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Category: Business Blog

The Future of Freelance

The Future of Freelance & the Gig Economy

Today, 55 million freelancers work independently from home, in coffee shops, offices or park benches. 50% of the economy is estimated to be considered a freelancer by 2020.

Enter the Gig Economy:

“A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.”

A number of reasons motivate people to work remotely, but 2 driving forces stand out to me:

  1.  The Digital Age — with technology & various landscapes constantly changing, being able to communicate quickly and efficiently allows for the growth of remote work. Working remotely gives freelancers the ability to allot for quick reaction to changes.
  2. Reduction of Workforce — in this digital age, companies are constantly looking for ways to automate processes and minimize payroll. This makes it much harder for Gen-Xs to enter the workforce. But freelancers are at an advantage to be mobile and find work freely.

Currently 1 in 3 people work independently and this spans all industries. While it started in the tech industry, the Gig Economy has entered many other service industries with tools such as Uber, Etsy and Airbnb.

hire freelancers online
Since March 2009, Uber has over 160,000 registered drivers using the platform

 

Oddly enough, only 15% (approximately 8 million) use digital platforms Uber, Etsy, etc. The rest (47 million) rely on traditional word-of-mouth and their portfolios to find work. More often than not, their reputation proceeds them and these freelancers are able to hop from one job to another fairly quickly. So how can we help these traditional freelancers network? Current digital tools have not been able to accomplish this.

In the last 10 years, we definitely have seen the growth and development of more digital platforms. Upwork, Fiverr, Etsy, Uber, Airbnb are just a few that come to mind. While working from Starbucks may seem ideal, there are still downfalls to freelancing, such as protecting the freelancer themselves from bad pays, poor communication and the lack of benefits. Freelancers will tell you that it doesn’t matter though and the perks outweigh the downfalls.

Soon, if not already, companies will start looking for the best employees. They will want the brightest pieces to put together the puzzle. As the landscape continues to change, we will see more and more hire on-the-go. It is the only way to adapt. With technological advancements comes opportunity and more growth. Already, remote work is up 40% year over year. The Gig Economy is the future. The future is the #FreelanceEconomy.

 

 

Global population by income group

Luxembourg Income Study Database, August 2015

 

The current distribution of wealth is sickening. Economic inequality is due to the concentration of wealth producing capital in just a few hands. So lets spread that wealth and help millions of people become micro entrepreneurs and realize the American Dream.

Barriers to Freelancing

3 Barriers to Freelancing

As a freelancer, much of your future work is determined by your previous work; i.e. your portfolio. So how do you get started if you have never done anything in the past? This has been a reoccurring theme in a lot of the research we’ve done in starting this site. It’s hard to drop everything to start something new. It takes a lot of courage, so here are 3 barriers to hop over

Meeting New People, Finding New Work

Odds are you know a lot of people. And those people know even more people. The best thing you can do is to take advantage of your extended network. You have to build a personal brand around yourself which can then be sold through the people you know. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to new people through existing relationships. No matter what, you will already one thing in common; that’s the beauty of networking. Utilize these connections and combined with your portfolio, you will find work in no time.

Showcasing Your Skill Set

The best way to prove your worth is to show by example. More often than not, the people I meet are very visual learners. If I can show them what I am capable of doing, my word goes a lot further. Even if it’s your first dive into freelancing, you have talents that are in high demand. Create some mini projects showcasing your skill set. If it’s design work, show how you can take and idea and bring it to reality. For Photography, show some before and after shots. Keep it simple, you don’t have to build a fully interactive web page right off the start! Continue building your personal brand while you evolve as a freelancer.

Showing It All Off

MyClyq was created to help you start off as a freelancer and discover the new gig economy. Through this site, you are able to plug in your extended network and let your talents be discovered. With industry low rates, you will have an easier time starting out by keeping your hard earned pay.

