5 Steps to Seriously Improve Your Networking Skills

No matter what profession you’re in, networking is the fuel that accelerates success. Not only is it useful for learning directly from individuals you meet, but the benefits of association and growing your own authority are just as powerful.

Related: How to Start a Conversation With Strangers at a Networking Event

For some of us, the word networking can leave a bad taste in our mouths. Many of us aren’t sure where to start, what to say when we connect with someone or how to maintain that relationship. Although I truly believe there’s an art and science to networking and building authentic relationships, I’m going to distill what I’ve learned over the past few years. So, here is my no-BS guide to networking.

Stage 1: Mindset

Before you think about networking, remove the word “working” from your system. We hear people talking about putting on their “networking game,” and I can’t help but wonder how many showers they’ll need to take afterward to rid themselves of the inauthenticity. It’s likely that the people you’re trying to reach get approached by dozens, if not hundreds, of people just like you; and it’s not difficult for them to weed out the people who are “putting on a face.”

The best networking comes from genuine relationships, not a business card exchange. No matter whom you’re trying to build a relationship with, treating that person as a friend rather than a business contact will take you much further with the relationship. So, think about how you would approach a potential friend. Find something you have in common with, keep it light, make jokes, and above all, show that you care.

Stage 2: The destination

Doing something for the sake of doing it is rarely a good idea, nor is it a good use of your time. It’s the old analogy of having a fully gassed car without a final destination to head toward.

As many of you may already know, I’m a big believer in goal setting and focusing on pouring energy into accomplishing the stated goal. What is your dream job? How do you envision your future? What do you need to be doing to be the most fulfilled, happy and driven version of you? Write down what your goal is for five years from now. Then write down what goal you need to hit one year from now in order to get you closer to your five-year goal. Finally, write down what goal you need to hit 90 days from now in order to get you closer to your one-year goal.

For example: Let’s say your goal is to make $1 million in five years. You would need a vehicle, whether that is your own business, investments or something financially viable to get you to your destination. In this case, your goal one year from now might be to have your business launched and to hit $5,000 per month in sales.

So, what would you need to do in the next 90 days in order to hit $5,000 per month in your new business, one year from now? It might be finding the right partner with a complementary skill sets, or acquiring your first paying customer in the next 90 days.

5-year goal: Make $1 million
1-year goal: Hit $5,000/month ($60,000 per year) in sales with new business
90-day goal: Get your first paying customer

Now, it’s time to write down your goals. Yes, physically write them!

Related: How to Network When You’re an Introvert

Stage 3: The map

Now that you have your final destination for five years from now, including focused, short-term goals to get you there, design your map. Keith Ferrazzi has a powerful strategy called the Networking Action Plan (NAP), which he explains in Never Eat Alone, to connect your networking strategy with your goals.

Step 1 is to write down your goals and final destination (which you completed in Stage 2). Step 2 is to look at the three goals you have written down. Then, next to each of your goals, write down three people who will either kickstart or accelerate your goal. These could be people you are already connected with, who are second-degree connections from you, or people you have no connections to.

Examples of who your top 3 could be include mentors or advisors, clients who will advocate for you, investors who believe in your vision, team members who may be co-founders or key hires, a boss or manager who could propel you to a raise or strategic position within your organization or superconnectors that will connect you with any of the above, to build your network.

If you’re looking to start a company, the three people could be a potential partner, an investor and a potential client. For a best-selling book, the three could be your agent, promotional partners or editor.

It’s important to invest some time doing thorough research to be confident that the three people are essential in helping you accomplish your goals faster.

Stage 4: Building a human connection

Hw do you foster a real connection when you speak with someone — whether it’s on Skype or on the phone or in-person? Personally, I think it boils down to these factors:

  • Ask insightful questions (to get the other person thinking). You can know a lot about a person by the quality of the questions he or she asks. Tony Robbins often shares that the quality of your questions correlates to the quality of your life.
  • Ask better questions, receive better answers. Peter Thiel challenges us to ask ourselves: “How do we accomplish our 10-year goals in six months?” By asking better questions when you’re speaking with someone, you not only put yourself in a category of someone that thinks differently, but you force the other person to think in a new way that helps him or her grow.
  • Pay attention (as if your life depended on it). This may come naturally for some people, or be extremely difficult for others. In our smartphone era, paying attention is a demanded “skill” many of us lack. How many times have you spoken with someone who is constantly fidgeting, looking around or interrupting your every sentence? By simplying maintaining eye contact, listening attentively and responding with relevant questions, you’re separating yourself from the rest of the pack and are well on your way to fostering a genuine relationship.

