The Internet is overflowing with freelance job sites promising riches beyond your wildest imagination in exchange for just a few minutes of your time, but the harsh reality is that a lot of them are a waste of time. Usually an over-abundance of job-seeking freelancers from all over the world serves to drive prices down, making most jobs not worth the time for those of us in the West. Or the jobs on offer pay peanuts to begin with (I’m looking at you, SEO industry).

In response to this ‘race to the bottom’ more and more sites are springing up aimed at freelancers who want to eat more than beans on toast. These higher-quality sites usually offer something in the way of curation – either of freelance talent, or the jobs on offer, or both – to ensure well-paying gigs and equally good results. We’ve been test-driving a few of them for some time and thought we’d round up some of our favourites.

Contently

Specifically for the wordsmiths out there, Contently allows freelance journalists or writers to assemble a portfolio with relative ease (just give it the URL of a site you write for and it’ll whizz through and find your articles, or upload PDF scans of print work), which can then be used when pitching for work.

Contently also sports a “Writer’s Network” where freelancers are invited to pitch for exclusive work from some pretty huge publishers including Forbes, The Atlantic and BuzzFeed.

For freelancers Contently is totally free (we’re assuming any fees they take are on the publishers’ end), although is currently rather US-centric.

3Desk

Back home in good old Blighty, freelance job marketplace 3Desk is going great guns, signing up 300,000 users in just over a year. The focus here is on local work – although there’s plenty of remote / work from home stuff available too.

Like Contently you’ll be tasked with assembling a profile to woo potential clients, but 3Desk can pull in information from your social profiles, meaning most of the hard work is done for you. Just arrange it in a way you like and away you go!

Being UK-based you won’t get shafted with currency conversion or exchange rates either – day rates in the £400-£500 range are not uncommon.

Ooomf

Having recently “pivoted” (that’s startup speak realising your original idea was crap) to become a freelance job network, Ooomf is taking the high road with regards to quality, and has a strict vetting process for both clients and freelancers. Designed primarily to get mobile and web apps made, Ooomf allows developers, designers and copywriters to register – although there’s no guarantee of acceptance.

With an average project value of $3,900 (that’s Dollars, remember) Ooomf looks set to provide some lucrative work. Having just launched we’ve not had a chance to stretch our legs on this platform yet, but we hope to report back soon.

WorkFu

Also recently re-launched, and with a focus on digital freelancers (Web designers, developers and the like), WorkFu has a similar setup to 3Desk, but with a couple of nice additions. Your profile has a “Reading List” section where you can show off any books you’re currently digesting (protip: No Twilight or Fifty Shades if you want to be taken seriously), and jobs are presented with a “Fu Score”, which estimates how good a match you are with a potential project.

Authentic Jobs

One of the bigger worldwide freelance job sites, Authentic Jobs is one of the few that has managed to keep low quality gigs out (for the most part). As with all international sites it’s slightly skewed towards the US, but there are plenty of UK businesses posting their freelance openings on there, and plenty of work from home stuff too.

The majority of the opportunities on Authentic Jobs are the usual designer / developer fare, but there’s a smattering of other stuff too; content, sysadmin and consultancy, for example.

Any more hidden gems that we’ve missed? If you’re making hay on a freelancing platform, let us know about it in the comments below!