The staggering numbers.
According to a recent report by Payoneer, India, with 15m freelancers comes next only to the US in the number of freelancers. These 15m freelancers execute a whooping 40% of world’s total freelancing assignments. On an average more than 35% of freelancers on large freelancer online platforms such as Freelancer.com and Upwork are from India.
Even though India has such a large number of freelancers, majority of the assignments executed by them come from clients based out of the US, Australia, UK and other SEA countries. Assignments from India are far a few.
The Biggest Hurdle.
I am the co-founder and CEO of Feelance Co, an online platform for clients to discover and engage with freelance/independent consultants for short-term projects and interim roles. Over last one year, I have interacted with a lot of clients and have been actively involved in understanding the working of freelancers and independent consultants in India on a daily basis.
As Feelance Co. is on a mission to become a hub for all freelance requirements of Indian clients, we are trying to identify and iron out all the kinks in the system. The biggest hurdle that stops clients from working with freelancers is the trust factor. The most often asked question by the clients is:
“What happens if one day the freelancer decides not to work on the engagement? What will we do after that?”
This is a valid question and is the biggest reason that clients in India are more willing to work with a consulting firm at by spending a higher amount of money than with a freelancer delivering same quality at lower fees.
Freelancer Vs Consulting firm.
On the Feelance platform we have both the individual consultants and consulting firms. For the same assignment, clients tend to shortlist and select firms than individuals, even though the individual consultants might have much better skill-set than the consultant provided by the firm.
The learning here we took was that if the individual consultants re-brand themselves as a consulting firm, they are more likely to land up projects than working as independent consultants. So, we worked with a selected set of consultants to help them register as a company, create a website to showcase their projects and also additional collaterals for online and offline marketing (newsletter, company blog, company logo, stationary, social media marketing etc). The results were clearly visible. The clients were more willing to share their requirements with the ‘consulting firms’ run by the independent consultants. It pays to invest time, money and effort to brand yourself as a firm rather than an individual. Try it.
About the Author: Harshdeep Rapal is the co-founder and CEO of Feelance Co, an online platform for clients to search for and engage with independent /freelance consultants for short term projects and interim roles. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org