Meet friends of friends and get offered real, trustworthy work. Showcase your talents on our Portfolio Builder and get discovered through reliable connections within your extended network. In this day and age it’s who you know which will take you far in life. And you never know who will be the next big thing.

Sign up to take part in our Beta Launch later this month. MyClyq.com. Partnerships. Positions. Results

how to start freelancing business

Down to Business – Registering Your Company

Business Blog – Chapter 7

Throughout the entire process of starting MyClyq, I was constantly stepping out of my comfort zone to learn all the different aspects of building a company. However, for the task of registering a business and opening bank accounts, I got the rare opportunity to do what I know pretty well.

Registering a business may seem pretty simple and easy to do. You can usually do it from the comfort of your own home in minutes. Unfortunately, people who rush in and file businesses incorrectly or in a non-favorable way can find themselves paying huge fees to change the type of business and also paying extra in taxes. My goal is to give you a few pointers to help you save that extra time and money. Of course, this may not be the right rout for your company. I always recommend doing your own research and talking to professionals who can advise you on your companies’ specific needs.

I spent some time working in the business banking division of a major financial institution prior to starting MyClyq. There I learned how businesses were formed and what documents were needed to open bank accounts. There are several different types of businesses that people can open. The most common are LLC, LP, Corporation and Sole Proprietorship. Again, to determine which one is best for you, I would recommend talking to an attorney or other professional who has experience in this field. You can also check out legalzoom.com or lawtrade.com to chat with someone who can tell you exactly what you need. The best option for us was to incorporate the company as a C-Corporation. Our goal was to get funded by external sources like venture capitalists. Therefore C corporations provide a little more flexibility when starting a business if you plan to grow, expand the ownership or sell your corporation.

When I first started working in the business banking division, I noticed a large amount of clients were filing their business documents in the state of Delaware. I found that a little strange considering we lived in Los Angeles, California. After doing a little research, I found out the reason behind this was that Delaware had the most flexible business laws in the country. It was also very beneficial in the tax department, specifically for corporations. More information on the benefits can be found at bizfilings.com. Since I had chosen to file a C corporation, filing it in Delaware made perfect sense.

To form a new business entity in Delaware, there are certain procedures that everyone must follow. These procedures are listed in order in the two images below.
State of Delaware - Division of Corporations -State of Delaware - Division of Corporations 2

After you know what type of business you are going to file, you’ll usually need to get a business tax ID number or Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is like a social security number but for your business. You can easily apply for one at irs.gov. It’s free of charge and really easy. They ask you a few questions and then will email you a copy of your EIN right then and there. The State of Delaware also requires that every business entity have and maintain a Registered Agent in the State, who is authorized to do business there. After a quick Google search, you’ll find several that you can use online. We chose A Registered Agent Inc. (I know, the name is really original) because they were well known and inexpensive. They charge an annual fee of $49.00.

Once you have the EIN and picked the registered agent, you’ll have to reserve your business name.  This will cost another $75.00. You may want to check the state websites before you start anything to see if the name is available (something I talked about in previous blog posts). After this is done, you’ll have to fill out the formation forms. For a corporation, this form is called the Certificate of Incorporation. Once this form is filled out, it will need to be either mailed or faxed to the Delaware Department of State with the filing fee.  This fee can range from $50.00 to $300.00 depending on the type of business. Once the business is filed, the State of Delaware will mail you back a filed version of the document you sent them. If you need it quickly, you can pay extra to get it back in a day or two. If you’re in no rush, you can just pay the costs listed above to get the document filed and they will send you back the filed copy in about two to three weeks.

Opening The Bank Account

To open a bank account, you’ll need the filed document, your EIN and also some sort of document that states the ownership of the company. This document is different for all the different business types. For example, an LLC would have an operating agreement that states the rules and ownership. A corporation would usually have corporate bylaws or corporate minutes/resolution. None of these document have to be filed and are usually drawn up by an attorney. These are probably the most important documents of all because they outline the legally binding rules of the company along with all the ownership structure. Once these documents are obtained, all authorized signers would have to go to the bank with proper identification (usually two forms of ID) to get the account open.

