The pool of freelancers tends to grow when there’s an economic downturn.
When COVID hit, a lot of businesses had to let full-time employees go. Many people lost their jobs. And some of them started their own businesses doing what they had been doing before, but now as freelancers. In fact, I’m one of them. And as a freelancer, I eat, sleep, and breathe my industry. I’m constantly studying, learning, practicing, researching, talking to other professionals, strategizing, and always trying to be better.
Freelancers have valuable skills, years of knowledge, and pinpointed expertise that you can get for far less than the financial burden of a full-time employee. And there are freelancers across a multitude of industries, including writing, marketing, design, IT, and more. If you’re considering hiring a freelancer, but aren’t quite sold yet, below are a few good reasons you should go ahead and take the leap.
reasons to hire a freelancer
Freelancers will get the project done.
A freelancer is incentivized to produce a high-quality product quickly, because they don’t get paid until then. If you find your internal team isn’t finishing projects, a freelancer might be the way to go. Internal teams are often overloaded, distracted with needs from other departments, drowning in day to day tasks and upkeep, interrupted with phone calls and emails, and pulled in different directions all day long. (Can you tell I’m speaking from experience?) If you need something FINISHED, a freelancer is the way to go.
Spark new ideas.
“That’s the way we’ve always done it.” If you hear this a lot, you’re in a dangerous zone! That means the company isn’t fostering a sense of challenging the status quo or pushing boundaries, and creativity and critical thinking likely has stagnated. Yes, even from your creative team. It’s hard to look at things from different angles when you are deep in habit or processes; especially if you are swamped with work. So, your internal team may be regurgitating the same concepts, and those might not be working because they’ve become stale. A freelancer might just be the thing you need to freshen it up!
Benefit from fresh eyes.
Speaking of fresh- fresh eyes can spot the trouble spots or opportunities your company has overlooked. They might find an overuse of jargon is keeping your customers from understanding what your product really does. Or spot typos in your copy that you’ve overlooked for months. They might find a super cool benefit for your product that your team never even thought of because they’re stuck in the messaging mire of ‘what’s always been said’. Get fresh eyes on your projects! It might lead to a significant breakthrough. And you might see your team’s creativity flourish too!
Freelancers are usually experts.
Freelancers do one thing all day every day. They’re likely good at it, efficient, and know tricks and tips that a full-time all-around employee might not have the time to learn. Take advantage of that! Freelancers keep up with their industry, whether it’s graphic design, copywriting, website design, etc. They’re getting a lot of input from a ton of different sources that I guarantee your internal, full-time employees don’t have access to. Not because they aren’t amazing. But because they are BUSY.
Support a small business.
Freelancers are business owners. When you think about it, we’re pretty incredible. We do work for you, while managing our entire business- marketing ourselves, keeping up with the industry, learning whatever we can, and passing that along to you. When you hire a freelancer, you get the expertise they offer, with a side of a holistic view, because they run their own business, too. And know that if you choose to work with a freelancer, there’s a sigh of relief on the other end of that project. We know we’re helpful, but we’re also grateful.
Pay only for what you want.
The great thing about freelancers is you are paying for a service. You aren’t paying for the employee. So, define your needs, and get them met. No more, no less. You don’t have to try to find work for them to justify their salary. You agree on a project price, you pay it, they do it, and you get that project done. Simple as that.
I hesitate to put this one in, because consulting alone can be a freelance service. But I find, especially for startups, I always end up working with my clients and strategizing the best use of their resources. Rarely am I asked to do a project, I do it, and that’s it. I usually have long conversations with my clients about what their needs are, what their budget is, and some options for achieving them. I guarantee I am not the only freelancer that does this. So, if you find you are stuck on something (going back to those fresh eyes), you might consider working with a freelancer. Often you end up with more than you pay for. (But please don’t take advantage. Don’t pick our minds and then not hire us. That’s not cool.)
Risk free (nearly).
If you try out a freelancer and you just don’t work well together, simply don’t use them again. That’s it! But, if you work together well, you’ll build a lasting relationship where this contractor knows your business, your tone of voice and brand personality, and is happy to continue doing projects for you when needed. And you can always start small with a freelancer, really limiting the risk involved.
Freelancers actually save the company money.
I know people gawk at the quotes from freelancers. It happens all the time. But, let’s really think about this. You are paying for the output, not the time that someone sits in an office chair. You’re paying for a project, and a project alone. Not benefits, not 401k contributions, not employee taxes. You get away with not paying any of that! So yes, you may find some of that is wrapped up in a project fee. But, it’s not a yearly cost, and it’s minimal. Freelancers spend a ton of time perfecting their craft. You’re paying for their expertise. And usually, it’s worth it. (And you’ll be able to identify the unprofessional ones pretty easily – avoid working with them.)
freelancers are as lean as it gets
I challenge you to think of your company now and tell me that everyone there is worth the salary and benefits they are receiving. Think on it…. Go ahead. I’m not trying to call anyone out but… let’s be honest. Someone isn’t pulling their weight. But, if you honestly disagree, and can tell me that everyone’s salaries are justified and your company is running lean, then you might find freelancers are perfect for you for that very reason! Because that means everyone is busy, putting in the hours, ignoring Amazon and Facebook, and getting the work done. So, if an extra project comes up, you might consider letting that lean machine stay on track and looking up a capable freelancer.
Holly Prievo is a freelance copy and content writer, specializing in sustainability. She owns The Guilty Granola, LLC, and authors The Guilty Granola sustainable lifestyle blog.