On January first, we re-branded our marketplace from expats4china.com to freelancing.hk as we saw that majority of our users are based in Hong Kong and we are an HK based company. Also we realized, that not all of our freelancers are actually expats. I am exited to welcome you to our first newsletter using our new 'freelancing.hk' brand name. As usual, our articles will continue to be about contracting and freelancing in Hong Kong and beyond.
A new study about our freelancing market shows that 70% of businesses expect to do more work with freelancers. This study shows what we all already know, that freelance is not just a fashion or a fad. Freelancing is a work role and a lifestyle that will continue to grow in Hong Kong and in Greater China.
Our other articles are also about the freelance world. From eight tips to start as a freelancer in HK, to a study about artificial intelligence and finally the funny part of our news with the freelancer joke of the month (this time an argument between a programmer, a designer, and a rationalization consultant).
I hope you enjoy reading this news and as always I wish you success in business!
Having no boss, not working nine-to-five and taking a break whenever you want are just some of the reasons why more and more employees in Hong Kong are turning to freelance work instead of traditional, full-time roles. Different studies found that an estimated one-third of the workforce are 'freelancers'.
Paypal's director of mid-market and small business segments Brian McDonnell said the freelance revolution was gaining momentum in the country, and that it was “only going to grow”, with millennials “more willing take the risk” and embrace the freelance life.
“It’s never been easier to start your own business — now you have access to global platforms and markets,” he said.
“When I was growing up, my parents went to uni, got a job and worked hard, but these days it’s also never been easier for people to create their own job offering services and signing up to a freelancer platform.”
McDonnell said the growing use of freelancers highlighted a shift in the traditional work structure since companies opted for staffing models which include a smaller number of main staff.
He said businesses needed to embrace and take advantage of the growing trend to drive their business forward.
The research found businesses were most likely to hire freelancers to work in web design, programming, graphic design, web or mobile development, web marketing and sales, accounting, data entry and internet research.
It also found 70 per cent of businesses expect to be doing more work with freelancers in future.
A recent opinion poll conducted by market researcher Gartner among the IT managers of large companies (CIOs) in Hong Kong and abroad found that 4% already implemented Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 46% plan to do so.
'Despite the tremendous interest in AI technologies, current implementations remain at a fairly low level,' said Whit Andrews, vice president of research at Gartner.
'However, there is potential for strong growth as IT executives of large companies start to drive AI programs through a combination of their own development and acquisition.'
According to Gartner, the 'early adopters' are faced with many obstacles to the use of AI. For them, the Gartner analysts have summarized four lessons from early AI projects:
Lesson 1: Do not set too ambitious goals in the beginning
'Do not make the mistake of achieving hard results, such as direct financial gain, with AI projects,' said Andrews. In general, it's best to start small-scale AI projects and focus on 'soft' results like process improvements, customer satisfaction, or financial overview.
According to Andrews, early AI projects at best provide experiences that would help with later, larger implementations.
In some organizations, however, a financial goal is a prerequisite for starting a project. In this situation, the goal should be set as low as possible, Andrews said. “Think of targets in the five-digit range, understand what you want to achieve on a small scale, and only then you will see greater benefits.”
Lesson 2: Focus on giving more responsibility to people rather than replacing them
Great technological advances were often associated with a reduction in the number of employees. While lowering executive salaries is attractive, they are calling for resistance from those whose jobs seem to be at risk. As a result, companies can miss real opportunities, or use AI ineffectively. 'We tell our customers that the greatest benefits of AI in the near future will be the ability to empower employees to engage in higher quality work,' Andrews added.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, twenty percent of companies will deploy their employees to monitor and control neural networks.
'Forget about the idea of huge teams of infinitely duplicable intelligent AI agents capable of performing tasks just like humans,' says Andrews. It will be much more productive to motivate employees without leadership responsibility. Get them excited about how AI-driven decisions improve their daily work.
Lesson 3: Plan the knowledge transfer
Discussions with Gartner customers showed that most companies are not well prepared to implement AI. In particular, they lack internal skills in data science and they want to rely heavily on external providers to fill the gap. Fifty-three percent of the companies in the CIO survey rated their own ability to use internal data as minimal or very limited.
Gartner predicts that by 2022, eighty-five % of AI projects will yield erroneous results because the data, algorithms or teams are not optimal.
'Data is the fuel for AI, so companies need to prepare to store and manage even more data for AI initiatives,' said Jim Hare, Research Vice President at Gartner. 'The fact that you usually have to rely on external suppliers for these skills is not an ideal solution in the long run, so make sure that early AI projects support the transfer of knowledge from outside experts to your employees and build the internal capabilities of your organization, before you move on to major projects.'
