The freelance market is broken. Just at the point where we really need it to work.
Despite all the great market disruptions of the past few years and the rise of technology and the sharing economy, the fundamental barriers to the independent working movement still remain.
It feels like it’s about to blow though.
Don’t get me wrong. Freelancers and independents are jogging along OK for the most time using their own networks. Some doing very well financially. But ask most freelancers and they will tell you that finding work is still a lottery. So much so that some simply have to give up and return to permanent employment for a period to pay the bills.
And as for the organisations and people that hire them. Well, it’s still not easy enough to find the right person for the job when you need them
What about the freelance job platforms? Haven’t they revolutionized the way freelancers find work? Well no. Not really. What they have done is to find a nifty way for large companies to outsource work. What’s wrong with that?
Therein lies the problem. Freelance work on these sites has become commoditized to such an extent that it has become a race to the bottom in terms of fees, driven by the bidding system. As the old adage says, there’s always someone who will do it cheaper. In a knowledge economy, there’s not a lot of store put on knowledge.
It’s not just the fault of inept or naïve clients either. To be honest, even if you do know what and who you are looking for, it’s a real effort to sift through hundreds of undifferentiated proposals, with only price to go on.
And we can’t even skim the surface when it comes to all the problems we have in gaining recognition for the work that we do and the contribution that we make to the economy, our communities and society as a whole.
It’s impossible to say how many freelancers there are because the government hasn’t worked out a way to count us, but many suggest that in the UK the figure is already over 20% of the workforce and rising rapidly. By their own admission, however, the government accepts that more and more people are now working for themselves.
How is it that despite the fact that the freelance economy is growing exponentially (in the US freelancers account for over a third of the workforce), the incentives and most infrastructure to support the working population are aimed at the permanent workforce.
We are going to change all that.
Over the next few months, KindredHQ will start a process of pulling down the barriers to working solo. We’ll be tackling all the things that the establishment put in the way of our progress, like
– access to finance
– having supportive space to work (working for yourself doesn’t mean working alone)
– getting work from people and organisations that pay you, and pay you on time.
We share a passion for the independent working economy alongside others who are working to solve some of the practical issues that exist for freelancers and we’ll be collaborating with them to bring us all together
And we’d like you to be on the journey with us, to be part of the working revolution. We’re launching a crowd funding campaign soon that will create an investment fund to support the freelance economy. We’d love you to support it in any way that you can. You’d be part of something extraordinary and you’ll help change the way that we work forever.
If you’re interested in hearing more, sign up for the newsletter (up there at the top on the right hand side!) We’ll be in touch with more information soon.