I’d like to thank Mr. Matt Barrie, the CEO of Freelancer.com, for giving me this opportunity to interview him on his views and aspects of online entrepreneurship. Freelancer.com is the largest resource for freelancers in the world today–with over 3 million unique users from over 240 countries, territories, and regions.
Hi Matt, firstly, I would like to congratulate you on winning the 2011 Ernst & Young Technology Entrepreneur of the Year. How does it feel to be in the distinguished company of other award recipients, such as the CEO of Linkedin Corporation, Groupon, and the like?
It’s a great achievement to be recognized by such a prestigious award! I was pretty surprised when I first learn about the win.
1. What are the words would you give to the young techie start-ups in order to encourage them to move on towards their entrepreneurial dreams?
Three simple words: focus, focus, and still focus.
For me, entrepreneurship means changing the world and forging your own destiny. Going out and building businesses is the most incredibly rewarding thing you’ll ever do. But get ready for it, because it’s certainly a rollercoaster!
Success is hard to define – I don’t think I would ever be able to get to a point where I would turn around and say “I feel successful”. You can always do more. To me, saying you are successful is the antithesis to being an entrepreneur, because you’re resting on your laurels rather than trying to do better.
Two things drive me: First, no one is going to give it to you. And second, if now’s not the time, then when will it ever be?
2. As quoted from Rupert Murdoch, “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” To what extent, do you agree with this quote? In your opinion, do you also see that the entrepreneurial landscape around the world today has changed into a fast-moving pace?
Yes. The world economy is fast shifting from an industrial to a digital economy. Every industry is rapidly turning into a software business—at a pace so quickly that yesterday’s goliaths are waking up and realizing that their business model doesn’t exist anymore. These are exciting times.
3. Realistically, many online small business owners today failed to make profits on the internet. Most of them have been misguided by many ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes created by many self proclaimed marketing gurus. What advice can you give these entrepreneurs on taking their businesses online, the right way?
Focus on building long term, sustainable businesses. The great thing about building a business today is that it’s never been easier, or cheaper. You can literally do it off the back of a credit card. Every business today is an Internet business- you’re selling through a website or finding customers over the Internet. What’s great about building an Internet business is that most of the things you need to build an Internet business are free- web servers, databases, operating systems, voice over IP, and so on.
What’s not free is cheap- domain names, web hosting, cloud computing, Google ads. And even if you have no idea how to put any of these things together, you can now hire freelancers cheaply to do it for you. Through a site like Freelancer.com you can get a logo designed, website built and search engine optimized to get a good rank in Google for only a thousand dollars or two.
4. There are a lot of freelancing websites out there, on the internet. How do you differentiate your company among your competition? What is it that you have, in which your competitors do not have, that makes your company one of the most popular freelancing websites in the world today?
We’re the biggest (based on statistics from Alexa.com). We have the most users (over 3 million users from over 240 countries, regions, and territories), we have the most traffic, and we have completed the most projects (1.3 million and counting.) We’ve got the most liquid marketplace in the world, so you can pretty much guarantee that for any skill set you are looking for, we have it on Freelancer.com.
5. What do you think will be the next big thing on the technological business for the year 2012?
We’re going to continue to see old world, inefficient, labor-intensive industries turn into highly-efficient, productive, software businesses. Watch our website if you want to see the Next Big Thing!