Annually, 59 million Americans take on freelance projects, which is 36 percent of the workforce.
This trend shows no signs of stopping.
73 percent of hiring managers plan to continue or increase their dependence on freelancers.
In the past, freelancers had a number of platforms to connect with potential employers, including Upwork and Fiverr.
Given the growing demand for freelance work, it stands to reason that the number of platforms will reflect that growth.
What is the LinkedIn Marketplace?
With this new reliance on freelance workers, it makes sense that LinkedIn, the most successful professional social networking site, seeks to create a marketplace where freelancers can connect with companies looking for contract talent.
While LinkedIn is no stranger to connecting individuals with available job opportunities, LinkedIn Marketplace aims to connect freelancers with contract opportunities.
Work on this initiative allegedly began in October 2019 with a tentative start date in September 2021.
While the social media giant hasn’t officially announced this market, references to its evolution aren’t scarce.
In fact, a spokesperson recently commented on Fortune:
In the future we will develop new ways to find out more about your services [could] Offer directly from your LinkedIn profile.
With the upcoming emergence of the LinkedIn Marketplace, LinkedIn is now in direct competition with Upwork and Fiverr, publicly traded online freelance job boards.
The marketplace is expected to have similar characteristics to both competitors, but with a LinkedIn twist: businesses can both find freelancers, compare prices, and share posts for freelancers to respond to. After the project, companies can submit reviews on individual freelancers.
How does the LinkedIn marketplace work?
While the LinkedIn Marketplace is still under development, we know a few key factors that will be helpful as you prepare your strategy for the new platform.
The platform will focus on work such as consulting, writing, marketing and graphic design.
The platform will be similar to Fiverr and Upwork, platforms where freelance work is done and which is cut off from any job.
- It will support payment through a digital wallet offered by Microsoft.
- The digital wallet expands LinkedIn’s paid content advertising network.
- The LinkedIn Marketplace mimics much of LinkedIn ProFinder.
Although we assume that a large part of the functions will be similar to those of the predecessor ProFinder with the upcoming version, the defining details of the LinkedIn Marketplace have yet to be identified.
LinkedIn Marketplace versus LinkedIn ProFinder
The marketplace isn’t LinkedIn’s first foray into the freelance marketplace.
LinkedIn ProFinder enables users to search for suitable applicants for jobs. On the other side of the coin, ProFinder enables users to promote their services to businesses and share that they are “open to business”.
Marketplace will build on this functionality and enable companies to compare freelance pricing and post reviews, as well as to establish connections and offers on the platform.
This expanded functionality expands the possibilities for hundreds of millions of users of the platform while increasing the advertising opportunities for freelancers by providing them with paid options to promote their experiences and offerings in the marketplace.
How to prepare for the LinkedIn Marketplace
Whether you are looking to expand your portfolio or are a first-time freelancer, we want to help you thrive in the newest contract worker market.
Below are four steps to ensure you are set up to succeed on the LinkedIn Marketplace.
1. Create a work portfolio
While your resume speaks, calls out a specific work portfolio. If you don’t have a highlight list of your biggest projects, now is a good time to gather these documents together. Whether you are a graphic designer or a writer, tangible assets are very important in the digital freelance marketplace.
Here are three tips on how to make your portfolio stand out from the crowd.
- Introduce your best work: As you choose the work to add to your portfolio, you may be inclined to include every project you’ve ever worked on. Do not do that. Around seven to ten examples are the sweet spot for your portfolio.
- It’s all down to the details: Include detailed labeling with every piece you add to your portfolio. This should include:
- positive results
- your role
- brief description of the scope
- Customer name and industry
- User experience: Wouldn’t it be nice if your standard cover letter was suitable for all potential employers? The same applies to your digital portfolio. Customize the content of each individual job posting for a streamlined user experience.
While these tips are perfect for freelancers looking to build a portfolio, we recommend for those looking to revitalize or reinterpret an existing portfolio:
- Rearrange: Without adding new content to your existing portfolio, you can give your portfolio a new lifespan by rearranging the order of the patterns. See if you can tell a new narrative with a different beginning and ending.
- To reduce: Does your portfolio feel a little hefty? Reduce it by 10 to 20 percent for a leaner, meaner representation of your work.
- Quotes: Do you have glowing reviews of your work or the success of a project? Add these testimonials to your portfolio pages to stand out from the crowd.
2. Set competitive prices
When you’re just starting out, setting a tariff for your freelance work can be overwhelming. Are you charging too much or too little?
However, these four steps can help you determine a rate that is right for your wallet and job.
- How much money do you want to make? By setting your desired annual income, you can control your freelance fee to fit within this parameter.
- Business costs: Freelancers need to prepare for the cost of doing business. As well as things like laptops and software, you should consider health insurance and taxes, both of which can be extraordinarily expensive.
- Working hours: Don’t forget to take time off and sick days into account when calculating your tariffs.
- Value of your work: Your work is valuable; Don’t Forget That If you’ve gone through the above steps, calculated spend, and free time, and your hourly rate is still well below industry standards, you need to reevaluate how much value you are doing to your work.
3. Optimize your website
If prospective employers are viewing your LinkedIn Marketplace profile, they are unlikely to stop there. Optimize your personal website to make sure you are best positioned for that high paying freelance appearance.
There are many ways you can enhance your existing content, copies, and images. Here are our 10 tips to make your website as attractive as possible to potential employers:
- Create a headline that will let visitors know what you’re talking about as soon as they land on your website.
- Include a photo of yourself so visitors see you as a real person, not a résumé on a pile.
- Start a blog to showcase your different strengths and industry awareness.
- Use strategic keywords in copy and your related blog posts.
- Run A / B tests on all elements of your pages.
- Eliminate complex pathways by ensuring visitors get where they want to be in three clicks or less.
- Keep your design elements consistent.
- Add customer testimonials.
- Publish your prices.
- Showcase your personality in your website copy.
Optimizing your personal website is an ongoing process. Using these tips as a starting point, you can build a solid foundation to iterate on as you grow your portfolio and voice as a freelancer.
4. Market yourself
You can earn some bonus customer offers and testimonials by marketing yourself.
These tips can help you get jobs and get references that will add credibility when it comes time to build your LinkedIn Marketplace profile.
Just because LinkedIn’s new platform isn’t working doesn’t mean you can’t use other social channels to connect. Consider making how-to videos or sharing tips for your trading to increase your followers and fill information gaps in your industry.
While this may not translate directly into paid appearances, this strategy can increase your awareness and increase your audience, completing an important step in increasing your reach.
Have you worked for a company that was extremely pleased with your work? Ask them if they have any other projects you can do.
Do you see a company that urgently needs your skills? Take it. The worst answer will be a simple “no thanks”.
Are you a graphic designer and your friend is a writer and freelance for a company in need of design work? Perfect. Do the same with other freelancers and monetize the result through an affiliate marketing strategy:
Whether you are a professional freelancer or just starting out, LinkedIn Marketplace offers nontraditional employees new ways to connect with prospects.
When using the LinkedIn Marketplace, remember to take whatever steps are necessary to stand out from the crowd. Make sure to update your portfolio, optimize your website (without over-optimizing), and collect as many customer testimonials as possible.
Don’t forget to carry on with traditional self-marketing activities in order to attract customers in the meantime.
As you prepare your freelance business for this new platform, the chances of you succeeding on the LinkedIn Marketplace are exponentially higher.
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