Should I join a freelance platform?

Get ready to further your freelancing career.

Feb 16, 2018 · 5 min read

The workforce is busy shunning their suits. At the current rate of growth, the majority of America’s workforce will be freelancing by 2027.

Yet there are still hurdles to be overcome.

As a freelancer, you fantasize about simply doing the job at hand. Instead, you’re forced to be an accountant, a lawyer, a salesperson, and a debt-collector rolled into one.

Thankfully, things are getting easier. A number of fragmented (but nonetheless, useful) product offerings and services have popped up.

If Project Management is key to your role, there’s a range of options from Trello to the more comprehensive JIRA. There’s accounting and legal tools such as Bonsai. And no shortage of time-tracking tools like Toggl.

Missing your colleagues? You can find a community on Stack Overflow or Designer Hangout. And if you don’t have a client base, there’s always marketplaces such as UpWork, 99Designs, Stack Overflow Jobs, Cloudpeeps, and Dribbble Jobs to get the ball rolling.

You might be familiar with many of these companies, and even use some of their products religiously. Which would leave you with one resounding question…

Why should I join a freelance platform?

Simply put, freelance platforms amalgamate all services into one user-friendly experience. Which leaves you to do your best work.

More important perhaps, is what they offer on the client side.

While fragmented (and often free) solutions are a great way to start, they only solve half the problem. One question that haunts even the most talented freelancers is; ‘where do I find my clients?

Bagging great clients.

49% of freelancers claim their biggest challenge is securing enough work, according to a Contently study.

Beyond job posting websites, there are few services which source new projects and match them with freelancers.

How do you usually find clients?

Probably through your network, by rekindling previous clients or resorting to ‘growth hacks’ on LinkedIn. While this might provide you with a sporadic stream of clients, it won’t offer you the Big Wins.

What are Big Wins? The opportunity to work with your dream companies, be that Airbnb, Etsy, or Apple.

Talent platforms work closely with clients like this. They understand which projects are in the works. They know which positions are open and actively promote freelancers within their community for the role.

This vastly increases your chances of landing the ultimate gig.

Avoiding pesky clients.

On the flip side, many clients are nothing short of a pain in the arse.

Complaints about payment inundate freelancer forums. As a recent Linkedin study revealed:

“Over 76% of freelancers have had issues with collecting payment from their clients. 19% stated that occurred between 3 to 6 times per year.”

A freelancer talent platform relieves these client-side pressures. From contractual and payment issues to managing the budget, timeline, and performance reviews.

They take the managerial stress out of being a freelancer.

How do I choose between freelance platforms?

If you’re a freelance designer or developer, there are a few established players in the field. While they are inherently global, their client base is more likely to be focused on a particular continent.

Before you sign up for a freelance platform, consider which time zones you want to accommodate in your working day.

Based in the Americas? Then Gigster, Crew and Toptal have strong presences in the US. The latter also offers work for Finance freelancing gurus.

If you call Europe home, then languages come into play. Comet is the go-to platform for many French-speaking developers. At CodeControl around 20% of our developers are German-speaking (thanks to clients like Lufthansa). Another 50% are European and the final 30% are spread around the world.

Beyond time zones, hone down your list with some other priorities.

Do you prefer to work onsite or offsite? Directly with the client or via a product manager? Do you like the clients they’ve worked with so far?

If you’re struggling to choose between platforms, don’t stress. Few will demand that you’re loyal to them-you’ll find many freelancers working for one or two platforms.

Processes & pricing.

Upwork has come under fire in recent years — and it’s not difficult to see why. A marketplace and escrow service, they offer few quality guarantees for clients or support services for freelancers, yet they take a cut of up to 20%.

Freelance platforms will take something in the range of 20–25%, which is mostly spent on finding clients for you.

They don’t charge you to join, but they do test your competencies.

Usually, the first step will be a resume or portfolio review. Next, they might ask you to do a personality, English or tech interview, and then a coding challenge if you’re a developer. The length of the assessment process varies between platforms.

If you make the cut, you’ll be welcomed into the community and can chat with other members. You’ll receive the latest gigs (usually via Slack or email) and can message one of the team if you’re interested.

Finally, you get to skip those deplorable first stage interviews!

If the client likes your profile, you’ll jump on a call with them-just to ensure you’re both happy to work with each other.

Now the question on everyone’s lips, how much do you get paid?

At CodeControl, we let our freelancers choose their own hourly rate. But that varies from platform to platform-and most of them don’t disclose it. It’s best to ask before signing on.

Freelancing Services 2.0

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

With this tidbit of insight, Aristotle captured what freelance platforms aim to achieve.

There’s an array of services that help you manage your solo-career, as well as marketplaces that offer you quick gigs. But they have evolved beyond that. Freelance platforms can now further your freelance career with top-notch clientele.

Plus, they reduce the stress of working with them.

Thanks for reading! If you gleaned a thing or two from this story, then please… 👏👏👏

This article originally appeared on CodeControl’s blog.

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