The freelancing economy is undoubtedly on the rise in the United States and beyond. In fact, from 2016 to 2017 alone, the US saw a 47% increase in the number of entrepreneurs who claimed they would be hiring freelancers during the calendar year.
Because of this undeniable trend, it would be in the best interest of entrepreneurs everywhere to begin at least thinking about how to leverage freelancers to keep their brand at its peak.
On that note, here is why you should consider hiring freelancers to keep your company at its best, plus how to get started.
Why Hire Freelancers?
There are a few outstanding reasons to hire freelancers.
a.) The cost. The first reason is, of course, the cost. Because you only pay freelancers when you need to get tasks done — as opposed to employees who need compensation even during down times for your business — you’ll never be paying more than you have to.
b.) Freelancing platforms make it easy. Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer make the process of searching for, hiring and paying freelancers more seamless than ever before.
c) Lower financial risk. Hiring full-time and part-time employees is a costly endeavor, and it becomes even more costly when you hire the wrong people. Between health benefits, office space and various legal liability, employees require a lot of cash to maintain.
How Best to Use Freelancers
1. Make a list of action items for freelancers.
As an entrepreneur, there’s little doubt you are a very busy person. Because of this, we all have business items we know we should be doing, but don’t necessarily have the time to complete. This could be blogging on a regular basis, publishing across popular social media channels, creating stellar graphic design for our companies and more.
To start, think critically about the tasks you know you should be doing and compile them into a list. This list will be your guide to which tasks you need to begin hiring freelancers for.
2. Set a Reasonable Budget
After you have your list of items you need completed, create a reasonable budget for each task you’ll be hiring freelancers for. To start, begin with a weekly or monthly budget. This can increase or decrease based on your experience with the freelancers you eventually move forward with, but it’s always a good idea to check your pocketbook beforehand.
Important Note: while it’s true that freelancers are significantly less costly than hiring your own in-house employees, you’ll still — almost always — get what you pay for, just like anything else in the marketplace.
3. Use Online Platforms to Hire Freelancers
Once you have your tasks and budget, it’s time to move on to the next step: actually hiring the freelancers. While you can certainly go old school here and use traditional hiring methods (posting on job sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.), you can also take advantage of a handful of freelancing platforms. These include Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and Thumbtack, among others.
Every business and every freelancer is different, so cast a wide net when you first begin hiring to see which is the best fit for your particular situation.
4. Set Realistic and Concrete Goals
When hiring freelancers, it’s important to be as concrete as possible when it comes to the direction you give them and the goals you measure their performance by. Are the tasks you’re handing off to them simply aesthetic, such as graphic design? Or are they very data-driven, such as paid social media advertisements?
Whichever tasks you outsource to freelancers, be sure to measure their performance closely so you can have a firm grasp on the value they’re providing to your company.
5. Remember That Perception Is Reality
To stay relevant in today’s marketplace, there are many services you need to stay up-to-date with to remain competitive. From enhancing your SEO to being active on social media to monitoring your website to building your thought leadership through blog posts and more, the list goes on and on.
The point here is this: when it comes to being perceived as an industry-leading company and staying one step ahead of your competitors, the bar has been raised in recent years. To be a top-tier brand, you have to walk the walk. Luckily though, freelancers make it possible to accomplish this for business owners of all kinds.
Around the world, it’s clear the freelance economy is in full swing. As a business owner, strategically leveraging freelancers is a cost-effective way to keep your brand at its peak for years to come. By starting with the tips laid out in this article, you’ll be in a terrific position to reap all of the benefits freelancers have to offer. Thanks for reading.