Written by Jasmin

7 questions for ... the "Uplink" network

The user base of independesk is growing, as is the number of places available. For many users, independesk is the perfect complement to the home office, many treat themselves to a change of scenery once a week. The Uplink network also relies on independesk for their freelancer. Manuel and Nick from Uplink introduce themselves:

1) Who are you?

We're two guys who enjoy connecting businesses and freelancer! Manuel has worked as a freelancer for various startups, agencies and media companies in Berlin for over 8 years. He knows the challenges of project acquisition for freelancer and launched Uplink in 2016, a fair and transparent alternative to classic IT recruiters. Nick has already gained experience in sales and recruiting in the personnel services industry but could not identify with the business model in the long term. With Uplink we try to make it as easy as possible for companies and freelancer to find each other and implement exciting projects together.

2) How did you come up with the idea? 

I (Manuel) came to Berlin in 2008 and started working as a freelancer, initially for various startups and later also for agencies and on various projects for MTV/Viacom. As a freelancer you more or less automatically come into contact with IT recruiters and for me personally these contacts have always been very unsatisfactory - I was mostly perceived as a "resource" that can be sold to companies as profitably as possible. Additionally, most recruiters had very limited technical knowledgeveven in the area they claimed to be focusing on.

This was the start of the idea "Uplink" - a network for freelancer that is committed to transparency and fairness and places the freelancer at the center of project mediation.

What makes you different from other networks?

We don't just say community on the outside.

We see ourselves primarily as a community for IT freelancer who are financed through project mediation. This means that we also have many members on board who are not regularly actively looking for projects (e.g. because they have long-standing customers or get more than enough inquiries “organically” without having to actively search for them). For these members, the other Uplink offers are more interesting, such as our Slack community for exchange with other freelancers or our meetups and cooperations with online providers, tax consultants, lawyers or coworking spaces.

Link to companies

In terms of project brokerage we are a mix of platform and service provider. We have automated all steps in the project tenders that do not have to be done manually so that we can work on many projects in parallel with the manpower of two people. However, personal discussions are indispensable, especially in contact with customers, in order to be able to understand the challenges and framework conditions of a project. The decisive conditions such as hourly rate, project duration, team size as well as technologies and skills are then also queried here. We know exactly what information freelancers need in order to decide whether a project sounds interesting or not and we make it our duty to gather all this information from the client before presenting the project to the freelancer. There are no project tenders with us below a minimum hourly rate of 80€ and without a detailed discussion with the customer. We then check the freelancers' applications by hand and present suitable candidates to the customer.

Transparency

Transparency has recently become an absolute buzz word but we have to push it from the start both on the freelancer and on the customer side. We are funded by a fee that is 10% of the freelancer's hourly rate. All freelancer know this and all our customer should know that too - there are no hidden margins or exclusivity agreements with us. For us it is essential that the freelancers are just as enthusiastic about our way of project mediation as we are. Especially when we have advertised an exotic project and the freelancers are not available in the community they recommend people from their own network and allow Uplink to grow organically. This would not be possible without our fair model and the high commitment of our freelancers.

4) What does "New Work" mean to you?

By "New Work" we mean the long-term change in various corporate cultures which then indirectly influence the values and views of employees, service providers and freelancers. This change has been noticeable for some time especially in the startup environment and in the context of freelance projects: digital working models that make it possible to work remotely for the most part. There is no talk of "remote only" right away, but employees should always have the opportunity to use this offer. At the same time a good basis of trust and an assessment based on the services actually provided are essential in this context. In this way talents can work together internationally asynchronously and companies and freelancers have the opportunity to collaborate worldwide.

5) What events do you offer?

Webinars

Our webinars often take place in cooperation with our partners and are mainly aimed at freelancers. Topics such as pension schemes, tax tips or legal topics (challenges for freelancers in the context of service contracts, data protection topics) are always very well attended. Participation is not limited to members of Uplink.

Meetups 

Before Corona we organized a meetup in Berlin once a month and we are looking forward to do it again soon! This takes place in an informal setting and offers a great opportunity for exchange and networking. We have also organized meetups in other cities, e.g. Hamburg or Munich. Our vision is that post-Covid uplinklings will come together regularly in all major German cities. Remote meetups are currently taking place irregularly and freelancers organize themselves weekly as part of a lunch roulette.

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Weitere geplante Eventserien sind Workshops für und mit Kunden rund um das Thema Zusammenarbeit mit Freelancern sowie andere interaktive Formate, etwa mit unserem Kooperationspartner DBITS. 

6) Describe your members in 3 words

Fantastically skilled freelancers

7) Why do you work with independesk?

The concept of independesk is super exciting because it is clear that the world of work will be reorganized after Corona, mobile working will gain new importance and the demand for flexibly bookable workplaces will increase.

In our community we often hear that classic coworking offers are sometimes too inflexible and we therefore think that an approach like the one pursued by Independesk can be very promising in the long term.

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