Obviously, this is a subjective topic. So I’ll be bringing in various arguments and opinions from some of the most common viewpoints that I’ve come across.
These arguments cover a broad range of different aspects relating to the online freelance marketplace in general, but many are specifically about the freelance security marketplace. There are some interesting points and various things to consider. Let’s get started!
How should competition be handled?
One of the most argued topics to do with any competitive field is the high amount of saturation in most sectors today. The internet is accessible by everyone around the world. In most cases, there is no barrier to entry regarding age, sex, race, or current social status. In fact, the internet may be one of the most equal opportunity employers in the world.
The degree of anonymity that comes with the internet gives the chance for about anyone to succeed doing whatever it is they want to do.
Yet, being that it is so accessible, this brings about severe competition in almost every niche you could dream up. The security sector is no exception.
So, for the ideal marketplace, what does competition look like? How is it mediated and how does each person get a fair chance? Does everyone get a fair chance?
Freelance-Security.net has its own methods in place to help prevent over-saturation in the market. Other niches are flooded with entry-level people and those who don’t even have experience or knowledge in the field. We focus on letting profiles and projects speak for themselves. In our interface, each employer gets to specify exactly what they are looking for, their budget, deadline and skills needed. Users are able to narrow down these results to find profiles and projects that fit their abilities.
This helps keep competition at bay and leads to better work results because you don’t have thousands of users competing for the same project. Instead, out of those thousands of users, maybe only one hundred fit the project’s needs. Out of those one hundred, maybe only a dozen have the time to meet the deadline and/or work on the project’s budget. This specific criteria narrows down the competition for freelancers, and it also makes it easier for project owners to find the perfect person. One of the main points that anyone can make in regards to saturation is that:
…those who do good work will stand out.
They will outlast anyone who is unable or unwilling to complete a task. They will get more jobs and find more success than someone who over bids, under performs, or generally isn’t experienced.
Hard work is one of the driving forces behind any freelancer’s success. If they fail to deliver what’s promised, or don’t do it by the promised time-frame, and they fail on these aspects over and over again, our rating system will take them off the field.
Competition is fierce and global. Technology is driving it to be even more fierce and global. But in the end, if someone does good work, they will quickly find repeat clients, referrals, and on-going success in their field.
How should a marketplace function?
Website design is highly subjective. What one person may feel is clean and easy to navigate, another may find boring and dull. But aside from visual aspects and having a website appear vibrant, what are the functions that most people are seeking?
Navigation is one of the most important aspects of a website. If people land on a page and then can’t find what they’re looking for, they aren’t going to stay that long. Likewise, if they get to a website and they find dead links or outdated content, they’ll be clicking the back button and going somewhere that appears to be more updated.
We realized that freelancers needed to spend their time wisely, and so did project owners. That’s why we have probably the most simple and useful navigation menu that you’ll find on any marketplace site. You can easily and quickly find the blog, the projects area, the client area, etc. There’s nothing hidden away and we promise that all links are working.
If any website or business is going to succeed, there have to be quite a few payment options. PayPal is a good start. But accepting credit cards, debit cards, and foreign transaction methods will allow a marketplace to be used globally. And globalization is definitely where our world is heading.
In addition to having multiple options to pay, marketplaces cannot charge outrageous transfer or processing fees. Some sites are known to charge service fees, transfer fees, processing fees, and take a portion of each project. We realize that is totally absurd and unfair. The only fees that you’ll run into are the mandatory fees obligated by the payment platform you select, in addition to a small cut of successfully completed projects.
A website isn’t going to get very far if it always stays the same. It was once said that change is the only constant, and that couldn’t be more true today. If a website is not constantly updating and adapting to the changing needs of each user, they won’t stay around for long.
We run deep analytics services across our site and keep track of what features users are looking for. This allows us to stay updated and offer the best tools and services for our users. If users are repeatedly requesting a feature, payment option, or work tool, we’re definitely going to work on integrating it.
A marketplace, in addition to having a navigation menu so that users can get from area to area, also has to be highly searchable. This means that users should be able to locate users, profiles, and projects quickly and easily. If they search for a keyword, it should bring up profiles and/or projects relating to that keyword. They should also be able to find specific users in an instant.
We are constantly improving our search function to ensure that users can always find what or who ever it is they are looking for. This allows connections to be made simply and easily.
Social proof is a term for when users are more likely to take an action as many others already have. Social proof is a very helpful tool in helping users determine if they want to try a service or work with a particular client. Social proof comes in the form of followers, likes, views, shares, and reviews.
Our review system allows honest feedback for every user. Unlike platforms where feedback can be hidden or even removed without good reason, our review system ensures the honesty and integrity of users. Freelancers are able to build up reviews as they complete projects, and our review system cannot be manipulated. Reviews can only be left when a project has been successfully completed by a freelancer, which means you won’t find any fake or filler reviews in our system.
This allows both clients and freelancers to choose the best person for the task.
Along with updating the front-end of every website on a regular basis, it’s also important to have an up-to-date FAQ. While most all sites offer some form of customer service, a self-service FAQ allows users to quickly and easily find the answer to whatever question they have. That is, if it’s up-to-date.