With the business registered and a bank account in hand, our focus shifted to creating and launching a simple one page website in order to recruit signups for our beta platform.

-Vadim

Sign up for our beta at www.myclyq.com.

find freelance developers

Needle in a Haystack – Finding Good Work

Business Blog – Chapter 6

Anyone who knows anything about tech companies can tell you that a good programmer is hard to come by. Well, they are even harder to come by when you are building a tech startup from the ground up.   When we decided that we were going to start looking for programmers to start building the platform, we knew that it was going to be an uphill battle. There was no one in our direct network that was skilled enough to build what we were looking for. Our next option was to go on sites such as founderdating.com, cofounderslab.com, founder2be.com, etc. to find someone to partner with.

I, personally, made profiles on all of the founder sites and started searching for someone who came from a technical background and was going to be a good fit to the team. At first, I was pretty excited by how many people there were signed up on each of those sites. That excitement quickly faded when I noticed that a lot of people weren’t active on the site and those who were, wanted more than just equity in the company. They wanted to get paid for their work. Unfortunately, we were at a point in the startup process where paying co-founders was not an option. We had a minimalistic budget and what these programmers were asking for simply wasn’t possible.

Our next option was to find companies that specifically designed websites and apps for startups. We called the first company that we found online and after going into a few minor details they said that they could definitely put this together for us. The only issue was they quoted us $80 thousand dollars to do it. If we had $80 thousand dollars for a site, we wouldn’t be asking a company like that to build it for us.

During the time that we spent looking for programmers, we also had a couple of job postings that we created. We posted on social media, craigslist.com, indeed.com and AngelList all looking for a co-founder who comes from a technical background. When we finally came back and looked through everything, we noticed that we had a few people respond to the posts. The problem was, these people were not skilled enough based on their resumes and previous works to do what we needed them to do.

After a little more research, we learned that the type of programmers we need weren’t going to leave their current ventures and jobs to join a startup that wasn’t funded. However, we couldn’t get funded without some sort of product. Our only option was to take a gamble and outsource the work overseas. This was the only way that we could make this company work. It was a big risk and it wasn’t going to be as fast as we wanted things to move but it was the only way we could build what we wanted for a fraction of the cost.

We turned to companies like freelancer.com and upwork.com to find a contract programmer who was skilled and experienced enough to build the platform.   We did a little research on the type of programming language we would need to build this platform and found out that we needed a programmer who was mainly fluent in PhP and MySQL. We did this by pinpointing the different features that were going to be on my site and then researching other companies that offer these features. This way, we were able to find out which programming languages would work best for our platform.

Programming Languages

After we had the wireframes and the programming languages in hand, we posted jobs on both freelancer.com and upwork.com. We listed specifically what we needed in as much detail as possible and waited for the bids to pile up. The next day, we had several bids on both freelancer.com and upwork.com. We spent the next few days going over each person’s resume, portfolio and anything else they had on their profiles to make an educated decision.

When we were looking through their portfolios, we were specifically looking to see if they had worked on features that we needed for my site. For example, we wanted an in-site messenger for out customers, so we would look to see if they had ever created something like that before on any of their previous sites. After we compared the remaining freelancers, we set up Skype calls with the final two.

Since they were both from India, we needed to see what kind of a language barrier we would be dealing with. We knew both candidates spoke English but we were shocked when we spoke to both of them via Skype. Their English was amazing. We asked them several questions regarding their backgrounds in programming and explained our idea to them in a little more detail. Finally, we made the decision to go with the freelancer who we felt was more confident in his abilities to build the platform. He mentioned he had a team of employees and this would be an easy task for them.

