Freelancers now make up 35% of the US workforce. By 2020, it’s expected to rise to 40%.
There are numerous reasons for this. More and more employers are choosing to have more flexibility with their employees in favor of flexible labor costs. This is especially useful for startups and SMEs. Getting the budget wrong and trying to grow too fast can spell disaster for a new company.
Likewise, many employees also enjoy freelancing. They can have their own schedule, choose their own hours, and work from anywhere in the world.
The bottom line is that in today’s economy, more people are creating their own jobs than ever before.
Whether they were forced into it because of the increasing lack of traditional job prospects, or they voluntarily chose to take another road and carve out their own path, it’s become clear that freelancing isn’t just a fad – it’s here to stay.
The Drawbacks of Freelancing
Of course, along with the many benefits of being a freelancer – the flexible schedule, the ability to choose which projects you choose to spend your time on, the opportunity to work remotely from anywhere in the world – there are drawbacks.
One of the biggest problems for freelancers, especially at the start of their career, is finding clients.
With little experience and an empty portfolio, it can be difficult for freelancers to convince clients to hire them. Coming out of a secure job and realizing that you suddenly have to fend for yourself can seem daunting even for the most prepared.
And when you’ve left your cushy office job and a few weeks have passed and you still haven’t landed your first gig, it’s only natural that panic starts to set in.
The Gig Marketplace
The increase in freelancers has naturally led to the creation of ‘gig marketplaces’. These are online platforms designed to connect freelancers and clients. You’ve probably already heard of some of the most popular ones such as Upwork and Fiverr.
Whilst these platforms have been very successful in that they help freelancers to find work, they also have some significant drawbacks.
The major drawback of these websites is that they take a huge cut of the freelancers’ earnings. Both of these websites take up to 20% commission from freelancers using their site. This means almost a quarter of freelancers’ earnings don’t even reach their bank account.
A Fairer Alternative to the Gig Marketplace
The rise in blockchain technology is opening up more opportunities than we ever thought possible within the freelance world.
You’ve probably already heard of Ethereum and Bitcoin – two of the most famous cryptocurrencies powered by the blockchain – but have you considered what else this powerful technology could be capable of?
An example of one blockchain startup that is currently in the process of revolutionizing the freelance marketplace is CanYa – a global peer-to-peer gig marketplace.
It gives employers the freedom to hire local experts and skilled professionals from all over the world – without many of the drawbacks from the current gig platforms.
Platforms built on the Ethereumblockchain are completely decentralized, meaning there is no head authority figure. It completely cuts out the middleman and other third parties who are taking away freelancers’ hard-earned cash.
The way it works is simple. When a freelancer is hired, the client will deposit the fee for the job into a secure escrow smart contract. It will remain there until the freelancer completes the job. When the client is satisfied, they will release the payment, and escrow will pay the freelancer 100% of what they are owed.
The Future of the Gig Marketplace
Many freelancers have complained about the unfairness of gig marketplaces like Upwork.
Some healthy competition could just be what the current platforms need in order to level out the playing field and put some of the power back into the hands of freelancers.
In a few years, it’s likely that platforms like CanYa could completely overthrow traditional websites like Upwork.