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Much has been written about the gig economy in recent years. According to a report by the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) published in August 2016, 32% of the Australian workforce had freelanced between 2014-15. The Australian platform grew its user base from one million to ten million between 2009 and 2014. With a growing interest in freelancing due to the increasing demand for flexible and autonomous work and the emergence of digital talent platforms that link workers and employers, the gig economy is very much tilted in favour of the client at the moment.

Yet, companies looking to hire freelancers also risk facing certain challenges in hiring freelancers, such as a tedious process to select the right freelancer, unpredictable work quality of the freelancers, and misalignment of expectations between the company and freelancer. If you are looking for guidance on how to kickstart the process of looking for a freelancer, check out our tips for how to select the right freelancer for the job . A rigorous process of shortlisting and testing freelancer candidates will maximise your chances of hiring a freelancer that fulfils the demands of your job to a tee.

Related reading: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Setting Up a Business in Australia



In addition, online talent platforms that facilitate the process of matching freelancers with clients promise to simplify the process for clients. The process of working with a freelancer typically involves the following steps: posting the project on the platform, receiving quotes, hiring a freelancer, receiving the work, and making payment. However, there are variations between the different platforms in their approach towards matching freelancers with companies. It is thus important to think about the following factors when you are deciding on a platform through which to engage a freelancer:

  • Background of freelancers: Some platforms pride themselves on the fact that they have a global reach while others specialise in connecting you with freelancers from a certain country or region. The latter may be valuable if you are hiring for a project that requires cultural-specific knowledge;
  • Categories of skills: Some platforms focus on freelancers with marketing and advertising skills (e.g. graphic designers) while others offer freelancers with programming skills;
  • Pricing model: Most platforms either take a commission (i.e. a percentage of the amount that is paid to the freelancer) or charge a fee for posting a project or job advertisement;
  • Payment system: Some platforms provide a milestone payment system, with payment made via the platform, while others merely match the freelancer with the company and do not involve themselves in the payment process;
  • Role of platform: Some platforms adopt a hands-on approach, for instance in terms of screening potential candidates and providing you a shortlist and facilitating resolution of potential disputes that may arise, while others may adopt a more hands-off approach, with much of the interaction to take place at the discretion of the company and the freelancer.

List of the place where you can join and start working as Freelancer are:

1. Freelancer

The Australian public company prides itself on being the “world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace” that connecting employers and freelancers globally from over 247 countries. The freelancers on the platform come from “every technical, professional and creative field” and payment can be made based on fixed price or hourly terms. When you post a project, you can specify your schedule, cost range and milestones.

Posting a project is free, and operates on a Milestone Payment system where you release payments according to a schedule of goals you set or pay only on completion. charges the client a small project fee relative to the value of the selected bid as an introduction fee. The cost and and how this fee is charged depends on the type of project: a fee of 3% of $3.00 USD (whichever is greater) for fixed price projects; or a fee of 3% for hourly projects. You can track your freelancer’s progress via the Desktop App while the mobile app allows for messaging on the go to facilitate communication with your freelancer.

2. Upwork

Upwork also boasts a pool of freelancers from a diverse range of industries and skillsets, as well as a specific section for freelancers in Australia. When you post a job, Upwork will analyse your needs and send you a shortlist of likely candidates. If you pay for a higher level of service in the form of Upwork Pro or Upwork Enterprise , Upwork will do more for your, such as personally handpick pre-vetted talent to meet your specific needs.

You can pay by hour or pay a fixed price for entire project. For fixed price jobs, make use of Upwork’s licensed escrow service to release funds as pre-set milestones are met. Upwork Payment Protection ensures that you only pay for work you authorise. Most payments subject to a 2.75% processing fee.

3. UnicornFactory

UnicornFactory is an Australia-based website that makes freelancing simple and easy. Businesses are able to post jobs for a zero-cost fee, making it enticing and allowing freelancers to view a wider range of jobs, all at once. Filtering by industry, years of experience, service rates and location, the website makes freelancing a smooth and simple experience for businesses and freelancers, thereby giving you much more flexibility in dealing with the freelancer.

While UnicornFactory is more freelancer-friendly, the advantage is that it provides local talent in Australia. This is perfect for projects which require an understanding of a specific cultural context, such as a marketing campaign which necessitates awareness of the cultural norms of the target audience.

4. OzLance

OzLance provides local talent based in Australia and New Zealand . It costs AUD 7 to post a project or job. OzLance requires that you pay per project as opposed to on an hourly basis. While the pool of available talent is currently limited to writers, translators, mobile application developers and programmers, designers and network administrators, OzLance is looking to expand further into online marketing, IT and administrative services.

In cases where the talent platform is more hands-off about establishing and maintaining the client-freelancer relationship, it is crucial that you take the initiative to put the important legal documentation into place. As freelancers are independent contractors rather than an employee, you will need a Consultancy Agreement (sometimes known as a Freelance Agreement) that sets out the scope of the work that the consultant will provide and protects your business by letting the consultant know the extent of his powers and responsibilities.

Ultimately, although the process of selecting a freelancer for a short-term project might be time-consuming, there are numerous benefits to be reaped from working with a freelancer, including access to a wider pool of skill sets and talent and lower costs than hiring a full-time employee.

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What were your hits and misses with using online talent platforms to hire a freelancer for a job?

Share with us in the comments below!