How a mix of tech and tradition aims to make freelance recruitment more ethical.

Freelancer Club
9 min readJan 20, 2021

Doing good, is good for business.

We’ve heard it before, we may have even tried to adapt a version of ‘doing good’ into our businesses but what does it really mean and is it true?

According to a research project led by Verizon and the Campbell Soup Company, ‘doing good’ reduces a company’s team turnover rate by up to 50%, increases its productivity by up to 13%, and boosts employee engagement and satisfaction by up to 7.5%.

In business terms, ‘doing good’ can mean a range of things. Broadly speaking, when a company has ethical values and a compelling purpose, its staff feel that they are making a meaningful impact and contributing something positive to the world.

When successfully implemented into an internal hiring process, a company should be able to attract talent that aligns with their brand values resulting in lower staff turnover, increased productivity and a happier, healthier workplace all round.

With so many incentives to be ethically conscious, why is there still a blindspot when it comes to hiring and managing freelance talent?

Companies aspire to hire the best and brightest to fill skill gaps, complete projects and help grow their brand. And yet, the process of hiring freelance talent seems to be regressing.

Undervalued, Under-appreciated and Under Pressure

Freelancers, most notably in the creative sectors, are regularly undervalued, underpaid (or not paid at all) and treated dispassionately when working on a project for a company. Frequently asked to provide their expertise for free in return for exposure, prestige or the promise of paid work in the future, freelancers are regularly made to feel under-appreciated.

When working in an office was an option, you could always spot the freelancer brought in for a project. Headphones on, eating lunch on their own, tapping away on their laptop using a makeshift desk. Always the new kid in class. And those are the lucky ones who are getting paid for their services.

Whether it’s a university lecturer telling aspiring freelancers that working for free is a rite of passage or the Government belittling the arts through an ad campaign urging struggling ‘creatives’ to get a job in ‘cyber’ (?), we are frequently reminded how the creative industries are really viewed.

An estimated 2 million self-employed out of 5 million were ineligible for financial support using the SEISS grant leaving many to fend for themselves.

It’s not just the financial implications either. Undervaluing an individual’s work is taken personally, and this comes at a human cost. Our #NOFREEWORK campaign — aiming to end the exploitation of unpaid work in the freelance sector — exposed the devastating impact unpaid work has on a freelancer’s mental health.

Marketplace platforms and the explosion of the gig-economy has created a task-culture that is further dehumanising the way we work with service providers and fuelling a ‘race to the bottom’ that undermines a freelancer’s true value.

Posts from freelancers offering their work for peanuts further shows how the culture has influenced the way in which creative freelancers value themselves.

I’ll design your logo for $5 ✍️

Seriously? $5. A degree in Graphic Design, a year working for free to build a portfolio, 6 months as an unpaid intern and this is the end result?

Diversity Matters.

Being underpaid and under-appreciated is commonplace among most freelancers but the same lack of diversity experienced in the corporate world is also impacting freelancers in minority groups.

A range of voices, thoughts and opinions is more likely to understand your customers’ needs and conceptualise ideas to fulfil them. We are in danger of isolating an entire sector of creatives resulting in a talent pool of hobbyists who have the financial support of their parents to offer their services for pennies.

Over the past 5 years, we have spoken to politicians, pushed the Government to change legislation, educated students at universities and worked with companies to change this attitude, and we will continue to do so. However, it seems the fastest way to bring about change is to prove that it benefits a company’s accounts.

In many areas, we’re seeing vast improvements. Companies are no longer just about the bottom line as awareness grows around the core issues of our times and a demand is put on them to meet their customer’s ethical expectations. As this framework shifts, so must we accommodate it across all facets of business.

At Freelancer Club, we have adopted a ‘humans first’ approach, putting the people behind the portfolio out in front and chipping away at the task-culture we believe is not only detrimental to the mental health of freelancers but also negatively impacting a company’s bottom line.

People still do business with people and the more we help companies connect with freelancers on a human level, the better the rewards will be across the board.

Cutting-edge Technology with Traditional Values

We’ve developed an alternative way to source and manage freelancers that addresses these issues whilst saving companies money compared to existing recruitment options. Our advanced technology coupled with our unique business model enables companies and recruiters to hire freelancers fairly and in a cost effective way that benefits everyone. We call it ‘Ethical Hiring’.

It all starts with our business model. We are an online members club — not a recruitment agency, jobs board or marketplace platform. We provide freelancers with a rounded experience that helps them be more self-sufficient, aware and confident as freelancers. We provide access to business guides, legal templates, advice, workshops, courses, networking events as well as collaborations and paid opportunities.

We operate on a subscription basis so we are less concerned in retaining all parties on our platform at the transactional stage of the hire. No need to sneak around the site and move to Whatsapp to avoid fees. Instead, we’re interested in connecting freelancers and hirers to extract the most amount of value possible for both parties.

So, what exactly is ‘Ethical Hiring’?

