As a creator, finding work that you enjoy and keeping all your projects organized are likely some of your top priorities. So how do you network as a freelancer? Where can you look for clients who’ll pay for your services reasonably? And what should you do when it comes to drafting contracts? If you’ve been thinking about these questions, look no further than Contra.
Founded by Ben Huffman, Contra has a mission to help freelancers and creators — or Independents, as the company calls them — navigate their journey from first project to full-time, empowering them to work the way they want. The all-in-one platform prides itself on helping freelancers get paid, totally commission-free, while also offering other useful features such as upfront payments and contract automation.
Whether you’re a freelance writer, designer, or video editor, you can use Contra to seek out opportunities. Unlike LinkedIn, where profiles are generally role-based, Contra helps you communicate your professional identity by having you showcase your past projects online. Not only does the community-driven platform help independent workers land remote gigs with international clients, but it also allows freelancers to connect with each other.
We talked to Samantha Taylor, Contra’s Head of Social Strategy, to learn more about how Contra works and how it benefits creators.
What is Contra? And how does it work?
Contra allows anyone to work for themselves. You can create a digital portfolio, earn money commission-free, and get discovered by clients all around the world. Essentially, it’s a two-sided marketplace where you have Independents — aka freelancers — showcasing their past work offerings and services. On the flip side, clients can post remote job opportunities or invite Independents to projects. Both parties are crucial to making Contra thrive.
For creators, what are the benefits of using Contra?
The most talked about benefit is the aspect of commission-free payments. We are taking 0% commission. Typically, on other freelancing sites, you’re losing up to 5-20% of your total profit. On Contra, we take nothing from the independent creators. This is a huge benefit.
Another big benefit is having a built-in community. Freelancing remotely and working for yourself can be isolating, especially if you don’t have access to a community of others who are sharing these experiences. Once you sign up on Contra, you can join our Slack community of nearly 10,000 Independents.
Tools to help you get paid and organized
Other tools we host on our platform are built-in contracts, upfront payments, and the ability to manage your work in one place. These are often a huge pain point for Independents, so our goal is to take any confusion out of the process, and make it as seamless as possible. We also have a feature that allows Independents or clients to invite anyone who’s off the platform to Contra. We’ve tried to make it simple for anyone to join our platform by streamlining the process, and allowing people to kickstart a project with ease.
A few other things to note are that we never allow jobs to be posted that are below the value of $25/hour. As a team, we’ve often seen the “race to the bottom,” where everyone’s trying to make their services as cheap as possible to secure work. This fuels the stigma around freelancing that it’s hard to make good money as a creator or an Independent, which is false.
Lastly, Contra is global. Independents looking for opportunities can join from anywhere, and clients can post jobs from anywhere. There are truly no limits to getting started.
What types of services or skills are offered by creators on Contra?
There are six main categories to choose from:
- Social and marketing
- Design and Web3
Here are some examples of creator profiles on Contra:
- Kathreen Carillo, social media manager and content creator
- Sam Cordell, graphic and 3D designer
- Amber Koski, graphic and brand designer
- Varvara Kronberg, full-stack developer
- Rodrigo Lamadrid, writer
How can creators get connected to businesses that are hiring on Contra? What is the typical project flow?
There are two perspectives, but I’ll start with the Independent (creators) side. When you join as an Independent, you create a profile by adding in services that you offer to the world. From there, clients can reach out to you, and you can kickstart a project together. You can also invite existing clients who aren’t on Contra, from within the platform.
We have a matching network where we take the information from your profile, and match you to remote job postings that align with the services you offer. If it feels aligned, you can apply! From there, the clients can reach back out to you if they feel it would be a good fit. All the communication is done in Contra through our Chat, which makes it easy to stay on top of the projects you’re working on.
After the proposal is signed and you are both aligned on the scope, deliverables, and payment, we give you a timeline of what the next steps are in your project. This way, you can manage and organize everything within the platform. The last step is to submit your work and get paid, commission-free, on Contra.
How does Contra compare to other freelance platforms?
We make everything extremely accessible and customizable. Built-in contracts are there for anyone to use, as well as payment plans that protect all parties included in any given project. For example, clients can pay through “milestones,” where Independents receive the payment directly when they hit a milestone. Clients also have the option to pay the whole project fee in one transaction. There are many different options for receiving payments, depending on your preferences.
One of the biggest elements that lacks on other platforms is the ability to invite clients or [freelancers] directly to a project proposal. We make it easy to start working without having to make a fully fleshed out profile.
Legal and financial protection is very important to us as well. Contra’s contracts and payment plans are user-friendly, and eliminates any confusion for clients and Independents. Both parties are aware of the scope of work, payment, and due dates before starting their project together.
What is the future of Contra?
I’m really excited to see our community continue to grow. Our team is continuously blown away by the support of our community. I’m also excited to see people take ownership of their work and feel like they’re doing work they really enjoy, really love, every day.