Expert Insights

Marc Clemens
Founder & CEO
CodeControl & 9am

Entrepreneurs like Marc have built the freelance economy we know today and are building the freelance economy of tomorrow. Specifically, he has cracked the code on mobilizing high quality product and technical talent through Code Control, the German marketplace founded in 2016, and recently launched 9am, a freelancer collaboration suite revolutionizing the relationship between freelancers and clients. 

Some themes we covered:  

  • What has changed in the past 2 years
  • What freelancers truly need – (hint…NOT to be entrepreneurs)
  • The Procurement Paradox, and why procurement can struggle to embrace elastic talent models
  • Cracking the code of what’s in the way of Freelancer Collaboration, specifically the struggle between closed garden marketplaces and open sourced profile

Our Favorite Quotes

Where do you see the freelance economy going in the next 2-5 years?

  • “Here’s my optimistic view, obviously it is going to grow and everyone’s going to love it. I think this is going to be true for a certain amount of time, just because organizations will not adapt quick enough so that it will push more and more people into freelancing.”
  • “They’re pushed into freelancing because organizations are not adapting fast enough. Eventually, organizations will adapt including labor laws. I don’t know how long it will take 30 years, 50 years, but it will happen. And then the world looks different and our perspective on work our work perspective on employment versus freelancing will look different. But to me, it’s the single best time to jump into freelancing.”
  • “There has never been a bigger talent shortage, more acceptance towards freelancers, more solutions, podcast content, and everything about freelancing. So if not now, then when?”

Is every freelancer an entrepreneur or should they be?

  • I think freelancers had to be entrepreneurs, but they don’t have to be anymore. So perhaps they had to be 30-50% entrepreneurs back in the day. Now they need to be 20-30%. What we’re trying to work on with our new product with 9am is making it 2% entrepreneur; so just a tiny dip into cold water rather than a big splash. I think that’s the biggest change.

What would you say are some of the main challenges in this space?

  • There are tons of things that are challenging it, first of all, I will start from what really sucked back in the day. And that was that companies had the feeling that they shouldn’t work with freelancers,  I don’t really own the the IP or think they are not committed but believe a traditional employee is committed, which I think is the biggest BS, I can imagine, right? In the end, you could have an employee sitting around not interested in working for you on that project, similar to quiet quitting which we hear about now. With freelancing you hire someone who, actually applies to that project, and is really committed to make it work. It’s a completely different mindset.
  • “And I think this was the biggest challenge when working with companies, is the whole discussion of, can we treat freelancers like employees as in can we trust them? Can we trust them with our data? Are they really interested in the best for our company? And I think now slowly, companies have understood that. Then there’s always a natural issue when it comes to workforce planning. I think forward thinking companies have an understanding that they need to do central workforce planning, where HR or whoever plans, all of the talent and skill needs, within the company.”

Some key things that sets 9am apart:

  • “We don’t want people to just go on one platform, we advocate that they should go on different platforms. We believe the marketplace can just have a limited stickiness because they cannot provide all of the jobs. Even if they would have enough jobs for the talent, the talent would still go for jobs that they get as a referral from previous customers. So several jobs would happen outside of the platform. What we try to do with our software is to bring these jobs on the platform by offering services that make sense no matter where the job comes from and by completely ignoring the source of the job and the ownership of the profile.”
  • “We are not just a lead generator, we vet the customers, administer the whole sales process, all sales qualifications, and we make sure that the customer is willing to buy once we take the project on. Meaning if a talent gets matched with one of our projects, the chances are pretty high that they get hired.”

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