What Is A Freelancer & Why You Need One

Freelance work has been on the rise lately. If you’re considering it as a career option, knowing what a freelancer is and why you need one is crucial. Some attribute this exponential increase as paralleling the growth of side hustles. Others claim that freelancers are increasing in conjunction with globalization and the boost in opportunities from all over the world. It may just be a combination of the two.

A freelancer is defined as someone who is self-employed and earns wages on a per-task or per-job basis, typically for short-term work. A few benefits of freelance work are the freedom to work from home, better work-life balance, and a flexible work schedule. On top of it all, freelancers usually enjoy the work that they are doing given it’s in a field that they choose for themselves.

An example of a freelancing job is an independent journalist who works to report their own stories, selling them to the highest bidder to make their living. They are considered independent workers, which allows them to work full-time or as a side job depending on their time and clients. There are many benefits to hiring a freelancer, but there are also reasons why businesses decide to opt for internal hiring.

The Process of Employing Freelancers

You may be wondering how to hire freelancers in the first place. Surprisingly, it is not as difficult as you may think. There are six main steps that businesses typically take in hiring freelancers. Because there is no specific how-to guide, the hiring process mainly depends on your available resources and what exactly you are looking for. But at the end of the day, freelance work can be fairly beneficial.

Firstly, you must take a step back and consider the scope of work you are asking of said freelancer. Determine exactly what needs to be completed by the person you decide to hire; this includes details, descriptions, methods, and deadlines. You have to give the work a precise outline so you can choose someone who knows exactly what his or her service should entail.

Next, you can decide how much you want to pay. Instead of prioritizing how much you can pay, try looking at how much the job you are asking for costs. Consider time as well as resources that the freelancer would have to put in to accomplish the task. Freelancers set their own rates usually, so you must contemplate that as well.

After that, try and find the best freelancer for the job. There are many different options you can turn to. You can go to a freelance agency, find a website that is known for freelance recruitment, or even base your decision off of word of mouth. Your network may provide better options than a hiring platform like Freelancer.com or Upwork. It all depends on what you are looking for, for the job and your business.

Then, you will want to thoroughly assess the freelancer you choose. Most people, if they don’t know the freelancer, give the freelancer a test assignment similar to the work needed to be done. This will ensure that the freelancer is capable and efficient in his or her work. If you choose to go this route, though, you have to keep in mind that the freelancer may request extra pay for the extra work.

Finally, you can hire a freelancer based on full confidence that he or she will do the job you are asking for in the best way possible. The process can be long, but there are so many people out there who are searching for the opportunity to work. Therefore, you have thousands of options at your fingertips at all times.

Benefits of Hiring a Freelancer

There are many benefits to hiring a freelancer. When considering the advantages and disadvantages, it is important to remember that the most important part of it all is finding someone who you can rely on. If you don’t, it may taint the entire experience of employing freelancers for you and your business.

Even if a freelancer has an hourly rate that is on the higher side, you should expect to save 20 – 30% annually as opposed to using a typical full-time employee. If the worker is remote, you can also save on providing office space and supply costs.

There is less risk involved with hiring a freelancer. Because freelancers are not considered employees, an employer’s risk reduces drastically. You will not have to worry about unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation benefits, or being sued for harassment or discrimination.

Because freelancers are in charge of their own business, they typically strive to turn in their work in the best way possible. They are looking to maintain business relationships, so they are less likely to risk a contract by providing spotty work and being unreliable.

Lastly, modern freelancing allows for a global reach of talent and skill. You have access to people across the world who are capable of doing the necessary work. You can not only expand the bounds of your business, but you may also receive better insight into the global market by having a relationship with a freelancer across the world.

Disadvantages of Hiring a Freelancer

There are a few roadblocks you may face when hiring a freelancer. Firstly, you may not find the right candidate for your business or for the job at hand. This can be stressful and extremely regressive for your business due to the waste of time.

A downside to employing freelancers is a miscommunication of priorities. They technically do not work solely for you, so when they request an extended deadline or turn in work that is not up to par for your business, you will have to rearrange your time and schedule. With freelancing, always be prepared with a backup plan, especially if you are a new and growing business.

In-house employees are more likely to understand the dynamics and events that are going on within the company. A freelancer may not be the best in developing clientele like an in-house employee would be. Freelancers do not have access to internal information that may be beneficial in strengthening clientele relationships.

Investing a lot of time training can be consequential. A freelancer has the right to do the work on his or her own time and terms; this can cause problems when it comes to coordinating training, events, and more.

