Outsourcing Businesses: Effective Ways to Use Freelancers
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Freelancing has become an incredibly popular job opportunity for many budding creative professionals. Jobs in writing, art and design are infrequent and very specialised, requiring years of experience in a particular field to even be considered for a position.
For example, a writer doesn’t have many creative outlets that can make them money. They can write fictional stories, but that won’t make them money until they’ve written an entire book or short story, and even then they’re going to need money and connections to sell or advertise their book. However, creative writers do have options in the freelancing world to use their skills to create blog posts, technical pieces and fictional shorts for various websites.
The Glaring Problem for All Freelancers
For a freelancer, the biggest fear is job security. Since they need to find their own clients and research on their own, it’s unlikely that a new freelancer can secure a steady flow of work. In most cases, a client will only contact a new freelancer because they need something simple and easy done. After that, it’s unlikely that client will return for several weeks or even months.
Hiring a freelancer is easy—you simply look online and pick out one of the many available freelancers on several websites on the internet. However, looking for work as a freelancer is the difficult part, and many freelancers would be more than happy to receive slightly less pay if they can secure a steady line of work. This is where outsourcing companies come in. If you run a blog writing service, then it makes sense to get in contact with hundreds of different freelancers that you can assign work to. As a single entity that advertises jobs for writers, you’ll get a lot of attention from budding freelance writers of all skill levels and experience.
Giving Freelancers Exposure
Something a large business can do that a lone freelancer can’t is advertising. A freelancer only has so much manpower on their own, especially when they’re starting out. However, a startup or established business has the manpower, connections and infrastructure to advertise their services.
Let’s say you want to run a business that designs company logos. As a business, you have the money to advertise your services to a wide audience. Not only will you catch the eyes of customers and clients, but you’ll also attract freelance designers who are willing to work for you and split the pay. In a sense, your business itself doesn’t need to draw anything—you’re just acting like a middleman with a lot of exposure.
In return for offering freelancers a job, you get cheap work done, you build a customer base, and you also do the freelancers a favour by increasing their portfolio and giving them a platform to practice their skills. Both you and the freelancers you hire will get a positive outcome out of the deal, which makes it beneficial for both of you and neither of you will have complaints.
Start in a Field You Understand
Even if you’re just a glorified middleman, you still need to have some understanding of the services you’re selling. Don’t expect to hire website designers, give them clients to work for and then think your job is done. Far from it. In fact, as an outsourcing company, you will be the one analysing and scanning the work that you’ve been given by the freelancers. You need to ensure that the product you give to the client is spotless, perfect, and meets their criteria.
Most outsourcing companies don’t need the freelancer to interact with the client directly. This is absolutely fine, because you’re expected to be the one that processes orders, assigns them to your freelancers and sends the completed job back to the client. There’s very little communication between the freelancer and the client, which is how it should be unless it’s an extremely specific job.
As a result, you need to hire capable workers. Don’t hire someone who specialises in traditional media such as watercolours and oil painting if you need someone to design company logos. Make sure you understand the field you want to provide services for, do your research and make sure you’re supervising all the work that’s being done.
Hire In-House Staff in Addition to Freelancers
Not every outsourcing company uses freelancers. For example, if you’re expected to provide clients with a steady stream of articles, designs and sounds, then you might need to hire a couple of in-house employees that receive regular salaries as opposed to freelancers who are paid on a per-job basis. In the event that the freelancers who work for you don’t want to work for a certain period or have some issues that need to be taken care of, you need to have a backup plan.
Because of how volatile a freelancer’s working schedule can be, you want to make sure you give your clients a long enough time frame for them to receive their completed work orders. You can’t promise them “next-day” delivery unless you have extremely consistent staff members, so it’s better to promise them “three to five working days” or something similar. This makes it easier to schedule and distribute work, and it’s always a good idea to plan ahead for failures or bad days.
Keeping up With the Competition
Your rates and pricing should be very competitive with other established outsourcing companies. You don’t want to charge double or triple the price of a competitor if you can’t provide a niche service or better quality, but at the same time, you don’t want to undercut the competition too much.
If you can provide a niche service then by all means, build on that niche and create success from it. For example, if you want to specialise in providing fictional fantasy stories for clients, then you can charge more than another outsourcing business that writes general fiction. Since you’re specialised in a field, you’ve got more experience and knowledge about the subject and thus, you have better credentials and you have a reason to charge more.