We looked over our wireframes, set up milestones and locked in our final pricing (which was a fraction of what we were quoted in the States). We set up times to meet every two weeks to go over changes and any questions they might have. Then they went to work. We knew that this was going to take six months to a year because of the size of the platform and because he was a contracted freelancer, who had other jobs on the side. It wasn’t the way I had originally planned to build a platform, but that’s life.

Now that I had hired a programmer, it was time to make the business legal, get it registered and open a bank account.

-Vadim

Employers and Freelancer, we are rapidly approaching our beta launch. Sign up at www.myclyq.com for industry low pricing.

freelance graphic design

The Design – Bringing an Idea to Life

Business Blog – Chapter 5

About four months into 2015, MyClyq started taking shape. I had done all the early work of getting a name, logo, color scheme, slogan and mission statement. Now I needed to put them all together into the most important part: The Design.

Designing a web-based platform is incredibly difficult. It is even more difficult when you don’t have any experience and refuse to let someone who has the knowledge do it for you. The reason I didn’t want to hire someone to design my website was because I had a specific vision in my head for how I wanted it to look. Even if I was able to explain it to the designer, I don’t think it would have looked the way I wanted it to look.

I decided that I was going to attempt designing the website myself. I know, it sounds ridiculous considering I mentioned I didn’t have any experience but I can also say that as a millennial, I basically grew up with the Internet. If you spend your entire life looking at websites, you probably know what looks good, what works, what doesn’t, etc.

Since I was building an entire web platform, I knew it was going to require many different types of pages, for example a home page, a landing page, a billing page, etc. Therefore, I needed to create a sitemap before I started designing anything. When I was in high school, I took an intro to programming course where the only thing I really learned was that you can easily create a sitemap using Word.

Creating a sitemap is just a visualization exercise. As I mentioned, I had a specific vision for the platform so I visualized the site, page by page, writing down each page title as I went along. The end result is the sitemap I listed below. This was the first draft of the sitemap and although now it is much larger and more intricate, this was the first step towards getting there.

MyClyq Sitemap

First MyClyq Sitemap

Now that I had a general idea of how many pages I needed to design, I decided to create a process. I would pick the page I wanted to design, like the home page for example, and then do a little research on other website home pages I thought were well done. I would go through each of them, one by one, taking notes on what I liked and disliked. After I had a few pages of notes, I would try my hand at actually designing the outline of each page, known as the wire frame.

Wire frames are basically the skeletons of each page; a lot of them aren’t even in color. I found that using a large whiteboard was the best option for the wire frames because it was easy to make edits on the fly. After designing each of the pages listed on the sitemap, I would take a picture with my phone and move onto the next. When I was finished, I uploaded all nine images onto my computer.

Now that I had these design images, I wanted to clean them up. The white board was easy to use and edit but it definitely wasn’t neat. After doing a little bit of research I found that there were several different programs and applications that I could use to create digital and professional wire frames. In the end I decided to buy a program called Balsamiq Mockups because it was said to be one of the best, despite having free options like Pencil available. I decided that this was an important investment so I wanted to use the best program I could find.

After watching the Balsamiq Mockups tutorial, a few YouTube videos and just playing around for a little while, I started to get the hang of the program. It took me nearly an hour and a half to copy the first wire frame from the white board images onto Balsamiq. However by the last image, I had mastered the program and it took me only 11 minutes. The image below is the first wire frame I created, which was for the My Profile page.

MyClyq My Profile Design

First My Profile Wire Frame

Now that I had created my wire frames, I was ready to move onto finding a programmer to make this website come to life.

-Vadim

Freelancers and Employers, be sure to sign up for our beta at www.myclyq.com.

Naming a Company

Naming a Company

Business Blog – Chapter 3

Last year I started listening to a really good podcast called Startup, from Gimlet Media. It’s a podcast that shows the listener what it’s really like to start their own company and is hosted by Alex Blumberg, the CEO and founder of Gimlet Media. In one of the early episodes, Blumberg and his co-founder Matt Lieber struggled with the different aspects of naming a company. When I first listened to that episode, I thought they were crazy. How hard could it be to name a company? Very.

