BrokerList.io – a catalog of consultant / freelancer brokers worldwide

Been a while since I did my last post here. To be honest, most of my own projects have lied dormant during the later part of the summer, and after that I’ve been mostly been pursuing consulting gigs.

In any case, my latest project is BrokerList.io.

First a little background for the uninitiated; In Sweden especially, there’s an established phenomenon that’s called consultant brokers (Swedish: konsultmäklare), that find prospective clients needing additional consultant resources with consultants that they find through various measures, and once a successful matching has been made, the broker takes either a fixed fee or a percentage of the perpetual billing that the consultant does.

Some people don’t like how this system is set up (I guess it does highlight an inefficiency in the system where a significant amount of the revenue is often used for the brokerage), but in any case, barring any other great alternatives, the system works quite well. Someone without any previous network among clients could come to Stockholm and find a consultant broker, and if they possess the right skillset, could be having an assignment within a matter or days or weeks.

I’ve been exposed to this need myself, having spent a significant amount of time in Berlin over the last year, and potentially moving again to another location next year. How do you find work quickly if you don’t have a preexisting network? This is true both for a person that is new to a city, but also for a person who has recently made the shift from being an employee to trying out their own wings.

Scope

Some of the functionality I’ve planned has been;

  • Keep an up to date catalogue of consultant brokers per city and country, and generate long-tail type pages for SEO-purposes. This should be internationalised over time so one can search for both “consultant broker in Stockholm Sweden” as well as “konsultmäklare i Stockholm Sverige”. The latter is a challenge that I haven’t yet solved.
  • Rating, Reviews, Subjective data. I think part of the value from such a service is that over time you can build a data set of subjective experiences from people who have been working with the consultant brokers. Basically, anonymous ratings and reviews over multiple dimensions.
  • Other resources. For instance, there are certain quite valuable groups on Facebook that the uninitiated will not automatically know about when moving to a new city. One such example is Kodapor, which is a 14000+ group of coders in Sweden.

Platform

I’ve used a platform largely similar to my previous projects.

  • React/Next.js. Recently I used Next.js on a client project, and it actually ends up saving quite a lot of time for setting up common things that you would want to set up, so I used it here to get started faster.
  • Node/Express/Nginx for the backend.
  • AWS. Interestingly enough, the first time I set up AWS it probably took me a week to bash out all of the details. This time around, it only took me a day to set up automatic deploys, auto-scaling, routing, database servers etc. It’s still a significant amount of time, but it’s nice that it’s a lot faster than before. I hadn’t used RDS before, but setting it up was very straight forward once all the other pieces were in place.
  • CrispChat. To handle any support requests.

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