How freelancing and on demand Service as a Product are shaking up the advisory field
Consultants, trainers, teachers, coaches, mentors, and even medical professionals, from fitness to finance, all Advisors have the same goal, to facilitate knowledge transfer, and they all use some kind of metric to measure progress and offer feedback for further improvement.
The advisory market is steadily growing in most categories: The consultancy market alone grew by 6.1% to $125.2 billion in 2014 according to Gartner’s market share analysis. But even this isn’t what’s set to transform advising; a new demographic has been emerging in the past years: confident, resourceful, dynamic professionals who have their fingers on the pulse of their fields. These are the people driving the revolution in advising, and it’s taking place within freelancing.
One big upcoming player in advisory services is, indeed, the freelancer. Last year 34% of Americans did some freelancing, whether part time, full time, or even just once. This represents 53 million people. It’s projected that by 2020 at least 40% of Americans will be doing some kind of freelancing, and half of those will be Advisors. This is a global trend seeing steady growth. In the EU in 2013, full time freelancing grew by 45% from 6.2 million people to 8.9 million people, making freelancers the fastest growing group in the EU labor market. Roughly half of all these freelancers offered some kind of knowledge-based advisory service. So what’s driving this freelance industry?
It all started in the 90’s, when telecommuting was a big buzzword. The idea that your employees can work for you from home was very appealing. Yet if your employees can work from home, then why do they still need to be employees of your company? In fact, on average, companies that hire freelancers can save 30% or more over hiring full time employees. Technology made it possible to work from home and created this boom of freelancers.
Yet back then, finding freelance work used to be solely the domain of having connections or using an agency. Nowadays, with platforms such as Upwork and Elance, any aspiring freelancer can find a project with ease. There are now even freelancing platforms for consultants such as Eden McCallum, legal platforms like Axiom, and Medicast for doctors. Yet there’s another leap in progress coming: the model of Service as a Product (SaaP).
On Demand Service: Service as a Product
On demand service platforms are growing in popularity for freelancers. Platforms such as Uber or Fiverr, where specific services are treated as products that are very scalable, are sold as a product with a fixed price. As Advisors become more specialized, Service as a Product (SaaP) allows Advisors to sell their specific services in a scalable business model with a fixed upfront price in the same way that a conventional product is sold. Often, this service can be sold directly online without the need to ever go on-site.
In the future, Advisors will use more apps and platforms to find potential Users and productize their services for their Users, yet currently there are no platforms to aid Advisors in managing, rating, and giving feedback to their Users so as to turn their services into an on-demand SaaP.
Overview: a Demonstration of Service as a Product for Advisors
I was often frustrated working as an Advisor myself with the lack of tools available to manage, rate, and give feedback to my Users, especially off-site. I also saw that working as an Advisor wasn’t a scalable business model. The hours you put in, equals the pay you receive. I needed to take my services and turn them into a product.
That’s why I built Overview, a knowledge management platform for Advisors. Its intuitive, versatile design is optimized for this revolutionary new business model for Advisors. Its colorful and concise calendar interface is ideal for the professional on the go, whether they’re using it in a corporate context or as a freelancer.
Usage case: Service as a Product for fitness and nutrition trainers
Do you know of any other Service as a Product platforms that I overlooked? Leave your advice in the comments below, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.