Some of the best possible talent for your business isn’t out there looking for a full- time job – they’re freelancing. Freelancers make up one of the fastest-growing segments of professionals in the United States, with CNBC reporting one-third of the American workforce freelancing in 2020. That’s an increase of 22% since 2019.
Remote work capabilities indicate that freelancing has no signs of stopping. Since the pandemic, 58% of non-freelancers who started remote work due to COVID-19 are now considering freelancing in the future, CNBC reports.
Companies and teams of all sizes can benefit from freelancers on the path to achieving their business goals. From customer support to ecommerce development, content marketing, and even web design, professionals who offer their talents through digital services can provide both meaningful and affordable work as freelancers to businesses.
Why is this good news for businesses? Learn how freelancers can help drive growth, how to source talent as needed, and most importantly, how to secure a working freelancing budget from management in order to help any business maximize productivity.
7 Benefits Brought by Freelancing
Slowly but surely, the world is coming to terms with the fact that most full-time workers don’t spend the entire day focused on their tasks. One study found the average amount of productivity in a full workday was just two hours and 53 minutes.
Another study revealed that the average office worker wastes three hours per eight-hour workday web surfing, socializing with coworkers, spacing out and – this is the best part – applying for other jobs.
So without further delay, here are some of the benefits to look forward to with freelancing:
- Payment only for completed tasks. Plus, you save money on overhead, insurance benefits and paid time off. Freelancers complete work by set deadlines and don’t spend time in unnecessary meetings or process bottlenecks.
- Flexibility. Hire them only when you need the help. When you work with freelancers, new teams can tick off tasks on a predictable timeline with a clear budget. Established teams can more easily scale their roadmap plans with expert support.
- Access to qualified talent and save on training costs. The CNBC report found that 59% of freelancers have had skill training in the last six months, compared to only 36% of non-freelancers.
- Instant capability. Putting freelancers on projects gives you the ability to pair specific talent with your specific needs, saving the hassle of training current staff to learn a new skill for just one task.
- Exponential talent pool. Source skill-specific talent from anywhere in the world. You’re not limited to workers who can come into your office.
- Quality assurance. Freelancers have to provide high-quality work in order to retain clients, get referrals, and keep their businesses going. Full-time employees may be less motivated to maximize productivity and produce exceptional work, whereas a freelancer’s job depends on it.
- Low risk. If a freelancer doesn’t perform to expectations, move on. With little-to-no hiring and onboarding costs, it’s easy to test working with a freelancer to see if they’re the right fit for your needs.
How to convince a manager to implement a freelancer budget
If your team relies on technology and can manage online collaboration, you can easily use a freelancer to complete certain projects. When management is new to the freelancing world, use the following tips to get a freelancer budget:
- Make a business case. If it’s clear that freelancers would help your team complete work that your current talent can’t, you should make the business case to your manager to hire them – for the best interest of the company.
- Have talent ready. If you’re banking on a freelancer to help work be completed more efficiently, it’ll help to research freelance talent ahead on a network like Ndiwano, or use Ndiwano Business to get specific recommendations for your project’s needs.
- Estimate the return on investment. Compare the cost savings of working with a freelancer to training an employee in-house or hiring a new full-time employee for that work, and drive the point home. Also, consider the business goals and how freelancers can contribute. If productivity can grow X amount by adding freelance talent, demonstrate the return on investment to a manager. Use this basic formula to show the potential ROI of working with freelancers in a pitch strategy: (Sales Growth – Freelancer Cost) / Freelancer Cost = ROI Determine how much leads and sales are worth to your company. Calculate your expected leads and sales from freelancer work. Use the freelancer rates to determine your ROI by hiring freelancers.
- Budget realistically. While freelancing value for time is considered a major advantage, hourly freelance rates are typically higher than full-time workers. That’s because freelancers are business owners who have to pay for their own health insurance, factor paid time off, and include extra costs like marketing, website maintenance, and home office costs into their rates.
In the pitch presentation, make it clear that their rates are directly for work produced. Plus, there’s no overhead for insurance and 401(k) coverage, and other full-time employee expenses when you work with freelancers.
How to search for, find and hire freelancers efficiently
With an approved freelancer budget, now it’s time to find the talent. As the freelancer market grows, it’s easier to find the right fit. Here’s how to do it right:
- Detail your needs. Before the search, have a clear vision for the project and expertise it requires. Look for people with a portfolio or past clients that match up with your needs. The more specific you are, the more time you can save.
- Mind the “quality triangle”. Designed to keep everyone’s eyes on the prize, the quality triangle states there are three basic qualities most employers want: good, fast, and cheap – but you can only choose two. If you want a high- quality project delivered on-deadline, you need to be willing to pay premium rates. Freelancers who know their worth will price themselves accordingly. The least expensive option is rarely the best.
- Do some trial runs. If possible, test several freelancers with smaller, short- term projects before jumping into a larger, more complex initiative. You’ll see if their skills match up to their resume, if they work well with the team, and ensure they’re familiar with your brand before making a larger investment.
- Set freelancers up for success. Save time during review and revision processes by providing clear, detailed instructions to freelancers. Give good examples of the type of work the team needs to be produced. Provide brand and marketing guidelines to ensure their work aligns. Offer to be available for questions throughout the process.
- Keep the good ones. Good leaders know to retain favorite freelancers so they don’t have to start the process over again and again. Freelancers have as much freedom to choose their clients as companies do to hire employees. Keeping top freelancers busy will reduce the training you have to provide to a freelance team. They’ll get to know your business better, which can improve the work they turn in for you.
With each project, provide meaningful feedback and recognition. Strive to continually improve the assignment process.
Compensate accordingly, especially when you’re requesting a rush project or your direction changes from the original scope. Try to provide clear timeline expectations and establish regularity when possible so freelancers know what to expect from you as a client.
Grow your business with a freelance team.
Freelancers can be just as valuable teammates as full-time employees. Today’s technology enables freelancers to collaborate with full-time teams easily through
chat and virtual meetings. Incorporating freelance work can help your enterprise become more agile and achieve goals more efficiently.
When you’re ready to grow your business with freelancers, use Ndiwano Business to access the best talent. A team of Business Success Managers is always available to help match your team with the right freelancers. Learn more: It’s completely free for the first year.