Weblance and Why You Need Freelancers Who Care

June 14, 2013

11:00 am

A freelancer who cares will write a customized proposal just for you; a freelancer who doesn’t will copy and paste into his template.

A freelancer who cares will create a thoughtful timeline for your project; a freelancer who doesn’t will ballpark it and call it good enough.

A freelancer who cares will ponder a problem until he reaches the ideal solution; a freelancer who doesn’t will seize upon the first fix that comes into his head.

As a former project manager at Oracle and Reuters, Jeff Williams learned these lessons the hard way. He hired freelancers on sites like oDesk and Elance at affordable rates, but they weren’t engaged and communicative enough.

“Developers really want to work on projects that mean something,” says Williams, who builds websites for charity in his free time. After losing money hiring solely based on skills, he learned a new approach: hiring for attitude and engagement. To do that, companies have to sell themselves to freelancers as much as freelancers sell to them, and pass on qualified candidates who aren’t enthusiastic about their vision.

To streamline this process, Williams created a freelance marketplace and project manager called Weblance. Launched on May 29, it lets companies find freelancers for app building, including development, design, testing, and marketing. As they work, they can communicate and track budgets, milestones, and project timelines on Weblance, and even tie their pay to those milestones.

Weblance vets every single freelancer, looking at their portfolio and past work, making phone calls, and interviewing them. That’s why the site only has just over 50 freelancers so far. If there’s a dispute, Weblance will actually review the work submitted and intervene.

Williams realizes this high-engagement model isn’t for all freelancers, but that’s okay.

“That’s fine; we don’t want them either,” he says. “We want folks who really subscribe to project engagement.”

Weblance offers different membership plans, and it’s free to freelancers with disabilities.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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