The very first spotlight post looks at ZedLance which is an online freelancing marketplace. It is actually the first of it's kind in Zambia.
Here is a short interview with Towela Phiri, the founder of ZedLance.
What is ZedLance?
Zedlance is an online platform that links freelancers with employers or part-time jobs online. It operates in the form of a marketplace just like eBay but for virtual services.
What inspired you to come up with Zedlance?
There are 3 main reasons that inspired me to come up with ZedLance. The first one is more personal. When I just completed my university, looking for a source of income was a nightmare, I couldn’t find any jobs and so I decided to check what I could do online, and I came across a freelance site bases in the U.S But it required me to have a Paypal account in order to get paid, however, with Paypal in Zambia, one cannot receive money but only pay out. So I thought, why don’t we have a freelance site in Zambia that enables one to get paid online, and in Kwacha? And the idea was birthed.
Secondly, the high unemployment rate in Zambia is appalling. We have so many people that are looking for jobs but are not utilizing their skills to make them an income whilst they wait for work or as a side income. For those that do, finding clients is a hustle and too difficult to undertake on their own. Thirdly, the cost of doing business in Zambia is high and this partly due to employment of people whose job could be done by freelancers thereby cutting on costs. In fact, you get to empower more people by working with freelancers as opposed to an individual.
What would you like people to know about ZedLance?
ZedLance is your opportunity to find extra income and save you on cash. Let us not be ashamed to be called Freelancers. The freelancing economy in the U.S. According to The Freelancers Union report of 2014 (https://blog.freelancersunion.org/2014/09/04/53million/)
There were 53 million people doing freelance work in the US – 34% of the national workforce and people who freelance contribute an estimated $715 billion in freelance earnings to our economy.
People shouldn’t just look to the government to provide jobs, they should get creative and use their skills. We make it easier for you so that you can work online from anywhere.
What challenges are you facing?
Our major challenge involved the integration of a payment gateway on the site. Some of the companies we partnered with were not matching up to our requirements. However, we have now found a company that is brilliant and the platform should be fully functional soon.
Anything you would like to add on?
Freelance is the way out of poverty, it is a way to help yourself and your brother/sister/mother/father/friends and colleagues. As I say, you’ve got to believe that you can do it and go further. Believe that the power lies in your efforts, creativity, and dreams. Believe in your dreams.
Thank you Towela. Definitely inspiring! If you've never heard of ZedLance, take a look at the ZedLance website and Facebook page and sign up. I know you have something to offer.