Freelancers seem to be everywhere now, and you’re not imagining it with over 2.2 million freelancers working in the U.K. With such a staggering rise in freelancers and work from home formats, it’s important for business leaders to start thinking about how to harness the immense talent available to them in the gig economy. Depending on your industry, the majority of the talent you need are most likely already out there waiting for you.

The gig economy is basically professional talk for ‘side hustle’. It refers to the ever-growing portion of the workforce choosing independent contractor relationships rather than traditional full-time equivalent employment. Stemming from the term ‘side gig’ the gig economy looks at freelance employment creating a short-term relationship with clients for specialty projects.

The rise in gig economy has led to the invention of many a gig economy platforms which are all making it much easier for employers to hire freelancers.

For example, these platforms allow companies to pay through the platform. Payment has historically been an element that could sometimes be a little tricky. With gig platforms, typically, you don’t need to worry about it and can rest easy since many digital freelance platforms handle the payment transactions for you.

Platforms also enable employers to scope a very broad range of talent from all over the world. With the gig economy in full swing, much of the available and up-and-coming talent is in the freelance market. That means that if you aren’t engaging, you may not be taking full advantage of the talent out there.

Naturally, some freelance markets are more saturated than others. Consultants, for example, are plentiful and have been going for years whereas NFT creators are few and far between. 

It is essential to review the freelancer’s portfolio and any client testimonials they may have. Looking for a freelancer can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. Evaluating portfolios will help you weed out any freelancers who aren’t a good fit. Not inspecting a freelancer’s portfolio or testimonials before entering into a working agreement can be detrimental to your project’s—or even your brand’s—success. The talent’s portfolio, which is typically available on someone’s profile (depending on the marketplace), acts as a resume and showcases their past work, the types of projects they’ve worked on, the clients they’ve worked with and their strengths and skills. Client testimonials also typically appear on their profile and will give you great insight into what they may be like to work with.

It is also recommended that you utilise reputable online marketplaces. As the CEO of a platform focused on audio services, I suggest considering looking for niche platforms that focus on a specific array of services for certain projects. Using platforms that offer distinct services can provide you with a pool of freelance talent that’s highly specialised for your specific needs. There is a wide variety of marketplaces focused on different niches.

Another downside with many platforms is that much of the work is agreed via verbal contracts which while feel very friendly and approachable, can be a mistake. In order to best protect yourself, your brand and the freelancer, make sure a fair and equitable contract is drafted, reviewed and signed by all parties prior to any work being done or payment being made. 

It may be time to venture out and give freelancing a try. With digital freelance platforms mitigating your risk and the gig economy continuing to grow rapidly, there’s no reason to pass over all that top talent. 

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