As a small business owner, you can only do so much yourself. Sure, early on, you’ll have your hands in the marketing, accounting, sales, and customer service, but as your company grows, you’ll need to find others who can help you take on some of these tasks.

photo by thinkpanama

If the prospect of hiring full-time employees scares you, consider a freelancer or agency for the job.

1. They’re experts at what they do. While you may only be marginally good at updating your company’s social media profiles, a marketing consultant or agency does this for a living, so they’ll know better than you what tactics to use to get the best results.

2. They can do it faster than you. Early on in my marketing company’s history, I tried designing my own company logo. It took me days…and looked like junk. Spending a few hundred dollars with a freelance designer, I had a gorgeous logo in a day.

3. They’re cheaper than you think. Say the word “agency,” and you see the panic in an entrepreneur’s eyes. Sure, hiring a top New York ad agency will cost more than you probably make in a year, but that’s not the only option. Smaller firms offer packages based on your needs, and can be more cost-effective than paying a full-time salary plus benefits. If your budget is even smaller, a freelancer early in his career might do.

4. They’ll fill in the gaps in your knowledge. You know you need a great website, but you don’t have a clue about colors and layout. A professional can guide you to the best decision for your company, so you don’t have to be knowledgeable at all. Hand over the keys.

5. You can work with them as needed. If you only need 10 blog posts, you can hire a writer to create them. You’re not stuck paying the salary of an employee who now has nothing else to do.

Tips for Hiring a Freelancer or Agency

As I said, if money is a major concern, look for a less-experienced freelancer. Just realize: you might need to put more time into working together if he doesn’t yet have the experience to take your requirements and run with them.

Outline exactly what you need. Do you just need content for your website, or will you also need regular blog posts? Bundling multiple projects together might help you save some money.

Look on Elance, oDesk, and Craigslist for professionals, as that’s where they tend to hang out. You can post your project and accept proposals from multiple candidates from around the world. This is nice because it gives you the chance to look at the portfolios and find the best fit for your needs.

What roles are best given to freelancers and agencies? Tasks like:

  • writing web or blog content
  • designing a logo, brochure, or website
  • managing your social media
  • building your marketing strategy
  • writing press releases and pitching the media
  • programming for your site
  • administrative tasks (that don’t require being in-person)

If you find that you have a lot of projects in a given area, like design, weigh the costs of outsourcing the work versus hiring internally. There’s usually a tipping point where it’s better to bring the work in-house, but until then, keep an eye on your expenses with freelancers or an agency.

Once you outsource the work to a qualified individual or team, you’ll have the breathing room to tackle the rest of your endless to-do list!