In our regular update process, we also keep track of the most commonly asked questions and add them to our FAQ as needed. If you don’t find the answer to your question there, send it to us and it’ll probably be added once we respond to your request. That’s one of the many ways that we try to keep things quick and simple for all users.
Plus, our FAQ is organized in a fashion that it’s easy to find the answer you need. Instead of having all questions mixed up, clients and freelancers can narrow questions down to their respective position. So, if a freelancer is looking to know about the fees, they go to the Freelancer section of the Q&A and find their question. It’s as simple as that!
The foundation of any website determines how far the functionality can be extended, and to what extent features and the user interface can be added/altered. WordPress is actually the foundation of a countless number of websites around the world. Through plug-ins, the platform is easily extendable to include many features.
But, there are often problems with speed once the user database starts to get very large. Security can also be an issue.
Our website runs on one of the most secure platforms around. Our foundation was built from the ground up to accommodate the features and functionality we knew we would be continuously adding. You can trust that your data is safe with us.
How should users market themselves?
There are countless ways for users to market themselves online. One of the most common is the profile feature that almost every website has. Profiles often allow users to add in a bio, picture, name, experience, education, work history, and portfolio. However, getting a client to click on that profile can be a job in itself.
Rather than waiting for clients to come to them, users are now finding innovative ways to put themselves out there. Personal websites and professional online portfolios are all great marketing tactics. Yet, the ideal marketplace has some of these features already built-in.
Some functions that freelancers will likely find useful includes:
- The ability to share their profile on social networks.
- The ability for others to share their profile on social networks.
- A review feature.
We allow users to link to their own personal website, which is another great marketing tactic. Personal websites allow a great deal of customization and personalization that most third-party profile services do not. Directing clients to a portfolio on your personal site is a great way to show them more information than you can include on your profile, like an about page, a blog, etc.
Using social media to do marketing is not a new thing. Almost every social media account has a product or something to sell behind it. Companies have already realized the power of social media in branding and marketing. And if your competition is doing it, usually you should try it too.
Social media marketing can range from regular posting to build awareness and help spread your profile around the globe.
However, before that, it’s a good idea to setup a great social media profile and make sure it links to all of your related profiles across the web. You should also have a great picture and description. In fact, you might use the same photo/logo across accounts to help people find you.
In addition to making sure your profile looks good, the first thing you should do is get some of that social proof. Ask your friends and family to follow you and share your page. This is how the snowball effect will begin happening.
The primary goal of any business is to get users and keep those users. One of the biggest complaints about online freelance marketplaces is how much control they take away from users. For instant, many sites are known for keeping freelancers imprisoned on the site. If they offer a client outside information, they are quickly banned forever.
So, how much freedom should a marketplace give to clients and users?
Obviously, users are allowed to work on whatever platform they want. But, if you find a client on Platform A and then decide to make Platform B your mainstay, since you make more money on their, Platform A will not allow you to take that client over to Platform B. Do you stay on A just for that client, or do you leave them behind?
Some marketplaces have multiple stop points in place to prevent contact information from being shared. Recently, some unnamed marketplaces even took down all external portfolio links, and is in practice of holding every message for review if it contains links, emails, numbers, or the word “contact”.
At what point does a platform’s safeguard become tiresome for the users and actually hinder sales? It’s obvious that businesses should be able to keep the users and clients they have worked so desperately to get onto the platform, but when messages begin to be delayed and information that is vital to a job’s completion completely blocked, the platform is not going to make it long anyway.
However, freedoms for freelancers and clients to communicate wherever they want would likely lead to the end of many platforms. For example, say a marketplace suddenly allows personal contact info to be given without consequence. Likely, since that platform takes a cut of every sale, freelancers would decide to take clients to their own site where they can keep 100% profits.
There’s a middle ground between allowing some outside communication and completely blocking it. Since most users are in agreement that completely blocking communication puts up barriers to selling and completing projects, it can be assumed that other freelance marketplaces will catch on eventually and allow, to a certain extent, outside connections amongst users.
What should marketplaces encourage?
Marketplaces should encourage communication and the ability for clients and users to continue working with each other. While many projects are one-off, many more have clients looking to form a long-lasting business relationship with a trustworthy freelancer. This is hindered when the freelancer can’t connect outside of the platform.
Building relationships helps both clients and freelancers. So how can it be done?
Among the crucial components in creating and receiving high quality work is developing successful relationships with co-workers, freelancers and your clients. Actually, handling business relationships is critical to the success of endeavours. But as more people join through these platforms, it’s sometimes simple to forget that on the different side of your computer screen, freelancers and those clients are real human beings. So before you accidentally begin socializing with them like they’re machines, consider these points:
It costs cash plus significantly more hours to get new customers than to keep good relationships with present ones.
Most disgruntled customers won’t whine to an organization, but they all will not do business with the company again. What’s more, the typical unsatisfied customer tells 9–10 others about his encounter that is lousy. Establishing expectations too low or too high is among the very frequent reasons for disagreement between freelancers and clients.