These days there are so many factors that go into picking a business name. The name has to be clever, fitting, legally available, and open across social media platforms and domains. That is a lot to consider, especially when startup money is really scarce (we’ll go over money in later blog posts) because you don’t have the luxury of buying a name that has already been claimed.

The first thing I did was write the idea for the company on the top of a blank piece of paper (don’t worry, the idea wasn’t as well defined back then).

  • NewCompany is a social staffing platform that helps you find the right freelancer for the job faster and easier than ever before. Post jobs, network online, discover long lasting partnerships and find word-of-mouth referrals, all at the click of your mouse.

Next, I started a list on that same piece of paper with words from this description and any synonyms I could think of. For example one of the words I started with was partnership. From there I listed: team, squad, clique, group, unit, pod and so on. I did this with so many different words; the page was almost completely covered in black ink. Then I started mixing and matching different words from this list together on another blank sheet of paper. After a little creativity I had about 20-25 different names listed on the sheet.

This is the point where things got considerably more difficult. I ran all 20-25 names through GoDaddy’s domain search engine to see what was available and not one name combination was available with a .com address. There were a few available with .net, .org, and so on but I wanted .com because that’s the one that most people assume when typing domains. That being said, I started to narrow my list of 20-25 down to the five that I liked best.

Once I was down to five names, I started looking up different spelling combinations for each one. Once I had four combinations for each of the five names, 20 total, I went back to GoDaddy’s domain search engine to check their availability. To my surprise, only three names out of that list of 20 were available.

Now down to the final three names, my next stop was the United States Patent and Trademark Office website (tmsearch.uspto.gov). Here you can see if anyone has filed a trademark for the name you want. Trademarks are pretty expensive and take a long time to process so before you decide to trademark a name, be certain that this is the name you want and also be certain that you do something with this name. When you trademark a business name, you have to prove that you are using this name within six to eight months. If you don’t, you can file for an extension, but that costs nearly the same as filing for a new trademark so you’ll be wasting a lot of money if you don’t have everything in order. Luckily for me, all three of the names I wanted were available.

This was it; I had arrived at the final obstacle standing between me and having a company name. Unfortunately, the final obstacle was vast and arguably the most important. There are so many social media platforms these days that missing one could end up being very costly. So I made yet another list. This one consisted of all the social media platforms I could think of: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Snapchat, etc. Then I started looking to see if my three names were available on these platforms. Unfortunately, one of the names was taken on Facebook. It didn’t look like anyone was using it, but the page did exist. My other two names were both available across all the other platforms.

social media platforms

Picture via pixabay.com

At this point, I just had to make a decision. It was down to MyClyq or QuickClyq. After a little back and forth between the two, I decided on MyClyq because it sounded much more original and had less chance of being confused for another company (QuickClick Loans and QuickClick Android App). To be completely honest, MyClyq was a name that stood out to me from the very first list of name combinations I made. I had a feeling it was the name I was going to choose but I wanted to be sure. Going through this process really helped solidify my decision.

Now that I had a name picked out, I went through and reserved it across all the social media platforms and purchased the domain www.myclyq.com. Then I went back to tmsearch.uspto.gov to start the process of filing for the trademark. After I did all this, I decided to go back to the social media platforms and start building early drafts of the MyClyq pages. As soon as I got to Facebook, I realized that before I could do anything, I needed to figure out a logo and color scheme as this would set the pace for the rest of the website moving forward.

-Vadim

Freelance Research and Development

Research and Development

Today we will introduce our Business Blog, geared towards helping you get your startup off the ground!  Make sure you go back and read our first blog post, The Idea, to find out what made us get this whole thing started.

