The gig economy and its “freeing” freelancing gets a lot of headlines these days.
Promotional campaigns spotlighting the ultimate career woman raking in thousands of dollars from the comfort of her chic designed home office have many young professionals wondering, “Is the commute worth it?” or “Could freelancing be my escape from Cubicleville”?
With my hard-earned MBA in hand, I hit the freelancing market with gusto, eager to get a jump on all my graduating peers (and my always-accruing-interest student loans).
For months, I’d read everything I could find on this wondrous world of freelancing, been mesmerized by hours of inspiring ad campaigns, and spent many a late night perfecting my freelancer profile. I was certain that I’d done everything “right” to pull an MBA hourly with just my laptop and make-shift office; but things didn’t go as planned.
Like most things mid-Recession, the freelancing market was saturated with B-school grads aggressively competing for work. While my initial rate was WAY below the average consultant fee, my freelancing proposals were routinely beat out my overseas contractors, peddling western education with third world rates. I spent so much time “hustling” – searching the gig sites, researching the companies, writing project proposals – that I was allocating 90% of my time project acquisition and less than 10% of my time on actual billable hours. It was insanely discouraging.
Thankfully, the many early stage freelancer frustrations have been addressed through new apps and matching sites that cater to highly educated and specialized consultants. Many of these sites require a rigorous screening process and assist with payment processing, making them a “cut above” popular job boards like: Craigslist, Thumbtack, and Upwork.
If you’re interested in exploring freelancing opportunities, have an in-demand skill set and an MBA, consider exploring the following sites:
Formerly HourlyNerd, Catalant matches qualified B-school grads with reputable companies and sizable projects. The majority of their approved experts (freelancers) have a secondary degree, whether that’s a top 40 MBA or PhD, and an average of 10+ years of work experience.
Learn more at: www.gocatalant.com .
I first learned about Werk via an insightful Forbes article entitled Flexible Work is the Future of Feminism. One of the only matching sites that charge the talent/applicants a fee ($48 annually), Werk focuses on matching primarily-female talent with flexible employment positions (so not entirely “freelancing”, but may be helpful to some).
Learn more at www.saywerk.com .
If you’ve developed a strong LinkedIn presence, LinkedIn’s new ProFinder may be a good site for you to prioritize. It utilizes LinkedIn applications to sync your profile, match your skills with projects, and even communicate within LinkedIn’s messenger.
Learn more at: www.linkedin.com/profinder .
Another MBA-only platform, TalMix focuses their project availability within the financial sector. If you’ve got a finance background, and want to work Wall Street deals from the sunny shores of [insert: YOUR favorite beach], TalMix may be the perfect platform for you!
Learn more at: www.talmix.com .
The Second Shift
The Second Shift is another female-only talent platform that matches qualified talent with reputable companies. All projects listed offer some form of scheduling flexibility, making The Second Shift an excellent opportunity for family caregivers; however, their FAQs mention 15+ years experience for members, so may not be a good match for young professionals.