Listen. Ask good questions. Repeat.

Stage 5: Superconnecting

The fastest way to grow your own network is to introduce two people who can benefit from each another. As simple as this strategy sounds, it’s one you hardly see most people do. When’s the last time someone deliberately went out of his or her way to introduce you to someone after listening to your struggles? If you’re the rare breed that has experienced this, you’ve met a superconnector. 

With over three billion people online today, it’s increasingly difficult to separate the fog from the light, and the role of superconnectors will become increasingly important to make that distinction. Here are few of the most powerful ways to become a superconnector yourself.

  • Don’t keep score. This is by far the key difference between superconnectors and everyone else. Superconnectors have an abundance mentality, and they’re always willing to give, connect and share.
  • Make friends, not “contacts.” In other words, value quality over quantity. Put away your business cards, and form genuine friendships with people you meet. I force myself to never talk about business in the first encounter with someone, unless I have to. It’s 10 times more valuable to develop connections with five quality people at an event than 50 “contacts” whose names you won’t remember.
  • Connect other superconnectors. Do you know two connectors who could benefit from meeting? Have they already met? Introducing two superconnectors will be the easiest connection you make because: They are naturally friendly and most likely will have friends in common. And you’ll not only help others further their goals, but will come to mind for them, for future potential connections that will benefit you.
  • Interview people. This may be one of the fastest ways to grow your network, if done strategically. You could do this in the context of a research paper, book or, my personal favorite, a podcast. I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with the likes of Eric RiesAdam Braun, Jason Fried, Gary Vaynerchuk and others who would have been difficult to connect with had I not started #SKIM Live.
  • Follow-up. This is the missing step we all forget to do. But following up to see how the introduction went, or randomly following up a few months later with no agenda will not only help you maintain your connections, but foster the relationship to a different level. In a world of take take take, being able to show that you care about someone as a friend will put you in a whole different category with any of your connections.

7 Simple Ways to Start Your Dream Business Today

I have a family member that has been talking about quitting her job for the past five years. I have a friend that has been talking about starting a business for the past 10 years. I see these two scenarios every day, with different people, in different areas of my life.

I get emails from hundreds of entrepreneurs every week (most likely because I’ve included my email address on my columns and because one was titled, Why and How You Should Cold Email Everyone). That offers me the opportunity to speak to lots of entrepreneurs. I hear their requests, and learn what problems they need to overcome. Figuring out how to start is one of the biggest hurdles.

Related: You Only Need Permission From You to Be an Entrepreneur

From an outsider looking in, it may seem daunting and impossible to start your own business. It’s not. Plenty of people with lesser skill sets, resources and time, from all walks of life and of all ages have gone to live the life they’ve always dreamed of by simply putting one foot in front of the other. Like anything, entrepreneurship can be a taught and learned skill.

Before we get into the list, I want to help you overcome a basic obstacle. You may not know what business to start. Here’s a cool idea that I’ve seen before: On your Facebook wall, ask the question, “If you could come to me for advice on one subject, what would it be?” Whatever topic has the most “advice” suggestions, start that type of business. People already see you as an expert on that topic, and it’s most likely something you’re passionate about.

Here are some ways you can finally quit and start that business you’ve always dreamed about:

1. Check Craigslist.

Oh, yes, the coveted Craigslist. Think about it, people go to Craigslist and make posts about different services/products they need. This is valuable data and information. It is actually how I started my digital marketing agency. I responded to a couple different website development posts and found my first couple of clients. You can do the same utilizing your skills to provide services and products.

2. Hire a designer and utilize the Invision app.

This point is specifically addressing web- or mobile-based businesses. You don’t have a product, but have an idea. That’s alright, and a good start. Now, you should create a demo. The next best thing is a demo that shows exactly how your website/mobile app will look and function. This will be helpful with potential users, clients, partners, investors or whomever you’re talking to about your business.

First, find a designer that can mock up the vision you have of your mobile or web application. Use reference sites to cut down on confusion, and get specific with details, as design is subjective (what you may think looks good, someone else may not, and vice versa). Then, take those mockups and add them to the Invision app. By creating hot spots in the files, you can make your boring static PSD files clickable, which gives them new life and the allure of a working/functioning product.

