Many hours are spent when searching for freelance work online. It can be very rewarding once a routine system has been put in place to generate a steady stream of income from freelance gigs. The problem is that it often takes time to get a steady stream of work flowing through the pipeline due to a wide variety of reasons. From not knowing where to look for reliable freelance work, to not knowing how much to charge, every aspect of the freelance job search is important and we’ve highlighted some important tips below.
1. Reduce Your Freelance Job Search Efforts By Narrowing Your Search Options
There are so many online platforms available today for freelancers, that it significantly increases the competition. Many freelancers can spend months searching for their next gig. Some spend several hours a day on online platforms before landing their next assignment. The amount of total time spent looking for gigs depends on several factors, such as 1) how long your gigs last, 2) how new you are to the industry, or 3) how many potential projects you keep in the pipeline. None-the-less, this time can be better spent working on actual projects. But those who know exactly where to look can narrow their search, save time and improve their search results.
The New and Growing Gig Economy
There has been a major shift in the way people look for and find freelance jobs. In fact, according to SHRM, short for Society for Human Resource Management, online job searching has increased by 50% since 2005. Freelancers and job seekers have grown to rely on online job opportunities to the point that they spend roughly 2.5 hours a day online in search for their next gig. To that end, it could take up to a minimum of five months to actually find regular employment according to Monster.com. But what about your next freelance gig? How does that come into play? Not only do you need to constantly look for work, but you also need to constantly improve your knowledge about freelancing. The, what’s now referred to as the gig economy, is on the rise and has been for the past several years. According to Intuit, it’s been estimated that the gig economy accounts for roughly 34% of the overall workforce and is expected to increase to 43% by 2020. Below we address two platforms, Craigslist and ShiftPixy, both of which freelancers can consider for getting their next freelance job assignment.
2. Getting Answers to Questions and Remove Doubt With a Historical Overview of Each Platform
If you’re feeling a little uncertain about finding gigs on Craigslist or ShiftPixy, the information below should help you to remove any doubt that you may have. It consists of a brief overview of the history of each of these platforms, which should help you feel more at ease when searching for your next gig.
An Overview and Background of Craigslist
Craigslist initially started as an email distribution list that was established for Craig Newman. The purpose was for him to share local news and events with some of his friends. During the process, he noticed that his subscription began to grow and the online users started using Craigslist to post additional items such as job openings. Craigslist initially started in 1995 in the San Francisco Bay area. By 1996 Craigslist.org was formed and launched online. It has evolved into an online classified ad service that many users begin to rely on for a wide variety of areas. By 2004, Craigslist started charging $25 for both companies and individuals to post various job opportunities in their perspective cities. They also added what they referred to as the gig section that allowed users to post their short term, lower-cost jobs as well as some positions that were not paid at all, such as internships.
Craigslist is set up similarly to a typical classified ad. It has been the go-to site for a wide variety of areas including freelance gigs.
The gigs on Craigslist have their own designated page that is grouped into eight different categories. The categories include the following:
Users can obtain search results by filtering the keyword search. The results are listed in the order that they are posted. The headings contain the name of the job and in most cases the geographic location. Most of the postings provide more detailed descriptions about the gig after it’s been clicked on.
After you’ve applied for a job on Craigslist, then the waiting process begins -and without really knowing whether or not the position has been filled as most employers only respond to those they are actually interested in hiring. The only real way to tell if a job has been filled is if the original job listing is removed. If for whatever reason you have been selected for the gig, then it’s up to you to communicate with the employer. Craigslist does not maintain any oversight to the process after the send button has been clicked.
An Overview and Background of ShiftPixy
ShiftPixy was founded by Scott Absher in 2015 in response to the need for companies to fill short-term projects with reliable individuals. Headquartered in Irvine, California as a publicly traded, independent company, ShiftPixy provides an online platform containing on-demand human resources and capital management solutions to its clients.
ShiftPixy is in the application software industry and has developed a real-time recruiting and scheduling platform designed to assist employers both manage and process employee-related administrative tasks. Their annual revenue is $44.3 million and they operate their business utilizing 55 employees.
ShiftPixy was established to assist clients better connect with today’s temporary workforce.
Basically, ShiftPixy has been able to sync various work opportunities from a multitude of companies that have an open window of different work hours, which they refer to as shifts. The available workers are then available to fulfill those shifts based on their schedules. The platform provides clients with qualified individuals minus the long-term commitment and the formal job interviewing process.
This service operates using an app whereby workers can create a profile, enroll and prequalify for various assignments based on their previous backgrounds and job experience.
Craigslist has been around for quite some time now. However, it rarely changes its web interface and is not what one would consider appealing to the eye. In fact, it may seem to be obsolete at first glance, but it’s actually quite effective and has broadened its reach to an international audience according to Arcalea.com. To that end, the numbers speak for themselves. Arcalea.com has also indicated that Craigslist has roughly 60 million monthly users in the U.S. alone and approximately 50 billion page views each month. They also have over 700 local Craigslist websites in 70 different countries. So even though Craigslist may not be as appealing to the eye, it’s certainly being utilized by millions of online users worldwide.