If you are hoping for the freelancer to be as invested in your company as other employees, you may be asking for too much. Freelancers usually have no stake in the success of the business and only focus on the work at hand. With a mentality like this, you cannot assume that they have the same interests as you when it comes to the growth of your business.

Hiring a Freelancer VS Hiring a Team (External)

External recruitment is fairly different from freelance recruitment. External recruitment is typically referred to as hiring a team, where entire teams who are already familiar with their roles and one another apply as a group and are considered as a group. In comparison, one freelancer can do one job versus a group of people who can fill multiple roles all at once.

Pros

  • You will be hiring a larger set of skills. Teams are more likely to share and excel in skill sets that complement each other; therefore, if an individual is lacking, the team can make up for it.
  • Hiring a team is more efficient. It takes less time to hire a team if you are looking to fill several positions. Rather than proceeding person by person, you can assess and screen each role together. This should take a substantially less amount of time in the hiring process.
  • Collaboration is a given. Because it is assumed that groups have been working together for quite some time, collaboration is typically easy for them. You will not have to force a productive dynamic because, if they are taking jobs together, they most likely work great together.
  • Teamwork is for the greater cause. Teamwork is essential in the workplace, especially when it comes to successfully accomplishing projects. In hiring a team, you can expect teamwork. This is usually difficult to interview for, but hiring a team is less risky when it comes to teamwork.
  • You can assess their past successes. When hiring a team, you will be able to fully understand how they have worked on previous projects and the success they have had. This will make the hiring process easier and give you more knowledge than you would have received if you were to hire each individual one-by-one.

Cons

  • You may face a loss of control. When you hire a team, they probably have their own dynamic and perform jobs in a specific way to achieve goals. Because of this, you will most likely have less say in their process and, therefore, a loss of complete control.
  • Teams are hired short-term. The downside to teams being hired short-term is that the next people you hire may do the job differently from the previous team. This discrepancy can cause more problems than not. Minimize this risk by building long-term relationships with outside vendors.
  • Some teams have no company loyalty. Although they will be working for your business, they may not regard the jobs they do as important or crucial in your development. To them, they are just doing work when, to you, it can be critical to the success of your business. This one is easy to solve when you find an external team that works with your business as a partner, and not just another job to be done.

Hiring a Freelancer VS Hiring Internally

Many companies and businesses try for internal hiring when possible. Internal hiring is when vacancies are filled with people from the company’s existing workforce. This is where promotions, transfers, employee referrals, etc., come into play, where someone has been working to climb higher in the ranks.

Pros

  • There are reduced training costs. If you choose to leverage the employees that you already have, there will be no need to train new ones. The training process can be long and drawn out, wasting time and money.
  • It creates better employee morale. Employees will feel like they matter more if they are given the chance for a promotion. If you choose to do this, you may find the office buzzing in excitement over the possibilities and competition brewing for the new open position.
  • There is less employee turnover. If you are skilled in matching internal employees with roles that fit their skill set and passion, you are less likely to see high turnover rates. This is because there is a chance that they will stay with your company longer.
  • Hiring is not as time consuming. Searching for the perfect fit for a role can be tiring. Internally recruiting takes away this struggle since you are already familiar with the employee and his or her capabilities.

Cons

  • You are not given a fresh perspective. New hires and freelancers allow for a chance at a new perspective entering the business. They typically come with new ideas and a fresh perspective that may liven up the workplace and success of the business.
  • It may result in workplace tension. Because you choose to go external with your hire, internal employees may feel snubbed and jealous of the new hire. They may have assumed someone within the business was a better fit, and the workplace environment may suffer because of this.
  • You will have to search for a replacement. When someone gets promoted, you will have to look for someone to replace that person’s previous role. So, at the end of the day, you will still have to endure the hiring process.
  • There may be a changed dynamic. With a new hire, you don’t exactly know what all to expect. Because of this, the workplace dynamic as well as the work itself may change completely.

You can find freelancers in nearly every field that’s needed to fuel a business. Whether you are in search of an expert in film, design, copywriting, marketing, journalism, tourism, consulting, website development, computer programming, language translation, event planning, and more, there is most likely someone you can contact to do the work professionally.

When determining whom to hire and from where, you should consider all that your business needs as well as what you can afford. If the pros of external hiring outweigh the pros of hiring a freelancer, you have your answer. It all depends on your business, what you require, and what you are willing to put into it.

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