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Outsourcing: Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com (Part 6)

Posted on Monday, Nov 7th 2011

Sramana Mitra: Well, I think the reputation system, the feedback system, all that helps. Switching gears a bit, I run an initiative called One Million by One Million where we are running a for-profit virtual incubator. Our goal is to help a million entrepreneurs reach $1 million in revenue by 2020, around the world. It sounds as though you have freelancers running million-dollar businesses. If you were to kind of segment your freelancer user base, how many power freelancers do you have?

Matt Barrie: I haven’t done a study, but it would be something like the 80/20 rule, where the very top people are doing the bulk of the work. That’s because they’re at the top of the list, and they’re the ones who actually decided to scale up their businesses. At the same time, they scaled up their reputations. These are people like Sanjay, who has something like 100 people working for him in three design facilities now. He just churns out low-cost websites. You’re the corner store; you want a website. He will do it professionally. There are a bunch of people like that. There are people in the logo design business. There’s a woman in the Philippines who churns out logos. She’s specializing in that.

One way we differ from some of the other marketplaces is we also have contests on the crowdsourcing side of it, as well. We won two Webby awards this year, and I have to go to New York and give a five-word Webby speech. So, I thought, let’s get some ideas from all the people on the site. I posted a contest and put up a prize of $1,000. I had 2,730 entries for my speech. I had a huge number of things to look through, which is fantastic. That’s one thing we’ve got that the others don’t have.

The other thing we have is we’ve got a virtual content marketplace. This called FreeMarket.com. The premise behind this is if I hire you to design me a logo, you show me 10 logos, I pick one. Now, you’ve got nine logos left over. Rather than just throw them away, what you can do is throw them into the virtual content marketplace and try to monetize them for a few dollars. We’ve got tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of items now in that virtual content marketplace. There is everything from stock logos, templates, product label articles, which are just white-label articles on sports or medicine or what have you, to sound clips and music files, you name it. Anything that’s virtual that the freelancers are creating, they can go in there and sell it.

SM: Is there anything else that you’d like to share?

MB: Definitely. There are a bunch of case studies that are amazing. For example, there’s a woman in the UK who got pregnant, and her boss fired her. Then she had health problems with the pregnancy. She had the child, but it was at home, and she was broke and had all these bills to pay. But she had a very nice voice. So, after doing a little research on the Internet, she found our site and started freelancing as a voice-over artist. She eventually got so good of a reputation that people started asking her to do male voices. So, she had to go find other freelancers to help her out. Time went on, now she actually owns her own business. She has a team of freelancers from all around the world, and they all work for her. We see a lot of this progression where someone starts off as a freelancer and ends up being an employer over time.

SM: Is there anything else you wanted to add?

MB: No, we covered a lot. Thank you.

SM: Thank you.

 

This segment is part 6 in the series : Outsourcing: Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com
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