Did I mention Invision offers a free account? Awesome.

3. Take out Facebook ads.

I get this scenario all of the time. I have two ideas, but unsure which to pursue. Create two simple landing pages for each idea (just don’t get stuck on the landing page creation — do something quick and easy). Include a basic email capture form on both landing pages. Then, create two separate Facebook ads promoting each idea. Whichever gets you more emails, start that business, and use that list as your first set of users, clients or customers.

Related: 5 Steps to Determine Your Ideal Niche Business Even in an Unfamiliar Market

4. Build a site with Striking.ly.

Forget about learning WordPress, and definitely don’t use GoDaddy. Striking.ly helps you create attractive websites with a very simple visual composer. You can literally drag and drop, and have a professional-looking site up in minutes. Use that website to help you gain instant credibility through a web presence.

5. Sell to your friends and family.

The reality is that your friends and family are your low hanging fruit for any business you start. If you’re looking for clients, users, whatever, friends and family can be that first early adopter base you need to get going.

6. Build an audience with Instagram and a website.

I test ideas all of the time using Instagram and WordPress websites that I build. I figure out a specific niche I want to test. For instance, currently, I’m building websites for CrossFit athletes. Then, I figure out who the top influencers are and use Crowdfire to follow their followers, and start communicating with them via Instagram, while making posts and using the right hashtags to gain more attention.

My website is in my profile name, and I generate tons of traffic this way. You can see this at work on the Brand_Athletes Instagram account and the website I created (and didn’t even finish to start quickly testing the idea). I already have a ton of people that have signed up and are in the process of building websites for. This can be done in any industry, with any business.

7. Get a part-time job.

I know that some people disagree with this point. Some people will say focus on your project full time. That’s not realistic. You most likely have bills. Keep it real. Get your expenses down as low as possible, figure out your monthly burn, get a part-time job anywhere that helps alleviate the financial pressures and start designing your new life.

I love startups, and love building things. Through my different successes I’ve experienced how exhilarating it is to have masses of people using a product you’ve helped create. From my failures I have learned valuable and practical lessons that can be applied to current and future endeavors. I have not found a rush that compares to being an entrepreneur. It is fun, exciting, challenging and worth the risk and thrill in every sense.

If you’ve ever thought about starting a business — do it. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t turn out the way you intended, and you learn something new.

If I can be a resource, please let me know. Additionally, I started a private Facebook group for entrepreneurs, where we all share insight, tips, questions and experiences. You can request an invite here.

7 Signs You Need to Start Looking for Another Job After Your Employer Is Acquired

Quitting a job is a big decision for most individuals. While there are many reasons to quit it can sometimes be difficult to identify those reasons, as well as the timing, when there are bills to pay and/or a family to support.

During the past 15 years in corporate America, I’ve worked for three different companies that were acquired by larger organizations on four different occasions. During and after each merger, I noticed several signs that the organizational change and evolution was not a fit for me at that time.

Based on those early-warning signals, I was able to identify and secure better opportunities with different organizations. Those seven warning signs were:

1. People you respect are fired.

During the second acquisition I went through, the president of our company — one of the best bosses I ever had — was fired. I was stunned by the surprise move, as was the entire organization. Since I was in charge of internal and external communications, the acquiring CEO asked my thoughts about his decision to fire the much-beloved president the day it happened.

I told the CEO it sent the wrong message to all employees. It conveyed to each of them that they were all expendable. He smiled, nodded his head and said, “Good, I like to inject fear into organizations.”

Needless to say, I started looking for my next gig after that meeting.

Related: 9 Signs You Should (Maybe) Quit Your Job Now

2. People are no longer valued.

One of the main “benefits” companies realize from a merger centers around the fuzzy corporate buzzword “synergy, ” which is the antiseptic-sounding catchword for layoffs and cost reductions.

I’ve been through this several times. Two times the layoffs occurred with compassion and a keen focus on employees, who were given ample severance, career placement resources and time to plan. The other two instances can only be described as mercenary. One day people were there, the next they were not. No explanation or context was provided.

While reductions in force (RIF) are part of virtually every business, dignity and respect need to be a part of every RIF. If they are not, consider looking elsewhere even if you are not laid off.

3. Growing incompetence.

All too often, organizational cuts go too deep, taking out linchpin individuals and keepers of institutional memory, as well as unsung individual contributors who do the job of multiple people.

