Many businesses can’t afford to hire full-time employees to pick up the extra work necessary to move to the next level. Fortunately, that’s where freelancers come in. Through the online marketplace, employees might make major career moves without moving around the world. Freelancers may also provide benefits for small companies that help them get off the ground without having to dip too deeply into their reserve funds. Here are some of the many ways that freelancers can change your small business.
Besides offering specific tax deductions according to the type of work small businesses outsource, freelancers may help businesses save on their bottom line. Full-time employees can be expensive, with set salaries, tenures and full benefits required by the government. Freelancers generally charge a flat, on-commission fee for their services.
The flexibility that comes with hiring freelancers can also significantly reduce hours billed. Consultants and contractors will only work when you have a project for them to work on. No salary, tenure or added benefits required.
Instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, freelancers focus their time and energy into their specific field. In general, this means you can expect a higher quality of work from those you keep on retainer. Great freelancers tend to be extremely motivated and passionate about any project and will almost always deliver work worth paying for.
A Fresh Approach
Though staff employees have an insider’s look at the company goals and mission, outside contractors may offer a fresh approach to the subject matter. Their view on your current project may open doors to a new world of creativity and ideas you may not have previously considered.
The benefits of hiring independent contractors are many, but there are also several disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages is that you have much less control over your freelancers than you do over full-time employees. However, if you’re careful in your selection process, hiring great freelancers devoted to your business goals may be a big boost to your business growth. Follow these three tips to get started:
1. Go Through a Quality Freelance Marketplace
This option can be especially handy if you’re new to the freelance world. Freelance agencies work to connect employers with contractors seeking employment, but they may have more protection in place to help guarantee only the best workers. For example, the freelance marketplace Toptal is noted for connecting top freelance developers with employers all over the world. Having high-quality connections like that may be an integral step in connecting yourself to the best freelancers available. Other popular freelance marketplaces for general needs include Elance and oDesk.
2. Check Their Portfolio
Before you hire anyone, ask for samples. Know the quality of work they’ll be delivering for you before you send out a contract. You may even offer to pay for a few samples of original work with specific parameters to be sure they're offering you their own work and not plagiarizing from other sources. Also, ask for references. Get a good idea of their engagement, communication skills, time management and quality of work in past employment.
3. Look Into Task Management Software
You’ll need a simple way to keep track of your freelancers and the projects you’re assigning them, and task management software is the solution. Software options like Producteev, Asana and Trello are all free programs at the basic level, and they allow you to track time, budget, task completion and communication throughout the duration of the project.
When you’re ready to move to the next level, try expanding your network to freelance workers. Making smart decisions in hiring your contractors will hopefully lead you to see the advantages that come with this kind of business move.
Read more articles about hiring.
A version of this article was originally published on June 4, 2015.