As a business owner, scaling your business is one of the hardest things to do. Why? Because cash flow is hard to come by when starting a business. Unless you have unlimited venture capital, businesses expenses add up quickly – especially payroll expenses. It’s a vicious cycle; you need to hire more employees to make more money, but you need more money to hire more employees. So how can you cut back on payroll expenses and still hire the talent you need to scale your business? How can you take your business to the next level without going broke?
Working with freelancers will save you money. But there are many other reasons to consider hiring freelancers when you’re looking to scale. Keep reading for the top 5 reasons why you should tap into the freelance economy to help grow your business.
- More Talented Workers
When you need to hire a full-time employee to work on-site every day, you’re limited to the people who live in your town or are willing to relocate. Depending on the job, that local talent pool can be rather small. If you live in a bustling city, there might be lots of local talent. But in some cases, there just might not be anyone nearby that can provide you with the skills and expertise you need.
When you open up to the possibility of hiring someone from across the country or the world, you have a lot more talent to choose from. Rather than settle on someone who’s half the employee you want them to be, hire a freelancer. By conducting a global job search, you can find the exact employee you want. With a larger hiring pool, you can find the best and brightest candidates for your business. And when you have the best freelancers on board, scaling is a whole lot easier.
Most companies face talent issues at some point, but it’s especially true for companies in the technology sector. Finding qualified employees in a small city or a suburban town can be a challenge. But if you look for help globally, you’ll be able to expand your options and find the right person for the task at hand.
- Freelancers are More Affordable
I mentioned this in the introduction, but I can’t overstate it enough. Finding an affordable, yet talented, a freelancer can be a huge asset to any company looking to scale their business. Freelancers work from all different countries, cities, and towns around the globe. Many of them choose to live in areas with a relatively low cost of living. That means you can hire highly qualified workers for much lower wages than a local worker.
For example, let’s say your company is based in San Francisco. The cost of living in the Bay Area is absurd, and locals need to make over $110k a year to “live comfortably,” that’s over $50/hour! But if you look for workers in a country like Costa Rica (where many people live off of less than $1500/month, you might be able to find a skilled worker willing to work for even less than $15/hour.
A lot of people prefer to help grow their local economy and hire workers from the US. And by no means am I suggesting that you only look overseas for workers. There are plenty of freelancers right here in the U.S. If your company is based in a place like New York City, you’re going to have to pay quite a bit for good, local talent. By opening yourself up to the freelance economy, you can find skilled workers in more affordable parts of the U.S., like Iowa or Nebraska, who are willing to work for much less than their NYC counterparts.
If you do decide to hire someone from overseas, that’s okay too. From India to the U.K. to Asia, there are plenty of well-educated, skilled, and capable people all over the world. In some cases, it may be crucial that you hire a native English speaker. Well, guess what? There are plenty of them all around the globe. U.S. expats and digital nomads live in every corner of the globe. Plus. North America isn’t the only places where English is the native language. There are plenty of native English speakers in Canada, the U.K, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and about a dozen other countries.
Paying lower wages is just one of the ways you’ll save money by hiring a freelancer. By hiring a freelancer to work as an independent contractor, you won’t have to pay for office space or computer equipment. You also won’t be responsible for benefits like health insurance.
I would like to note that if you want to keep the best talent, you’re going to have to treat them well. Even if you have a team of freelancers, you must be respectful of their time and treat them with respect. I suggest that business owners periodically surprise their team of freelancers with bonuses or gifts to show appreciation.
- Freelancers are More Flexible
Regardless of the type of business, you’re in, you’ll sometimes need to tackle one-off projects. In these cases, you need someone skilled to tackle the task at hand, but once the project is over, you may not need those skills (or that person) again. Rather than hiring a full-time employee that you’ll need to lay off or transition to another role, hire a temporary freelancer instead. Most freelancers are very flexible because most freelance gigs vary from week to week and month to month. And because of their flexibility, it’s easy to load them up with work one month and provide little to no work the next.
The trick here is to be upfront with your needs and the scope of the project. Let your freelancers know how much work is in the pipeline. Also, let them know when the workload is slowing down so they can focus on other clients. By being open and honest with the details, you can maintain long-lasting relationships with your team members.
Speaking of long-lasting relationships, hiring a new freelancer every time you have a project is time-consuming. Instead, it’s best to have a team that you can count on over and over again. To build a team of loyal freelancers, you’ll need to communicate clearly about your needs. Don’t let a freelancer think you’re going to have work for them to do and then not be able to provide that work. Keep the lines of communication open at all times.
- Freelancers Are Open to Innovation
It’s not the best practice for any business to hire and fire employees on a regular basis. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, and a high turnover rate will only reflect poorly on your business. However, hiring new employees can be good for the simple fact that new employees are more willing to try new things. Hiring freelancers can spark innovation and bring some new ideas to the table. Full-time employees often get complacent, comfortable, and set in their ways. You’ll find that most freelancers are up for a new challenge and willing to try something new. Freelancers often have multiple – sometimes even dozens – of clients at the same time. That means they have a wealth of experience and know how similar projects are done amongst a wide range of businesses.
Since freelancers are always employing the best freelance tools, they may be able to give you some insight into a better way of doing something or at least be able to make suggestions that will be helpful down the line. Try to involve your key freelancers in the decision-making process. Just because they are freelancers does not mean they can’t be a true part of the innovation team.
- Freelancers Are More Motivated
Essentially, a freelancer runs his or her own business. They work as independent contractors who get paid only for the work they do. They’re not full-time employees who bring home a steady, weekly paycheck regardless of what they accomplish that week. In my experience, this makes freelancers much more motivated than traditional employees.
Have you ever talked to full-time Uber drivers who work 80-hour weeks? It’s not that uncommon because freelancers are some of the hardest working people out there.
Freelancers have no safety net in terms of income. When a contract ends, or a job is completed, cash flow stops (which is why smart freelancers work with multiple clients at a time). And that’s exactly why they tend to work so hard.
Freelancers love the freedom that comes with working from anywhere, being their own boss, and having the ability to only take on the projects they want to do. But they don’t love the inconsistency or the fact that income can vary so much from month to month. That is part of the reason why freelancers are so motivated and hard working. They want to maintain consistent clients. They want you to hire them back for the next project or for new projects when they arise. Many put more heart and soul into their work than full-time employees who watch the clock all day or run out the door at 5:00.
If you’re looking to scale your business, hire freelancers to reach your goals. You’ll have a much larger pool of skilled workers to choose from. You’ll save money if you can find a freelancer who lives in a place with a lower cost of living. You won’t have to pay for healthcare, vacation days, or any other benefits.
Freelancers are also flexible. But remember to keep the lines of communication open to building good relationships and you can hire those same freelancers back again and again. Along with flexibility, freelancers also allow for innovation. You can test new things for short periods of time without committing to hiring on a new full-time employee. And since they work as independent contractors, they’re often much more motivated to get the job done and get it done successfully. Remember, freelancers essential run their own businesses, so it’s easy to find one that you can connect with and that will work as hard as you.