FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General

WHAT IS BBECOSYSTEM?

BBEcosystem ('Black Book Ecosystem') is a curated professional networking site designed specifically for freelance 'professionals' and employers.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY 'PROFESSIONAL' FREELANCERS?

Professional' freelancers are individuals who come from professional services backgrounds and are now offering their services on an independent/freelance basis part-time or full-time. Typically, they will have spent 2+ years learning a professional discipline (consulting / law / accounting etc) via a professional services firm or suitable role in industry.

Our 'professional' freelancer communities currently include:

  • Freelance Consultants
  • Freelance Accountants
  • Freelance Lawyers
  • Freelance Data Scientists
  • Freelance HR Specialist
  • Freelance UX/UI
DO YOU HAVE ANY TECH FREELANCERS (PROGRAMMERS / CODERS ETC.)?

No - platforms such as Upwork / Totpal / Hired to a great job servicing these segments of the freelance workforce . This also applies to freelancers who work on short and relatively simple tasks (often remotely) - data entry freelancers, internet researchers etc. BBEcosystem is only for 'professional' freelancers.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 'PROFESSIONAL' FREELANCERS AND OTHER FREELANCERS?

Tech freelancers and 'gig' workers on Upwork and Fiver are 100% focused on their next 'gig'. The nature of the work they do suits operating as individuals, carrying out task after task - working in relative isolation - it's a style of work they're comfortable working in. 'Professional' freelancers stepping out of large institutions (consulting / law / accounting firms)  are trained to work in collegiate environments where they have access to a suite of services and a strong community to leverage for advice and support in their work.

When professionals start to freelance - the lack of this collegiate network and support base often serves as a rude awakening with freelancer loneliness consistently being ranked as the #1 cause of freelancers returning to full-time work. Similarly, 'professional' freelancers are also not trained salesmen so the business development process of freelancing often serves as an unwanted distraction.

We're trying to solve these two issues by creating a collegiate network for this segmented group of freelancers and to eliminate the business development process altogether by creating a central 'hub' for freelance 'professional' projects - through fairer pricing and transparent process. No more recruiters.

WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT TO OTHER PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING SITES LIKE LINKEDIN?

By building a professional networking site specifically for this community - we're able to remain 100% laser focused on building products and services tailored for this community. LinkedIn is great for building a broad professional network, however, with a broad network open to anyone, comes a variety of issues including spam, irrelevant connections and a dilution in the effectiveness of your 'network' over time.

We serve 'professional' freelancers and employers - no one else allowed. This includes recruitment firms, so you know every networking connection and project link made on BBEco is a direct connection.

DO HAVE A JOBS / PROJECTS SECTION?

Yes - we have a dedicated projects board for all of our clients to post their freelance projects, which BBEco members can apply for - see the 'Employers' section below for more information about hiring via BBEcosystem.

Unlike a regular professional networking site - we still use a mixture of clever matching along with human vetting for every application to ensure the right people are connecting with the right clients. To us, there isn't such a thing as a bad freelancer, just the wrong freelancer being matched to a project not right for them. This human curation element plays a very important role in building a curated product.

SOUNDS COOL - WHY DID YOU START IT?

The world of professional services is changing - more and more professionals are opting to work independently, either to leave the constraints of full-time employment behind, or to free up time to spend with family / travel / work on their own projects. We think this fast changing workforce requires a 'hub' to connect and collaborate with fellow freelance 'professionals' and employers. The current state of the 'professional' freelancing marketplace is a bit of a mess, here's why:

  1. Heavy market segmentation means good freelancers and clients are struggling to connect because they're simply operating across different channels.
  2. High-fees charged by 'middle-man' recruitment agencies and project platforms are just unfair.
  3. Services within this industry are disjointed and difficult to access - we want to create a central hub where 'professionals' can access everything they need.
  4. 'Professional' freelancers need a voice representing their best interests - something which at the moment doesn't exist.
DOES BBECOSYSTEM VET EVERY MEMBER?

