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The gig economy is growing fast. In the US alone, there are over 58 million freelancers, and that number is expected to increase to 84 million by 2027. The tech sector is a particularly attractive place for freelancers to work, due to the opportunities and ease with which remote work can be included in business processes. Even big corporations employ a large number of freelancers. Over half of Google’s workforce, for example, is made up of freelancers and contractors.
If you’re looking to pick up work in the gig economy, there’s a good chance you’ve used freelance websites to find jobs and get paid. If you’re lucky, you will have had nothing but good experiences. Unfortunately, though, too many freelancers find they run into all kinds of problems, resulting in frustration, missing the best opportunities, and lower pay than expected. Some of the key drawbacks include:
- High platform fees. Freelancer websites typically charge between 20 and 30% of the fee freelancers earn.
- Payment processor fees. On top of that, there are extra costs associated with receiving money – especially if you’re working in a different country to your employer.
- Lack of financial inclusion. If you don’t have a bank account, or you live in certain countries, you will not be able to receive money from these websites at all.
- Barriers to entry. Some services will place conditions on the freelancers they allow to use their platform, which can prevent you from registering – even if you’re a highly competent and experienced professional. You are fully reliant on the gatekeepers to let you join.
- Unfair dispute processes. Where an employer and freelancer disagree about a job (for example, whether the work has been completed to the required specification and standard), the website’s moderators will settle the dispute. They will typically side with the employer by default, meaning freelancers can be treated unfairly. In the worst cases, you won’t get paid for work you’ve done.
- Losing out to dishonest freelancers. Freelancers may lie about their experience, meaning that a good job can go to someone who doesn’t deserve it.
If you’ve used conventional freelance work platforms for any length of time, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered one or more of these problems.
Why Does LaborX Use Blockchain?
LaborX is a different kind of freelancer platform. Instead of being a centralised service, run by a company that has to maximise profits for its shareholders, we’re a decentralised platform that runs on blockchain technology. LaborX uses smart contracts – software that is not hosted on a company’s servers and that cannot be stopped from running – and cryptocurrency to organise work and pay freelancers.
This means there are some big differences between LaborX and other freelancer platforms – which bring some fantastic advantages for anyone looking to join the gig economy:
- Low fees. Because we don’t need to run our own servers or pay shareholders, we can keep fees low – 10% for freelancers, with rebates available to bring that down further, and zero fees for employers.
- No banks or payment processors. There are no additional fees for moving money. Because LaborX uses crypto, payments can be made instantly, anywhere in the world – even if you don’t have a bank account!
- Open to all. Anyone can join LaborX, upload gigs to employers to browse, and apply for jobs. There are no entry restrictions.
- Escrowed deposits. When you’re hired, before you start work, the employer has to deposit your pay into a special blockchain account. This is controlled by a smart contract. You’ll be paid automatically once the job is completed, unless there’s a problem, in which case the funds will be held safely while it’s resolved.
- Fair dispute resolution. LaborX’s moderation system takes into account the job history and messages between the two parties, which are all recorded on the platform. Escrowed deposits mean there’s no danger of an employer disappearing without paying.
- Reputation system. LaborX uses data from the blockchain (which cannot be falsified) about previously completed jobs and feedback from other parties to provide a reliable reputation score, so both freelancers and employers know they’re working with someone competent and professional.
In short, by using LaborX you should be paid more for the work you do, you should receive your money more quickly and more reliably, and you shouldn’t be unfairly treated due to circumstances outside of your control.
Blockchain Wallet Vs Bank Account
One of the most common questions we’re asked is about blockchain wallets. One of the biggest differences between LaborX and regular freelancer platforms is that we use crypto payments, rather than the conventional financial system. There are lots of good reasons for this. Crypto payments are:
- Fast – transactions typically process in seconds or minutes, rather than several days, which bank transfers can take.
- Efficient. Payments typically cost just a few cents to send, with no fees for recipients.
- Borderless. Money can be transferred anywhere in the world.
- Transparent. You always know when funds have been sent.
- Readily integrated with blockchain processes. For example, crypto payments can be escrowed using a smart contract.
None of this would be possible without using the blockchain. In fact, using regular payment services would undermine all of LaborX’s key advantages – adding costs, friction, points of potential failure and trust, and forcing everyone to rely on slow, inefficient, and expensive third parties.
