Linear vs Non-linear freelancing – Why you should do both

Freelancing is depicted as empowering, liberating, and glamorous, but the reality behind about structuring freelance work is a bit complicated. In OECD countries, research shows that these kind of individuals officially work in the “Service” sector. The rest are everything from online assistants to architects, designers, developers and photographers.  2017 research found that the vast majority of salespeople in OECD countries are “slashers”, meaning that their independent contracts supplement a different part time or a full time position. So from freelancing online to freelancing in the physical world, recent research suggests that in the US, 35% of people are freelancers. Similarly, in the EU, number of freelancers is growing 24% per year for the last 7 years.

So the freelancing is becoming more and more popular and obviously, there are different types of freelancing jobs today that are spread across numerous different industries and in this article we are going to cover the differences between Linear and Non-linear freelancing, as it is important to understand the benefits of both. These two types of freelancing formats are present in every industry and they are basically the ways of how the freelancers are selling their work.



Linear Freelancing: a marketplace-owned recruiting system that has a defined sales channel, work structure, in-platform marketing, review mechanisms – serving as a middleman between clients and workers. These kind of online marketplaces are micromanaging user behavior and spending on both sides.

Talent marketplaces – they are the platforms where linear freelancing occurs and since they are highly competitive, freelancer’s earnings are decided by the supply and demand. When there is more supply than a demand for a skill, and when there is a high competition in place, the price for one’s work is going lower. Talent marketplaces are basically commodifying one’s work but making it easy for clients and freelancers to do a transaction in a predefined way. For the freelancers, this type of freelancing can be rewarding as their reputation in the marketplace grows, the more trust they get from prospective clients and consequently more earnings. Many talent marketplaces provide special features wherein a freelancer can emphasize the profile or skills as featured and find an edge over other freelancers who’ve posted a similar bid on a client’s project. Although freelances have small freedom on the way they can structure and sell their work in a talent marketplace, those platforms remain a safe and a easy way to score a temporary job.

So, for the linear type of freelancing, the whole process of work – from getting a job and selling one’s work is done in-house, through the marketplace platform.

Non-linear freelancing: every type of temporary job that’s happening outside of talent marketplace platform. It usually involves solo entrepreneurs, independent contractors, diversified workers and small teams of people who are working on generating passive income through online sales and direct client outreach.

Although non-linear freelancing requires a bit more work than the linear – this type of freelancing offers more freedom and reward for the freelancers, as they are the ones setting the whole flow of how the work gets done and how it’s being sold. This can be through the branded web store, through different sales formats and through different kinds of marketing channels. The freelancing done in a non-linear way allows creators and businesses to set their own prices for products and negotiate sales by themselves, plus creating the online brand in the way they choose to. Instead of relying on a marketplace, they are relying on themselves which is more entrepreneurial in a sense. Important part of non-linear freelancing are e-commerce tools that are designed to support specific type of product or a service. For an example, Gigrove enables you to connect each sales format with the service type that you are providing, so that you and your clients can set and choose an optimal way to purchase your professional products and services. Sales formats can be various: dedicated web store with a custom domain name,  digital file selling, appointment scheduling, invoicing, courses, etc.  You can check here what you can sell with Gigrove’s sales formats. The clients can either find you or you can find them – through your home on the internet: by visiting your web store with a custom domain name or through your marketing channels like social media or a blog. Client outreach can also happen by generating leads and connecting to sales prospects over the email.

The non-linear freelancing is about strategically planing, managing and growing a freelance business, where the freelancer has a drive and passion to responsibly serve the clients in the way they choose to.

Freelancing is increasingly a choice that people make in order to escape the 9-to-5 workday. The rise of freelancing may be a key visible indicator of the future of work, notably in terms of collaboration practices. Freelancers are already facilitating the co-management of projects. Soon enough, they will also be producing, communicating, and collaborating with firms, customers, and with society at large – through branded, dedicated sales formats on the web.


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