The success of your agency can be measured by a number of different factors. How thought-provoking or creative is the work you produce for your clients? How long does it take you to get a campaign out the door for them? How happy are they with your work?
But there’s another big factor to your success that is often forgotten. How good are your freelancers? There are a few different reasons that freelancers are so integral to your success and understanding why can help you be smarter about your resource planning in the future — and get better results out of the freelancers you already work with.
The strategic benefits of freelancers
The right talent for the right client, every single time.
You have many different clients and they all have different needs. And every worker — freelance or full-time — has a different skill-set, specialty, and knowledge level. Of course, there will be times when your internal teams will stretch themselves to meet a client’s needs but that’s not always going to work. Assuming that it always will can get you into frustrating situations where you end up re-doing work for clients because you didn’t get it right the first time.
Working with freelancers gives you access to a wider range of talent, letting you match the right skill set with the right project. When you have the right talent internally for a project you can use them. But when you don’t, you’re able to find the best talent for that project instead of trying — and failing — to make someone already on your payroll struggle to impress your client.
Freelancers keep you agile
Agencies need to be more flexible than other types of businesses. If you bring on a bunch of new clients at once, you’ll need to quickly deliver for them. If the economy takes a hit and clients start pulling their agency spend — usually one of the first places a company will cut costs — you’ll need to quickly shrink your costs to accommodate.
A freelance workforce is a perfect solution for keeping your business agile so you can easily scale up or down, depending on your needs. This also protects you from having to lay off full-time employees, in the event that external factors force you to cut costs quickly or drastically.
Freelancers can have deep technical knowledge
Agencies tend to have clients in a wide range of industries. And some industries are highly technical or regulated and require talent with industry-specific experience. Freelancers make the most sense here because instead of keeping a full-time employee on your payroll for each different industry or niche, you can simply hire a freelancer with the right skillset each time you need one, for the duration of that specific project.
Freelancers help you save money
Freelancers help you be more strategic about your resource planning and save money in the long run. Working with freelancers means getting the talent you need for as long as you need it, and not a minute longer. You can bring them back for future projects whenever you need to, but the alternative is to bring on full-time employees and pay them through periods where you don’t have a lot of work for them and don’t really need them. Even if that seems easier than lining up the right freelancer for every project, it can add up to pretty steep cost savings over time between recruiting and onboarding costs and slower periods.
How to work more effectively with your freelancers
Having a good process in place with your freelancers is helpful for a number of reasons. It helps keep things efficient and makes life easier for both internal teams and your freelancers. But ensuring that your freelancers have a good experience can also have a positive impact on the work they produce for you and their willingness to take projects from you in the future. Putting some of the below tips into practice might require a slightly different mindset, but your freelancers — and eventually your clients — will thank you for it in the long run.
Treat your freelancers as well as your internal teams
This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it’s often not the case. Treat your freelancers with respect. This means paying them on time, being open and honest about expectations around each job, and extending them all of the kindness and courtesy that you give to your full-time employees. As the war for talent heats up, freelancers are seen more and more as valuable assets to companies looking for talent. The better experience you give your freelancers, the more likely that they’ll take your projects in the future.
Be loud about your love for your freelancers
Until recently, freelancers were typically thought of as workers to give simple tasks to and less valuable or strategic as your FTEs. Being vocal about how great your freelancers are — and how integral they are to your success — helps change these old perceptions and helps you keep your freelancers wanting to work with you. If you’re fighting the perception internally that freelancers are not an integral part of your company’s success, it’s going to be more likely that your various teams that manage and work with them will see them as a valuable part of your company’s strategic goals — and treat them as such.
Trust your freelancers and understand their needs
Many freelance workers end up going freelance because of burnout, being stuck in bad corporate cultures, or a desire for more flexibility and less micromanagement. It’s important to really understand these motives and try to accommodate their work style when working with freelancers.
Designing expectations, timelines, and management practices for freelancers with these factors in mind helps ensure they can stay true to why they went freelance in the first place. The more you’re able to tailor their experience — within reason — to their work style and needs, the more they’ll want to create great work for you and continue accepting jobs for your business.
Put the right management tools in place
Freelancers are a great asset to your business, but anyone who has managed them knows that they can also come with their own set of challenges. The admin work and back and forth between departments aligning on hiring, payments, compliance, and more can really add up.
Worksome simplifies freelancer management by automating, a lot of the admin work, giving you one central location for every aspect of your freelance management so your teams are always on the same page, and lets you focus on the more strategic aspects of resourcing. And we’ve already done it for other agencies. We helped our client OLIVER save 3.85 hours per contract and $30k per year on admin costs. Request a customized demo to get an idea of how much Worksome could help you save today.