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Work at home jobs: How to find remote work while building your business in 2021

Cover image of a Remote Worker

When it's time to start a business, some of us quit our jobs and go all-in. Others hedge their bets by opting for a side-hustle that is sustained by a day job.

I've done both. Each has its benefits. But at this stage in my life, I'm opting for the latter.

If you're keeping your day job, then the more flexible it is, the better. And that means working from home is important.

So here's how to find flexible, pants-optional, work at home jobs that will keep the lights on.

Top remote freelancing marketplaces

If you're looking for freelance opportunities, here are some general marketplaces with gigs that run the gamut of specialities. I'll include the cuts that they take because many of them are less than forthcoming about how much of your hard-earned money goes into their pockets.

  • Upwork: The big dog in the world of freelancing. You can get hired for just about anything. I've had a lot of success with it. Their cut: 20% for the first $500, then 10% up to $10K, then 5% above that.
  • Hubstaff Talent: This is a free directory of companies looking for remote talent. Their cut: Free
  • Fiverr: This is best for new freelancers who want to get their feet wet. Not usually a good choice for experienced freelancers since, as the name suggests, the pay isn't great. Their cut: 20% of each transaction.
  • Freelancer.com: This is a very popular marketplace but it requires a premium plan if you're going to have more than eight projects per month. It also requires that you log all hours. Their cut: Freemium, plus 10% or $5, whichever is greater, and 10% for hourly projects.
  • PeoplePerHour: This is mid-range, so maybe not best for top-tier freelancers. But otherwise, it's a great platform with less competition than the likes of Upwork. Their cut: 20% on projects up to £250, then 7.5% up to £5K, and 3.5% over that.
  • Flexjobs: Each job is vetted, saving you time and reducing risk. They also have skill tests so that you can demonstrate your expertise. And they have a super valuable newsletter if you want to stay up to date. Their cut: $14.95/mo
  • Freelancer Map: This is a place to find freelance and consulting gigs worldwide. Not all positions are remote, but many are. And it has no commission fees, so that's pretty cool. Their cut: Freemium
  • Outsourcely: Very freelancer-friendly — it allows you to keep all of your earnings, which is rare. And it focuses on long-term remote work opportunities. Their cut: Freemium.
  • Toptal: Toptal freelancers command high rates, as they only take the top 3% of talent. This is a great option for software developers. Their cut: You set your rate and, since it's essentially an agency, they mark it up from 100-400%.
  • CloudPeeps: This is a community and marketplace that empowers freelancers. And it has pretty good freelance rates baked in. Their cut: ~15%
  • Clarity: If you're an expert in your field, you can advise startups through Clarity. Their cut: 15%
  • Hacker News: Keep an eye on this user, as they put out a monthly post where people can comment with freelance positions. Their cut: Free

For designers:

  • 99designs: A contest-based graphic design service. It's one of the most popular, but not everyone is into the contest model. Luckily, you can also get hired as a freelancer for longer-term projects. Their cut: It varies for contests but it can be pretty hefty. For projects, they charge $100 each, plus 5-15%.
  • DesignCrowd: Similar to 99designs, this is a contest-based design marketplace. Some say that contests are less problematic on this one. Their cut: 15%
  • Designhill: This is a creative marketplace with over 150K designers (and nearly as many clients). It features both competitions and normal gigs. Their cut: 10-15%
  • YunoJuno: This is a UK-based marketplace for creative freelancers, and they recently started doing international bookings. Their cut: Free. They charge the employer your rate, plus a booking fee.

For developers:

  • Gun.io: This is a platform for high-achieving software developers to work with some impressive companies. They vet opportunities and offer long-term gigs at competitive rates. And they focus on finding the best fit for each position. Their cut: Free
  • Upstack: Not technically a freelancer marketplace, Upstack is a network of engineers who help small businesses expand their development teams. With only 650 developers, it's pretty exclusive. Their cut: I did a fair amount of digging, but they weren't upfront about this.
  • Topcoder: This is a community and freelance marketplace for developers, which has both normal freelance work and competition-based gigs. Their cut: They set a purse for first and second place in each competition — presumably, their cut is already taken off the top.

