Freelance News, Freelance Skills, Freelance Platforms, Freelancer

What Do Freelancers Really Expect Of Their Platform?


Getty getty One of the questions I regularly get asked by freelance entrepreneurs is how to make their platform more sticky. Or more specifically, how can they make their platform more attractive to top performing freelancers. When top performers congregate in particular platforms, such as Toptal in tech, or YunoJuno in agency, Inex.One as an aggregator of expert networks , Talmix in management consulting, or Patreon among creatives, it naturally attracts other, similar, freelancers. These platforms – and there are others I will mention below – do a better job than most platforms in managing talent and revenue leakage . Talent leakage is when a platform member leaves the platform as they gain some success. Revenue leakage is the loss of that individual’s revenue generation, but it’s also when platform members contract with clients outside the platform, denying the platform a return on its investment. Informal data suggests that most freelancers are members of 3-5 different platforms. That’s a problem on both sides of the two-sided marketplace. For freelancers it means that they tend not to commit to a platform, and invest little time and effort in helping to make the platform successful. Freelancers who don’t commit to their platform are reluctant to share opportunity or work with other platform members to “ hunt in packs .” That reduces their effectiveness in sourcing work, and at scale, it significantly harms overall platform performance. It’s a vicious cycle. My co-author Norm Smallwood and I first answered the question – what do top freelancers expect from their platform – in our book, Agile Talent . Since its publication in 2016, there has been a rapid expansion of regional and niche platforms in many areas , from diplomacy to pharma clinical trials management to satellite telemetry and AI. And, we’ve seen the growth of mega-platforms such as which now boasts 50,000,000 members. Slightly larger in population than Spain! Through my Forbes #freelancerevolution writing, I have a regular opportunity to speak with groups of freelancers on a pro bono basis. Most recently my conversations included an “ask Jon Younger anything about the freelance revolution” with freelance audiences in Copenhagen, Brussels, Moscow, and Boston. Inevitably the topic is raised: What leads top performers to commit to a platform or treat one platform as primary? So, how can platforms establish a level of trust that builds commitment and engagement? My data continues to show that freelancers want five services from their platform, performed at a consistent level of quality: call them the big five commitment drivers . When platforms regularly and competently provide these services, and invest in their freelancer’s careers rather than inventorize them, freelancers stick and engage. We know that because platforms like Hoxby in the UK, Toptal and Contra in the US, Sneakers & Jackets in France, Appjobs in Sweden, Comatch in Germany, and Mash in Australia are among a number of excellent examples of high commitment platforms. Here they are again, with additional examples: Regular work . The number one […]

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