Getting set up with a crypto wallet on LaborX is super easy. When you register on the platform, a wallet will automatically be created for you. You alone control this wallet: no one from LaborX, or anywhere else, can make transactions for you. You can use it to receive crypto payments, and send them to an external wallet that you control, or to an exchange. If you’re already familiar with blockchain wallets, you can set one up independently of LaborX and use that as your default wallet instead – it’s up to you.
How To Use LaborX: Freelancers
As a freelancer, there are two things you may want to do: create a Gig, and apply for a Job.
Gigs are popular, fixed-price tasks that freelancers can offer. Employers can browse these and buy one if it meets their needs. Gigs tend to be simple, one-off services that employers regularly need, and that you can offer over and over again. For example, you might offer a Gig like creating a logo, writing a blog post, building a new website, or coding up a trading bot.
Jobs, meanwhile, are custom tasks that an employer needs. They may be a little more complex or specialist, or it may simply be that they haven’t been able to find what they need in Gigs.
Creating A Gig
Getting started and listing your first Gig on LaborX is a fast and easy process. It’s just a question of filling out a few fields and ideally including some examples of your work. Check out our walkthrough guide to creating a Gig for full instructions.
Remember that you may be competing against other people who offer the same services as you. If you want to stand out as a freelancer:
- Write a short but clear description of the service you offer. Don’t forget to check spelling and grammar – this all helps make a good first impression!
- Include a banner image to catch the eye.
- Pitch your price competitively – not too high or too low.
- Complete your Profile so that employers can see your skills and experience.
- Ask for testimonials you can include from previous employers.
- Ask for feedback when you’ve completed jobs for an employer on LaborX – this helps give your next employer confidence in your abilities.
Applying For A Job
Alternatively, you might want to apply for a Job you’ve found listed on the platform. If that’s the case, simply select the job you’re interested in, click ‘Apply for Job’, and fill out the short application form.
Once again, make sure you provide a short but thorough explanation of why you feel you are the best candidate for this job, and make sure your profile page is up to date so that the employer can check out your previous experience.
If the employer is interested, you’ll be able to discuss details of the job further in the built-in chat. It’s important that you keep all communication on LaborX, and wait until payment is escrowed before you start work (and especially before you submit it). This is vital to keep you safe and avoid being the victim of a scam.
How To Use LaborX: Employers
As an employer, you’ll either be looking for a Gig that meets your needs or, if the work you have is more complicated, uploading your own Job to the platform for freelancers to browse. You can find a detailed explanation of how to do both of these in our article, How To Use LaborX To Hire Talent, but we’ll provide a short overview and some tips below.
Note: If you’re using LaborX as a Customer, that is, to hire talent, make sure you select ‘Change to Customer’ from the Profile menu at the top right.
Finding A Gig
If you have a clear idea of what you need, you can browse Gigs, narrowing down your search by Category (for example, Development, Design & Creative, Translation, etc); Price (min and max); fixed or per-hour payment; and Rating. Selecting by Rating is a good way to narrow down the field if there are many similar Gigs offered at the same price, or if you don’t want to take a chance on someone who doesn’t have much experience. Selecting a high Rating (e.g. 4 or 5 stars) means you’re working with someone who has received consistently good feedback from previous employers.
Uploading A Job
If you can’t find a suitable Gig to buy off-the-peg, you can create a custom Job. This allows you a high degree of flexibility – you can ask for anything you want and be very specific in your requirements. It’s important to be concise, and ideally keep your language simple (remember that you’re tapping into a global market of freelancers, and many applicants won’t have English as a first language), while including enough detail to give them the information they need.
When people start applying for your Job, you can filter them by checking their profiles and any feedback they have received, and enter into discussions with any you think might be a good fit. Remember to keep all of your communication on LaborX, since if you discuss work outside of the platform (e.g. over Telegram) then there won’t be a record of it in the event you need to start dispute proceedings, and you potentially open yourself up to scams.
There’s one more option for both freelancers and employers on LaborX, which is to search for or upload a full-time job. This feature is currently in beta, but acts as a jobs board for those looking for permanent employment or a long-term employee. There is currently no charge for this service.
Every time you use LaborX, either completing a job as a freelancer or approving payment as an employer, you’ll receive a bonus of TIME tokens to your wallet. This is a special token that you can hold to gain various benefits on LaborX, sell, or use to gain various perks when you use other services within the Chrono.tech ecosystem. You can even stake TIME tokens to receive passive income.
Find out more:
- How To Communicate With Clients And Freelancers
- Increase your earnings and access other perks with Premium status
- Learn all about TIME, the native token for the LaborX and Chrono.tech ecosystem.