creates opportunities for more people.
Videographer and Photography
Like all service businesses, a videographer and photographer can earn a decent living working as a freelancer online or offline. In a world that is increasingly using visuals to represent ideas and capture moments, the demand for videography and photography has gone up. To succeed as a videographer or photographer in the current world, you need to have a good portfolio showing your best work. You also need to have good video and photo editing skills.
Translator and Transcriptionist
While the internet allows corporations, companies and international businesses to have a wider reach, these organisations need to win local markets by localising content as they advertise their products and services. In some countries, the only way advertising and marketing agencies can connect with the locals is by infusing the local culture into their communication. To do this, most companies hire freelance translators. A typical freelance translator is well versed in their languages. However, to succeed as a freelance translator, you need to maximise your strengths and take on jobs that fit into your skillset.
Transcriptionists, on the other hand, transcribe speech into written documents. Essentially, you are supposed to listen to a recorded message or letter and write it on paper. The demand for these skills is also on the rise. You can sign up for a transcription site to transcribe recorded messages into a written document.
Closely related to transcription is video captioning. This skill involves converting and synchronising the audio content in a video into text. When a captioned video is played, the text is supposed to appear on the screen in segments in sync with the spoken words in the video.
A freelance accountant can take on a variety of jobs, including executing fundamental accounting practices, interpreting company taxes, applying a variety of accounting systems, managing credit, come up with budgets and financial statements and finally help with company bookkeeping. However, to succeed as a freelance accountant, you need to have an eye for details, extensive excel knowledge, a good understanding of tax laws and commercial awareness.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), also known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM), is all about understanding search engines and how to position your content to rank better on the search engines. This is a crucial skill in the digital space as it determines your content’s visibility online. This, in turn, influences your website’s traffic. Most SEO experts have a good understanding of:
- The best SEO practices
- Paid advertising
- Is keen on picking up search trends
- Have a good grasp of inbound marketing
- Knows how to write for the web
- Is well-versed in content strategy
- Understands SEO tools, SEO goal setting, and Google analytics
Branding and PR
As a freelance brand communications expert, you will always find jobs to work on. Some of the most common jobs you will find include brand activation, product launches, native advertising, and brand awareness campaigns, among others.
The demand for PR consultants has also been on the rise in the recent past as more people try to shape public opinion around their personal image. This is especially true for most companies and public figures on social media. As a freelance PR consultant, you need to stay up to date with the latest trends in the dynamic PR environment. To do this, you must have all the right tools and information.
To venture into freelance PR consultancy, you can sign-up for online short courses for lessons on creating content, event management, crisis management, manage social media, and gauge public reaction to PR campaigns. Like writing and web designing, you can execute your role as a freelance PR professional remotely.
Human Resource Manager
Human resource management is a crucial component of any business structure. You can work remotely or in the office as a freelance human resource manager, depending on what works best for you and your client. Unlike most other freelance jobs on this list, you need some experience in a human resource managerial position for you to be able to land gigs. This makes it hard for beginners to land freelance HR roles.
Choosing Freelancer Jobs Over Formal Employment
Arguably, conventional employment has benefits hardly present in freelancer jobs. However, the flexibility, freedom and choice that comes with freelancer jobs compensate for it. Often, freelancers set their schedule, choose tasks to work on, determine the amount they would like to earn on a monthly basis, and above all, get to spend more time with their loved ones.
Businesses also prefer outsourcing tasks to freelancers, partly because of the substantially lower cost of maintaining a freelancer and mainly because of the high-quality jobs offered by the freelancers. Given that most jobs are done remotely, businesses do not have to incur the cost of relocating an employee from their country of origin to the businesses’ country of operation. All the work can be done online using work planning software and tools.
How Do You Land Freelancer Jobs in South Africa?
Freelancing is gradually becoming a common employment option. According to a report by Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends, millennials opt for flexibility brought by freelancer jobs with full-time stability. Employers are also embracing freelancers for the value they offer at a minimal cost.
When looking for freelancer jobs in South Africa, it is prudent for you to focus most of your energy on online job boards and platforms. Typically online job boards post freelance job opportunities which offer choices for freelancers.
For you to take advantage of these opportunities, you need to position yourself well. First, you need to have a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of past tasks done by you. It proves your abilities and helps a client understand what you have to offer. Second, you need to know how to pitch. Simply put, pitching is convincing a client to hire you for the advertised role. Third, you should have a CV and a cover letter. While some clients won’t ask for your CV or cover letter, it is always wise to have them ready. Finally, and most importantly, you should have the skills needed to execute the job. You need both soft skills and hard skills for you to build meaningful relationships with your client and play your role as a freelancer.
Where to Find Freelancer Jobs?
If you have been looking for freelancer jobs from home, you probably have asked yourself how can I find freelance work in South Africa? As a client, you might have also asked yourself how do you find freelancers to work for you? Or what is the best way to find and hire a freelancer? Or where can I find a freelancer to hire? While there is no one answer to all these questions because of the uniqueness of each freelance job, you can still find freelance jobs or hire a freelancer online. You can opt to work remotely, where you handle freelance jobs from home South Africa or work in an office. Here is a list of job boards or places where you can find a variety of tasks for all levels of freelancers, including freelance jobs online for beginners South Africa.
