With the needs of business shifting towards task-oriented, flexible work arrangements, freelancing is on the rise. Services like oDesk (rebranded as Upwork) or Airtasker, have made the option to freelance simpler and advances in technology have made it possible to operate a business virtually.
The growth in the freelance market creates opportunities for savvy and budget conscious businesses (particularly SMEs) to access expert services and advice on a flexible basis.
Here are my top six reasons why you should consider hiring a freelancer.
1. Freelancers are cost-effective
Freelancers are usually cheaper and deliver a better return on investment than agencies. As freelancers usually operate from a home office and conduct most of their business virtually, their overheads are small, which means you’re only paying for the service provided.
Freelance rates on ODesk and Airtasker can be extremely cheap. It is important to understand that you get what you pay for, so sometimes paying a little more for a freelancer with more experience and expertise will ensure you get the best quality service. That said, even the most experienced freelancers will usually cost less than an agency.
2. You know exactly who is working on your account
When working with an agency; it is common for there to be a lack of transparency around who exactly is working on your account. While the most senior people may show up to the pitch meeting, in many cases it is the most junior people actually doing the grunt work.
When you work with a freelancer, you know exactly who you’re working with. Not only will this give you piece of mind, it makes it easier to give feedback and be more involved in their day-to-day work.
3. Freelancers are highly responsive
Freelancers are often contactable at all hours. Their business relies on it. If they’re doing their job well, they will always respond in a timely manner and keep the lines of communication open.
Because they are sole operators, freelancers manage everything end to end. This means there are no layers or levels of bureaucracy to navigate when you have a request or question, ensuring response times are fast.
4. Freelancers are invested in your business
Good freelancers are heavily invested in your business. They know that if they don’t get you results, they will lose you as a client, which is a big blow to a freelancer.
While agencies also fear the loss of a client, typically it is only those with the most to lose (such as the MD or equity partner) who genuinely feel this loss. For agency staff, typically there aren’t as many incentives for keeping clients satisfied and on the payroll.
5. Freelancers are flexible
Need to adjust your budget or just want to do some project work? Freelancers are often more capable of being flexible than agencies as they don’t have the restraints of overheads.
Because freelancers quote per job or have an hourly rate, it is much easier to pull them onto small tasks or projects with short notice. Often agencies will knock back this kind of work as well.
6. Freelancers are efficient
Because freelancers sit outside your business, they don’t get tied up in meetings, office politics or bureaucracy. This makes them much more efficient and results focused.
If your business is experiencing a busy period, is launching a new project or just needs something achieved quickly, a freelancer can get it done well, for less money and more efficiently.
Have you used a freelancer – how did it go? Tell us your experience in the comments below!
Heather Marano is the owner of Heather Marano Freelance Consulting. She is a trusted and experienced PR, social and content freelance consultant who delivers the results of a big agency for a fraction of the cost. Heather is based in Sydney, Australia and support clients across Australia. For more information visit her website www.heathermarano.com or follow her on twitter @heathermarano
Photo credit: Steve Wilson