Thanks to the rise of the gig economy, high-tech automation apps and online marketplaces that can connect you with thousands of eager freelancers, virtually any one-off business need can be quickly and cost-effectively filled today. Offering cash-conscious business owners looking to regain a foothold a way to secure nearly any service on demand, these solutions provide a ready-made means to help offset coronavirus-related disruptions. Below are a number of common business needs that you can offload immediately, allowing you to deploy reopening strategies in record time while still remaining flexible and nimble in case things change.
1. Photography and Illustration
Libraries full of royalty-free photos and stock art can help you spruce up or add a touch of color to any marketing materials or website in minutes, and perhaps be the critical differentiating factor that helps your business stand out in a crowded digital space. Look closely, and you’ll even find that several also contain cartoons, drawings and illustrations if you’d prefer to take a more artistic tack to designing your supporting assets as well. All offer images in high-resolution, and at various sizes, so they’re suitable for use in both print or online formats. While each website providing these shots offers its own image license (be sure to check terms before using) you’ll find several that allow you to use pictures for virtually any purpose, sans attribution, and modify these photos as needed. In short, the next time you’re on the hunt for an eye-catching photo? All you have to do is punch in a topic (say, “accountant,” “law firm” or “innovation”) to pull up dozens of professionally-made shots that are ready to republish.
2. Website Development
Need a professional website built on a tight deadline and budget? Dozens of web hosting services now let you customize predesigned templates and drag-and-drop features to add functionality with the click of a mouse, with no programming experience required. No matter if you’re a restaurant, retailer or professional services firm (or any business in-between), for under $15 per month, you can build an attractive web- and mobile-optimized home on the internet. Note that many services even allow you to quickly implement photo galleries and product demos, set up blogs and online shopping carts, and provide access to royalty-free stock photos and art. Your creations, which can be further personalized to add menus, members-only areas, and search engine optimization, will look every bit as sharp as if you’d commissioned them from a creative agency. Better yet, depending on how quickly you work and how extensive a resource you need, you can have one up and running in a handful of hours, tops.
3. Graphic Design
Whether you’re looking to style product packaging or promotional materials, dress up a book cover or design a new sign for your storefront, freelance marketplaces can connect you with hundreds of affordable graphic designers. Flyer graphics, logos, T-shirt art and more start as little as $5, though more complex tasks (ad design, custom artwork, infographics, etc.) may run $50-$100. Alternately, if you’d like to crowdsource designs rather than commission a single contributor, numerous services let you post a cash bounty (avg. $100-$300) and invite the general public to contribute. From business cards to stationery, album covers to slide presentations, there’s a huge community of online freelancers waiting to assist. To ensure best results, you’ll want to build at least a couple rounds of design feedback and revisions into your bid. Likewise, you’ll also wish to work with a service that holds funds in escrow, only paying them on final receipt and approval of contributions.
Thanks to the rise of the gig economy, high-tech automation apps and online marketplaces that can connect you with thousands of eager freelancers, virtually any one-off business need can be quickly and cost-effectively filled today.
4. Foreign Language Translations
No matter what foreign language you’re looking to get your creations translated into, it’s easy to find out with the help of independent translators. Several global freelance marketplaces exist that cater to these needs, letting you pay by the word (roughly 4 to 10 cents) or by the hour (starting at $15 and up) to have your work ported to dozens of dialects. Regardless of the level of task complexity, and how uncommon the language may be, each can quickly connect you with native speakers ready to meet the challenge. To ensure best results here, be sure to post jobs and source bids from multiple contractors, and vet contributors’ profiles to see how many tasks they’ve successfully completed on time, as well as average review scores.
5. Video Production
Many of the same online archives that provide access to stock photos also offer access to free stock videos (businesswomen on their smartphone, coffee shops brewing fresh cups, etc.) on-demand. However, numerous other providers also offer access to premade motion graphics templates, special effects and even entire 3D animated intros that you can edit and drop into your own video projects in minutes. In similar fashion, if you need supporting imagery on a specific topic —banking, dog walking, children playing at the park—you can also find short clips available as well. Whether you’re looking for a supporting video for a presentation or website, or special effects or high-impact shots to add to a clip you’re filming, it’s easy to find. So many mix-and-match pieces and parts are now available that you could literally assemble all the assets you needed to create a new business reel or training video in minutes for under $200.
6. Bookkeeping and Accounting
Small-business accounting can be complex or straightforward. But either way, it’s an essential and often time-consuming task—and that’s before you factor in other associated concerns such as payroll management and invoice collection. Happily, myriad online accounting tools and services (many of which come with corresponding mobile apps) make it easy to offload these functions. Sign up for one and you can automate many routine and repetitive tasks, including invoicing, processing expense claims and bill payment. You can also gain more in-depth views into cash flow and operating needs, and sign up to receive real-time updates as financial concerns arise. The best solutions make it possible to collaborate with colleagues in real-time and manage tasks from anywhere you’ve got an internet connection and a mobile device.
7. Marketing and Social Media
Looking to create an amazing advertising campaign, design a must-see email newsletter or craft images for your next social media promotion? Not only can you hire the graphic wizards that you need to design these ventures online via freelance marketplaces, you can also find the creative and promotional talent—marketers, public relations pros, search engine gurus, etc.—that you need to successfully pull these ventures off there as well. Literally thousands of experienced professionals with backgrounds in numerous spaces (health care, automotive, wellness, etc.) stand ready to help you promote your next big launch. Likewise, you can also source the help of data entry and market research pros to assist in these initiatives and help you build out your contact and email lists as well. So the next time you’re thinking about how to make a splash in the marketplace? Focus on assembling a winning team instead of trying to do everything yourself. After all, countless forward-thinking professionals stand ready and waiting to help shine the promotional spotlight on you.
Photo: Getty Images