Where are you working right now? At an office or at a coffee shop?
If you’re one of the 53 million Americans turning to the world of freelancing then it could very well be the latter.
Over the past few years, professionals in a wide variety of fields – everything from financial services to graphic design, from marketing to technical writing – have gone into business for themselves. Or, in another way, they’ve embraced the contracting, freelance and gig economy.
Freelancing is the new norm, whether it’s as a full-time career or for passive income. With instant and constant connectivity, professionals can work with clients in every region of the globe. All they need at first is somebody or something to establish a connection between the two parties.
This is where the likes of Witmart steps in. If you haven’t heard of this website that’s OK.
Witmart: The Billion-Dollar Competitor You Haven’t Heard Of
Conventional hiring practices through the means of human resource departments is gradually disappearing. Companies and hiring managers are leveraging the Internet to recruit and tap into a vast talent pool since it’s more affordable and less time-consuming that way.
Jobseekers, or in this case gigseekers, will also utilize the web to find work and clients.
What an interesting and precarious situation, indeed.
Novice freelancers and contractors will often be directed to websites like Upwork, Fiverr or Freelance.com to find gigs. These are very helpful outlets with a wealth of postings. But it isn’t often a new independent worker will be pointed to Witmart.
Witmart is an international crowdsourcing service market that maintains a global marketplace to post ads in and to find jobs. Initially founded in China, there are millions of international users, and whether you’re in computer programming or social media marketing, you’ll be able to find something that could certainly pique your interest.
We all have some type of expertise to earn a dependable annual salary or some pocket money, if we put our minds to it.
Its platform is very similar to its competitors: employers list their service requirements, providers bid on the work and the clients select the most suited professional. Once the collaboration is established, both parties communicate, exchange ideas and make payments in an easy and secure environment.
Just to get a glimpse of how popular the website is, here are a few statistics (at the time of this writing):
- 4.01 million jobs posted in the past 30 days.
- 12.3 million global service providers.
- $1.07 billion worth of work completed.
What is the most fascinating aspect of Witmart is that a large chunk of its growth originates from mainland China. Just two to three percent of user penetration comes from outside the Asian economic powerhouse.
Witmart has a total valuation of $10 billion and maintains approximately $400 million in capital access. Experts believe it is the fastest growing crowdsourcing and freelance platform in today’s immense Internet marketplace industry. In June, it received a massive 2.6 billion yuan ($4.1 billion) investment from Cybernaut.
And why not? It’s reported (Chinese) that the annual freelance numbers and revenue growth are at roughly 50 percent for the company.
Witmart Vs. Freelancer.com vs. Upwork – a Comparison
Here is a chart comparing the three websites – Witmart, Freelancer.com and Upwork:
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Despite the tremendous growth at Witmart, some websites have compared it with Elance (now owned by Upwork). Knoji, a consumer knowledge blog, rated the two companies on an array of things, like popularity and Google ranking, trustworthiness, payment methods and social media presence. Elance either beat Witmart or tied it.
Witmart is a Reflection of the Uber Labor Market
The workforce and the labor market are drastically changing (or evolving). We’re witnessing this not only in the freelance market, but inside successful billion-dollar corporations, too. You can call it the Uber Effect, if you will. A labor market of flexible work schedules, telecommuting and productivity pay as opposed to hourly pay.
For instance, Netflix announced that it is offering unlimited paid maternity and paternity leave. Also, it is providing its staff unlimited vacation, a very popular trend in Silicon Valley. There is one caveat, of course: you have to get all of your assignments completed. In other words, it’s valuing productivity over just showing up to collect a paycheck and saving face for eight hours.
One Illinois business community leader may have stated it best:
“I think [on-demand work] is going to be a continued evolution, and as a society, we’re going to have to figure out how that work,” said McHenry County Economic Development Corp. President Pam Cumpata.
The pie graph below from the Harvard Business Review slices up the non-traditional job market in the United States.
To those on the outside looking in, it’s generally believed that independent workers are starving. On the contrary, they’re flourishing and thriving: in 2013, they generated $1.2 trillion in total income. In a tough labor market, it should be kept in mind that a lot of self-employed professionals tend to hire other self-employed, remote workers, which leads to much needed job creation.
Although some are lambasting the likes of Witmart and Upwork – some attribute these web portals to the underground economy – a lot of observers are hopeful they will return the labor market to perfect health.
Here is an excerpt from a 2012 Outsource Magazine article penned by Steve Bynghall:
“Hopefully these marketplaces can, in their own way, fuel entrepreneurs and small businesses in both developed and developing markets, and contribute by nudging the global economy back to better health.”
There are seven billion people in the world, there are two billion connected to the Internet and more are expected to connect to the World Wide Web in the coming years. This means the online talent pool will only continue to expand, and more opportunities will be created.
With our desire to be independent and aim to reinvent ourselves, freelancing and contracting will be the common career route for the upcoming generation of workers. Full-time, permanent employment with benefits and perks will enter the dustbins of history, and will be as ancient as the telegram.
“Oh! There were people back in the day who worked eight-hour days at an office? Please do Tell me more.”
Rob Rawson is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve work productivity and help keep track of what your team is working on, even when working remotely.