Sahail Ashraf posted on 31 March 2021
LinkedIn has added plans for a new platform, aimed at freelancers finding and working with new clients.
LinkedIn now has over 750 million members (Kinsta.com). This makes it a great place to network and do business. However, it was a very popular platform last year, more so than usual.
This is because more and more people found themselves working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With people isolated at home, networking professionally needed a place to go, and it happened to be LinkedIn. The site received nearly 20% more revenue in 2020 than it did in 2019.
The WFH (work from home) trend does not look like it is going to go away any time soon, with many companies embracing remote meetings, for example, as a great way to save time and money. In addition to this, it’s clear that the number of freelancers or ‘gig workers’ on the planet is increasing. Of course, many of these were WFH pre-COVID, but their ranks have been swelled.
In light of this, LinkedIn has decided to launch a service that will help freelancers to connect with potential clients.
Nothing new here.
This kind of thing has been done before, and very much at scale. There are numerous sites out there that bring freelancers and clients together. To name but two, Fiverr and Upwork have been around for a number of years now, offering a central hub for freelancers to market their services, and clients to make hires. Both these companies are publicly listed, which shows just how much of an opportunity there is for a company to create a business out of finding freelancers.
LinkedIn seems to agree. The new service is apparently launching in September 2021. How it works is pretty much speculation, but a few things have come out of the usual rumour mill process that seem to make sense.
It has a name, first of all. It’s going to be called Marketplaces, and that’s an appropriate name when you consider that freelancers will be marketing their services and clients will be browsing a market. If anyone remembers LinkedIn when it first arrived though, you’ll already be thinking that this is a far cry from the initial business model that the company used.
One key aspect that makes it very different to the old LinkedIn is that there may well be an option to advertise for freelancers. This means that they will be able to market themselves with paid ads that potential clients will see.
The service aims to focus on freelancers in areas like Web design, marketing and software development. Another key feature will be the opportunity for employers to pay for job ads that will be on Marketplaces, allowing employers to attract the right talent.
Then, after a job has been completed by a freelancer, there is an opportunity for employers to post a review of the work that was done. This in turn will increase the visibility of the freelancer on the platform.
It’s an interesting change in direction. It’s not the LinkedIn we used to know. But it is a LinkedIn that is taking a view of the world of work and adapting its approach accordingly. When September comes around, it will be interesting to see how positive the launch will be.
Freelancers will be expecting to tap into the huge network of large companies that frequent LinkedIn (and therefore upping their game as regards clients) and clients will be aiming to find the very best freelancers around.
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