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Current state and the future of freelancing with Matt Barrie (Freelancer.com)

Current state and the future of freelancing with Matt Barrie (Freelancer.com)

Miguel Amado

With more than 50 million employers and freelancers from 247 countries, regions and territories, Freelancer.com is one of the most important freelancer platforms in the world. More and more companies are trusting freelancers to work on specific projects and deliver great results and we want to know if that is only a trend or a strategy that will continue and even be more present in the next few years.

Matt Barrie, CEO and Chairman of Freeelancer.com, is one of the people that knows the answer. Check out our interview with Matt below.

Freelancing had a boom in the last two years, with more people working from home (and having more time to freelance) and also with the “Great Resignation”. Do you agree with that and how Freelancer was impacted by the last two years?

The freelancing online job market has certainly flourished over the past few years. There were two major drivers for this growth – the COVID-19 pandemic that became the perfect “C-suite” of transformation in every organization, and the acceptance of remote working.
Social distancing restrictions and lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 also saw people spending more time at home meaning they had more time to work online and earn extra income by freelancing online while reducing commuting and idle hours. Interestingly, in this period we also saw an increase in people who were opening their own businesses using our platform to source freelancers to create business logos, graphics and written content.

In addition to more availability of freelancers, the concept of remote working became part of everyday life. Working virtually and collaborating online became second nature. Therefore, clients became more comfortable with hiring remote freelancers to support their projects and collaborating with them over conference calls.

While there was a lot of attention on the “Great Resignation,” we don’t believe this had a major push towards freelancing. Instead, the trend we’ve seen recently is more businesses turning towards the freelancer model to hire on-demand freelancers to support highly technical, niche or high volume tasks.

What are the areas that have lots of freelancers and job opportunities and which ones do you believe needs more freelancers registered and more jobs available?

There are currently over 2,000 skills and job types available on Freelancer.com, and this is growing with jobs from website design, software programming, graphic design, copywriting, data entry, and mobile phone app development. We’re also seeing growth in architecture, product development, astrophysics, aerospace engineering and manufacturing.

According to our data, the most popular projects being awarded to freelancers in the US consist of programming (PHP, HTML, and JavaScript), data entry and article writing. Our data also ranks graphic design projects as the main type of projects being awarded by US clients through our platform. These findings are fairly consistent across global regions.

Recently we’ve seen a significant increase in projects relating to crypto and blockchain technology. Projects seeking experts in Ethereum are up by 335% and were the highest project type to grow, tripling in 2021 than from the previous year. Freelance projects for Blockchain technology saw a similar uptick, with an increase of 269% more projects than in 2020, while projects relating to Bitcoin increased by 134%. Smart contracts are also beginning to gain momentum towards the end of 2021. In Q4 2021, there was a 60% increase in smart contract projects, compared to Q3 2021.

With so many jobs and skills available, it’s difficult to pinpoint one job or project type that we believe needs more freelancers or jobs available. On Freelancer.com, we can accommodate everything – from very broad to very niche projects and capabilities. We are also the largest freelancing marketplace by users and jobs posted, meaning there’s always someone who can take on the project, no matter the skill level or size.

What are your current challenges that you still are looking for a solution or working on?

We’re currently working on educating and evangelizing decision makers in companies to start using remote workers. This process involves demonstrating the capabilities of using on-demand freelancers to work on tasks across enterprises. We’re also increasing our range of payment options and continuing to be leaders of the market where our users can transact, hire, work and pay in every single language and currency.

Why should anyone freelance?

Whether looking to earn an income, work on projects to bolster their portfolio, or work on something new, there are many reasons why anyone should freelance. Ultimately, it comes down to freedom. People enjoy freelancing as it allows them to decide when, where and what they want to work on.

Is there a ceiling for freelancing and freelance platforms? Or do you believe that companies will have more and more remote workers and hire for each project?

We’re seeing more and more global enterprises turn to a freelance model and grow their workforce through on-demand freelancers. The main challenge is how to grow a business 10x without adding additional headcount or new office locations.

To do this, we’re going to see more companies seek on-demand freelancers to support high volume or very niche tasks. We’re already working with large enterprises, such as Deloitte, NASA, IBM, and Infosys, to help them source freelance talent for their projects. Increased demand will mean more opportunities for jobs on our platform.

Can you give any tips for the freelancer that is just starting and still can’t find many opportunities?

Build your reputation, bid on projects which match your skills and source as much feedback as possible. On Freelancer.com, we offer our freelancers the ability to certify their skills, showcase their portfolio and even become ‘preferred freelancers’ which increases their chances of being selected by clients.

What are Freelancer’s plans for the future?

Our focus is on continuing to improve our core marketplace – for example its messaging and other collaboration tooling, payment methods, matching features, and more, across all of our platforms – desktop website and mobile applications. In addition, we want to continue our international expansion, adding more languages, currencies and regions, and generally growing our base of freelancers and clients.

Finally, we will continue to work with our existing enterprise partners, and attract new ones, helping them redefine the future of work.

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