The future of work: freelancing, outsourcing, remote working

The workplace of the future is online, remote, and flexible. More and more, businesses are turning away from traditional, office-based staff and teams based in a single, physical location, and looking around the world for opportunities in the global freelance market.

Setting up a remote team, however, is not just a matter of putting the call out and waiting for pitches to roll in. This is where online freelancing platforms come in, linking up clients and freelancers, and giving growing organizations access to talent from around the world.

Copywriting and content marketing

Of the many tasks and projects that can be outsourced effectively and efficiently, copywriting and content provision is one of the most popular. Passing your copywriting jobs over to flexibile, remote workers is just good common sense, allowing organizations to concentrate on other parts of their business, and to free up resources, while taking advantage of the hottest writing talent available.

When it comes to outsourcing tasks online, Upwork remains one of the most popular platforms for both clients and freelancers. It is huge, with millions of registered freelancers working across a wide variety of fields.

There are a whole bunch of ways that Upwork makes life easier for businesses looking to expand their talent pool and hire freelancers. But are some of its strengths also potential weaknesses? Does it provide the absolute best service for all sorts of tasks?

We thought we’d take a look at how Upwork compares with Scribly’s own model, go through some of the pros and cons, and provide a bit of information about what might work best for clients looking for high quality content and copywriting services.

Upwork

What is Upwork?

Upwork is probably the biggest name in the business, with millions of freelancers and organizations looking for remote employees. Formed from a merger between oDesk and Elance over 10 years ago, it remains one of the most popular freelancing platforms.

Essentially Upwork provides an online space for freelancers and clients to meet, hire, pitch for work, communicate, deal with payment and log time worked on a project. It is pretty all-encompassing, and takes a lot of the hassle and worry out of traditional freelancer/client relations.

How does it work?

The heart of Upwork’s functionality is pretty simple. Clients post jobs on the portal, with a variety of options for skillset, experience, fees etc, and freelancers pitch for the roles they want. Clients can also approach registered freelancers directly via their profiles, and ask them to pitch for jobs.

Jobs are paid on an hourly basis (tracked through Upwork’s Work Diary) or by milestones within a project. Both freelancers and clients are rated at the end of a project, and all communication, payment and dispute resolution is handled through the platform.

Upwork also has a Pro feature, which acts like a talent agency for the highest quality talent on the platform. They handpick the top freelancers for particular project, and vet them, which takes a load off a client’s mind.

What does it cost?

Registering as an employer on Upwork is free, and you negotiate rates and fees for projects with individual freelancers on each contract. On the completion of a contract, Upwork charges a 2.75% fee. Upwork Pro costs $149 a month.

Scribly

What is Scribly?

For anyone looking for razor sharp, hard-hitting content, Scribly presents an extremely tempting alternative to Upwork. Scribly provides solutions for every content or copywriting need, delivered in as little as 24 hours. With a team of over 50 highly skilled writers, Scribly will have the perfect tone and content for whatever business need your content is designed to fulfil.


Speaking simply, Scribly offers clients access to a hugely talented group of previously vetted writers, and removes the hassle of recruiting individual freelancers by matching up each project with the best writer for the job. Finding great copywriters can be time-consuming and expensive, even with a freelance platform like Upwork, so Scribly acts as the perfect copywriting tool for a business.

How does it work?

You can sign up to Scribly on a monthly basis as part of an unlimited content package, or just order a one-off project if your copywriting needs are more irregular.

Once you submit a request, you’ll be matched up with the perfect writer for your project, who’ll get started right away. All content goes through a rigorous editing process, and with the Premium subscription you’ll get unlimited revisions to the final copy until you are happy with it. That’s it. Killer copy in as little as 24 hours, as many times as you need.

What does it cost?

A one-off project with one round of revisions and a 48-hour turnaround starts at $100, and then scales up depending on the scope of the project. The Blogging Unlimited package offers unlimited blog content with one round of revisions and a 48-hour turnaround for $2,000 a month. Finally, the Premium Unlimited package offers unlimited copywriting services for any writing project, with unlimited revisions and a 24-hour turnaround for $3,500 a month. That’s it - no extra charges, hidden costs or unexpected fees.

Head to head

Freelancers

Upwork gives you access to a huge number of freelancers, from across the world, specialising in a multitude of projects, skills and tasks. You can choose the freelancer you want to work with, and negotiate timings, payments, revisions and so on directly with them. You get more choice, but you also have to rely on ratings from previous clients, as well as potentially working with freelancers in different time zones and with competing work priorities.

Scribly takes on the role of talent spotter, hirer and vetting agent when it comes to freelancers for a project. Their pool of writers is undeniably smaller than the vast choice you can find on Upwork, but they have all been through a rigorous vetting and onboarding process, and are some of the sharpest and best writers around. With Scribly you don’t have to wade through hundreds of individual pitches, take a punt on what others have said about your chosen freelancer, or rely on individuals producing work on time.

Payments

Upwork’s payment system is pretty comprehensive, working either by project milestone or by hours worked, and it is all processed by the platform. As it’s free to register as an employer, it is great for very small-scale projects, as you can set the parameters you want to work with yourself.

Scribly works best on a flat monthly payment, which also removes the hassle of dealing with payments to individual freelancers. Scribly takes care of all payments to its writers, and pride themselves on treating writers well and paying them fairly.

One of the problems with the pitching/competitive model of Upwork is that it can encourage freelancers to set their fees unrealistically low to undercut each other. While this might initially seem like a benefit (!) it ends up resulting in lower quality work or undeliverable projects. Scribly writers are part of a team, and the quality of their work reflects that.

Editing

WIth Upwork, everything is negotiated directly between client and freelancer. So conversations about number of rounds of revisions, edits and so on need to be had from the off. Any post-delivery editing is the responsibility of the client, and most freelancers will charge extra for revisions.

Scribly’s packages include editing of all copy and content, and then revisions once you’ve received the final draft. The quality of what a client receives initially is therefore much higher, and with unlimited revisions on the Premium package, satisfaction is guaranteed. The key to this approach is that you know upfront what you are going to get, with no delays or surprise extra payments.

Quality control

Upwork’s greatest strength, the unbelievable choice it offers, can also be a bit of a weakness when it comes to quality control. Recruiters on Upwork rely on reviews from previous clients, and the rating system can’t convey everything you need to know. Each project can attract hundreds of pitches, so getting the right freelancer for the job can be a little hit and miss.

Scribly, on the other hand, takes the vetting process out of your hands, and guarantees the quality of its writers. This does mean you potentially get less choice, but you save an enormous amount of time and effort, and can rely on Scribly’s testimonials to speak for the quality they provide.

Conclusion

There is no denying that Upwork is an immensely powerful tool, and invaluable for small businesses looking to take advantage of global talent, and expand their remote working capacity. It has enabled thousands of individuals and organisations to use freelancers in a way that would have been unthinkable in the past, and expand their businesses accordingly. It’s flexibility and choice of remote employees is amazing, and it can work well for many businesses.

However, when it comes to getting killer copy on a regular basis, and using content to bring your brand to life, Scribly does have the edge over Upwork’s larger, more generalized service.


It's an end-to-end managed service, which means you don't have to spend time finding writers or editing their work. It's a cost effective way to scale content outputs, whereas on Upwork you have to put in more work to meet increased demands. There are no hidden fees or charges, everything is agreed up front and quality is assured - and all writers are paid fairly.

For an organization looking to supercharge their business with exceptional copy, or bring their brand story to life, Scribly provides a more targeted, easy-to-use and higher quality service than competing options. Best of all, their two-week free trial means you can try before you buy, and see if the model makes sense for your business!