When those superstars exit the company, the shortcomings of remaining underperformers become more pronounced. Organizational upheaval tends to reveal organizational incompetence.

While it’s important to allow for a time of transition, if the incompetency increases after six months a refresh of your resume might be in order.

4. Your boss doesn’t understand the business.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of a transition such as this is when your incoming boss doesn’t understand the nature of the business, customer needs or your respective role.

The fortunate thing is that you can usually decipher this particular sign pretty quickly, which can help shape your ultimate decision to stay or go.

Related: When to Quit Your Job and Start Your Own Business

5. Previous advancement opportunities are blocked.

This is an unavoidable reality that occurs with mergers. Typically, open opportunities at the acquired company are filled by individuals from the acquiring parent company who need to be “protected” for some odd reason rather than laid off.

If your company gets acquired and vacancies within your organization are artificially stuffed with folks from the acquiring parent organization, it’s a telltale sign to seriously consider a proactive career change. Your advancement options are limited if you stay.

6. Retention and development programs are cut.

Frequently, in the rush to realize the aforementioned “synergies” and cost reductions, early casualties are education reimbursement benefits, career development training or even long-term incentive plans.

The dismantling of those types of employee-focused programs for the sake of costs is usually not a good long-term sign.

7. More work, less reward.

It’s an acquisition axiom that once the cuts have occurred at a company, the volume of work doesn’t decrease proportionately. By definition, a synergy occurs when productivity improves at a lower cost.

While that sounds great to the investment community, the actual implementation is very demanding on the remaining employees. The employees who still have jobs usually get the added workload of excised personnel, without a commensurate increase in salary, title or influence.

Once you’re forced into that role, the outcome tends to be physical and emotional burnout. To avoid that, it’s important to quickly recognize the unsustainability of that arrangement and consider other potential options.

These seven signals are not exhaustive nor unique to the M&A arena. They can, and do, occur at organizations at anytime. While one or two of these signals might be the post-recession “new normal” for your organization, if you see a majority or all of them in place for several months a career assessment is probably in order.

However, no matter how bad a workplace situation might be, it’s best not to leave it until you’ve found a better situation.

3 Secret PR Weapons To Help Build Your Brand

Throughout my career I have seen the discipline of public relations mature and evolve.

When starting out PR was a fairly predictable discipline. Standard strategies like press tours, tradeshows, press releases and launch events drove the bulk of a company’s brand story.

Then like many other industries rapid innovation and technology disruptions changed the way stories were created, told and shared.

Throughout it all one constant remained unchanged. At its core, the art and essence of PR comes down to one thing: storytelling.

Every brand, technology, product, and person has a story to tell. Whether you are a business of five people or a Fortune 50 company, you need to know how tell your story the right way, at the right time, to the right people.

How do you do it? Here are three PR principles I apply at Porch,  a home improvement network, where I serve as VP of brand communications.

Related: 4 Things to Consider Before You Get a PR Team

1. The story comes first.

PR practitioners need to be storytellers that understand every nuance of the business. There are both internal and external communications benefits when they are engrained from the start. What is the company’s vision? How do the products people create bring that vision to life? What is the business positioned to do that nobody else can do? How will you make the life of your customers and partners better? What is the mission everyone will make possible? Every one of these questions must be addressed as a company works to builds its brand and its culture.

How do you do this? You literally need to take the time to write the stories you want tell. What do you want people to feel when they read or hear about your brand? Sitting down and writing the story will help you identify gaps and weaknesses. Be brutally honest. If you don’t have all the pieces to tell a great story, then you should not be telling the story yet.

2. The three crucial levels to pull

PR is more than just media relations. That is still an important element, but there are now at least three major levers every company needs to consider when it comes to telling their story: traditional, syndicated and owned.

How do you do this?

Traditional: You still need to develop relationships with key press figures that follow your industry. Whether it is The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times or a trade publication, you need to cultivate and maintain press relationships so you can help them tell the stories and report the news to their readers.

Related: How Social Media Can Help With PR

Syndicated: Syndication occurs when companies have relationships with online properties to produce tailored or specific content for their reader. Every day thousands of brands syndicate as the world of 24/7 online media requires fresh and interesting content. The best way to do this is to understand what you have to offer that a media entity would find valuable. Data, surveys, customer insights and other assets you have might be perfect for others to leverage.

Owned: The future of PR will be owned content. Assets you create that bring your story to life in a way that creates some type of emotional connection with your customers. Whether it is a blog post, a podcast or video content, this trend will continue as more companies look to have a direct conversation with their customers.

