The Freelance Economy










































































There’s a shift happening in the workforce. As we progress further into the digital age, entrepreneurs have a growing need for on-demand help. That’s where the freelancer steps in.


As the world becomes more connected, we have the opportunity to find the services we need online. This

applies to employees as well. According to The Wall Street Journal, 34% of the American workforce qualifies as freelancers. Sources across the board suggest that number is only going to rise in the coming years.


So why would a business owner hire a freelancer over a full-time, in-house employee? Where is the best place to find reliable freelancers? What are the tricks to managing remote workers?


We reached out to hundreds of freelancers and entrepreneurs who employ freelancers and distilled their collective knowledge into this guide. After reading it, you’ll have a firm understanding of the freelance economy and the backlash that’s occurring in response to the cubicle farm.



























There are a few factors that every business owner must consider when looking for a new team member.


p((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. What type of work needs to be done?

p((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. Do they need to be in the office every day?

p((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. Can the position be filled by a remote worker?


Freelancers are a great option when you have a specific need that is too expensive to fill with a full-time employee.


Now, if you need someone to fill a more comprehensive role with room for growth, in-house is a better option. [+ Tracy+] Vistine, Director of Recruiting with Messina Group, broke it down for us:


moving, and interviewing for a newsletter article is time consuming. Freelancers also work to establish consistency in different projects.

p((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. Proofreading. Another set of eyes to find mistakes and be sure that content doesn’t include too much jargon is essential.

p((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. Photographing. There’s no need to have a full-time

photographer on staff unless you’re producing photo- heavy content every day. Even that can be outsourced if planned properly.





p((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. Office Services. Tracy has several go-to freelancers who do everything from typing, to creating lists, to handling details of mailings and customer satisfaction surveys, to helping with reports. As in-house secretarial support has been essentially eliminated, the need for these services via freelancers or virtual assistants is high. It doesn’t make sense to spend time typing up a mailing list from a stack of business cards when a freelancer can do it cheaper and faster.





Another factor to consider before deciding between freelance and in-house is cost. Many tasks that are currently performed by you or your in-house staff can be outsourced. Use the following three questions to help determine the cost-effectiveness of hiring

a freelancer:


p((()))))))))<>{color:#000;}. Does it make more sense to pay a full-time employee for this task(s)?

p((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. Can this be delegated to a freelancer at a lower price point?

p((())))))))<>{color:#000;}. Will a freelancer free me up to do other, more important tasks?


Youth1 Media, LLC hires freelancers to cover events in other states to cut down on travel costs. They look for local writers near the event rather than sending one of their editors from New Jersey. Youth1 was willing to make the initial time investment in finding and training new talent, and now they have a network of freelance writers located throughout the country. They’ve even developed a style guide to cut down on training time.





Managing Expectations



With freelancers comes unique challenges. Communications can be stretched at times. They might not respond to your email or text right away, so your question or concern may go unanswered for a few hours.


To alleviate this, make sure from the beginning that you’re clear about what you expect to be delivered and when. This way, your freelancers are able to adjust their schedules to more closely fit with yours. While freelancers are self-motivated and looking to deliver great work, by being upfront and transparent, there’s a better chance that you’ll receive high quality work on time.



























According to Nik Badminton, Regional Director at Freelancer.com, there are four pillars to a great freelancer: skills, portfolio, recommendations

and communication.


Communication and understanding expectations are paramount. When looking to hire the best, you

need to analyze each potential hire against the four pillars. Your best candidate will stand out in each category.

Finding the best freelancers isn’t easy and the process of getting a new freelancer up to speed on your business takes time. Outside of the four pillars, the best way to find great talent


Hunting for freelancers through referrals is especially beneficial if you’re looking for help on a long-term project. You can rest assured that referred freelancers will give you their best, since their business is based on leaving a great impression.


Of course, if you don’t have the benefit of finding help through referrals, there are plenty of other great options out there.





Employment firm


Firms provide a full range of skill sets from architects to social media specialists and everything in between. You can also find specialized firms that work in only a few verticals. With specialized firms, you can be sure you’re getting a talented hire, though sometimes they’re more expensive.


If you’re looking to potentially transition a freelancer into a full-time employee (contract-to-hire), an employment firm can help with that process.





Using LinkedIn to find freelancers is a great option because you’re interacting directly with real people. It’s like flipping through an infinite stack of resumes. That being said, this is the most tedious solution. Sure, you’ll save some money by browsing LinkedIn, but this option is only worth your time if you have an upgraded account (which isn’t free).