For writers:

  • Textbroker: This is a marketplace for freelance writing services, Textbroker has over 100K content orders per month. Their cut: They pay anywhere from .7 cents to 5 cents per word, and they charge from 1.5 to 7.2 cents per word.
  • ServiceScape: ServiceScape is for writers, editors, translators, and designers. You can charge what you're worth, but you can't bid on jobs — the client has to find your profile. Their cut: 50% but you name your price.
  • Freelance Writing Gigs: This is less of a marketplace and more of a job board for writers, but it has both freelance and employment opportunities so I'm including it here. Their cut: Free

For business roles:

  • Credo: @dohertyjf's Credo is a marketplace for marketers and SEOs. If you make the cut, there's less competition and a personalized matching process for finding work. Their cut: $149/year, plus you pay for each lead (price varies according to the lead).
  • Guru: This is for business services only. Users must pay membership fees, as well as some upsells for standard features, so that's not great. Their cut: Freemium, plus 5-9%.
  • MOVEMEON: This connects freelancers with interim and permanent roles. Specifically for business professionals (strategy, ops, project management, etc.). Their cut: Free

Job boards for finding work at home jobs

If you want something even more stable (and perhaps something with benefits), here are some job boards that allow for work at home positions. These are general job boards for multiple disciplines, unless otherwise noted.

  • Stack Overflow: You've probably heard of Stack Overflow but you may not know about their job board. They've got tons of remote gigs, specifically for developers.
  • Dice: This is a popular job board in tech. It mostly serves developers, but project managers and data analysts made the cut too.
  • Working Not Working: This is a job board which focuses on design opportunities.
  • Behance: If you're a designer, you're probably already familiar with Behance. They have a job board tailored specifically for you, with both freelance and employment opportunities.
  • Hired: This one's interesting because you create a profile and companies apply to you, not the other way around. It covers many positions, and shows salary details up front.
  • Working Nomads: This is a remote-only job board with a focus on developers. But it also has jobs in marketing, writing, sales, and just about anything else.
  • Workew: Workew aims to provide people with long-term work at home opportunities. Remote jobs are curated weekly.
  • We Work Remotely: This is the largest remote work community in the world. Job listings are pricey so every gig listed is a serious opportunity.
  • Authentic Jobs: This is a job board for developers and designers, which includes both remote jobs and freelance jobs.
  • Arc: Arc crawls the web to find remote jobs for developers so that you can access them all in one place
  • Content Writing Jobs: A freemium job board for writers by @edgaras.
  • RemoteLeaf: Handpicked remote opportunities from 60+ remote job boards, filtered based on your skills and location.
  • RemoteOK: This is a job board for just about anyone who wants remote work, but the emphasis is on developers.
  • Remote.io: This site has thousands of work at home jobs with some of the best companies.
  • Remote Tech Jobs: Remote job board for developers. Always fresh, as listings are deleted every 30 days. And it's free.
  • DailyRemote: This is a remote work community with whatever kind of work you're looking for. They also have a newsletter to keep you in the loop.
  • NoDesk: This is free for job seekers, which is great. It has remote jobs for developers, designers, customer support, product, and more
  • Remote Hunt: This is a job board with a newsletter that helps people find remote work that fits their personality.
  • Remote Job Hunt Buddy: This tool by @prashanth_nelli aggregates remote job opportunities from other work at home job boards. You can filter and even see a kanban of your jobs.
  • RemoteJob.page: This is a no-frills remote board by @yolossn, with many types of jobs.
  • Remotewx: This is a remote work aggregator by @remoter.
  • JustRemote: Full-time, long-term remote jobs for many disciplines. Has some freelance too. And it's by @Tom56.
  • 4 Day Week: @PhilMCP recently launched this board of software jobs with 4-day weeks. You can sign up to get them in your inbox too.
  • Reddit: Check out r/forhire, r/WorkOnline, r/HireaWriter, and other subreddits.
  • Indie Hackers: Of course, you can find some exciting gigs right here on IH. Check out the Jobs group or ask around.

