How to be a freelancer in Singapore
Freelancing often conjures images of the struggling artist but it doesn’t always have to be that way. As a writer, I know the media industry fairly well and I’ll let you in on a secret: knowing where to source your stints is key to being a happy freelancer.
By helping you sift the good from the bad, these 10 local websites are the way to go if you’re looking to build your name as a freelancer in the Singapore media industry.
1. ZomWork - a website with freelance projects
ZomWork has a treasure trove of projects. And with their upfront rates, you won’t have to fear what most freelancers worry over - a measly budget and wishy-washy clients. Projects range from $100 to write an article for MyRepublic, to $15k to build a portal.
Even better, ZomWork recently adopted the Tripartite Standard on Procurement of Services for Media Freelancers (TS Media Freelancers) which means they’ve pledged to follow solid practices when hiring media freelancers. Whether your specialty is marketing consulting or UI/UX designing, you won’t be facing common freelancing worries.
2. Freelancer.sg - an online classifieds for freelancers
The beauty of Freelancer.sg is that anyone can post. It’s like Gumtree, but solely for freelancing gigs - not everyone wants to sift through ads for a secondhand mattress when they’re job hunting. You’ll find your regular peeps looking for writers, resume editors, food videographers, and wedding photographers.
Look at this job: a tourist is in Singapore for 14 days and is looking for a freelance photographer to shoot his travel pictures. To apply, all you have to do is bid a price you’re willing to take on the project for, and hope that the employer accepts your bid. Warning: it can get competitive!
3. StageMetro - an app to show-off your talents
Image credit: @stagemetro
Consider StageMetro if you’re looking for a way to broadcast your talents. No need to hunt high and low for these elusive freelancing jobs when those in need of your services can come straight to you. More of an app than a website, StageMetro is a platform that’s all about talent, any talent - perfect for all the photographers, designers, or even Korean chefs out there.
It’s free to sign up and craft your profile, but you’re limited to three bookings per month. Those who are in it to win it can sign up for package deals which are based on the amount you earn from bookings, starting from $10 for bookings up to $1000/month.
Not sure if you have the right sort of talent? All sorts of people use StageMetro, from the Funny Mime Artist to the Wedding Cinematographer.
4. AADB - a database for all actors, directors, producers
Become a Talent for a Corporate Shoot.
You might’ve dreamt of a life on stage or your favourite catchphrase is “lights, camera, and action”. Whether you’re behind or in front of the camera, here’s your chance to shine in the acting world. Use database AADB to find your next freelancing gig by scouring the mass of audition listings.
Here's an example of an audition listing on AADB:
Image credit: AADB
If I had a smidge of acting talent whatsoever, I’ll definitely be up for this fully-paid KFC gig where all you need to do is consume the burger. Other interesting options include being a Female Talent for a Corporate Shoot, a Senior Manager for a Clean Energy Video, or playing an ex-convict reuniting with his daughter.
5. CreativesAtWork - a platform for freelancing creatives
At the launch of the TS Media Freelancers. Image credit: CreativesAtWork
Bringing together project owners and media freelancers, CreativesAtWork is a platform for media freelancers to share their creative talents. CreativesAtWork also adopted the TS Media Freelancers, which supports better working relationships between companies and media freelancers.
You can fill out a short write-up to elaborate on your technical skills, so if you’re gifted at programmes like Adobe Illustrator or Dreamweaver, this is the time to flaunt it. All services are charged on an hourly basis.
6. Freelance Zone - a website with freelance/part-time listings
Another site that’s worth the time and effort of every budding freelancer: Freelance Zone. With a structured platform that rivals that of mainstream job sites like Jobstreet or STJobs, job listings are organised according to categories like Design & Drawing or Social Media Marketing.
7. Glints - a website with listings for entry-level freelance gigs and internships
Winning Glints’ Best Internship In The World giveaway. Image credit: @glintssg
Mostly for fresh grads or those with less experience, Glints has a great list of starter media jobs. You can apply to be a freelance food photographer for start-up Dish Dash, where you’ll need speedy photo editing skills, or you can become a project-based marketing executive at boutique agency W Market.
8. StartUpJobs.Asia - a platform for startup listings
Image credit: @justco_sg
Start-up companies aren’t just the future, they’re also known for their fun-seeking mentality and warm culture. At StartUpJobs.Asia, most job positions are at start-ups - join online beauty boutique escentials as a freelance UI-UX designer for a month or be a freelance graphic designer for kuroz, a cashless F&B ordering app.
9. U Shift - an app for freelance/part-time jobs
Image credit: U Shift SG
U Shift’s mostly tailored for temp jobs, but there’s also a growing stream of freelance opportunities here. Download the app - it’s streamlined and easy to use - to browse through their freelance/part-time gigs that’ll get you your next stash of moolah. It’s definitely a platform to keep a lookout for, even if it’s more sparse compared to the other platforms.
10. Cult Jobs - a job-hunting site for creatives
If you’re looking to cut your teeth in the media industry, then Cult Jobs will be your go-to site. This is where companies like The Good Folks, Buro 24/7, and even influencers like Prettyfrowns source their freelancers and interns from. If being a freelance photographer or graphic designer is your dream, there’s a high chance you’ll find your next coveted gig at Cult Jobs.
Bonus: Facebook groups - interest groups for every niche skill
Don’t rule out social media when you’re out looking for freelancing stints: consider anything and everything. Just by flicking through your Facebook feed, you could stumble upon a viable job option that’ll pay your rent for the next few months.
Facebook groups like Singapore Freelance Video Editors and Singapore Freelance Designers often have freelance gigs up for grabs. Take your first step into the freelancing world by editing corporate videos for Picture Perfect Products or creating a gameplay video for Super Smash Brothers.
Freelancing in Singapore with the TS Media Freelancers
The official launch of the TS Media Freelancers. Image credit: IMDA
In the freelancing world, there’ll be plenty of challenges when dealing with clients but each and every freelancer can rest easy now. Thanks to the recent launch of the Tripartite Standard on Procurement of Services from Media Freelancers (TS Media Freelancers), things are set to improve with a greater push for practices that better support media freelancers.
The TS Media Freelancers is jointly developed by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and other partners including MOM, NTUC, SNEF, and is also supported by TAFEP. More than 100 companies have already pledged to adopt TS Media Freelancers - including some of the companies listed above, such as ZomWork and CreativesAtWork.
Find the full list of companies who’ve adopted the TS Media Freelancers here.
Guidelines for freelancers
Besides knowing where to source your stints, take the time to find out what practices to adopt when liaising with your clients. Here are four key areas outlined in the TS Media Freelancers that all freelancers should pay heed to:
A. Written contracts - make sure that both you and your client are in sync with each other on key contract terms, so you share an understanding of the expected deliverables and terms of payment. Have this agreement written down in black and white.
B. Timely payment - make sure payment milestones are clear, so you’re on the same page as your hirer.
C. Dispute resolution - resolve any disagreements through mediation first - IMDA offers subsidised mediation services in partnership with the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) for eligible media companies and freelancers. More information can be found here.
D. Insurance - Keep yourself safe when you’re hard at work. This includes insurance for your equipment and personal safety. When media freelancers are required to offer their services on set and/or location specified by the company, they must be covered in the companies’ insurance for:
- Production equipment
- Commercial general liability
- Work-related accident insurance
Freelancing lets you bring in the money while giving you a chance to explore your passion. Keep a lookout for companies who’ve adopted the TS Media Freelancers - they’ll make your freelancing life a whole lot easier.
This post was brought to you by IMDA.