Despite being a concept that alludes everyone over 55, the internet has made it possible for tech-savvy creative types to make a living by providing services to clients that need help carving out a functional but attractive online presence for themselves. While grandpa’s skepticism usually fell somewhere between endearing and medieval, there may still be a bit of merit in questioning how exactly talented freelancers find work.
Founded in April 2013, Microlancer set out to provide an online marketplace where talented freelancers could connect with clients looking to have a range of digital servicing needs met. The idea seems to be taking off, with both providers and clients responding positively to the streamlined and transparent process offered by this new platform.
Microlancer creates a way for freelancers to open online storefronts, and provides foot traffic for this digital marketplace by offering a more secure and streamlined way for customers to contract out for help on specific projects. Microlancer providers offer a huge range of digital services including:
- Business card design
- Photo editing and retouching
- Blog and website enrichment
- Social media graphics (they seem to have a flair for apps)
They also have people who help with more complicated website challenges. Providers offer a range of services pertaining to website customization including reformatting content from PSD to HTML or WordPress, along with a host of WordPress customization options.
The site doesn’t just provide a platform for nerdy creative types to find clients, it goes one step beyond and facilitates the transaction from start to finish, while still giving freelancers the autonomy and flexibility to work the way they want to. One of these support mechanisms is the site’s built in messaging system, which clients use to talk to the provider they have chosen to work with.
This built-in line of communication helps clients give the input the provider needs to get in order to produce quality work. Introducing transparency into the transaction between clients and providers appears to be at the center of the company’s business model. In addition to helping provide a forum to meet and communicate, Microlancer’s model promotes the interests of both parties involved.
One specific process that exemplifies this focus on of transparency and quality is Microlancer’s payment process. Providers get to choose their own prices, but limits are set to prevent competing freelancers from “racing to the bottom.” The price is clear from the beginning of the project, and payment is received by Microlancer upfront and held onto until the project has finished. In exchange for this, the client can rest assured that the Microlancer’s quality ninjas will make sure they get what they asked and paid for.
The client gets security, and the provider gets paid on time after delivering on their promise. The idea is so simple it’s revolutionary. A streamlined “contract” of shorts explicitly spells out what the client is expecting and paying for, while giving providers a way to communicate exactly what they offer. Microlancer spells out the project’s:
- Timeline and turn-over date
- Number of revisions the provider is willing to offer
It also has a feature which allows providers the chance to “preview” their work to their clients, as a way of keeping them posted on the project’s progress.
“Transparency” is a term that gets thrown around pretty often by marketing teams, but occasionally a company will come along and actually take up the challenge of providing customers with a straightforward service for a fair price. It looks like Microlancer is one of those companies, and has found away of streamlining a complex process without sacrificing quality of their service or the autonomy of the clients and providers.