3. PR is a profit center, not a cost center.

The ROI on PR is off the charts. When you think about all the places your story goes and the impact it has, you simply can’t afford to not invest in the discipline. Because it’s not something that can be hacked and requires tremendous patience to see the payoff, some companies tend to look at PR as an overhead expense. In reality PR should be seen as a profit center. From recruitment to SEO growth and business development, PR can serve as a catalyst that gets your brand in front of the right people as you scale your business.

How do you do this?

Like any other part of the business success comes down to one asset: the people. At Porch we are a very small team (me and three others) and we don’t use an agency. At the end of the day your story is your intellectual property. Through the ups and downs of a business the one thing that never fades is your story, and that is not something you should put in external hands and it is not something you under invest in.

10 Truths We Forget Too Easily

It’s surprising how easy it is to lose sight of the important things in life. Busy schedules and weekly routines have a tendency to put the brain on autopilot.

Some of life’s essential truths need repeating. Keep this list handy and give it a read any time you need a boost.

1. Being Busy Does Not Equal Being Productive

Look at everyone around you. They all seem so busy—running from meeting to meeting and firing off emails. Yet how many of them are really producing, really succeeding at a high level?

Success doesn’t come from movement and activity. It comes from focus—from ensuring that your time is used efficiently and productively.

You get the same number of hours in the day as everyone else. Use yours wisely. After all, you’re the product of your output, not your effort. Make certain your efforts are dedicated to tasks that get results.

Related: How Successful People Stay Productive and In Control

2. Great Success Is Often Preceded By Failure

You will never experience true success until you learn to embrace failure. Your mistakes pave the way for you to succeed by revealing when you’re on the wrong path.

The biggest breakthroughs typically come when you’re feeling the most frustrated and the most stuck. It’s this frustration that forces you to think differently, to look outside the box and see the solution that you’ve been missing.

Success takes patience and the ability to maintain a good attitude even while suffering for what you believe in.

3. Fear Is the No. 1 Source of Regret

When it’s all said and done, you will lament the chances you didn’t take far more than you will your failures. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.

The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.

4. Your Self-Worth Must Come From Within

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own destiny. When you feel good about something that you’ve done, don’t allow anyone’s opinions or accomplishments to take that away from you.

While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

5. You’re Only as Good as Those You Associate With

You should strive to surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who make you want to be better. And you probably do. But what about the people who drag you down? Why do you allow them to be a part of your life?

Anyone who makes you feel worthless, anxious, or uninspired is wasting your time and, quite possibly, making you more like them. Life is too short to associate with people like this. Cut them loose.

6. Life Is Short

None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. Yet, when someone dies unexpectedly it causes us to take stock of our own life: what’s really important, how we spend our time, and how we treat other people.

Loss is a raw, visceral reminder of the frailty of life. It shouldn’t be.

Remind yourself every morning when you wake up that each day is a gift and you’re bound to make the most of the blessing you’ve been given. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing is the moment it will start acting like one.

After all, a great day begins with a great mindset.

Related: Why Leaders Lack Emotional Intelligence

7. You Don’t Have to Wait for an Apology to Forgive

Life goes a lot smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never said they were sorry. Grudges let negative events from your past ruin today’s happiness. Hate and anger are emotional parasites that destroy your joy in life.

The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge create a stress response in your body, and holding on to stress can have devastating health consequences. Researchers at Emory University have shown that holding on to stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease.

When you forgive someone, it doesn’t condone their actions; it simply frees you from being their eternal victim.

8. You’re Living the Life You’ve Created

You are not a victim of circumstance. No one can force you to make decisions and take actions that run contrary to your values and aspirations.

The circumstances you’re living in today are your own—you created them. Likewise, your future is entirely up to you. If you’re feeling stuck, it’s probably because you’re afraid to take the risks necessary to achieve your goals and live your dreams.

When it’s time to take action, remember that it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of one you don’t.

9. Live in the Moment

You can’t reach your full potential until you learn to live your life in the present.

No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. It’s impossible to be happy if you’re constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of this very moment.

To help yourself live in the moment, you must do two things:

  1. Accept your past. If you don’t make peace with your past, it will never leave you and, in doing so, it will create your future.
  2. Accept the uncertainty of the future. Worry has no place in the here and now. As Mark Twain once said, “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”

10. Change Is Inevitable — Embrace It

Only when you embrace change can you find the good in it. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you’re going to recognize, and capitalize on, the opportunities that change creates.