  • Provide companies with an option to hire freelance talent in a fair and ethical manner that never compromises on quality or cost
  • Ensure that the process of hiring freelancers is entirely without bias or prejudice and not influenced by gender, ethnicity, sexuality, religion or disability
  • Help create a strong sense of mutual respect between clients and freelancers from the get go — this encourages the freelancer to truly invest in a brand’s mission and vision and helps them to feel like a valued member of the team
  • Facilitate the agreement of a fair rate between the client and the freelancer and encourage payment to be made on time

Disruptive Innovation

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of freelancers to a business’s journey. However, sourcing the right freelancer for your team eats up time and can cost a lot of money if you’re not careful.

Agency fees add up, traditional job sites charge an average of £190 to post a role, while other platforms take around 20% commission resulting in less pay for the freelancer typically harming the client as the service provider earns less from that account.

What about using social media? While it might seem like a free and accessible way to source top talent — it’s not — there are no search filters, it is disorganised and can leave you feeling overwhelmed. It also attracts unvetted amateurs who further drive down price and frequently cost the client in time, due to a lack of quality and professionalism.

Try posting a job in a Facebook group then block off around 4 hours to go through every individual link in your DMs and comments. Like sand in your shoe, you’ll be finding applicants in your inbox every few weeks for years to come.

Very few companies have an internal recruitment process for hiring freelancers and early-stage startups are even less prepared when it comes to sourcing and managing service providers.

As a result of Covid-19, remote work is set to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. With many companies reluctant to hire full time staff, more and more freelancers are being recruited to fill skill gaps in teams and to help get projects over the line. Now feels like the perfect time to address this process, make it more productive and more ethical for all.

We are proud to say that ‘ethical’ doesn’t mean more expensive, in fact, we’ve managed to develop a solution that can match clients with top freelancers quicker and at considerably less cost than the majority of alternative options available.

Advanced Tech Meets Traditional Values

By combining cutting-edge technology and human insights, our platform enables a bias-free, talent-first approach to help match a company’s requirements with our member’s abilities.

In short, Freelancer Club’s algorithm and years of experience enables startups to easily and ethically hire freelancer content creators without overspending or compromising on quality.

Unlike other freelance platforms, Freelancer Club encourages startups to assemble a diverse talent pool of freelancers which they can dip into when they need to. Why stress and scramble to find a freelancer for a project when you can find and connect with one well in advance instead?

At a time when things are unpredictable, taking a bit of time to assemble a freelance talent pool will come in very handy down the line when you need to find someone quickly.

Building a Freelance Talent Pool

Businesses can easily find and connect with freelance talent in the UK and beyond, as our platform enables them to:

Directly and freely contact the freelancers on and off the platform

  • Post unlimited jobs at no cost
  • Use our applicant management system and lists tool to categorise and manage talent
  • Use our Concierge Service for a complete hands-off experience and our team will use their insights to recommend professional freelancers for your project.

Finding innovative ways to match talent with clients and improve the management process is our passion and purpose. We are continually developing new features to help facilitate this connection in a productive and fair manner.

With multiple features in the pipeline that incorporate cutting-edge tech with traditional values, we’re extremely excited to offer a new way of hiring freelance talent into the recruitment space.

In addition to championing ‘ethical hiring’, we also have a manifesto that includes reinvesting membership fees back into the creative community and nurturing our freelancers to be more than just a profile on a site.

We work with our freelancers and start-ups to make sure that they get the maximum from their hires. A freelancer is so much more than just a logo, headshot or promo video. They bring creative insights and imagination to a project and can be evangelists to your brand if treated well.

We nurture our freelancers by providing them with insights about hiring companies, guiding them on company brands and making them aware of the soft-skills required for specific roles. This allows them to familiarise themselves with a clients business before they interview and work with them. It also helps to ensure that the work they produce for clients is well-informed and on brand.

Who is this Service for?

  1. Early stage startups
  2. Companies who hire 10+ freelancers per year
  3. Companies using agencies to hire or spend a lot of time looking for new freelancers
  4. Companies worried about IR35 (with revenues above 10.2m)
  5. Agencies who require talent for overflow
  6. Companies who need freelancers NOW!

For startups and corporates who plan on using multiple freelancers throughout the year, we offer them a complimentary consultation. This one to one allows us to understand what businesses are trying to achieve — their goals, their pain points etc. — so that we can help them source the freelancers they need to solve those issues and give them guidance on how to best manage a team that includes freelancers.

And for those businesses new to working with freelancers, we have lots of free resources on our site with valuable insights and advice on how to successfully work with and manage teams of freelancers.

What’s The Next Step?

If you think the Freelancer Club could be of help to you and your business, please feel free to get in touch.

Consider posting a job for free here, use our Concierge Service for a human touch or sign up to Recruiter+ to unlock our entire freelance talent base and advanced features.



Freelancer Club

Educate, elevate and empower. Supporting freelance content creators since forever.