We need to make freelancing great (again)
As a former freelance designer, I always felt the need rev up the local gig economy, as we are often under-represented, no single bodies or platform to recognise us as a whole and certainly no common voice loud enough to make ourselves be heard regarding the issues we faced. And above it all, there will always be one core worry for all freelancers: sustainability of income from a good flow of gigs.
And that was when I decided to take the plunge to start 3Clicks – with a strong belief this can make freelancing dynamic, easy to access and sustainable.
A platform focused on the youths taking up freelancing
Launched in early 2018, I envisioned this platform to be a freelance service marketplace of multiple discipline. After engaging with students from multiple tertiary institutions, I found out that many teach tuition or music instruments as a way to earn some income to sustain their lifestyle, yet feel that there would be a better platform to provide better and ease of access to more opportunities against traditional methods of “word of mouth” and matching agencies.
What is even more interesting is many of these students have multiple skillsets they could make a living out of, yet found it a hassle to go to different parties or platforms to “list their services”. For example, an academic tutor who can also teach piano will have to engage a tuition agency and music agency to reach out to opportunities. With a unified platform, they can list their various services on a single platform under 1 single profile, removing the hassles of managing multiple accounts or contacts.
Ease of access to freelance services
Of course, the other spectrum of making the gig economy sustainable is the demand end, which provides opportunities for the freelancers. Having fragmented sources of freelance services makes it inefficient and difficult to access the quality of freelancers. Surely, as a buyer of freelance service myself sometimes, my first instinct is to do a Google search for it, but what usually comes out of it is various platforms and websites of these service providers, with little information on reviews of these services.
So what if I can easily view the reviews of the service from different freelancers on a single platform, similar to how I would shop for something on an e-commerce website? Since I don’t see any other dominant local freelance service platforms doing this well enough, I figured this is something I think can make a difference to buyers of freelance service and hopefully, change the way people have been engaging freelance services traditionally.
The future of freelancing
Global trends show that the number of on-demand workers are on the rise in developed countries, as digital platforms facilitate connections between gig workers and businesses. The numbers of freelancers in Singapore increased from 201,000 in 2016 to over 223,500 in 2017, an increase of 23,400 freelancers – all of them primary freelancers. These numbers translate to 9% of Singapore’s total workforce. Eighty-five percent of these freelancers choose freelancing as their primary source of income, often citing flexibility as their main factor to be a freelancer. That number is likely to go higher, what with more companies trying to manage costs and hiring freelancers to do short term projects.
Singapore’s government has also taken measures to ensure the protection of these freelancers with recent policy agendas such as the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment, as well as launching a legal handbook for freelancers in the media scene. They are further exploring ways to give better protectionism in areas such as insurance, medical benefits, career development, skills upgrading and for future retirement planning.
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