Whether you like it or not, the connection or “gig” economy is alive and thriving, and the internet is crawling with eager freelancers with a whole host of skills and ideas they’re eager and ready to jump into.
While this may seem like a risky or expensive prospect to some, in the long run the cost can be on par with hiring long-term, regular, in-house staff, but with quicker and better results.
Whether or not you hire a freelancer depends on the context and scope of the work needed, of course, and only the person in charge can make the call as to whether it’s the best thing for your organization.
If you are on the fence about hiring a freelancer, here are a few things to consider.
1. You can skip the lengthy interview process.
In my mind, the old-school process of bringing in 4 copies of your resume and going through rounds of interviews and assessments is dead—or at least it should be.
Why bother wasting a bunch of paper and struggling to schedule meetings when a quick review of their online portfolio with a follow-up Skype conversation could suffice? Throw a short test project and follow your gut, and you can probably hire a solid candidate within hours or days, rather than spending weeks in “assessment” mode.
2. Introvert-type creatives often thrive in non-office environments.
I get my best work done when I’m not around other people, period. It has always been this way. I like to brainstorm with teams to get a complete picture of what is needed, but after about an hour or two, I need to go off on my own to create.
But when it comes to sitting down and completing 2000 words of clear, concise copy, I need to be entirely in my own zone. This is where my best work comes from. Why ruin this by making me come into an environment where I literally might shut down?
3. You could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
If a person is willing and able to complete a job well without the need for office space, equipment, medical benefits, taxes, paid vacation time, and a host of other things that HR teams typically take care of, plus meetings, interviews, orientation and the like.
It costs money to have people onsite, and it’s not always as productive, especially if they are expected to be multitasking (this includes schmoozing with others in the office). Hiring a freelancer for, say, a one-month, one-time project and paying them out a set fee instead of hiring an employee for several months and adding that to their stack of things.
4. A great freelancer will get the project done fast and well.
At the outset, a freelancer might appear to cost more than an employee, since they have to charge higher rates for a number of reasons. But this fee-based work is motivating: they’re working on their own schedule, and you can take it where they want. Freelancers will have the advantage of a more flexible schedule and greater focus.
If you were to invest, say, a $3000 on one freelancer through a one-month job that is completed on time, instead of, say, a temp to cover that project plus make-work tasks over the course of, say, 2 months, I could see the first option being much more efficient and clear in terms of overall process and productivity.
5. It pays to practice and exercise trust.
Hiring someone who feels far away may feel like a leap of faith to those who want to keep employees right under their nose, but if you learn to trust your gut through the process, choice to trust, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Freelancers are likely to be doing what they love, feel confident about their work and want to make a good impression at the same time, so you have to trust that they will want your trust, too. If they truly love what they do and excel at it, you’ll likely notice this by the sparkle in their eye during the first few minutes of the video conference.
Remember that, especially if they are creatives, they’ll need a little freedom to keep that sparkle.
That need for freedom and flexibility is exactly why freelancers, especially creatives, tend to do what they do. They feel more empowered and confident about their work when they get to do it on their own terms.
So if you’re considering hiring a freelancer but worried they might “flake,” don’t forget that if they’re serious, they’ll show you within the first few minutes of meeting. After all, freelancers are essentially running their own businesses, so they’ll want to make a good impression from start to finish.