The thing that keeps most people from having a go at freelancing is their apprehension of going broke. Given that freelancing gives them the liberty to choose when to work and what to work on puts them in an “eat-what-you-kill” situation – getting paid only when the job is completed. Sometimes, they even have to wait for cheques to start clearing and coming in.
Even if economic growth is slowly thriving together with improvements in job opportunities across the world, freelancing has been a significant part of the employment landscape, and is seen to prevail more in 2014 and the coming years – with small businesses sprouting here and there needing independent contractors for project-based work.
Employers are now more inclined to hire freelancers as needed – giving them the opportunity to expand or decrease their workforce based on the demands for it. Before the second quarter of 2013, Elance, one of the most popular freelance channels that match contractors and clients, announced that there was a 60% increase in the number of businesses hiring contractors through its site. It was reported that roughly three quarters of employers looked to hire more freelancers that year. The prediction was for it to increase more in 2014.
oDesk, another popular marketplace for matching employers and contractors, and its announcement in December of merging with Elance, does not fall short in the marketplace competition. Thousands of jobs are still generated, reported to match the number of freelancers registered in their site. What’s best about oDesk and Elance is that freelancers are never worried about not getting paid at the right time. Both implement an effective payment schedule for hourly jobs and job completion review scheme. Even Elance employs an escrow service to make sure that the non-hourly projects (fixed price contracts) are paid accordingly. The money is held by a third party agency until such time that the project is completed. Both sites offer a safe and secure freelance payment programme.
On the other hand, Rev, an Internet hub for translators and transcriptionists, has a business model that looks promising in terms of adapting to the demands of the freelancing industry. Aside from them taking a portion of their freelancers’ earnings, weekly payment schedule is implemented. This gives their registered freelancers the confidence that the work they have done on the previous week will be duly paid. And instead of having contractors bid on a job advert, it concentrates on creating a trustworthy pool of freelancers. And because there is a consistently increasing number of jobs available, contractors can “claim” the appropriate job as listed on the site (subject to the contractor’s availability to do it).
Another thriving freelance channel is founded and based in the Philippines: 199Jobs. At the moment, the observation is that most freelancers are from the country but the clients they cater to can come from various parts of the world. The trend in this site is different but does not change the amount of chance contractors have at landing a job. This time though, it is the freelancer who posts an advert for what they can do for PhP 199.00. They can also offer value-added services for an extra amount. Clients will then have to get in touch with them through the site to discuss the possibility of them working together. It’s also safe and secure as inclusion of contact information is restricted. All project negotiations are conducted on the site itself. Payment is made as soon as the project is completed.
These are just four of the known freelance marketplaces thriving on the Internet. If freelancers look closely, they’re very likely to benefit soon enough if they have enough drive to build a career out of it. As it was said in our previous article, Freelancing Trends in 2014 are about to change, and they might just want to take advantage of it. Also, freelancers have to keep in mind that small businesses are coming in and their numbers are increasing, thus giving them the opportunity to explore more job options and develop their careers.