Business Blog – Chapter 2 

Once you have the idea, what’s your next move? Research. This seems pretty obvious, but there are so many people that choose to ignore this crucial stage. Before you have a company, you have to know your competition inside and out.  Think no one has thought of your idea? Think again. In this day and age, when starting a company is easier than ever before, you’ll find that there are similar products out in the world. The key isn’t to be the only company with the idea, but instead to be the best company with the idea. If you have the skill and patience to analyze your competition well, this will help you in developing your own product. You’ll be able to turn their weaknesses into your competitive advantage.

When I first had the idea for MyClyq, it was supposed to be a staffing platform primarily for freelancers in the entertainment industry. I remember feeling this excitement because I thought I had this amazing original idea. Then I started looking online and talking to other people in the entertainment industry. My excitement rapidly turned into fear. Fear that someone else had already come up with this idea and failed… or even worse, succeeded before I had the chance. I quickly heard about sites like productionhub.com and backstage.com that have similar functions. To really analyze these sites, I used a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a tool used to identify the strengths, weaknesses, external opportunities and threats of an organization. The more research I did, the more my idea started to change.

Strength and weaknesses

Template via creately.com

After speaking to several entertainment freelancers I decided to see if my idea would be useful to freelancers outside of the entertainment industry. I spoke to a lot of creative and tech freelancers and they all mentioned that they find work on UpWork (formerly oDesk +Elance), Freelancer.com and Peopleperhour.com, to name a few. I went back and did SWOT analyses on all of these companies, and even created a little questionnaire that was designed to find out where these companies could improve.

This room for improvement was my opportunity. Using this research, I started to define my company. I wrote out exactly what we would aim to do and how we would do it. Now that I had a general idea of my company, I also wanted to do a little research on the industry.

Looking back, industry research played a critical role in helping me decide to expand from entertainment freelancers to all freelancers. When I first started researching, I began by outlining the entertainment industry and the freelance industry separately, and then looked at overlapping statistics between the two. I learned that although both industries are doing well, the freelance industry is booming.

Currently, one in three Americans (roughly 42 million) are estimated to be freelancers. By 2020, freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the full time workforce. These statistics were mentioned in multiple articles I researched, and I realized that this was the best time to create something for all freelancers, rather than simply focus on the entertainment industry. So that is exactly what I decided to do.

Now that I had a fully defined idea, backed by hours and hours of research, what was next? Naming the company.

 

-Vadim

Idea of MyClyq

The Idea

Business Blog – Chapter 1

In February of 2015, I was doing everything in my power to get out of my boring day job in the banking industry. One of the part time projects I picked up was writing and producing a web series for YouTube. One thing I realized almost immediately was that finding quality partners in the entertainment industry is more difficult than in any other industry. Not because there aren’t skilled professionals, but because there are so many moving parts to one production. You need a director, a cinematographer, actors, writers, editors, sound mixers and so much more in order to not only bring your project to life, but to make it something worth putting your name on.

All of these people work separately as freelancers in the entertainment industry. The problem is: each freelancer has to be really good at what they do. This isn’t like a corporation, where you can have four people on a team to complete a project and three out of four carry the weight. Imagine you had filmed this great movie where cinematography was all Oscar worthy but the sound quality was terrible. You wouldn’t watch it, even if it went to DVD! Every piece of the production has to compliment the other.

After a month of scouring different websites, interviewing candidates and checking portfolios we found ourselves no closer to hiring someone than when we started. Then it clicked: Freelancers in the entertainment industry work best when connected through word of mouth referrals. But how do you connect with someone when you don’t even know they exist!? So many people work with each other everyday, it should be easier to see who certain people trust and work with the most.

After countless hours of research I realized on all these sites, if you didn’t share your information with me, how was I to trust you? How could I validate your work? So then I started to toy with the idea of a website where we could combine the best of social media and freelancing, for not just entertainment, but also all the major industries of freelance. You should be able post projects, find work, collect payment, develop partnerships, promote partnerships and do it all with the click of a mouse.

Next thing I knew, MyClyq was born.

-Vadim

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