University Research Equips Small Businesses in the Gig Economy

Oklahoma researchers reveal research about the gig economy that can help small businesses to grow.

How do today’s small businesses find dependable, quality help during a pandemic?  An Oklahoma university has answered this question. Recently, the Management and Economics Research Journal published this case study, “The Gig Economy: A Case Study Analysis of Freelancer.com,” by a collaborative team at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU). This research evaluated Freelancer.com, one of the largest freelance websites on the globe. 

In this research, I worked with a respected scholar – Dr. Xan Polk who serves as associate professor of management and marketing at King Union’s Knoxville campus (TN). The other authors who contributed significantly to this study are my former students, Kelsey Doughty, Michelle Carr, and Devan Costa-Cargill; they are OBU MBA graduates. My inquisitive students produced the initial research as a class assignment in one of my graduate classes. Additionally, Heidi O’Donnell, who is a doctoral student at Liberty University and a former graduate student of mine, also contributed to this work.

Meet Our Research Team

Dr. Xan Polk, Ms. Michelle Carr, Ms Kelsey Doughty, Ms. Devan Costa-Cargill, and Mrs. Heidi O’Donnell (pictured in order below)

Although I was heavily involved in this study, I know the significance of this research for small businesses. I enjoyed working with my research team. I was honored to work with these brilliant ladies. This work on the gig economy is needed especially during this pandemic. Most small businesses have limited resources, struggling to find quality employees. Yet, freelancers can infuse new energy into a business. Therefore, this research can be very beneficial to today’s small businesses by leveraging the power of the gig economy to secure great freelance talent to maximize their performance.

With the onslaught on Covid in 2020, most businesses relied on digital platforms. Some businesses operating remotely could not locate local talent to meet their needs. Welcome to the New Normal. The gig economy is transforming societies across the globe. Freelancer.com promises experts representing every technical, professional, and creative field on its platform serving over 47 million users that project managers will find freelancers seeking work.

Most Americans are familiar with Uber and Airbnb in the freelance industry. However, there are lots of more businesses operating on Freelancer.com. According to one study, there are about 1.1 billion freelancers across the globe. Yet, finding the right freelancers is a difficult task because there are too many options on freelance websites. Some websites provide inferior or poor-quality service providers. Therefore, buyers need to beware. 

In closing, this case study was significant during Covid-19 because the research will assist future scholars and practitioners with freelance websites like Freelancer.com in the gig economy.

For more information about the research, visit here

If you want more information about how this  research can assist your organization, please contact me at drdarylgreen@gmail.com.

About Dr. Daryl Green:

Dr. Daryl D. Green provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today’s small businesses. Dr. Green is the Vice President of Marketing at AGSM Consulting LLC. In 2016, he retired as a Senior Engineer in the federal sector. He is also the Dickinson Chair at Oklahoma Baptist University. His research addresses practical ways to address societal and business problems.  Additionally, he has assisted over 100 small businesses across the nation with marketing and management expertise. Dr. Green has over 25 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. If you would like more information about this article or business assistance, please contact Dr. Green at drdarylgreen@gmail.com or visit http://www.drdarylgreen.com.

The World of Elance.com

global-sourcing-man-strategy

Elance.com is a freelance website that allows customers to solicit work from a variety of outsourcing services, which include programmers, designers, office support, translators, marketers, researchers, and many other disciplines. In marketing, the marketing mix consists of product/services, placement, price, and promotions.

Elance.com allows a business to post a job opening and invites freelance workers who believe they have the requisite skills for the job to make a bid. The company charges a $10 fee to each business to post a job, and also takes a small portion of what gets paid to contractors. Below is an analysis of Elance.com’s marketing mix:

Service – Elance.com allows businesses to post a job opening to freelancers at potential savings.

Placement – All transactions occur on the website.

Price – The company charges a $10 fee to each business to post a job and also take a small portion of what gets paid to contractors. It is considered low-to-medium cost.

Promotions – Much of the effort appears to be publicity and ‘Word of Mouth’ promotions.

The following questions would be asked as a marketing professional (suggested answers are also provided) when analyzing Elance.com:

Elance.com aims at two clients, employer and freelancer.  Clearly, you must know your customers. Paul Peter and James Donnelly, authors of Marketing Management, argue that successful businesses understand customer needs.

With that said, potential employers see a website that attracts over 500,000 talented freelancers.  For the freelancer, there is an opportunity to bid on 48,000 jobs, worth $480K.  It is recommended that the website be more tailored for employers and freelancers, since they have different needs. This could be done with distinct website buttons.

For potential employers, Elance.com provides ratings and tested freelancers whose profiles and ratings can be evaluated.  For freelancers, it is real-time feedback.  When Elance.com gets repeat business or new business, this is also a good indication of superior services.

 

Through the rating process and feedback, Elance.com can obtain feedback.  Likewise, freelancers get paid and get feedback.  Michael Solomon, author of Consumer Behavior, suggests that consumer response is the ultimate test of whether a marketing strategy will succeed. Therefore, Elance.com is the top freelance website that has to support a variety of consumers.

Please discuss Elance’s marketing strategy from your own professional experience.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green