Rise of Freelancers

Why outsourcing may be the solution to turning it around. 

 

Every business leader hopes to attract the self-starters and innovative talent to their company. A great team is usually behind the success of any given company, and employees who strive to cover their blind spots and any gaps in their knowledge and skills, are hugely sought after. A diverse team of multi-talented individuals that holds itself to high standards can be a great boon to businesses. Not only is that level of dedication admirable, but it also helps in the ongoing battle of wrangling overhead costs, that your team has all its bases covered.

However, there are some skills that not even the savviest of autodidacts can teach themselves to perform better than the professionals. Case in point, during the lockdown many businesses found themselves turning to outside professional help when dealing with securing their IT infrastructure and migrating all their data to the cloud. So, with the employment market being a convoluted mess, and the pandemic and Brexit set to destroy any best-laid plans, business leaders find themselves turning to professional freelancers to head of projects and provide a cost-effective solution to their business woes.

 

The Cost Benefits 

Michael Solomon, 10x Management Co-Founder, writes for the Huffington Post, “Once you’ve decided to hire a candidate, training is one of the costliest investments that a company makes. Orientation and integration take time. This is where having an experienced freelancer saves you. The best freelancers come to jobs ready to begin on day one and require less training than a standard employee.”

Businesses of all shapes and sizes turn to freelancers because of one motivating factor; they cost less and prove to be less of a risk in the long run. Compared to salaried workers, a freelancer’s fees may be steeper than what you would pay someone on your payroll, but aside of getting exactly what you pay for, you also benefit from the cost savings aspect of hiring freelancers. No matter the cost of their hourly rate, as a business you will find yourself avoiding payments associated with salaried workers such as Medicare, Social Security, health insurance, retirement benefits, dental care and more.

Not only would you not have to train these professionals and experts who already have years of experience under their belt, often freelancers are paid per project. TheUndercoverRecruiter.com estimates that it costs on average £2,700 (circa $3,400) to hire a new employee. If COVID-19 has taught business leaders anything, it’s that a healthy cash flow takes precedence over retaining of employees who are surplus to requirements, through no fault of their own. However, you have a duty to those employees, regardless of the state of play. With contractors, the obligation to them ends when the task they are being paid for ends.

You also find yourself in an advantageous position regarding the risk of bringing in an unknown. Freelancers can’t collect unemployment insurance and if they are not performing at the standard and specifications you’d agreed upon, contracts can be easily enforced or terminated. Compared to hiring a salaried worker, only to find yourself in a position where you lose more if you terminate early, a freelance professional is the safer bet.

 

Reputation is Might  

In a world where a simple tweet could see the collapse of a giant corporation, reputation is everything. When companies hire freelance contractors often there is a concern for the quality of work. However, from a freelancer’s perspective, there can be no room for error. Full-time employees may feel the heat of making a mistake, but it would not be career-ending. That is not the case for these contractors, they represent themselves and their work, and in the end, the only person left to defend their work is themselves. They are motivated to get it right the first time so that they can be rehired or use this as an example to get more projects.

Job security is not guaranteed, so freelancers tend to be more productive than their counterparts, as they rely on these temporary gigs to make their living. So if you find yourself paying a premium rate for a contractor with a particular skill set or you need one that can make sure a tight deadline is met, you are likely to get more value for your money and higher quality of work than you would have if you’d kept the task in-house.

 

Stay Flexible; Be Global 

With the Brexit transitionary period almost up, businesses must prepare for its fallout, if they have not been already. This could be expanding the business, taking on more clients or trying to establish yourself in a foreign market. It is a time to be agile and swift, as the fluctuating nature of the market place waits for no one. There is a habitual routine to running a business that may not allow any flexibility to respond to such changes. That is why reaching out to those who have industry experience and have known track records of success to help you through this uncertain time, might be of some interest to business leaders.

With the world in its current precarious state, freelancer can and are the solution businesses are looking for to respond efficiently and swiftly to any unexpected hurdles, while not taxing your core team too much in this uncertain time. Especially as more people are forced to return to work, hiring freelancers who work remotely can help you save space and guarantee a safer environment for your salaried employees who you have a duty of care to.

Take advantage of the global village we find ourselves in and outsource from cheaper labour markets for tasks like software development, writing and graphic design, all the while making your business a 24-hour operation as you take advantage of different time zones, to best serve a global audience.

 

Specific Talents for Specific Tasks 

Freelancers come into a business with specific goals in mind, and the experience of getting tasks done in the timeframe asked of them.

There should be no mystery when it comes to hiring freelancers. Building and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships is the cornerstone of any good freelancers’ brand and network strategy, and the most integral part of that strategy is turning in work that meets the high standards on which they sell their reputation. This means hitting the mark each time, so they are highly motivated to provide high-quality work in excellent turnaround times.

This kind of quality is born of experience, and many freelancers started as traditional workers before taking the lucrative plunge to go solo. Most have had years of experience to call upon, as well as the added benefit of cultivating work routines and schedules that help them deliver results swiftly and meeting set standards.

Considerations before Outsourcing 

  1. Identify the specific support you need, when you need it and how long you’ll need help with it.
  2. Do your research when searching for a contract freelancer, don’t be afraid to be selective.
  3. Due diligence is needed when you’ve made your choice. Check qualifications, background, references, experience and relevant expertise. This will take time, and is crucial before making any commitments. Keep in mind, if you find someone who is a good fit, you can work together on future projects and won’t need to do this again.
  4. Remember that you are not just paying a freelancer for their time, but their expertise. Selecting one who could do it at a fraction of the cost of another that is more experienced and could add more value is your decision to make and must be carefully considered.
  5. The world is your oyster, with regards to freelancers. All over the world, remote virtual workspaces have been made a stable platform to conduct business. Consider the benefits of outsourcing to cheaper labour markets, or if you’d prefer, they be in your area of operation as local knowledge is crucial to your business.
  6. While there is less risk with freelancers, it is best to cover your bases. Make sure your selected freelancer is insured, and find out exactly what that covers. Especially when hiring them for a large project, it would be sensible to only work with someone who has the necessary insurance coverage.
  7. Lastly, do you like them, does your team? They may tick all the boxes and have a stellar performance record, but if you don’t see this person being a good fit for your company or team, it can hinder any progress or work you assign them. Freelancers are there to make life easier for you and your team, not become a hurdle.

 

Sources to Find Freelancers:

Freelance job sites; There are general freelancing sites like

  • CloudPeeps
  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Fiverr
  • Flexjobs
  • PeoplePerHour
  • Amazon MTurk

However, there are also industry-specific sites. Such as;

Field Engineer- There’s no need to scour freelance websites looking for the best engineering talent to suit your needs. Field Engineer is not only one of the world’s best freelance websites for beginners to crack into the industry. It’s also a robust yet easy-to-use platform which puts businesses just like yours in touch with the top engineering talent with the most in-demand telecommunications skills.

If you’re looking for software developers, designers, engineers, product managers, or project managers, Toptal and Hired are the way to go. These are the top sites to find freelancers because they’re fully vetted. Freelancers have to apply and Toptal only accepts 3% of applicants.

Other common job sites include:

  • ProBlogger
  • 99Designs
  • SimplyHired
  • Guru

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