Independent Consultants: This week, I somehow stumbled across the strange new world of freelance job marketplaces that is Fiverr.
Of all the places newbies should look to begin their freelance careers, this is perhaps NOT one of them. (For reasons of sanity!)
In fact, anyone who is distressed by the downward pressure on their consulting rate due to the increasingly global and liquid talent market should probably steer well clear of this website, or at least put any sharp objects out of site, first.
That said, if you are putting together your business plan and thinking about becoming a consultant, accounting for the global marketplace is a step you should not skip. It's time to take a hard look at what your competition is willing to do. And you'd best not underestimate them!
So what's the deal?
Whether you are looking for someone to write a catchy tagline for your small business marketing efforts, fix your website's CSS issues, or get a gorgeous new powerpoint deck template for your consulting proposal development, Fiverr tells us that somewhere, someone is willing to do it for just $5.
Better yet, Fiverr puts your money in escrow and doesn't release the funds to the freelancer on the other side of the deal until the work has been approved.
On the one hand, this is insanely cool and I am combing through the lists of freelance services on the job board for something I can use. I mean, what's the most I have to lose? Five dollars? In exchange for work that has to be at least half decent (or I don't have to pay . . . )? Who doesn't need a cartoon illustration to enhance a business article? Who doesn't need a refresh on their powerpoint templates? Who doesn't need their online dating profile translated into French? (ahem.)
I don't know whether the consulting and freelancing community will embrace this new market, and hire people on the board in order to enhance their own freelance success, or if they will run screaming.
The Diaspora of Work
No matter what happens, it is clear that work is becoming atomized -- exploded into millions of little bits that can be outsourced around the globe. And thanks to marketplaces like Fiverr, the transactional risk is minimized.
And if you're completely out of work, it seems like Fiverr and similar sites offer a means for almost anyone to at least make a living wage, if they have an internet connection and lots of time to hustle small projects. Just two Fiverr projects an hour means you're over minimum wage, anyway, and you can perform your work any time of day or night.
I applaud the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity happening at places like Fiverr... I just hope that the freelance and consulting community is ready to justify their comparatively higher bill rates.
News and notes for independent workers and their clients. This is the September 26, 2016 edition.
As an independent consultant it's important to know what exactly soft skills are, why they matter, and how you can improve yours.