Those who know me well can tell you that one of the most important tasks in my day is to seek guidance from successful entrepreneurs that I admire. Whether that is by reading their blogs or by engaging with them directly, I recognize the value of their insights as those who have paved the way for new entrepreneurs to launch their own businesses. I can scarcely count the number of times I’ve been warned against attempting to “jump the pond” to the American market with PeoplePerHour too quickly or without sufficient insights.
At PPH, we are exceedingly familiar with the cautionary tales of our European predecessors that tried and failed to replicate their success in Europe into success in the United States. The team and I don’t take the decision to expand more aggressively in the US lightly. The US is not only home to significantly more start-ups than the UK, the various American approaches to work and labor are ones that take time to understand as well. Add to that mix the sheer size of the freelance community in the US, it would seem like reaching the ones we want in our marketplace would be an overwhelming task. And it is.
But what the PeoplePerHour community has taught me, both our UK-based freelancers and those abroad, is that the entrepreneurial spirit transcends national boundaries in the same way our marketplace did in the very earliest days of its existence. Independent workers, despite their obvious need to compete with one another for work, are remarkably eager to share new technologies and trends with their professional peers to keep conversations in their fields moving forward. It is those conversations that brought PPH organically to the US long before we considered a concerted effort to expand here and it is those early adopters who have given us invaluable insights into what it takes to be successful on PPH in the US. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting PPH community members from the US that we hope will inspire and inform both our growing US user base and our international community on how to make PPH work for them.
It is freelancers like these who had either the foresight or drive to recognize that the future of work is online. Today, the global staffing industry is a $450 billion market and a pitiful 1% of it is being done online*. An apt analogy is the state of e-commerce in 1996, when buying online was the exclusive purview of a tech-savvy underground. But freelance talent is not a bunch of underground technophiles, they are a growing class of skilled workers that are dissatisfied with the constraints of a dated corporate culture resistant to change. The market has failed to give these workers an innovation solution that offers the flexibility, choice, and project diversity they seek. We want PeoplePerHour to fill that gap for the millions of freelancers whose skills are best-suited to working independently on their own terms.
While mapping the creative freelance landscape of the US, we’ve also had the opportunity to learn about the particular characters of US cities where freelance communities are thriving and others where they are emerging rapidly. Though New York and San Francisco are the presumed hubs of creative talent, many smaller cities are full of ambitious freelancers representing a cross-section of talent in the fields where our Buyers need it most.
While most headlines out of Detroit highlight the city’s economic woes, it is home to a creative class unlike any other I’ve seen. Austin and Portland are similarly well-known for their creative classes. And while cities like Nashville and Memphis are more famous for their music scenes than their design and tech communities, they are also emerging players on this scene. There are dozens more examples of exciting cities like these where we hope to reach quality freelance talent, invite them to our platform, and help them win work. We hope you’ll stick around for our dispatches from across the pond.
If you are a US freelancer ready to launch your business, build your profile on www.PeoplePerHour.com today. Contact Alana Massey who is heading up our US strategy if you have any questions about getting started and winning work Alana@peopleperhour.com