Freelancer hiring is broken and here's the fix

Contest based freelance site

I've been hiring freelancers for the past five years and have spent over $10K on freelancing sites. 

Those marketplaces are a wonderful thing: they connect extremely talented people from countries you've never visited with employers and entrepreneurs like yourself, allowing you to build businesses at a fraction of the cost of a EU or US contractor. 

Despite their talent, many of those freelancers can't find work in their home country because the demand just isn't high enough and thus rely on employers across the globe.

In that sense, it is a wonderful success story of globalisation: people trading their mind accross the globe and generating value for all parties. 

A wonderful win-win, except that is does not work.

Freelance sites are rigged marketplaces

Instead of being a skill and competency based meritocracy, Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer and the likes all allow a minority of freelancers with reviews to overpromise and disappoint employers who would have been much better of with another worker. 

I don't blame them, the incentives are just terrible. The client has no way to assess a freelancer's real abilites for his/her specific project and can only rely on reviews and promises. 

Based on those superficial elements, a freelancer gets picked and because changing freelancer entails so much friction, employers are stuck.

Then, for freelancers without reviews, it is completely impossible to get work as there is no way for employers to ensure the skills of the worker and the quality of their work.

Ultimately, the combination of those factors turn freelancing sites into rigged marketplaces which prevent a lot of potential value creation.

The solution to this problem is simple and obvious. So much so that I couldn't resist but start a better freelancing site myself. But before I get into that, let's recap why the current sites are so bad for both freelancers and employers.

Why freelance sites are so bad for employers and workers

For employers 👎

  • Impossible to assess skills of a worker appropriately (and thus hire well).
  • Difficult (or impossible) to switch to another freelancer without high friction, cost or time.

For freelancers 👎

  • Impossible to get work without many existing reviews.
  • Impossible to show a potential client that one has the right skills

Given those problems, you might ask: "Why are those sites working like that then?" Because it works well for two minorities: the 1% of best reviewed freelancers and the employers spending a lot of money.

Those employers are willing to spend the time needed to properly assess a freelancer (since they will spend many thousands of dollars on them) and those freelancers have a much easier time getting hired as they get special badges such as "Recommend by us", "Best freelancer", ...

Those two segments also generate 80% of the revenue for freelancing sites, which is why they focus on them.

But this negligence will cause them to lose market shares to a new platform that solves those pain points... Let me introduce Mind Trade.

The Solution: A contest-based freelancing site

Contest-based freelancing sites have been popularised mainly in the design realm by platforms like 99design or freelancer's contest section but are nowhere near where they could be due to to the incentive issues mentioned previously.

They bring a two key advantages for both employers and freelancers:

✅ For employers:

  • No need to pick a freelancer. You only describe your task and freelancers decide by themselves if they want to work on it.
  • You can pick the best work out of all the freelancers who sent in their work.

✅ For freelancers:

  • No need to convince or beg employers to pick you. You can simply show your skills by sending in your work.
  • No worries about unclear job descriptions or scope creep. The full task is described ahead and clearly. 

I've started a new site to promote and develop exactly this concept and have received great feedback so far from both employers and freelancers. You can learn more about how the site works in this 3m video:


And if you're an employer looking for a frustration-free way to hire freelancers, look no further: