A freelancer is a CEO, CTO, CFO, Marketing Manager, Business Development Manager and employee – all rolled into one
Some time ago, not so long ago, the way we took cabs was by standing on the roadside, looking for empty cabs and waving at the slightest chance of sighting one. This act of waving got reduced to touching a tab on the phone. Yes, we ditched the roadside too. Thanks to Uber!
In a similar story, companies asked around their network for freelancers and part-time resources. Some lucky ones found them, many got disappointed, some decided to hire full time employees for a task that would just take a few months. The freelancers also asked around. Some got lucky, many stayed unlucky.
But the freelancer community existed and subsisted through these perils until the dawn of an Uber-like ecosystem. Now the act of waving has got reduced to few clicks. Earlier, people couldn’t find the right freelancer and freelancers couldn’t find their projects. One by one, these gaps are getting bridged by technology.
Advent of open talent economy is creating waves in the world-wide employment landscape. Technology, emerging skill sets, and evolving attitudes about professional identity are some of the key drivers that have helped the emergence of a number of ventures that connect freelancers, independent consultants and subject matter experts to organisations that need their skills on a defined basis.
The freelancing world is seeing a classic example of how technology can build a 360-degree ecosystem and help it thrive. As the freelancing scenario gets an Uber-like makeover, it has resulted into an uber cool time for freelancers.
Technology~ Engaging, Enabling, Empowering
The rise of the startup economy and a shift in the resource management strategies of big companies are fostering growth of the gig economy. This combination has fuelled the independent work economy in such a way that it is has created its own support systems.
For instance, the access points to freelance engagements are all set to eliminate the problem of where to find the right freelancer or the right project. Platforms like Upwork, Flexing It, Peopleperhour, HourlyNerd are all major enablers of freelance work/resource. They not only make the access easy, but also bring in an evaluation system that helps in choosing the right freelancer and the right client.
The non-permanent workforce is sometimes more in number than the full-time employees in a company. There are several solutions being developed for freelance workforce management. One such platform is WorkMarket which manages the entire lifecycle including recruiting, onboarding, payment and reporting of an independent professional on one platform.
The biggest challenge for a freelancer is to keep the projects flowing in. This requires managing their portfolio, online profile and social media presence. To help freelancers in doing this effectively and consistently, there are services like Reputation.com which ensure that freelancers stand out from the competition by giving their service a coherent, professional, positive image by communicating their strength and vision.
These enabling technologies have empowered the rise of a new work culture. On one hand companies are adapting their systems to welcome the gig economy like never before and on the other, freelancer is becoming the all-in-one solopreneur.
The rise of the solopreneur
A freelancer is a CEO, CTO, CFO, Marketing Manager, Business Development Manager, Employee – all rolled into one. Apart from the skill sets that are required for work, these entrepreneurial characteristics help the freelancer succeed. A freelancer’s professional work style is now getting a makeover as an entrepreneur who is working solo.
In the US, solopreneurs have generated US$1 trillion in income and spent US$150 billion in the economy in 2014. Apart from their value as income generators, they have also become job creators. The surge in number of projects coming to independent workers has resulted in several sub-contracting engagements. The solopreneur might not start a company of his own like a traditional entrepreneur, but this version of workmanship is mainstream now, both in terms of volume as well as in value.
Predictions have it that the next big turn in the talent economy will be Talent as a Service, an on-demand talent on the cloud service like Software as a Service. Forbes writer Meghan M. Biro explains-
“What we’re really talking about is on-demand talent in the cloud, the ability for anyone or any company to recruit individual talent and groups of talent for anything, at any time, for any kind of work and frequency, in any interaction and/or for any ideation.”
So as the economy prepares to welcome the arrival of independent professionals to the mainstream, it is time for you to either take the plunge as a freelancer or leverage the services of one.
The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your article here.
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