Formerly Odesk, this recruiting website is one of the highest rated facilitators of relationships between freelancers and those looking to hire. Upwork’s motto: “Find freelancers to tackle any job, any size, any time.”





Their employment buckets include web developers, mobile developers, designers and creatives, writers, virtual assistants, customer service agents, sales and marketing experts, accountants and consultants.


Built into their platform is a review system so that employers can rank freelancers. Freelancers can also rate employers based on how easy they are to work with. If you’re thinking about using this site to hire, put some effort into getting your employer rating up there so that the best talent will come looking for you.





Once just a place to host a digital portfolio, Behance was recently purchased by Adobe. The site still hosts digital portfolios, but now employers can use Behance to hire freelance creatives. Most users of this site are highly talented so don’t expect Fiverr-like prices when browsing Behance.


























[]Being Stingy



You get what you pay for. If you hire and underpay a freelancer, you can expect underwhelming results. Be wary of the freelancer who offers you the world for only $5.00.



Not Being Clear



When you don’t give clear directions or miscommunicate project details, a freelancer will do his/her best to imagine what it is that you want. This can cause serious roadblocks.


Imagine investing thousands of dollars and months of time into a project with a freelancer only to receive something that isn’t what you wanted.



Hiring Too Fast



Just because a freelancer isn’t in your workspace everyday doesn’t mean that a mutual understanding of

working styles are similar, or there may be clashes down the road over work ethic, timelines, creative direction, etc.





Not Keeping Them Motivated



Forget trying to keep a freelancer to an hourly rate. That’s a surefire way to disengage your freelancers. Give them the freedom they need, and motivate them with money! Providing milestones for potential bonuses is a great way to keep freelancers engaged.


Also, keep in touch with them. We all lead busy lives and distractions happen. By checking in often, you can not only keep your business in their thoughts, but you can describe — from your point of view

— how the work is coming along. Keeping freelancers updated on what you think of their deliverables is a great way to foster a working relationship and motivate them to continue creating great work.



























Closing thoughts from Nik Badminton on the future of the freelance economy:


“Things are already changing at a rapid pace. Internet.org and a number of other organizations are trying to connect the world’s four billion people that are without an Internet connection. There will

be a huge uptake of both education and freelance work platforms as people come online.


By various estimates, 20-33% of today’s U.S. workforce now comprises independent workers (freelancers, contractors and temps), up from six percent in 1989. Worldwide, companies now spend an estimated $300 billion dollars per year on such contingent labor.


Economists project that the extended workforce will continue to increase as part of a long-term trend and there are important

conversations to be had about how that affects the economy, US businesses, and the workers themselves in the long run.”








We’re a software company that gives entrepreneurs and small businesses the online tools they need to grow their business instead of getting mired in the day-to-day of their business. Since our product launched in 2008, our mission has been to support entrepreneurs in delivering their value to the world by removing the burden of technology. ONTRAPORT is an incredibly powerful all- in-one tool that fully automates your small business.


ONTRAPORT Founder and CEO Landon Ray created ONTRAPORT while running another small business. He wanted to run his business on one platform

— and realized there was no such product out there! Landon decided if he

couldn’t find it, he’d build it. ONTRAPORT was created soon after.



Today, ONTRAPORT supports thousands of entrepreneurs across the world. We’ve been on Inc.’s 500/5000 list three years running, named twice as one of Forbes’ 100 Most Promising Companies, named as the SIIA Software CODiE Award Finalist for Best Relationship Management Solution and Best Marketing Automation Solution, and that’s not all.


Landon’s dream came true… and yours can, too! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram and tell us what your dream looks like.




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The Freelance Economy

As more and more workers join the global freelance economy, the entrepreneurs who want to hire them are running into brand new hiring and management challenges. There is actually a solution that makes finding and working with talented freelancers much easier. The companies who benefit most from working with freelancers know that communication is the key to success, both during the hiring phase and the project itself. Though it takes more effort to keep the lines of communication open with someone who doesn't work 20 feet away from you in the same office, clearly setting expectations during the hiring process and staying in touch during the entire project to keep freelancers engaged and motivated makes working with freelancers a smart move for your company. Rather than choosing people based only on their resume, website, or portfolio, it's critical to have a conversation with them to make sure they are the right culture fit for your business.

  • Author: ONTRAPORT
  • Published: 2015-09-15 00:05:15
  • Words: 1834
The Freelance Economy The Freelance Economy