You’re bound to fail when you keep doing the same things you always have in the hope that ignoring change will make it go away.

After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Life doesn’t stop for anyone. When things are going well, appreciate them and enjoy them, as they are bound to change. If you are always searching for something more, something better, that you think is going to make you happy, you’ll never be present enough to enjoy the great moments before they’re gone.

The 15 Best Freelance Websites to Find Jobs

Whether you’re looking for another way to pay the bills, seeking more professional development opportunities or just love the freedom that freelancing offers, there’s no question that millions of people have discovered the benefits of professional freelancing. As trends like thedigital nomad lifestyle grow in popularity, the number of freelance resources out there has increased as well.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Freelancer

There are plenty of guides for striking out on your own, but as a freelancer, getting higher-paying gigs isn’t just a matter of signing up on popular platforms. You’ll have to branch out, establish a great portfolio of past work and maybe even prove yourself through tests that showcase your skills. Here’s a list of the 15 best sites to find work as a freelancer.

1. Upwork

With over 1.5 million clients, Upwork (previously oDesk) offers something for every type of freelancer. It accommodates both short- and long-term projects, hourly or per-project work and expert-level and entry-level engagements. Regardless of where you are in your career, Upwork is likely to have something for you.

2. Toptal

With a distinctly different approach than the other services on this list,Toptal is for seasoned, talented freelancers. Passing Toptal’s screening process gives you unparalleled access to meaningful projects with great clients (JPMorgan, Zendesk, Airbnb, etc.) and fair compensation (no low-bid contests). You’ll also be able to join the Toptal community for frequent meetups and tech events.

3. Elance

Elance removes a lot of the hassle that comes with freelancing. You’ll be able to make a profile right away without jumping through any hoops, enjoy payment protection to ensure you’re always paid for the hours you work and more.

Related: Hacking Elance: How to Make Money Freelancing

4. Freelancer

Unlike most other platforms, in addition to offering millions of projects,Freelancer allows you to compete with other freelancers in contests to prove your skills. If you’re competitive and confident in your expertise, it’s a great way to showcase your abilities and attract more clients.

5. Craigslist

Although most people see Craigslist as just a platform for buying and selling miscellaneous things, it’s actually a great source of freelance jobs. You can easily browse for local offerings if you prefer something in-office, or you can search by major cities if you prefer working remotely.

6. Guru

This site lets you easily showcase your past work experience and offers a daily job-matching feature to make sure you don’t miss out on any good opportunities. The Guru Work Room lets you easily manage all your work.

7. 99designs

A platform for freelance designers, 99designs lets you compete in design contests and get feedback as clients choose the best ones. It’s a great way for talented designers to prove their talents.

8. Peopleperhour

This is a great platform, focusing on freelancing for web projects. If you’re a designer, web developer, SEO specialist, etc., peopleperhour is definitely worth checking out.

9. Freelance Writing Gigs

Whether you’re a writer, editor, blogger, publisher or any combination of those, Freelance Writing Gigs is a great option for freelancers who have a way with words.

10. Demand Media

Demand Media is a platform for creative types, including writers, filmmakers, producers, photographers and more. You work with the site to create unique content, engage audiences and promote your talents.

11. College Recruiter

As the name might suggest, College Recruiter is for college students or recent graduates looking for freelance jobs of any type. In addition to being a source for part-time work, it can be a great way to jumpstart your career.

12. GetACoder

This site is for freelance writers, web designers and programmers — exactly what small businesses need to get a website idea off the ground. GetACoder offers millions of smaller-scale projects to choose from.

13. iFreelance

This platform accommodates some of the usual suspects of the freelancing world (writers, editors, coders, etc.) but also features freelance marketers as well. Unlike other sites, iFreelance lets you keep 100 percent of your earnings.

14. Project4hire

With hundreds of project categories, Project4hire makes it easy to identify jobs that suit your skillset, without scanning through large volumes of posts. It’s great for coders, consultants, designers and more.

15. SimplyHired

With a wider range than most other freelance platforms offer,SimplyHired is perfect for everyone from salespeople to construction workers. It includes a blog with hiring tips, a company directory and location-based search.

Whether you’re a programmer, designer, expert, college student or something in between, there’s a freelance platform out there for you. Check out the sites above to get started today!