And then there are the usual suspects (that allow you to filter for remote work): Indeed, Simply Hired, Monster, Glassdoor, LinkedIn Jobs, CareerBuilder, ZipRecruiter, and so on.

Newsletters for finding work at home jobs

Many of the freelance marketplaces and job boards above allow you to create job alerts where you'll get emails about new gigs. But here are a few newsletters that aggregate positions from across the web:

  • Prosper Circle: Remote jobs at the most exciting companies in the world, sent to your inbox — all handpicked by @Salil. And it's free.
  • Remote Weekly: Their AI collects hundreds of work at home jobs per week (weeding out the garbage) from all over the internet. Freemium.
  • Solid Gigs: Combs through job boards and delivers the top 1% of freelancer gigs to your inbox. 30 day trial for $2, then $19/mo.
  • Remote Jobs Club: Biweekly newsletter of remote jobs in many verticals. And it's free.
  • Remote Design Club: A curated newsletter of remote design jobs by @uglyduck. Sent to you twice a month. Free.
  • Premotely: A newsletter by @typeofgraphic that provides remote positions for product managers. Free.
  • Remote Companies: This is a newsletter by @petecodes with jobs from fully remote companies, along with any perks that they offer. Freemium.

Tips for working from home successfully

  • Set up an office. Close the door. This makes it way easier to get work done without it bleeding into the rest of your life. And definitely don't work from bed.
  • Equip yourself. Desk, chairs, printer, pens, paper — whatever you need, have it handy.
  • Set regular hours and create a routine. This allows for better boundaries, and it gets you into a productive rhythm.
  • Get dressed. It's tempting to stay in your PJs all day when no one's looking, but this can actually make you less productive.
  • Take breaks. And be intentional about them. Stay away from social media and anything else that stimulates you. Consider making a cup of tea, meditating, doing breathwork, taking a walk, talking to a friend, working out, showering, taking a power nap, etc.
  • Stretch, exercise, and get outside of your house at scheduled intervals.
  • Create boundaries. You don't need to work all day just because you're "at the office" all day.
  • Chat with your team. And not just about work stuff. Working from home can be isolating, so it's important to stay connected
  • Embrace the flexibility working from home provides. Be spontaneous from time to time. Go smell some roses.
  • For ways to stay productive while working from home, check out my post on time efficiency.
  • For ways to keep energy levels up while working from home, check out this post.

Got any tricks for finding work at home jobs?

Let's hear 'em! And good luck. 🚀

  1. 4

    Plenty of sources, thank you!

  2. 3

    Same here, freelancing while working my business. Not ideal but keeps you going:)

    If you want to, you can also add our Content Writing Jobs board to your list. Cheers!

    1. 1

      Nice! Linking it here for anyone who's interested. What's great about it and what does it cost?

      1. 1

        Thnx! My co-founder has over 10 years of experience in content writing. That’s how this niche job board started, helping others to find only quality content writing jobs. For writers it’s completely free (or $10 if they want daily notifications). For companies it’s currently $100 / post.

  3. 3

    Thanks a lot for this post, very useful. Bookmarked!

  4. 2

    Thank you for the list.

  5. 2

    Great list. Microworkers is also a resource for some copywriting jobs.

    1. 1

      Yeah, that's a great addition — thanks for weighing in!

  6. 2

    Thanks so much for the list, really appreciated!

  7. 2

    So many platforms, and so difficult to figure out which one works for you, despite the fact that they are ranked

    1. 1

      Yeah, it can be overwhelming for sure. Good luck! 😅

  8. 2

    Don't ever ever quit your day job if you haven't made a buck with your new online business.

    Freelancing also can suck all of your energy and soul at first.

    1. 2

      Hah, yeah freelancing can be tough!

  9. 2

    Bookmarked. Thanks for your list

  10. 2

    Wow! All super solid resources and holy 🙌 that's alot of em'!

