Guide to the Gig Economy and Digital Work Platforms for Freelancers

Thinking of Becoming a Freelancer and joining the Gig Economy? Online Digital Work Platforms Are the Best Place to Start…

So you have some digital skills and you’re thinking of going freelance and joining the Gig Economy? You’re certainly not alone.

Year on year, hundreds of professionals trade in their safe and dependable desk jobs and journey into the unknown to become freelancers for hire.

[Working as a Freelancer offers many personal and financial perks]

An unstable economy, combined with ever dwindling life-long career options, means for some, freelancing is a risk worth taking.

But how to get started? How do you get your new career off of the ground in the first place? The easy answer for many beginners is the online digital work platform.

Let’s take a look out how these sites make it simple to start a successful online business

What is the Gig Economy?

Put simply – the ‘Gig Economy’ is the emerging economy and labour market of casual workers, freelancers and self-employed workers who are earning a living through selling their own services and products.

Most recently, the term ‘Gig Economy’ has become synonymous with more casual styles of working and sources of income. Typically, to work in the Gig Economy is a departure from the usual “9-5 day job”, and might involve holding down multiple jobs at any one time.

Uber drivers, Deliveroo delivery drivers, Freelance website developers and social media influencers all operate in the modern Gig Economy.

What is an Online Digital Work Platform?

In short, you can think of an online digital work platform as a more sophisticated version of the old fashioned jobs board.

Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com and Solidgigs are the most popular examples of these types of sites. They’re all different in outlook and operation, but they broadly serve the same purpose – helping clients and freelancers connect to get work done.

[Fiverr is one of the best Online Digital Work Platforms currently out there]

What are the Main Benefits?

There are many.

Traditionally, it wouldn’t matter whether a freelancer’s expertise were in web design or copywriting, the path to self employment was usually the same, and it went something like this:

  • Think of a company name.
  • Build a website (ToolsToBuildWith.com can help you with this).
  • Try to find work.

It’s no secret that the life of a freelancer can be tough. No-one will work with you until you’ve built up a portfolio, and many successful professionals rely solely on word of mouth.

Beyond sending cold emails to prospective companies, it’s tricky knowing how to find new clients. Add to that the nightmare of late invoices and it’s easy to see why many give up.

If you’re having problems tracking client invoices and payments, maybe review the And.Co solution, or alternatively read our post on The Best Invoicing and Payment Tracking Tools for Freelancers

Digital work platforms go a long way to negating a lot of those pitfalls:

It’s Much Easier to Get Found with a Freelance platform

Freelance digital work platforms are effectively a labour marketplace for the Gig Economy.

Most online digital work platforms have two main systems of connecting clients with freelancers…

The first is with a simple search.

Sites like Fiverr encourage freelancers to build “gigs” advertising their services. If the gig page is enticing, and the offering looks good, a prospective client will hire you for their project.

Looking for a review of Fiverr? – Be sure to check out our Fiverr review for 2021.

Other sites like Upwork rely more on a proposal based system. With UpWork, a client posts a job they’d like completing, and you and your rival freelancers put in proposals, hoping to win the project.

[UpWorks workflow is simple, but slightly different from other platforms]

Whichever platform or system you prefer, all of them are vastly superior to sending cold emails or relying on friends to get the word out about your talents.

It’s Much Easier to Build a Portfolio

Because these online platforms often work on testimonials, levels and ratings systems, there’s no huge requirement to post your work online or build a website to show off what you can do.

Many clients simply hire based on social proof and authority. This leaves you free to get on with freelancing, rather than worrying about trying to market your services.

It’s Easier to Manage Your Time

Using Fiverr as a prime example, another great thing about online platforms is their ability to act as your project manager.

[As a Freelancer – you’re in charge of your time, and you can pick and chose the projects and gigs which you want to work on each week]

You’ll have easy to understand deadlines, a queue system for managing the flow of work, and other ready made tools for uploading, discussing and amending projects on the fly.

You Always Get Paid on Time

This one is huge!

One of the worst aspects of freelancing is cashflow. Making up invoices and chasing them is no fun. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that many clients simply don’t pay on time.

Digital work platforms completely remove this hassle, because they force clients to pay up front for work, with the money being released once you’ve completed the project.

[Getting paid as a Freelancer is made much simpler and faster when using an Online Digital Work Platform such as Fiverr or UpWork]

Tax Returns are Simple

Following on from the last point, it’s simple and convenient to manage your accounts and file taxes each year, because in essence, you only have one client!

It sounds odd at first, but beautifully simple once you get your head around it.

The client pays the digital platform for the project, then the platform “hires” you to do the job. Therefore, you are “paid” by the platform itself, meaning very simple, one-client book keeping and a very neat paper trail.

In Conclusion – why try the Gig Economy and Digital Work Platforms?

Online digital work platforms are a godsend for beginner freelancers. They do the heavy lifting, allowing you to concentrate on creating outstanding work.

What are you waiting for?

Try one of them out today…

Want to read more? – our post on What are Freelance Gigs and Online Digital Work Platforms? is a great starting place.