Yes - we're a curated professional networking site, specifically for freelance professionals and clients with projects. We vet every new member to ensure they're a fit for the community. No recruitment firms. We're happy to work with RPO firms working on-site with clients helping with their freelance resourcing requirements.

WHAT IS BBECOSYSTEM'S RELATIONSHIP WITH CLIENTS / EMPLOYERS & BBECO MEMBERS?

BBEcosystem is the provider of a marketplace enabling Clients / Employers and approved BBEco members to connect for project engagements and to enter into direct service contracts. We are not a party to any contract entered into between Clients / Employers and approved BBEco members. The relationship between Clients / Employers and BBEco freelance members with BBEcosystem is governed by the our terms of Terms of Service (link at the bottom of the page).

Freelancer FAQ's

AM I RIGHT FOR BBECOSYSTEM?

Curation is at the heart of what we're building at BBEcosystem. That's why every new member is vetted before being accepted into the community. We check what professional training you have and if the freelance services you offer are a fit for the BBEco community. Typically, this entails you having spent some time in either a professional services firm or industry role, which clearly demonstrates your experience within a specific field.

We don't want to waste your time and ours accepting you into the network if we didn't believe you'd find use in it over time.

WHAT DOES IS COST?

BBEcosystem is 100% free for freelancers - always will be.

ARE THERE ANY BENEFITS TO BECOMING A MEMBER?

Connecting to your peers

We automatically put you into all relevant BBEco groups to connect with your peers. Whether that's your old consulting/law/accounting firm or MBA School. This organically growing community is there to use for how you please - we have forums and shared docs in each group so you're able to share tools / advice / support with fellow members.

Access to freelance projects

We're not a recruitment agency or project matching service - we enable freelancers to connect clients in a simple, transparent way. We want to become a 'hub' for this type of project work, which is why we adopt a fair & transparent pricing structure.

Access to discounted service

We've agreed some amazing discounts and access to services not available to members of the public. This includes access to singe-service licence for think-cell software. We'll be adding to these partnerships in due course.

 

SOUNDS GREAT - WHERE CAN i SIGN UP?

Awesome - you can sign-up using the link below (remember - there's a 24 hour vetting process so you'd be able to access the sign immediately):

https://bbecosystem.com/freelance-standard/

CAN I FIND FREELANCE WORK ON BBECOSYSTEM?

Yes - we have a dedicated projects board where clients can post all of their freelance projects. We've scrapped traditional extortionate 'middle-man' fees with an ambition to create a central hub for these types of projects. Clients are often switched off from engaging external support due to these extortionate recruitment costs via recruitment agencies and projects platforms.

WHAT'S THE PROCESS OF APPLYING FOR PROJECT ROLES?

If you see project that fits your area of expertise - you can apply for it + attach tailored CV's directly via the BBEco projects board. Every application is put through a mixture of carefully designed matching algorithms and hand vetting to ensure the right freelancers are connecting with clients. If you're application is unsuccessful - we'll try our hardest to provide feedback as to why you were unsuccessful - we know how frustrating it can be taking the time and effort to apply for a project and not hear any kind of feedback.

WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT TO RECRUITMENT AGENCIES AND 'PROJECT PLATFORMS'

Our founder (Irfan) has set up + scaled some of Europe's largest freelance consulting businesses. These have included traditional freelancing desks in well known recruitment agencies and leading 'project platforms' - he's an outspoken critic of how these businesses operate and believes they simply don't work.

Recruiters take an excessively large ongoing middle man 'broker' fee for performing a simple project matching task. Project platforms simply perform the same task using matching algorithms and charge roughly the same for that service. High fees aside, the freelancer experience using these platforms is often miserable - sending off applications and hearing nothing back, feel like just another 'number' on a recruitment database and a hot & cold relationship with these middle man firms - assuming they have work for you - i.e there's a way they can make commission off you.

