As a business owner, you must feel the constant pressure to stay on top of industry trends, keep up with (and stay ahead of) your competitors, and always, always look to the future. What is going to be the next big thing that can skyrocket your business growth?
On top of that, of course, you have the daily business madness: your best employee is leaving, your revenue took a hit, your office lease is running out and you can’t find the right talent to add to the team…
It’s exhausting, to say the least.
And the worst thing of all? Despite everything that’s going awry, you still need to meet the deadlines, put out new projects and reach strategic milestones.
Stop this world, I want to get off… right?
Well, hold on. There is a way… You can get it all accomplished by outsourcing the non-core tasks.
Freelancer vs. Agency. The pros and cons
Many small businesses choose to outsource some of the time-heavy projects, such as web development, design or content creation in hopes of getting the work done quickly and to an industry standard. It’s a smart way to go if you ask me. But… There’s one thing that often trips them over.
They act on wrong assumptions.
The general belief among SMEs is that high-quality results and quick turnaround can only be achieved by outsourcing to established digital agencies.
This, of course, is in no way surprising. The majority of agencies tend to have fantastic work standards and ethics, but the cons of working with them are just as pronounced.
They’re pricey, they juggle many clients at the same time and – wait for it – they often outsource projects that are outside their field of expertise to individual contractors (freelancers).
That’s right; some agencies are simply middlemen.
Let’s talk about money. Staying cost-effective is on the agenda of every business and it’s especially true to small enterprises with limited financial capacity. So it seems completely irrational for cash-strapped companies to work through a middleman when there’s a perfectly valid way to achieve the same results for half the price. And that way is to work directly with freelancers.
The number of freelancers around the world is counted in millions. According to this live connections map, savvy businesses successfully source talent from even the most distant corners of the world.
And that brings me to another major win.
Working with top talents in the field. Employing the best and most talented people full-time may often be a far-fetched dream for companies with a restricted budget. But hiring a top freelancer for one project may well be within the reach of a small business.
Freelance workers are not just temp labour. The majority are seasoned professionals looking to add a side income, diversify or build their portfolio or lead the kind of lifestyle that is unreachable to office workers.
As a small business, you get the opportunity to tap into the pool of talent that would otherwise be unaffordable.
Undivided attention and shorter project timelines. These are some of the core benefits at the heart of outsourcing. Freelancers are strongly reliant on five-star client feedback and mouth-to-mouth advertising, so delivering high-quality projects on time is their key concern. To put it simply, it means they’re handling one client at a time, so you’re at the centre of their attention.
And unlike the agencies, freelancers are reachable 7 days a week – especially if there’s a tight deadline to hit. When you’re hiring them through a freelance marketplace like PeoplePerHour, freelancers are motivated to complete the task as soon as possible and exactly to your liking, as it’s the only way to get the funds released.
But what’s the catch?
Before you rush into any decisions, there are a couple of important points to consider.
Communication. One of the biggest hurdles to outsourcing is free-flowing communication. It’s one thing to visualise a project in your mind, but it’s another to get that message across and make another person see what you see. If you’ve ever been stuck in a conversation where you end every sentence with a polite “Do you see what I mean?” and get a shake of a head, you know the frustration that comes with trying to communicate effectively.
Before you send the creative brief to the freelancer, test it on one of your team members (or friends) to see if the message is crisp clear. Set a couple of milestones early in the project to make sure you’re heading in the right direction and keep a close eye on the progress. Show, don’t tell!
Pricing. That’s a tricky one. How do you know you’re not getting ripped off? The best way to get a good idea of general price points is to pool a number of proposals for the same job and assess the value vs price. A quick online research should bring up the industry averages that you can compare against. Remember that you’re not looking for the cheapest option and that freelance hourly rates depend on many factors, including the freelancer’s location, experience and availability.