Freelance Platforms: Definition, Benefits + Limitations

Tricia Dempsey Tricia Dempsey  |  July 23, 2019

There are plenty of reasons to become a freelancer.

Some people want to escape the 9-to-5 lifestyle, while others dream of traveling the world while maintaining a day job. For many, freelancing is simply a side hustle. Freelancers are independent workers that can choose between short-term projects, hourly work or contractual engagements. They also choose when, where and how long they work.

Many entrepreneurs would agree that being your own boss isn’t as simple as it seems. The drawbacks include the hassle of managing your own affairs. Perks like benefits and income are all up to the freelancer to manage, and that comes with the territory of entrepreneurship. Being a freelancer may not be as daunting for those that just want temporary work, as long as they’re aware of the resources available to them.

Freelance platforms combine all the resources needed to manage temporary jobs. Tools such as time tracking software or project management software keep both freelancers and employers organized and up to date on assigned work.

See the Highest-Rated Freelance Platforms, Free →

What are freelance platforms?

Before we deep dive into the benefits of freelance platforms, let’s start with the basic definition. 

Freelancers create online profiles showcasing their work experience and skill set. Businesses can easily sift through candidates based on skills, experience and more.

Tip: Think of freelance platforms as a marketplace. Every freelancer with a public profile is a verified worker ready for a job. 

Freelancers are responsible for marketing themselves in a way that will attract businesses within a competitive platform. To set themselves apart, freelancers must highlight their skill set, achievements and education.

For example, a freelance graphic designer might include an online portfolio. This gives them the chance to attract businesses by showcasing their skills and style. 

How freelance platforms help freelancers

A freelance platform is an invaluable tool for those looking for temporary work. Recruiters reach out to candidates directly. Freelancers can also express interest in a project or role advertised on the platform.

Freelance platforms also help freelancers focus more on their job and less on the manual, entrepreneurial efforts involved with freelancing, including manual time tracking, project management and payroll.

Without freelance platforms, the biggest headache involved with temporary work is the payroll process. Without the secure payment system that these platforms provide, freelancers simply rely on the promise of getting paid. This often leads to confusing back-and-forth communication and delayed payment.

How freelance platforms help businesses

Businesses resort to hiring temporary workers for a variety of reasons. Examples include short-term projects, contractual labor, or temporary problems. Businesses also might need extra workers during a particularly busy season or period of high work volume. For example, a small business building their professional website might not want to hire a full-time photographer. Instead, a freelance photographer would fit their temporary needs.

For businesses, freelance platforms act as a hub for finding the right candidate for a temporary role or project. Similar to job boards software, freelancers showcase their skills and accomplishments within the platform. Businesses can use both solutions to gain temporary employees, but freelance platforms focus solely on those looking for temporary work. However, the benefits don’t end once the right candidates have been chosen. These platforms continuously link the employee with the employer throughout the duration of the role.

There are many resources designed to streamline the freelance hiring process. Freelance management platforms, for example, take the basic resources freelance platforms provide and expand on them. Features such as screening, onboarding tools, collaboration solutions, payroll options and contract management are all provided. This solution is ideal for businesses that plan on incorporating freelancers continuously or rehiring specific freelancers as needed.

Freelance platform limitations

Online platforms for freelancers are clearly quite useful, but what are the drawbacks? There are a few limitations that impact both freelancers and businesses:

  • Many platforms charge fees to both hirers and job seekers. The fee amount varies greatly across all platforms and typically depends on the cost of the project. Some platforms also require a membership fee. However, there are some freelance platforms that boast free services.
  • While payroll is mostly streamlined on these platforms, it can still hit a few snags. In some cases, it may take much longer to get paid for tasks and projects than expected. Paychecks may be received weeks after projects have concluded.

These platforms help maintain a solid client base for freelancers and streamline the process of finding temporary work. Despite the drawbacks, freelance platforms are useful for new freelancers. They will only get more advanced as the gig economy continues to flourish.

Freelancing is here to stay

At the industry’s current growth rate, the majority of America’s workforce will be freelancers by 2027. The staggering number of people pivoting to temporary work in the gig economy will further transform and develop the resources in the freelancing community. While freelance platforms are already a great asset to both freelancers and businesses, the future holds even more promise as the world adjusts to the new norm.

Excited to learn more about the state of freelancing? Discover what is the gig economy and how it’s impacting both freelancers and businesses.


Tricia Dempsey

Tricia is a research analyst focusing on office and design software. Tricia started at G2 in October 2018 after spending nearly five years in the competitive intelligence industry, which led to extensive market research knowledge and experience. She is currently maintaining the integrity of her space by building out new categories and writing data-driven content. Her coverage areas include office and design. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, attending concerts, and gaming.

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