In 2016, LinkedIn launched a platform called ProFinder. The goal is to match companies with skilled and vetted freelancers. Companies submit a request for a proposal, freelancers are matched to projects based upon the experience listed on their profile, and are then able to respond and submit a proposal.
Currently ProFinder is available nationwide, however, there are limited services to choose from. Services include software development, IT, design, writing and editing, marketing, business consulting, legal, accounting, financial, coaching, real estate, insurance, photography, and home improvement.
According to data from LinkedIn, small business owners are the majority of those buying services through ProFinder. CEO’s, Presidents, Founders, Vice Presidents, and Directors are making 40-50% of the purchases.
It would be really interesting to see metrics on a few things:
- How long the sales cycle is
- How many conversations are had before a company hires a Pro
- How many projects a Pro needs to respond to in order to turn one into business
- Are they lowering their hourly or per project rates in order to be chosen over their competition
- How much of their total business has come by way of ProFinder
From what I’ve seen, heard, and read, it seems the idea is great, but the execution is lacking. LinkedIn has created platforms for creating and engaging with your professional network, for business development and recruiting, so it makes sense to create another platform to help companies find and connect with skilled freelancers. However, LinkedIn has not spent as much time or money on the ProFinder platform as they have their other platforms so there are definitely some limitations.
A few pros:
- As it’s an extension of LinkedIn, ProFinder uses your LinkedIn profile when signing up to be a Pro. While that is convenient, it then means your LinkedIn profile then has to be tailored to fit your LinkedIn.com goals as well as your ProFinder goals. That can be tricky to navigate. In order to be considered as a Pro, you also need to have a profile photo, background photo, summary section, LinkedIn Pulse Articles, and recommendations.
- It’s another verified place to potentially find projects as a Freelancer. The companies posting projects on LinkedIn know what they are doing. On the flipside, as a Freelancer, you are relying on companies to know this platform exists, and to know what they are doing.
- While it is another verified place to find projects as a Freelancer, that doesn’t mean you’ll be hired or you’ll have enough information to determine whether it’s a good fit. With many of LinkedIn platforms, you have to choose from LinkedIn’s prepopulated choices. Meaning when a company is filling out their project details, they can only provide so much information. That can lead to a freelancer not knowing the scope of work so they either pass up the job or they respond and are no longer qualified once they have more details.
- With there being many freelancers per area, ProFinder does two things so that no one Pro has more of an advantage and a company doesn’t receive an overwhelming number of responses per project. ProFinder attempts to evenly distribute projects among Pros which is great while also limiting the number of responses for each project. LinkedIn will notify you of certain projects based on the requirements and your experience. You are able to see all of the projects posted so you are not limited to those that ProFinder sends you. Only five freelancers can respond and submit their proposal. While five isn’t THAT many, you are still competing with four others all while not knowing what the others have listed as their hourly or per project rate. Because we all know price is one of the main factors when choosing a freelancer to complete a temporary project.
- You have to convert to a paid subscription in order to respond and submit proposals. ProFinder allows you to respond to 10 projects before requiring a paid subscription. We all know it’s a numbers game. You have to respond to more projects than you want knowing that only a few may turn into business.
Again, I think the idea is really great. If LinkedIn put more time and money into it, it could be even more of a beneficial platform for companies and freelancers. Are you on ProFinder? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are and how often you’re using it!