What do start-up founders and professional freelancers have in common?
Well for starters, both start-up founders and professional freelancers are independent professionals in that they work for themselves rather than employers.
Start-up founders and professional freelancers are the ultimate builders of their own dreams, unlike great majority of the world population who are building someone else’s dream. That alone – in my opinion – makes them wiser than all others who are employed as ‘modern slaves’.
I too was a ‘modern slave’ so don’t get all worked up because I called you out, instead do something about it.
Truth be told, not everyone is cut out to run a start-up or work as a professional freelancer and make a living offering professional services. It’s a tough and lonely life, filled with uncertainties, risks, setbacks and failures.
However, where there are huge risks, equal rewards exist, so it’s a life worth living if you aren’t of faint heart. In case you’re contemplating taking the leap of faith, here’s a cautionary definition of entrepreneurship taken from one of my previous post which should act as a note of caution.
How do start-up founders and professional freelancers differ from each other?
Start-up founders are rebels, black sheep…people who refuse to accept the world and things as they are and have the innate need for self-actualization. Putting a dent in the universe and in the process making the most of themselves, their innate talents and abilities is what start-up founders are all about.
Start-up founders see people, ideas and things NOT for who and what they are but who and what they can be. They see infinite possibilities and are forward looking…resourcefulness and creativity are their strong traits and sense of purpose or the BIG why is their internal guiding compass, which helps them persevere when the going gets tough and overcome setbacks they encounter on their entrepreneurial journey.
On the other hand, professional freelancers do not necessarily have the same sense of purpose, zeal and motivation like start-up founders but are nonetheless, self-starters, highly disciplined and equally resourceful.
In fact, professional freelancer’s resourcefulness and ability to market themselves and ultimately acquire paying clients on regular basis is among their strongest traits and of utmost importance, for the absence of it would surely result in their demise.
Flexibility and freedom to choose what type of professional service to offer, when, where, how and how much to charge are probably the biggest motivators and incentives for professional freelancers.
However, these motivators alone aren’t always the only reason people turn to freelancing and ultimately become the best in class professional freelancers…often times loss of job, weak economy, lack of prospective job opportunities and debt e.g. student loans, mortgages, car loans etc. are equally strong motivators for people to turn to freelancing.
How can start-up founders and professional freelancers benefit from each other?
If you’ve ever started a business or have been a part of a start-up team, you must know just how challenging juggling multiple tasks at the same time really is. Early weeks and months of any one start-up are the most exciting but also extremely stressful due to a pile load of work that needs to be done, extremely tight deadlines and finite resources e.g. human capital and funds.
Think of it as having two opposite parallel lines, far apart…one is a start and the other finish. On the start line you have hundreds if not thousands of time bound, equally critical deliverables which ought to be completed or in this case ‘carried over’ the finish line.
Now, add to it one or two resources i.e., founder, co-founder etc. and a shoestring budget. Off you go…feeling the pressure already? Damn straight!
There are exceptions to this rule of course but those are very few and far between. Start-ups which are lucky enough to either have a cash rich founders or are able to raise funds from outside investors e.g. Angels, VCs don’t necessarily have these kind of challenges, for they can hire additional bodies to help them do the heavy lifting and complete those much important, time bound deliverables fairly easily.
What about 97% of start-ups which aren’t so lucky to raise funds from the get go or have them readily available?
Well, this is where the professional freelancers come into play and the mutual benefits between them and startup founders start to make sense.
Start-up founders are no strangers to outsourcing their business tasks e.g. accounting, blogging, content marketing, graphic design, web-development etc. to professional freelancers in exchange for pre-agreed hourly rates.
This works like a charm for both start-up founders and professional freelancers. The only challenge start-up founders often face is identifying truly professional freelancers.
With tens if not hundreds of freelancing platforms and hundreds of millions of freelancers – some professional and many not so much – selecting the right ones could be rather challenging.
But what if anything can start-up founders do to mitigate the risk of hiring the wrong or unprofessional freelancers?
Start-up founders can cut right through all the noise and clatter and turn to proven professional freelancers who’ve established their credibility and have track record to back the above the average hourly rates.
Such professionals have well established web presence in the form of professional websites or registered freelancing accounts on any one or all of the leading freelancing platforms Upwork, Toptal, Parttimerz and Freelancer.
While chiefly built to facilitate safe and efficient collaboration between professional freelancers and clients e.g. start-ups, small and medium businesses, each one of these freelancing platforms differ greatly from one another in their values, principles, modus operandi and business goals.
As I’ve extensively elaborated on the subject of professional freelancers and freelancing platform in my other post entitled ‘Here’s why freelancing platform is your best friend if you’re a professional freelancer’, I won’t get into details here but you get the point.
Wrapping it all up
While entrepreneurs and freelancers are two different profiles of individuals, they most certainly share a fair bit of traits and complement each other in more ways than one. This is good simply because as globalization continues its proliferation and global business marketplace becomes ever so fiercely competitive, more companies worldwide will have no choice but to adapt a leaner, more nimble and truly cost-effective business models if they are to remain competitive, let along successful.
All of this calls for wider availability of professional resources e.g. professional freelancers, whom international startups can rely upon and use at their convenience. This simply means that gig economy’s stupendous growth will continue at unimaginable rate over the next decade or so. This in my opinion will cause a major paradigm shift because of which people worldwide will be much happier, more successful and able to achieve the ultimate fulfillment.