From the January 2000 issue of Startups

When Steve Crane and Art Aviles were freelancers in the early 1990s, their hardest task was finding jobs. Working alone, they lacked connections, the camaraderie of the corporate office and the leads necessary to generate new business.

So in 1993, the two launched CorpHQ (http://www.corphq.com), an online service that matches prospective work queries with hundreds of consultants and freelancers nationwide.

"This is something we could have used ourselves when we were freelancing," says Aviles, president of the company and a one-time freelance marketing executive (Crane, a former independent investment banker, is the CEO). "[Freelancers] get caught in a vortex. They're too busy to find the time to get new business. That's why our motto is 'for yourself, but not by yourself.' "

CorpHQ is not alone is its move to bring new business to homebased businesses. Monster Talent Market (http://www.talentmarket.monster.com), RequestAmerica (http://www.requestamerica.com) and elance.com (http://www.elance.com) are bringing buyers and sellers of services together. Today, Monster Talent Market claims almost 120,000 members providing services--and 33,000 auctions to buy providers' services.

CorpHQ is different in that its service providers, screened and interviewed by the company's own department directors, are established professionals with proven track records in marketing, professional, legal, accounting, business development and personal services.

CorpHQ uses a "reverse auction" to price work. Providers bid competitively on projects, knowing CorpHQ will bump up the quote between 3 percent to 50 percent to get its share. The process keeps bidding fair to all comers, he says. Aviles sees the future of hiring in the online model CorpHQ and others have established. "This creates a business community in which there's a level playing field for the independent professional."