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Gun.io, Inc.

Should you use a freelancing platform? (A slightly biased take)

Taylor Veino
・3 min read

If you’re reading this, you’re either thinking about un-hitching your wagon from an organization to fly solo or trying to maximize the success of your freelancing practice with the help of a platform. Either way, deciding how to freelance can be overwhelming.

Despite being a “middleman” ourselves, we know that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this decision. In some cases, we don’t recommend using a freelancing platform at all. After working with several hundred freelance developers over the last eight years, we’ve developed a unique perspective on building a freelance practice that is right for you, middleman or not.

TL;DR- We’ve worked (and well, not worked) with thousands of freelancers over the years. In this post, we’ll answer the two most useful questions people ask when considering a freelancing platform. Our goal for this post is to help you determine if a freelancing platform is right for you and if so, to join Gun.io :-)

Do you mind selling, paying accounts receivable, account management, and other critical functions?

Love it
If you’re excited about wearing more hats than the students of Hogwarts on sorting day and want to have a hand in every aspect of your business, using a platform to freelance probably isn’t for you because that’s their purpose– to do that work for you. Having control of your operations allows you to avoid any commission fees, or wondering what stage your application is in when a platform is handling the hiring process with a client. It also means you have to chase your own clients down to get late invoices paid up, rather than having a platform pay you automatically.

Sort of
Thanks to the explosion of remote work in recent years, “sort of” is technically an option since there are countless financial and administrative resources to handle billing and other critical tasks when working on your own like Jira and Quickbooks. That still leaves the most time-intensive tasks: selling and account management. There is no 3rd party software to deal with misunderstandings, problems with a client, or selling your services; that job is reserved for humans. Plus, late payments or bill disputes can make client relationships awkward. If you’re not up for either, it’s time to consider using a platform to help you bring in work and maintain relationships with clients.

I don’t want to do any of those things
Then your decision is simple. Most freelancers use a platform because they have no interest in doing the additional work required for their freelancing practice, or they’ve spent too much time on it in the past. On our platform, we help you manage every engagement you work on by facilitating communication with clients, tracking hours, handling billing, and making sure you get paid on time, so you don’t have to chase down clients and can focus on the role you were hired to do. It’s important to note that being intentional in knowing a platform’s commission fee compared to standard market rates is key to ensuring that you’re being paid fairly by the platform. On Gun.io, you get paid your full rate, and our fees are charged to the client—so no freelancer fees here.

How do you want to split your time between projects and client acquisition/vetting?

Client acquisition, I have inbounds for days
If you’re already set up with an existing pool of quality clients or your DM’s are overflowing with some serious inbound leads that need your attention, using a platform for lead generation probably doesn’t make sense.

50/50
We get it, you want to have your cake and eat it too. From the developers we’ve talked to, client acquisition is more time-intensive than they realized it would be, and finding quality clients is a whole other beast. We’re not saying it’s impossible, but we are saying it’s difficult, especially if you’re planning on freelancing full-time. A full-time development workload leaves little room for cold calling and emails, nurturing leads, and verifying quality while also keeping your existing clients happy.

Projects only
You’re all business, we like it. Luckily, working with a platform allows you to focus all your time on projects without sacrificing the quality of clients you work with. On our platform, we standardize the quality of engagements by vetting every client, company, and role that our talent views or applies to. This allows our developers to confidently apply to roles that are void of low engineering budgets, quick-fix engagements, or shady requirements.

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