Note: This is Part 1 of a three-part series exploring companies that are addressing the future of work.

It’s time to get rid of the mental image of freelancers that we’ve been holding onto.

The successful freelancers of today are not hanging around their homes in their pyjamas. They are out in the real world hustling for work by leveraging technology and getting their names out there. Companies are now reacting to this new tech-enabled workforce and are responding by changing the ways that they hire and manage talent.

The freelance economy is a topic that continues to dominate discussions about the way we work. This new way of working is exploding at exactly the same moment when companies are undergoing a major shift in how they acquire talent. It is expected that freelancers will make up 50% of the full-time workforce by 2020.

Freelancing is the new frontier

Freelancing allows people to work when and where they want. Freelancers are able to set their own rates, pocket more of the money they earn and take advantage of tax deductions. They are also in control of what assignments and projects they take on, which enables them to build the career they want.

However, like anything else in business, freelancing comes with its risks. Three of the biggest challenges freelancers face today are inconsistent cash flow, lack of job security and the responsibility of finding work.

Matchmaking talent with jobs

JobBliss is a company that works to take the sting out of the risks associated with freelancing. It helps not only freelancers themselves, but also the hiring managers who are looking for talent. JobBliss is going after the US$270-billion recruitment market and the company is expected to grow as more businesses decide to hire external talent to assist with work such as writing, marketing, coding and design.

How it works

The JobBliss platform works like a matchmaking service for freelancers and companies, and is built with management tools at the heart of its software. It allows employers to connect directly with local and available highly rated freelancers in real time.

Freelancers can:

  • view jobs that match their skill set;
  • view a calendar of job postings, enabling them to schedule work months in advance;
  • manage time between multiple employers; and
  • establish long-term relationships with hiring managers.

Hiring managers can:

  • post jobs publicly or privately invite freelancers to view exclusive job postings;
  • browse vetted talent based on custom preferences;
  • review, contact and book freelancers months in advance;
  • keep a private database or “Little Black Book” of talent; and
  • eliminate recruiter fees.

Q-and-A with Angie Kramer, founder of JobBliss

I had the opportunity to speak with Angie Kramer, the founder of JobBliss, to learn more about the company.

Sarah: Why did you start JobBliss and how has it evolved over time?

Angie: JobBliss started as a calendar for freelancers to plan their schedules and it was all about giving freelancers control. Over time, I began hearing from companies that wanted to manage their contacts and that’s when I built in the Little Black Book, which allowed them to build a database of their favourite freelancers.

We’re still evolving and we’ll be adding more features, such as time tracking invoicing for paycheques and benefits. What makes JobBliss different is that it’s about the long-term relationship between talented people and companies. It’s not about getting the job done, it’s about creating something that will grow over time.

Sarah: What challenges have you faced?

Angie: The biggest challenge we’ve had is teaching people something that they’ve never done before, and that’s the idea of thinking ahead. After you show them how it works, then their idea of freelancing suddenly moves away from something that is just filling the gap and toward creating a long-term flexible team.

Sarah: What kind of groups or resources do you use for support?

Angie: Being a startup isn’t easy. I have three kids and a mortgage, so pursuing a business wasn’t exactly what I thought I should be doing. As I was building JobBliss, I participated in a couple of female pitch competitions and entered the Women 2.0 global pitch competition. I ended up being the only Canadian finalist and travelled to San Francisco to compete. This experience really changed my view of what could be done.

The people I’ve met through Women 2.0 have really helped me feel supported and have given valuable feedback. Instead of seeing only problems, it’s opened my eyes to seeing how many people are constantly working to fix these problems.

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Sarah Aspler

Sarah Aspler was a Communications Assistant at MaRS. Sarah recently graduated with a bachelor of technology from Ryerson University in Toronto. See more…