Lesson 4: Choose transparent AI solutions
In AI projects, software or systems are often used by external service providers. It is important to have insight into the way decisions are made and to integrate this into service agreements. 'Whether an AI system delivers the right answer is not the only problem,' says Andrews. 'Leaders need to understand why it is necessary to have insights into the reasoning of AI systems.'
Although it is not always possible to have all the details of an advanced analytical model, such as a deep learning neural network, it is important to offer at least a visualization of the possible options. In situations where decisions need to be verifiable, it may even be required to have new laws in Hong Kong to ensure that kind of transparency.
Every day there are more people in Hong Kong decide to become freelancers and take advantage of their talent and skills, without having to meet schedules in a company. If this is your case and you are starting to create your own business, remember that although there are many advantages that this lifestyle offers, there are also many points that you should consider to achieve lasting success.
Starting is not easy. That's why at the beginning many freelancers feel lost and do not know how to go forward and counteract the daily challenges. It is normal to have doubts about this new, wide and competitive world. These tips will help you to take off and leave fear aside:
1. Sign up on various job platforms
When you start working as a freelancer it is difficult to find clients. That's why employment websites like freelancing.hk have been created that allow you to find clients and projects. To start, you must register on the platform and create your profile, giving your experience and your portfolio. Remember to point to the niche that best suits your experience.
2. Build your own brand and differ from other freelancers
The first thing the client does is analyse the profile of the potential suppliers, this includes resume, portfolio, social networks, blogs and references. That is why it is important that you keep all these channels updated and in constant growth. Do not forget that your brand is your cover letter to the world.
Remember that when the skill you offer is new and specific, the chances of being selected are increased.
3. Make your offers the most attractive in the market
Outside there are hundreds of freelancers competing in your field. This is why it is important that when proposing for a project you follow these tips:
Read the description carefully and let the client know if you have doubts or if something is not clear. Be as specific as possible regarding the price you will charge and the time it will take to deliver it. If you have examples of similar projects that you have made previously, provide them to the customer. Be confident in what you are offering and remember that you are a freelancer on the road to success. If you analyse the proposal and you think that the client could focus the project more or could add more information, do not limit yourself.
4. Offer reasonable rates for the market
Money is one of the issues that worries most freelancers, especially beginners. It is important not to forget that, although getting projects is important, receiving the right amount is also important. Do not set low prices just for fear that another freelance will take away your work. Try to find a price that is just as acceptable for you as it is for your client.
5. What is your best time of day? Take advantage of it!
We know that one of the advantages of being a freelance is the flexibility of schedules. However, if you want to be successful, it is advisable to establish a work schedule and adjust to it. For this to really work, choose the hours in which you feel most creative, productive and calm.
6. Do not be afraid to say no
The time will come when you are with a very high workload and tight delivery dates. That's when the balance between doing the job well or doing it quickly becomes complicated. Do not feel bad if you have to refuse to carry out certain projects. The client will understand that you are declining because of excessive work and not because you are an irresponsible professional. If this is the case, it is important that you keep aware of that customer and contact him again to offer your help in the near future.
7. The key is in communication
Clients and sources are the most important channels in freelance work, and that is precisely why communication with them is vital for the development of projects to be successful. If you have doubts, ask. If you have new ideas, propose them. Do not fall for the basics, become an innovator.
8. Go out and see the world
To get known it is important that you attend events, conferences and meetings related to your area. There you will meet people who can give you work, recommend you to someone else or become your ally when you need another freelancer to carry out a project. Reach out and leave your comfort zone.
Freelancers can present themselves with a short article in the Freelancing.hk-News. Today we present you a provider who is specialised as an interim manager.
After many years of international management activity (including 10 years as a member of the management board of a well known mechanical engineering company), I have been offering the development and expansion of professional procurement management since 2003. My main focus is the optimization of purchasing, mainly for medium-sized manufacturing companies. The goals are the sustainable cost reduction of material and logistics costs as well as process optimization in materials management.
My work focuses on success and cost-oriented measures, such as value analysis with suppliers, development of meaningful 'make or buy' decisions, targeted 'outsourcing' (e.g. to low-labor-cost countries), improvement of contract management, optimization of inventory management, standardization of components and the introduction of 'supply chain management' and 'global sourcing'.
I have relevant experience as a negotiating professional at a very high level (even under the most difficult conditions), including negotiation and signing of major supply and service contracts at national and international level. Due to my strong technical understanding and business background, I contribute significantly to the successful implementation of your desired corporate goals. My successes are based on both a cooperative and motivating approach to people and the successful development of performance and success-oriented teams in the company.
A programmer, a designer and a rationalization consultant argue over which is the best computer.
The open-source programmer: “Real programmers work with a Linux PC and let their children play with a Windows computer.'
The designer: 'Real designers work with an Apple and give a Windows computer to their children to play.'
The rationalization consultant calmly: 'Proper advisers let the computer work for itself and play at home with their children!'
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