What’s amazing is that even though the manner has shifted via the internet, many classic suggestions that once operated offline still use now. Before you begin your next job online, be sure to read through these hints on managing and establishing successful relationships:
Operate in a Businesslike Manner
If your “working capital” consists of a mobile phone plus just a notebook, it’s significant to act in a businesslike manner. Establish, and make certain you’re generally accessible. Let those you work with understand ahead of time in the event you intend to be out of the office for a day or two. Like brick and mortar businesses, their clients as well as on-line freelancers should establish regular office hours. You don’t need to be working in exactly the same time zone or even on an identical continent if you both understand when you’re able to reach one another. In the event that you do a substantial quantity of work and on-line cooperation, it’s also an excellent thought to issue records detailing your normal company policies and work procedures, in addition to job demands and deliverables, so each party is aware of what to expect at every phase of the undertaking.
By way of example, one management consultant guarantees that all messages will undoubtedly be returned within four hours — a guarantee he’s never busted. Not only is his guarantee mentioned on his web site and in all advertising materials, however he tells every new freelancer and Client about the policy.
Eventually, keep each other in the loop at all times by scheduling assemblies or routine communications. On these platforms, you may have access to a weekly Status Report or Time-sheet tools to keep each other handily synchronized as well. You can (and should) send words frequently to the Workroom to inform each other of improvement on the job. The success of any occupation is dependent upon the relationship between the parties, and strong relationships derive from regular and open communication.
Establish Realistic Expectations
Client anticipations are managed by some freelancers through “under-promising and over-delivering.” This establishes Client expectations so low they are frequently wowed the work is delivered ahead of schedule and surpasses quality expectations. This approach got two drawbacks: (1) freelancers might not get jobs should they swear too little; and (2) nobody likes to be controlled. Companies need realistic approximations — not padded approximations designed to make the freelancer look like a miracle worker.
As a freelancer, it’s your occupation to clearly specify what you will and will not do (and when) — in your suggestions and written agreements. Make certain your clients realize all provisions and conditions of arrangements before they sign on the dotted lines. It’s always advisable to include flexibility in your deadlines, in the event you get ill or another customer requests a rush job.
As a client, learn enough about fee scales and your freelancer’s business to make informed hiring decisions.
It might be worth it to assess the sites of the professional associations regulating a contractor’s field before posting work. If nothing else, you’ll be able learn what types of questions to ask and to place a realistic budget range.
Trust but Verify
Give freelancers independence and the trust they need to finish their missions. The people you select are specialists inside their areas — or should be — with the qualifications and track records to prove it. It’s the reason they were hired by you. Don’t forget, micromanagement is counterproductive.
Constantly work with written agreements — paper or electronic. Whenever possible, you need to use files for example Non-Disclosure Agreements, Change Order Agreements and other Contracts. These files certainly will protect both parties in case of a dispute, and will help prevent mistakes.
Place Project Milestones
Establishing landmarks is the easiest way course, and to agree on the advancement of a job. It supplies real time mark for both parties. As an example, the beginning date might be used by a project creator as the very first milestone, while the second marks delivery of an outline. The 3rd landmark indicates delivery of the very first draft results, and the fourth happens at end.
An escrow system shields both freelancers and clients. Fund escrow for the job the moment you as well as the freelancer agree to conditions, if you’re a Client. You won’t have to release it instantly, also it won’t be released without your permission. Don’t begin work until escrow was financed if you’re a freelancer.
Use Project Management Tools
Take time to get familiar with on-line project management tools. On Freelance Security, these comprise our Workroom, which features a 100MB-per Workroom file server with version control, integrated real time chat, and also a message board that constantly logs messages and all chats.
Learn to Say No
The client isn’t always correct, and neither is the freelancer. Not every request is even logical or realistic. In case your freelancer says halfway by means of a job that he’ll be unavailable for a month because “Aunt Rose” needs him to attend a funeral and also 16 weddings, in the event that you need the job completed by the first deadline, be courteous but strong. Politely but firmly refer the Client to the established conditions although and when your Client as well as you consented that he’d receive the results by Monday. A project is more inclined to finish when both parties stick to them and stipulate the conditions of the occupation.
A freelance marketplace is a great way to get started in any field. You can build a portfolio and find the right projects to fit your skills. However, you shouldn’t use it as your sole way of gaining experience. Don’t depend on the on-site profile or the platform you use to do your marketing for you.
Reach out through social media and friends to help you grow your reputation. Do the best work you can, and you’re sure to shine through and rise above all the inexperienced freelancers and those who don’t do what they promise.
Finish everything you commit to. Competition is fierce, but you can make it. Your chances are at least as good as everyone else’s, and even better if you truly put your best into it. Devote time, and even a little money, and you can have endless opportunity every time you log-on. As you get more reviews, and more projects, your experience will grow and so will your revenue. Price yourself fairly and competitively.
Know your worth and what people are willing to pay, and balance those numbers.
Just like the platforms you use, you should always be updating your offerings and adjusting to the needs of your clients.
Finally, building lasting relationships and remaining trustworthy and honest are the best tips anyone can leave you with if you wish to success in the online world. With the huge amounts of anonymity, it pays off to show your own personality and expertise in a unique and personal way with your clients.