Someone told you the good ones are difficult to find, someone told you they are extremely difficult to manage and this someone did not tell you that things are changing – the freelance world is going through a dramatic transformation. Last few years have seen a large number of people moving out of the corporate world to become entrepreneurial freelancers. The recent Internet Trends 2015 report by Mary Meeker has shown how non-routine cognitive jobs that require flexibility, creativity and problem-solving, has doubled in the US since 1983. They are experts in their respective fields and over two-thirds of freelancers in India carry work experience of ten years or more. Concepts like ‘open talent economy’ and ‘borderless workplaces’ are hooking onto the imagination of people across the world.If you have undone tasks in your company that is waiting for the perfect employee to fill the seat – you might be missing the bus. Chances are that your perfect employee is already working as a freelancer!
Here are five compelling reasons why you should start looking beyond your employee rolls and start working with independent consultants and freelancers:
For a long time now we have blindly followed the idea that our companies need employees who work for us eight hours a day, 40 hours a week. When the world goes gaga over innovation, isn’t it time we thought about getting our work done differently? You might just not need a full-time employee for a lot of jobs at your company. And for all you know, your need for this employee’s skills would probably last only a short period of time. Post which they are rendered redundant, leaving your rolls inflated.
That’s when you need to start thinking that you don’t need everything to be done in-house. There are expert freelancers and independent consultants out there in the market – who can do a professional job and handle it with great maturity. Here’s what Raghu Kolli, VP & Head of Innovation labs at IMRB says about hiring freelancers: “We need specialists for some projects and freelancers are the obvious choice as they are agile, flexible and affordable”.
With full-time employees, there is a mandatory monthly paycheck that needs to go out every month, whether their services are optimally utilized or not. But with independent consultants, you pay only when you need them, only for the work that they deliver, without incurring long-term overheads. Of course, their expertise does not come cheap, but as Raghu points out, you get your work done at a much lesser cost than what you would incur by hiring a full-time employee. Hiring freelancers then become a practical choice.
Here is what Nancy Willy, Online Marketing Manager at Flatworld Solutions has got to say on how hiring freelancers have improved the productivity of their team - “We have been working with freelancers, especially for content and design, for the past 8 years, and the arrangement has been very successful. It takes away the financial liability of having many people on the payrolls. And hiring freelancers also takes care of the seasonal fluctuations in workload. Thanks to freelancers, our content team can now focus on strategizing our content plan and get execution done by the freelancers.”
Nancy’s team got the specialist services done by the freelancers while the in-house team got their strategies right. The productivity of the team was enhanced with the responsibility of execution getting shared among the freelancers. This accelerates the rate at which things get done, taking productivity to new heights.
The confident and highly skilled go-getters are moving out of restrictive corporate environments. They have talent and experience. It is their confidence that their work is good that is taking them outside of the comforts of the corporate and are working a wide spectrum of projects. If you are looking for someone to join you full-time, you would be missing out on the best people. The best ones have started refusing to limit themselves to just one type of job.
Also, these independent consultants have a vantage point that is unbiased by the internal thought process of your company and which is seasoned with the experience gathered from working on various projects. This new perspective will certainly be resourceful for your business.
Freelancers are entrepreneurial in nature, which is why they decide to go independent in the first place. They do not get dragged into the monotony of routine. The challenge of their job keeps them on their toes to deliver. Independent consultants do not enjoy the security that a regular full-time job gives, which positively motivates them to be aggressive and self-motivated. So hiring them saves you the task of dealing with a workforce that needs constant motivation.
The question of finding the right freelancer used to be a tough one, but that was before the advent of the internet and social media. All you need to do is go online and make the right decision. Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter have brought great visibility and transparency into the work of freelancers. You can look up their portfolio, their associations, recommendations for their work, and make a choice on who will be the right person for your job. There are various marketplaces that allow you to hire freelancers and independent consultants. Flexing It, Upwork, Peopleperhour, Freelancer and few websites that you could look up. These websites also focus on niche freelance verticals so that you are able to easily filter and find your resources. While Upwork and Freelancer will help you find consultants who specialize in the technology space, at Flexing It you can reach consultants in the areas of finance, consulting, content, HR, and marketing. These platforms also have mechanisms that collect client feedback and ratings for freelancers, making your choice of hiring a consultant easier to make.
The internet has empowered us to work collaboratively from anywhere in the world. The issue of managing freelancers is far simplified with real-time integration. If we evolved away from sirens and rosters, ‘swipe in and swipe out’ will change too. All you need to do is reimagine your strategies and start leveraging the benefits that freelancers can bring you.
Ranjini Sivaswamy is an independent writer who believes in writing for the change. Her ideal is that her words should positively impact the reader. She's the Editor of the IIMB Alumni Magazine and consults for other writing projects. Outside of writing, when you hear loud laughs and sense subtle sarcasm in the air, you know she's around.