How to Respond to Reddit Freelance Gigs

If you’re not familiar with Reddit, it’s a huge community website, similar to a forum. It’s one of the top 5 websites in the US, with tens of millions of very active users.

Reddit is divided into “subreddits”, which are like mini-forums on every conceivable topic you can imagine.

The site is very lightly moderated in general, though some subreddits are an exception to this.

The userbase tends to skew younger, more politically liberal, and more casual. Lots of memes, jokes, visual posts, name-calling, toxic behavior, etc. This will become relevant later.

How we handle Reddit

There are thousands of subreddits where freelance gigs could be posted, but the long-tail rule applies here, so we focus on a relatively small number where most of the freelance gigs and jobs are posted.

To be frank, most of these posts are pretty low quality. For example:

low quality reddit post

In general, a lot of the projects on Reddit tend to be very small (“need this done today for $50”), which we do our best to filter out. There’s also a lot of full-time jobs and onsite roles that we filter out.

The good news is that the Reddit users have a low tolerance of that kind of thing and they tend to heap abuse on these types of clients. For example, the comments on the above post in less than an hour:

comments on low quality reddit post

Fortunately there are good freelance gigs on Reddit. Here’s an example (though this price range is at the bottom end of what we’d consider acceptable):

decent quality reddit post

So let’s say you’re a Shopify theme developer and you want to apply to that post. Here’s how:

Clean up your profile

In the majority of cases, you’re going to be responding on Reddit in one form or another, so you’ll need a user account.

It’s fine to have a new or blank account, or a personal account that has a long history unrelated to what you’re applying to, but you should avoid having anything too crazy in your first couple pages of profile activity.

For example, if you have a bunch of NSFW activity, probably best just to create another account.

Reddit culture tend to be more on the anonymous end of the spectrum, and don’t have much in the way of bio or link fields to worry about, so it’s easy to just create an account to use for applying to things.

Get some karma

Some of the subreddits where you’ll see posts will not let you post public replies without having some “karma”, meaning points that you get from people upvoting your submissions or comments.

Typically you’ll need 50-100 points to be able to publicly participate, so share some quality links and engage in discussions with thoughtful comments for at least a few days until you hit those numbers.

Ideally, do those things in subreddits related to your craft, since it’ll then appear on your profile history for clients whose jobs you apply to.

Use PMs over chat for now

When it comes time to respond to a post, just click on the poster’s profile link and then send a friendly private message (PM).

You can find the private message option here:

reddit PM options

Note: you can send either a chat or a PM, but as of this writing, you should default to PM on Reddit, not chat, because they don’t appear to send email notifications to either party for chat messages. This makes it more likely that the client won’t see your message, or that you won’t see their reply. This might change in the future though.

Turn on email notifications

By default, Reddit doesn’t send email notifications for PMs either, so you’ll need to go into your Reddit settings to enable that option:

reddit email notifications in settings

Otherwise there’s a good chance you won’t see any response until it’s too late.

Post a public reply

As with responding to freelance gigs on Twitter, in addition to sending a private response to the post, you should also leave a public response, for two reasons:

  1. It helps to ensure your private response goes unnoticed. This is especially true with Reddit, which as of this writing does not have email notifications enabled by default for PMs or chat messages.
  2. There’s always a chance that someone else who needs your services sees your response and reaches out.
  3. Bonus reason: it lets other freelancers know you got there first 🙂

On Reddit, you generally should just let them know that you do that kind of work, that you have availability, any pricing info, and that you’re open to PMs. You should usually not share your personal contact info, as many subreddits do not allow that.

Also don’t forget that in some subreddits, you need a certain amount of karma to reply.

In general, always check the subreddit guidelines on the right before posting anything, or you risk having your post or comment removed, or even being permanently banned:

reddit rules for posting in /r/forhire

Do your part

Finally, if you see people posting bottom-of-the-barrel gigs, wanting free work or offering insulting wages, downvote them and call them out. It helps build and reinforce a culture that believes freelancers are professionals and deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. Plus it’s fun 🙂

Video walkthrough

Coming soon!