The ShiftPixy platform, on the other hand, is much more modern in its look and feel. It has an up to date app and features that attract app savvy freelancers and job providers who are looking for interactive, real-time human management solutions.
3. Craigslist Gigs vs ShiftPixy: Choose Your Preference by Knowing What Their Key Differences Are
Not sure about which of these online platforms yield the best results? Below is information about each one and the key differences between the two. The information can be useful in helping users choose which platform is best for finding their next freelance gig.
Craigslist: There is no process that Craigslist has in place to weed out illegitimate job scams. They also do not have a screening process in place that ensures freelancers will be paid after their assignments are complete.
ShiftPixy: ShiftPixy requires that both the employer and the freelancer create an online portfolio and register with their platform before beginning to provide services or offer work. This process lends itself to a vetting and screening system during the process.
Interviewing and Onboarding
Craigslist: There is no interviewing or onboarding process in place that is governed by Craigslist. The platform basically allows the connection to be made by making it possible for employers to post job opportunities. After a candidate applies for a freelance assignment, any additional interaction that takes place occurs outside of the platform. Thus the remainder of the onboarding and interviewing process is completely in the hands of the employer and no longer involves Craigslist. That’s when having your own freelance onboarding process in place will streamline this process.
ShiftPixy: There is a platform made available that allows employers and freelancers to connect with each other. Employers make opportunities available to freelancers based on various shifts. This exposure of opportunities is, in a sense, a part of the onboarding process that employers must go through in order to attract, recruit and hire potential candidates.
Technology and Automation
Craigslist: Craigslist has basically been using the same web design and platform since 1996 without any major differences or noticeable updates to their site since then. Additionally, there’s no real way to automate or streamline the job seeking and hiring process. They also do not make an official app available to vet either the worker or the employer.
ShiftPixy: ShiftPixy offers a robust platform that allows workers to utilize their latest technology to connect with employers. They can go online and create an account using their online platform. The same process takes place for employers as well.
Quality of Projects
Craigslist: There’s no real way for freelancers to determine legitimate employers from those who are not legitimately utilizing the Craigslist platform. Each freelancer must do their own due diligence and have their own vetting process in place to determine the quality of the employer and the quality of the projects being offered.
ShiftPixy: Because ShiftPixy is concerned about the quality of services provided overall when considering who are allowed to utilize their platform, they only work with qualified, well-vetted companies who must agree to their terms and user conditions beforehand.
4. Complete Transactions Safely by Using Secure Processing Methods
Even with all that each of these platforms has to offer, it’s important to find safe ways to complete your transactions. After you’ve found a gig and have successfully completed services as agreed, you’ll want to be paid in full or at least according to the terms of your agreement without any major concerns, right? Below is more information about how you can go about completing payment transactions safely by using secure processing methods.
Although Craigslist has been around for a couple of decades and has generated millions of users, they still do not govern their platform in terms of how payment transactions are settled. So basically it’s up to you to make sure that you received a payment for the services provided based on the terms of your agreement. In other words, you are on your own and will need to determine the best way to interact with your new employer without the threat of being scammed.
When working with individuals or companies for the first time, it’s a good idea to meet face to face and to work with those who provide local opportunities. It’s not a good idea to give out your bank account number or to accept checks, cashier’s checks or money orders. This is important because unfortunately, many of them could be fake, and unfortunately, banks will still hold you responsible for any loss of funds.
Basically, if you find a gig on Craigslist, it’s incumbent upon you to safely interact with the job provider and perform any necessary due diligence beforehand. If you cannot prove that the company is legitimate, that’s a red flag to pursue other options. For example, if you discover that the person offering a job opportunity happens to be a company that can be verified, then chances are the company is legitimate and have their own staff to process payments for independent contractors. But if they cannot be verified, it’s likely that you’ll have difficulties collecting payments from them as well.
As a freelancer, you are in essence working for yourself and will be responsible for performing all due diligence necessary to
- a) first determine if you’re working with a legitimate company or individual, and
- b) from that point determine the best payment methods once you’ve established a relationship with the new proposed job provider.
Either of these is something that Craigslist gets involved with.
There is currently no indication that ShiftPixy gets involved in the oversight or processing of payments to workers on behalf of its clients. However, they do offer an interactive platform for both the employer and the freelancers who then communicates through the platform. After work assignments are completed, each party is able to rate the other and leave comments and remarks about their experience. Basically, they are able to provide a review for others to see within the platform.
With respect to the receipt of payments and based on their Terms and Conditions of Use Agreement, there is no reference to the platform being used to make payments to workers. However, because of their screening process, they only work with reputable parties on both sides of the spectrum. As a result, there’s a high probability that workers will be matched with legitimate companies, who in good faith, have the intent to pay freelancers for services provided. However, the ShiftPixy app does make it possible for employers to track payroll and other related and expenses. As a result, that feature can be used as somewhat of a means to determine and track whether or not a freelancer has been paid for their services.
If you’re planning to obtain gigs by utilizing either of the online platforms mentioned above, you may be able to provide the employer with various payment options on your own. Particularly, those that have been tried, tested and proven to be reliable.