We want to create an infrastructure through building a curated community and the provision of tools & resources, which BBEco members find useful both inside and outside of projects. We don't want to become just another project matching service - we want to become your central 'hub' for your freelancing.

Client / Employers FAQ's

WHO ARE CLIENTS / EMPLOYERS?

Clients / Employers are strategy, operations, head of data, marketing, finance, HR and all related business leaders who need to get important project work done fast.

HOW DO HIRE FREELANCE 'PROFESSIONALS' VIA BBECOSYSTEM?

Hiring through BBEcosystem is a simple 5 step process:

  1. Sign-up to the site and our team will create a company group for you on the BBEco site.
  2. Either send us a job description  or you can post it directly on our jobs board via the 'Employers Zone' - we'll make any suggested changes to the posting for free.
  3. We match our community to your project requirement. If on the off chance we don't have a relevant member - we have a dedicated research team designed to search the wider freelance market to find the right person for you.
  4. We screen every applications and shortlist the best applicants for your project - stopping you from being inundated with irrelevant applications.
  5. You're free to screen & interview  the freelancers you like best.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

It's free post, receive our shortlist and interview all candidates via BBEcosystem.

We simply ask clients to set a daily budget for their assignment and all costs will be met against that budget. At the moment, recruiters and project platforms take a 'hefty' broker fee for their project matching services (normally 15% - 40% of the freelancers day rate charged on top). So if a freelancers day rate is £700p/d, the cost to the end client is actually £875p/d (700 x 25% broker fee). For a 3 month project - this equates to £11,550 in recruitment fees (£175 x 66 days).

Through BBEco if the daily budget for your assignment is £700p/d - that's all you'll pay, with no 'broker' fee on top.

 

SO HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY?

BBEco charges the equivalent of 1 day a month's worth of day rate each month any placed freelancer works with the client - we simply extract that small cut when we sort out payments for our freelancers.

So if your daily budget for a full-time project is £700p/d, BBEco will market that role to freelancers at £670p/d - with £30p/d (700 / 22) serving as our fee. That way, when clients are paying for a freelancer, they're paying a single fee of (£700p/d), nothing else. For shorter/part-time projects we'll use a pro rata rate.

I GET A LOT OF IRRELEVANT APPLICATIONS ON OTHER PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING SITES - HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT?

We operate a stringent screening process for every project role on the BBEco site. Through a mixture of clever matching algorithms and hand vetted curation, we ensure that only the best applications are being included on your shortlist - saving your internal team hours of wasted time filtering through below par applications.

HOW DO YOU MANAGE FREELANCER PAYMENTS?

BBEcosystem collects project fees from clients at the end of each calendar month and/or at the end of each contract, and we commit to processing payment to BBEco members within 2 business days following receipt of funds from Employers.

BBEco will take a freelancers time-sheet and invoice the Client / Buyer for the appropriate fee on a monthly basis. Whilst paying the freelancer - we'll extract our small fee (1 day a months worth of day rate - pro-rata for part-time / shorter projects). Clients pay a single fee - freelancer achieve the day rate they applied for and everyone in the chain knows what payments are going where - simple, transparent freelance recruitment.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I'M NOT HAPPY WITH THE WORK PRODUCED BY A BBECO FREELANCER?

The vast majority of projects conclude with a positive result, however, only on the off occasion there is a dispute between a client/buyer & BBEco freelancers - we'll work with both of you conduct dispute resolution and reach a agreed outcome. To avoid these situations, we encourage clients / buyers to spend adequate time scoping each project adequately - setting achievable milestones and a clear set of deliverables.

Poorly scoped work is the number one cause behind client-freelance disputes, which is why we like to feedback with all members (clients + freelancers) early within each engagement to ensure everything is on track.

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NEED MORE INFORMATION: info@bbecosystem.com