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article imageQ&A: How Freelancer is helping transform business relations Special

By Tim Sandle     Jul 8, 2018 in Business
Freelancer, the global crowdsourcing marketplace website, continues to reshape business and employment contracts, including the way firms seek specialisms for digital transformation. Sebastián Siseles of Freelancer.com outlines the history and strategy.
Freelancer.com enables potential employers to post jobs that freelancers can then bid to complete. The company was founded in 2009 and it has since acquired several crowdsourcing marketplaces. Freelancer is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and it has offices in Southern California, Vancouver, London, Buenos Aires, Manila, and Jakarta.
Through the platform, freelancers and employers develop profiles on the site as they engage in the process of offering, winning and completing for work. Both parties write and receive reviews of people they work with of for. This model is increasingly attractive for small-to-medium sized enterprises undergoing digital transformation, for the contracting out of projects. One key example is with software development, as outlined in the companion article "Q&A: The transformation of the software development industry."
To understand more about Freelancer's history and model, Digital Journal caught up with Sebastián Siseles of Freelancer.com. Siseles is the Freelancer International Director.
Digital Journal: How would you describe Freelancer?
Sebastián Siseles: Freelancer.com is the world's leading freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace that puts businesses and employers in contact with a global network of freelancers. Through the platform, employers can hire freelancers to work in areas from software development, writing, data entry and design right through to engineering, science, sales and marketing, accounting and legal services.
DJ: How does the process work?
Siseles: Any member can post a project, whether a short or long-term job, and choose from skilled freelancers who offer their various rate quotes and time estimates to complete it. 28 million registered users have posted 13 million projects and contests to date in over 1000 areas of work.
DJ: How does it bridge developed and less developed markets?
Siseles:Freelancer.com innovatively transforms the global work setup as it connects employers from developed countries such as the US, UK, and Australia with professionals from emerging markets such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
DJ: What level of support is provided?
Siseles:An important service provided by the platform is the Customer Experience team, which responds to questions or queries from both freelancers and employers. By ensuring an online chat support 24/7 with multilingual agents we are providing a better experience to our users. Additionally, Freelancer.com offers a high.quality customer support, the Recruiting team, which assists users to find the most suitable freelancers for their jobs, and which also functions 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Freelancer.com is available in 53 regional sites, is supported by 34 languages and is in 28 currencies.
DJ: What was the idea behind setting Freelancer up?
Siseles:Freelancer.com was founded in 2009 by Matt Barrie. He was looking to create a website for his mother and needed to get some data entry done. Matt wanted someone to do it locally and expected to pay about $2 an entry, about $2000 for a thousand entries. However, nobody wanted to do it. Frustrated, Matt went online and stumbled across GetAFreelancer.com. He posted the job and came back a few hours later to find 70 people offering to do it. So from trying to get someone to do the job locally he ended up getting a team of people in Vietnam to do it instead. They did the job perfectly in three days, and he only had to pay them $100 after the job was done. Matt realized that this was a game-changing opportunity.
Matt researched the industry and decided he wanted to get into this space. He wrote the code for his own marketplace, biditout.com, in about 2 weeks. At the time, he was also using GetAFreelancer.com to get help to build the business from graphic designers and other professionals. While writing the business plan he came across some of the entrenched competitors in the space that had already raised millions and had years of head start. Matt realised pretty quickly that it would be very hard to start from scratch, given the positioning of the competition and the difficulty and time required to establish initial liquidity in a marketplace.
DJ: What happened next?
Siseles:Matt researched the industry and decided he wanted to get into this space. He wrote the code for his own marketplace, biditout.com, in about 2 weeks. At the time, he was also using GetAFreelancer.com to get help to build the business from graphic designers and other professionals. While writing the business plan he came across some of the entrenched competitors in the space that had already raised millions and had years of head start. Matt realized pretty quickly that it would be very hard to start from scratch, given the positioning of the competition and the difficulty and time required to establish initial liquidity in a marketplace.
Matt then bought the small marketplace GetAFreelancer.com which he had used himself as a user, and which provided the initial liquidity. He further developed it into Freelancer.com, tuned the business model and proceeded to acquire other similar websites/domains and competitors in order to accelerate the growth of the business. Through the years, Freelancer has acquired several other crowdsourcing marketplaces such as LimeExchange, Scriptlance.com, Freelancer.de, Freelancer.co.uk, vWorker, Nubelo and more recently Freelancers.net in May 2018.
In a companion article, Sebastián Siseles discusses the outsourcing of software development. See: "Q&A: The transformation of the software development industry."
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