    Thanks!

    I'll be sharing this one, for sure!
    How long did it take to build it? Did you just researched & built it? Did You Have A Previous traffic source and just having the founders submit their tools?

    Or, did you slowly just compile it? Probably a little bit of it all, huh?😂

    I was just curious, as I really enjoy building cool resource banks like this, honestly I was hoping you had some super secret formula for compiling this data 😒🤷🏻‍♂️
    Anything other than my 'ole fashioned', dig in, find, and create technique! Haha thanks, again.

    • Adam Jay
    1. 1

      Thanks, Adam! This was just good, old-fashioned sleuthing 🕵️ I researched on Google, pulled a bit from my own experience and knowledge, scoured IH, and just generally compiled the most promising resources. No secrets, other than trying to be as efficient as possible with my research 🤓

  11. 2

    Amazing list, thanks for this!

    Appreciate the 'pants-optional' quip at the start.

    1. 1

      Haha, thanks! Hope it helps 👍

  12. 2

    Wow, bookmarking this for sure. (When can we save favorites @csallen ?)

    Nice @IndieJames !

    1. 1

      Hope it helps!

      (And you can save your own posts as 'featured posts' on your profile, but I don't think you can save the posts of others)

  13. 2

    Thanks for compiling this! Super useful

    1. 1

      Glad it's useful! 😅

  14. 2

    Thanks for this! Great lists! I also built a job aggregator site: https://nomadcoder.work/
    It focuses on remote programming offers and it's free (though you'd need to create an account for full access).

    1. 2

      Looks like a great resource! 🙌

  15. 2

    Hi James, great list!

    I've recently launched 4dayweek.io (Software Jobs with a better work / life balance), would really appreciate it if you added it to the list 😊

  16. 1

    I'm biased because I work here, but would definitely add MarketerHire to this list for marketers with a special set of skills. Lot of my friends freelance through us now as it allows them to:

    1. work with household brands and fast-growth startups
    2. have more time to build their side hustles and products on the side
    3. work when and how they want
  17. 1

    Oh oh, I'd add MarketerHire to this list somewhere! It's for expert, specialized digital marketers across 10 different role types. Some freelancers in the network are making >$300K annually! Of course, you don't have to be full-time on it, and can just be supplemental. Check it out: https://marketerhire.com/

  18. 1

    Great list. Question about remote work in general: do you all perceive a ceiling on salary/career advancement for remote only roles?

    1. 2

      Good question! I'm no expert, but from what I've heard, productivity has increased and costs have decreased for companies since the world went remote. So it'd be an odd choice for to cap salary or advancement. That said, without geographical restrictions, the talent pool is a lot bigger, so I suppose candidates may end up competing more on salaries. I bet it'll depend on what companies you're targeting — innovative companies are probably a safer bet than old school behemoths.

      Time will tell, I suppose, but this seems to be the way of the future regardless.

  19. 1

    remoteok.com is also good source of opportunity to find a job)

    1. 2

      For sure - it's already in there under Job Boards 😀

  20. 1

    Wow, thanks for this post.

  21. 1

    Nice list! Definitely check out Dynamite Jobs https://www.dynamitejobs.com/

    They've got great filters, focus on teams less than 100, and also have a services marketplace.

  22. 1

    Thanks so much for putting this together!

    I've been working solo, full-time on my software for about 5 months now and recently have realized the stress of having zero income coming in is becoming a great stress to me. I can afford to continue self-funding for over a year, but I think at this point I'd prefer part-time gig work to keep my bills paid while I build the solution and work to getting paid customers months down the line, even if it takes longer by doing so.

    1. 2

      Totally get that! Both ways have their ups and downs. Whatever you decide, good luck! 🚀

  23. 1

    Would you be able to add my mailing list?

    It shows work perks as well as just jobs and if I miss an issue I give a subscriber $50😀

    https://remotecompanies.co

    Oh and if anyone is hiring at the moment job ads are $20 and go out to 400 devs, data analysts and marketers every Thursday.

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