According to Forbes.com, if you’re planning to obtain gigs as a freelancer, some safe payment processing options outside of the Craigslist and ShiftPixy platforms consist of the following:
- Playline Data
- Google Wallet
Basically, as a freelancer, you’ll discover that even though you may find your next freelance gig through Craigslist or ShiftPixy, you will still need to set up payment terms and payment arrangements between you and the new employer. The list indicated above provides you with several options that you can consider using to better streamline the overall gig acquisition and payment process as a result of finding work on either of these platforms.
5. Get Paid at Competitive Rates by Being Mindful of Your Value and Knowing What You’re Worth
You’ve worked hard to become skilled in your profession. Your knowledge and expertise is of value to you and should be to your potential client. You’re probably wondering which platform pays you for what you are worth as a freelancer, and understandingly so. But before using either of the platforms, first, check out how much a typical gig pays based on the industry and the geographical location.
It’s Anybody’s Game When it Comes to Pay Rates Offered on Freelance Platforms
When searching for work on freelance platforms, job offers could come from any number of companies that offer a wide variety of opportunities at various prices. So if you’re looking to Craigslist or ShiftPixy for projects that offer a certain pay rate, you may want to hold off on taking that approach. You should first consider having a set rate in mind that you’re willing to accept based on your industry before moving forward with the application process.
Although you could receive a mixture of pay rates associated with unvetted assignments offered on Craigslist, ShiftPixy does have a vetting process. The vetting process is interwoven and required before vendors can set up and complete an account using their platforms. Their vetting process lends itself to a better selection of companies with reasonable, yet more competitive pay rates. That’s why it is important to know what the going rate is within your industry in advance. It will help you better gauge the overall pay rates that are associated with your freelance assignment. For example, according to Invoicely.com, some of the highest paying freelance careers include the following:
- Video Editors, $72,000 – $74,000
- Copywriters, $250/hr
- Web designers and developers, $5,000
- Content marketing and writing, $5,000
- Social Media Managers, $31,000 – $74,000
Armed with this knowledge (and as it relates to your particular industry), you can basically set your own rates accordingly. Then you can only accept gigs that pay you what you are worth without settling for low paying gigs. This may take a bit longer, but you should notice the benefit from this in higher earnings.
Payments Vary Based on the Cost of Living in Various Areas
When seeking out a freelance gig online, it’s very important to keep in mind that what may be considered a reasonable rate in one area may be considered too low for another area. For example, according to the World Population Review, the cost of living is much lower in the southern states than other states within the U.S. This is especially important when accepting work that’s offered remotely. It simply costs more to live in certain areas than it does in others. Take Los Angeles for example, the housing and cost of living in Los Angeles and in the Southern California area, in general, is exceptionally high compared to other areas. So, if you’re relying on steady gigs to get by, you should first consider looking for opportunities in the Los Angeles area where you reside. What I mean by that is if you accept work in the area where you currently live, you will have a greater chance of receiving reasonable compensation based on the cost of living in your area. Of course, this could work the other way around as well. If you live in an area with a lower cost-of-living, such as Mississippi, where the rate is roughly 16% lower, and you accept remote gigs from Los Angeles, you could come out on the upper end. If you live in Mississippi and apply for an assignment from a company that is based in Los Angeles, the pay will likely be higher than it would be for the same type of work normally paid by companies located in Mississippi.
The key is to know what the going rate is for your line of work and set a pay rate for yourself based on that rate and your experience, expertise and the area you live in. It’s up to you to accept projects that offer prices at rates that you’re willing to work for. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting a reputation for working at lower rates. And once you do, it’s pretty difficult to justify why you should be paid at higher rates for the same type of work. Many employers ask how much you made at your last job. However, as a freelancer, you may have some wiggle room in this area, but it’s best to approach this area with caution and strategy when negotiating a price for your services.
If you’re planning to continue to offer freelance services in the future, you’re in good company. The gig economy has grown and is expected to continue to grow in leaps and bounds well into the future. To learn more about the growth of the gig economy and future opportunities that await you, please watch the following video to learn more about this growing industry.
In reading the information above, you should now have a better understanding of finding how to go about finding and pricing gigs on Craigslist versus ShiftPixy. You should now be able to make a more informed decision about where to get your next freelance job and what to look out for.
Additionally, if after reading through the information above and you’ve determined that Craigslist is your preferred platform, you’ll notice that it has many options. For example, if you’re open to either freelance work or a regular full-time job, you’ll be happy to know that you have the opportunity to pursue either Craigslist gigs vs jobs. If you’re seeking freelance gigs on Craigslist and happened to stumble upon a full-time or part-time job, you’ll see that Craigslist has a wide variety of full-time jobs to offer as well.
During your search, you may also notice a few Craigslist same day pay jobs and even a few Craigslist under the table jobs. However, if this occurs, it should raise a red flag and respond accordingly.
As far as ShiftPixy is concerned, if technology and automation are more of what you are looking for when seeking out online gigs then, the ShiftPixy platform may be a better choice for you.
In either case, hopefully, the information provided above will help you make better choices as a freelancer and will better prepare you for your next freelance job search.