From my point of view as a web designer, the internet is a boon, a blessing and a benefit. Not just because I can build websites for a living, but because the marketplace for my target audience is global.
There is more competition of course, but for web designers and other online freelancers, the internet provides unrivalled opportunities to reach a wider audience and expand business growth.
Because the online marketplace is geared to sell on a global scale, buyers have far more options to find the best value for money. And it has become customary for shoppers and businesses to conduct thorough research before making a purchasing decision.
In essence, the worldwide web has revolutionised shopping opportunities; more product choices, less cost. On the same spectrum, the internet has also revolutionised business opportunities and gives freelancers a realistic goal of scaling from a one-man outfit to a company with an entire team of employees and relevant departments. Well, we can dream.
All you need to earn a living in the digital age is talent and an internet connection. If you have a skill for writing, design, art and web development, you can work from home or, if you like, anywhere in the world. Even social media management and virtual assistants can earn a reasonable living online from a beach.
Businesses benefit from freelance economy
It is not only freelancers that are benefiting from the internet. Businesses are feeding on the growing pool of online resources and are subsequently funding the freelance economy - and talented freelancers are in high-demand.
Forward-thinking companies recognise the advantages of hiring online talent on a project-based arrangement rather than employing full-time workers they are contractually obligated to pay a full-time wage. Essentially, hiring a freelancer is a cost-cutter.
Remote working and bring-your-own-device have become increasingly influential in the business setting as it enables companies to reduce costs on wages and IT equipment. Employees also have more freedom and convenience to work from home and organise a work-life balance that is more often than not degenerated by rush-hour commutes.
Furthermore, business platforms that promote freelance workers are readily available to companies to find online talent. And profiles come complete with ratings and user reviews. Only the best service providers will survive in such a climate.
Freelancer platforms work in favour of freelancers as well, as it gives them a whole host of job opportunities to apply for – and companies from all across the globe are signing up to these sites.
Then, of course, there are the powerful digital marketing platforms in the form of search engines and social media networks. Although it is not easy to get online visibility, will patience, persistence and skill, once websites rank in search engines and attract followers on social media, there are plenty of opportunities to find work and build an online reputation.
The internet has to be acknowledged as one of the best inventions ever. It has revolutionised our lives and careers in numerous ways – and as a freelance web designer, I am eternally grateful.