More often than not, when looking to join the gig economy, freelancers often encounter the challenges of landing a job. At this stage, these challenges seem like the only hurdle you need to overcome to make it. However, as you advance in your freelancing journey, you learn there are more challenges than you knew. For instance, as a South African freelancer, you have to deal with the nitty-gritty of tax compliance by meeting all your tax obligations. If you are not familiar with this subject, you might struggle to meet the minimum tax requirements. Fortunately, NoSweat has simplified your work as a freelancer by streamlining all the processes in their system.
Essentially, NoSweat lists freelance jobs on its platform. You then sign up, look for tasks that you are well-suited for, work on them, and get paid. The platform will then pay all the taxes to the SAR, leaving you with your take home amount. NoSweat also allows clients to post their jobs on the platform for freelancers to take up. What makes the system even better for South Africans is that it was founded by two South Africans.
SA Creative Networks
What are the odds that you will be seen as a creative by the right audience? SA Creative Networks solves this problem by allowing creatives to showcase their work on the platform. On this site, you can connect with other creatives, consume relevant industry news, and find employment. It caters for the needs of all types of creatives, including part-time or full-time professionals and freelancers.
The South African Freelancer’s Association, SAFREA, promotes and supports freelancers in the media and communication space. The platform offers training, resources and tools to improve the capacity of its members. It also organises networking events for its members to connect with other freelancers.
If you need to join a platform that supports freelancers in the media and communication industry, then SAFREA is the right place to be. However, it runs a membership plan where users can subscribe to a plan that suits their needs and interests well.
According to their homepage, SAFREA has a network of more than 500 skilled writers, proofreaders, editors, illustrators, graphic designers, translators and researchers. It also accommodates the needs of all other professionals in the media and communications industry. As a freelancer in SAFREA, you are likely to work with any one of South Africa’s major media outlets and other international clients.
SAFREA appreciates the shift that is happening in the media industry world over. Essentially, the budget for full-time staff is reducing in the industry, leaving freelancing as the best alternative for finding expert skills. International clients love working with South African freelancers in the media and communication industry because of their stellar grammar, good English speaking ability, high-quality education and conformity to international employment standards. As a freelancer with SAFREA, you are likely to have enough work on your plate at any given unit time.
Upwork is an online job platform for freelancers in different fields. It connects clients to freelancers at a fee known as tokens. Most freelancers in UpWork have the following skills:
- Design and Creative
- Development and IT
- Sales and Marketing
- Admin and Customer Support
- Writing and Translation
- Finance and Accounting
- HR and Training
- Engineering and Architecture
To get jobs on UpWork, you need to create an account on the platform. This includes providing your personal details, payment details, proof of address, payment details and creating a freelancer’s profile. When creating your profile, you have to elaborate the services you offer exhaustively and your rates – typically hourly rates in USD.
UpWork connects freelancers to clients with both long-term and short-term projects. Additionally, you are likely to get hired for projects with different difficulty levels. Some projects are more complex than others. Even so, if you have what it takes to deliver high-quality work, you can make a decent living and a career as a freelancer on UpWork.
In the social media era, more online platform users prefer sites with simple user interfaces. Mintor is one of these platforms. It is a chat based employment and development platform that uses a top of the line AI technology and chatbot to develop solutions that address job performance problems and unemployment.
Other than freelancer jobs, you can access a wide variety of jobs in South Africa on this platform. The platform provides for the needs of job seekers who are looking for better opportunities in South Africa by connecting them to companies that will offer them job opportunities and relevant work experience.
JOBVINE makes it easy for freelancers in South Africa to land jobs in their field of specialisation. The common types of freelancer jobs available in this platform include:
- Graphic Designer
- Software Developer
- Project Manager
To join the JOBVINE freelance community, you need to register on the platform, fill in the relevant information, create a profile, and upload some of your past work. Once you have a solid profile, you have to find work by connecting with clients. After getting work, you have to deliver high-quality tasks to get endorsements which will improve your chances of getting more jobs on the platform.
Freelance Capetown is a freelance and outsourcing platform. It links Cape Town freelancers to the global job market. The platform offers an opportunity to skilled freelancers seeking jobs in:
- Graphic Design
- Marketing and Media
- Film and TV Broadcasting
- Web Development
Nichemarket is ideal for any freelancer who wants to increase their visibility online. You can easily set up your profile on the platform by adding your business to the platform. Once your profile is up, clients can contact you for your services if they like what you have to offer.
Rent a Student
Rent a Student is a fairly old platform. It was started in 2008 for people to source temporary work online. Currently, the platform has more than 50,000 students seeking to earn through part-time work. Employers too can find reliable and skilled freelancers to work on their projects on Rent a Student.
People Per Hour (PPH)
People Per Hour (PPH) is an international job platform offering a wide range of jobs to South Africans. You can easily find jobs on:
- Technology and Programming
- Writing and Translation
- Digital Marketing
- Video, Photo, and Image
- Music and Audio
- Social Media
- Marketing, Branding and Sales
Just like UpWork, PPH works by linking clients to freelancers who can work on a project and are paid per hour or per project. To get South African jobs on this platform, you can input the location filter and find tasks near you.
You can sign up to become a freelancer on PPH by completing a detailed online application. After submitting your application, the platform’s moderators will review your submission and approve or reject your application. If you are approved, you will get access to a pool of jobs from international clients.
Finding freelancer jobs in South Africa is not as hard as you might think. All you need is to package yourself well to showcase your skills and position yourself appropriately on the right platform. Sign up on any one of these online job platforms to start or scale your freelance businesses.