I’ve been wrestling with a tough decision, a choice, a challenge from the very first day I dreamt up the idea to create the MeasureMatch professional services marketplace (back in Spring 2016).
It’s this - should we welcome a potentially large volume of highly skilled and superbly capable full-time employees into our network of service providers?
To be clear, these FTEs are professionals in full-time jobs looking to earn extra cash on the side e.g. through "side hustles" or evening/weekend "gigs".
Some of them simply want to explore what it might be like to find work and revenue opportunities through services marketplaces like ours, while they mull over the prospect of leaving their office-bound work environments that often come with demanding commutes, punishing politics and glacial personal and professional growth.
The answer for us here at MeasureMatch HQ is no.
Full-timers are not a good fit for MeasureMatch.
And, generally, they’re also not right for the kinds of clients we’re attracting to use our platform to source services partners to execute software systems deployments, implementations, configurations, integrations, troubleshooting and related data management, data engineering and data science work.
This is the kind of work that requires more than evenings and weekends to get done.
Note: Our global network of service providers is made up of highly skilled independent consultants and equally experienced specialist consultancies, agencies and systems integrators.
Now, although most other service marketplaces are heavily populated with FTEs pursuing side hustles, we've chosen to do things differently, and we've doubled down with the conclusion that full-timers are, indeed, suboptimal for the business we’re building.
Here’s why exactly.
The kinds of projects and contracts that flow via the MeasureMatch marketplace require focus. They require substantive time commitments. They require a level of delivery that simply can’t, in many if not most cases, happen when the service provider only has a small number of weekday hours "after work” and maybe "some weekend time" to play with.
This is too risky for us. And if it’s too risky for us, it’s too risky for MeasureMatch clients.
I’ve been told several times that “market forces” or “AI” can/should weed out poor performers or unattractive profiles. We’re not buying this argument. A broad-based onboarding of service providers may create an attractive number for investors, but the inevitable and costly clean-ups due to mismatches and failed project deliveries, well, we’re not interested.
Independent Consultants vs Freelancers
Is there a difference between independent consultants and freelancers? It depends on who you ask, but we’re drawing a bright red line between the two.
Also, while rather unfortunate, the term freelancing is too commonly understood as low cost, low value, high risk, high friction side hustling or gig economy-esque work.
Independent consultants, in our network anyway, are fully independent professionals. They are not in full-time employment.
Freelancers, as we have them defined, are in full-time employment and pursuing revenue opportunities "after hours".
Structure and Confidence
The platform we’re developing requires a unique kind of regulatory framework for it to work. It's a framework, a structure designed to win the confidence of business leaders around the globe by ensuring service providers are qualified, verified, legit, available.
We see our role as primarily to maximise client/service provider relationships so all parties (including us) benefit for the longer term via each engagement and transaction.
And all of that starts with the language we choose to describe the business we’re building, and especially the people who possess the skills and the passion to do the necessary work.
Perhaps most importantly, our choice not to onboard full-time employees is a tipping our hats to business leaders everywhere who are busting their butts to hire, train, grow and retain valuable team members, many - if not most - of whom are contractually bound not to pursue out-of-hours work.
The side hustle is an important, evolving and growing component of global and digital economies. We get it.
For those workers who are successfully juggling FTE commitments and side gigs, bravo. More power to you.
When you are ready to make the leap into the world of independent consulting or entrepreneurial endeavours, for example, with a friend or three to form an agency or consultancy, do consider pursuing revenue opportunities via marketplaces like MeasureMatch.
We’d love to help you grow.
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