The Internet gives companies a wonderful opportunity to communicate with people all over the world. For business owners, it not only means a wider audience reach, but also a wider talent pool.
Over the years, freelancing has been gaining popularity and has now become an integral part of the business environment. But is working with freelancers recommendable? Are there any hidden stumbling blocks that you may not know about?
Let’s take a look at the possible pros and cons of working with freelancers.
The pros of hiring a freelancer
Freelance can bring many benefits to your business. Here are the most popular reasons for hiring a freelancer.
High level of expertise
Freelancers sell a certain skill that they have mastered for years, and they tend to be true experts in their field.
While a development agency can offer a full range of services, there is no guarantee that the employees’ skills will be above average. With freelancers, you can check out their portfolio and make sure that their level of skills and expertise is suitable for your needs.
Availability of skills
This benefit relates to the point above on expertise. Because there are millions of freelancers all over the world, there is a 100% chance you will find the exact expert that you need. Working with freelancers gives you access to a vast talent pool, while your local candidates may be lacking the required skills.
While it’s true you get what you pay for, many freelance partnerships are more cost-effective than hiring a full-time employee, especially when you don’t have enough work to fill a full-time role. You pay for deliverables, without other expenses like insurance or overhead. Freelancers are a great option when you want something laser-targeted and done well.
In case you have a complex long-term project, you could look into working with a freelancer long-term or combining an agency and one or two freelancers. A good example would be a software development agency that has an in-house development team and works with a freelance designer or copywriter.
Collaboration with freelancers is usually very flexible. You can get in touch with them any time you want and they usually respond in a timely manner. You can also agree on a preferred method of communication that’s comfortable for both of you.
Freelancers also tend to be very reliable when you need something done as soon as possible, although it most likely comes with a rush fee. Most freelancers are very understanding and act fast in case of emergencies.
Finally, you can always choose the priority of tasks and set necessary deadlines, which freelancers will follow. This will give you more control over the project and eliminate the risk of any unexpected issues.
The cons of hiring a freelancer
By now, you might be thinking that work with a freelancer is a dream. However, there are a few things to watch for that might hurt your project if you ignore them.
Because freelancers are usually not in the same city (or country) where you are, this might be a bit of a challenge.
The biggest issue is probably a time zone shift. When there is a 12+ hour difference and you need to contact the freelancer right now, things can prove difficult.
You cannot monitor freelancers the way you do with your employees. Be sure to confirm any expectations, from reports to meeting frequency, and establish good communication practices to keep you aware of the project status.
Lack of loyalty for the company
Loyal employees understand the company’s values, and this is usually displayed in their work.
Freelancers, on the other hand, are completely independent. They manage multiple projects at once and your company may be the 10th on their list of clients.
So if you want some special attention to your brand or want all employees to share the company’s vision and values, a one-off freelance project may not be your best choice. If you’re looking for loyalty, try to go with a long-term freelancer with a history of keeping clients for years.
Risk of disappearing
Because you communicate with freelancers over the Internet, you never know where they are at the moment. And there is never a 100% guarantee they will not disappear.
Unfortunately, it happens: a freelancer may simply disappear once you’ve transferred money to their account. Of course, this is not a frequent case (otherwise, freelancing would not be so popular) but still, you can never be sure.
Tips on choosing a freelancer to work with
Hiring a freelancer is a perfect option when you need to get a specific job done. Many companies collaborate with freelancers for years and that’s a really good practice if you have some ongoing specific tasks.
Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a freelancer:
- Always ask for a portfolio, as this is what helps freelancers sell their skill
- Ask to do a test task so you can access their skills and see how well they suit you
- Communicate with them before getting down to work; you should be comfortable working with this person
- Negotiate on communication method so you can monitor the project status
- Discuss your tools, and whether you will be using Google Drive, Trello, Slack
- Don’t forget to have them sign an NDA, when relevant