Here’s a little, slightly wordy New Years update we shared, in case you missed it:
In this update, I promised I’d explain why we think freelancing will change the world. If you’ve not read it, here is our first ever blog post, explaining our mission.
As the year ends, it’s often time for a little reflection and many of us have a bit more time to ruminate on our working lives and the contributions we make. At 3Desk, we’re reminded that what we are building is not about Raz or me, but instead a platform that gives YOU a vehicle with which to contribute – by connecting you with others and showcasing your work.
That is why we’ve spent the holidays building new features, including profile updates allowing you to highlight your skills, previous projects and achievements, as well as getting endorsements from others, both on and off the platform. We’ll be releasing these early in the new year.
…but first, so you understand where we’re hearding, here’s a bit more about 3Desk’s grand vision:
Our aim is to create a liquid marketplace for temporary workers who interact face-to-face. In short, this means building a site that enables employers and freelancers to find one another and manage their relationships with the absolute minimum of fuss.
Why? Because after talking to thousands of employers and freelancers, the same problems perpetuate – for freelancers, it takes significant time, effort and determination to ensure that they have enough work coming in. A majority mentioned that the hardest thing about freelancing is marketing themselves, which is a great source of stress and anxiety as well as reducing the amount of time spent actually earning. For employers, the difficulty in finding freelancers, managing contracts and paying them means that the same people are used again and again, or work is left to full-timers, even if better freelancers could be found. It should be logical – you need something done, hire an expert in… yet it remains difficult. We want to make it easier for both parties.
A ‘liquid’ marketplace means one where the right people can be found, at the right price, at the right time, enabling the best people to get paid the most, and the appropriate skills to be utilized as and when they are needed. Building such a marketplace is a huge undertaking and one that we’ve only just begun – but over the course of this, our first year, we have started to plant the seeds.
The Bigger Picture
As well as making life easier for freelancers and employers, there are additional benefits to building a freelance marketplace.
For some, freelancing is the optimum choice, enabling flexibility, freedom, focus and a chance to control their own working life. For others – the unemployed, mothers with small children, or those who’ve been forced to retire early, for example – it offers a chance to do pieces of work and to break the ‘in work’ or ‘out-of-work’ deadlock that many face. With the challenges that exist in the troubled economies of the Eurozone, to the burgeoning economies of the Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a huge, growing base of skilled workers who don’t have full-time roles that are looking to find ways to put their talents to use.
The world’s economy no longer solely suits people having full time work in a single location for one employer. There are millions of mini-entrepreneurs – skilled workers, each needing to find pieces of temporary work. Even in the US – by 2020 over 50% of the US workforce will have a temporary job, of some description. Imagine the good that could be achieved if these people found appropriate work and the UN, aid agencies, NGOs, governments and businesses could find the talent they need, for the best price, when they need it.
We want to build a marketplace that enables this to happen.
So, just a tiny ambition then
Seriously though, it is this vision that propels Raz and I each day and sustains us as we work weekends and holidays. Rather than pursuing financial goals, quick exits or chase the latest or coolest fad, we want to give other people the tools to make a difference in their lives. We may only inch towards this faraway vision, but the ability to use technology to make a difference is why we can remain so passionate, each and every day.
It might not be obvious when you first use 3Desk or think of freelancing. To most, we’re just another ‘freelance marketplace’ (or even god forbid, a recruitment platform) but the more observant amongst you and those who follow us on Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook will have noticed that we’re just starting to make baby steps in this direction.
For now, bits of 3Desk might not work, or there might not be enough jobs in your area. Forgive us, we’re a two-man team doing our upmost each day to make things a little bit better. However, we’re looking forward to getting a little closer to this shared dream in 2013.
Thanks for listening and being patient (especially if you’re still reading).
Tom (and Raz)
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Us, slightly sweaty/disheveled, on a run in Paris. Can you guess who's who?