As many small business owners have most likely experienced at some point, there inevitably comes a point in the growth of your business where you find yourself juggling one too many tasks. It’s at this stage that small businesses need to decide the best course of action to continue their growth, with the solution usually resting in one of three options – taking on a new member of staff, employing a company to do some work or outsourcing tasks to a freelancer.
While all three of these options are viable, many small businesses are actually best suited to taking on a freelancer – and we’ve looked at exactly why this is the case below.
Which option is right for you?
Deciding which one of the three options mentioned above you should go with comes down to a number of factors. You need to consider how affordable each option is, the calibre of person required to complete the task(s) and also the length of time that they’re likely to be required.
Taking on an employee would ordinarily sound like the best long term option. Doing so would allow you to have someone in house who can continuously take a portion of the work load away from yourself. However what also needs to be considered is how affordable taking someone on as an employee actually is. If the tasks are menial and pretty straight forward then yes employing someone on a basic salary could be an option. On the other hand, if you require a skilled employee for a specific task you might struggle to pay them. Chances are they’ll demand a higher salary which may be too much of an expense for some small businesses.
For tasks which require specialised skills (whether that be sales, copywriting, design etc) which can’t be done in house due to a skills gap or simply not having the capacity, the best solution for many small businesses is to outsource the work as it’s rare to find someone whose wages you’ll be able to afford and who’ll be experienced enough to carry out the work to a sufficient standard.
Outsourcing – company vs freelancer
Outsourcing work isn’t a straight forward choice either though. You have the option of outsourcing to either a company or a freelancer which you’ll need to decide between. There are 3 major plus points of taking on a freelancer.
1) They’re often cheaper – Freelancers usually work for themselves and from home or in some cases a small office. This means they have fewer overheads and can therefore charge prices which are far more reasonable for small businesses.
2) More personal relationship – Working with a freelancer means you get to know them on a more intimate level. This not only means that you get to know them, but they also get to know your business better. You also have the comfort of knowing that you’re dealing directly with the person doing the work for you and don’t have to worry about layers of management or other colleagues handing tasks over to one another.
3) Know what you’re getting – One of the major benefits of taking on a freelancer is that you know exactly what you’re getting. There are numerous websites where freelancers sell their services and many of them feature reviews for each freelancer which have been written by clients they’ve done work for. This can help to display the quality of their work and their reliability which in turn will reduce the chances of you paying for a substandard freelancer.
Below we’ve listed 5 tools you can use to find the perfect freelancer for your business.
Finding a freelancer on a budget
PeoplePerHour was founded back in 2008 and currently has a network of over 750,000 freelancers. The
quality of the freelancers on the site is carefully monitored with each one going through a screening process. They’re given a 3-month probationary period where they must uphold certain standards and level of service. Quality assurance is key for the site and so provides small business owners with that peace of mind in knowing that there’s less chance of paying for substandard work.
Fiverr was setup in 2009 to allow people to buy and sell their digital services. While it was initially based on setting a $5 base price for all services, freelancers are now able to charge as they see fit, however many still offer favourable rates. Finding the right person for the for your job is made easier thanks to a number of applicable search filters. These include criteria such their review ratings and spoken languages.
Upwork came to be as a result of a merger between oDesk and Elance in 2014. The founding concepts from both companies were brought together to create what is now one of the largest freelance recruitment sites.
One of the major benefits of Upwork is the ease it can bring to complete bigger projects. Their website grants you the ability to take on a number of freelancers for different tasks and create a team. Everyone can then communicate through the site which helps to ensure the smooth running of the project. While this might not be necessary or all small businesses, it’s something that’s certainly useful to have access to as time progresses.
Guru.com offers a wide range of freelancing services but the real stand out point of this site is the freedom it grants to search freelancers by not only their country but by their city and post code as well. This is ideal if the locality of the freelancer is crucial to you as you aren’t forced to sieve through hundreds of candidates situated in locations around the world.
Unlike the other sites, Freelancer.co.uk doesn’t allow you to browse all of the available freelancers they have registered. Instead you post the work/project you need completing which freelancers then bid for. It’s at this stage that you can choose who you’d like to complete your work.
The search process can be narrowed down as you’re able to set parameter such as your budget and the skills which you require from the freelancer. The website also offers a “recruiter” service for £19.00 to help save you time. The service sees them review and vet the freelancers and put forward candidates they feel are best suited to what you require.
Freelancer.co.uk is also one of the few sites which is UK based meaning if you are a looking for someone relatively local then it could be the most suited tool for you.
While the above sites differ in slight ways, they’re all great tools to find yourself a freelancer. We’d recommend you have a look around all of them to see where the best place would be to find the right candidate for yourself. Each one of the sites provides reviews on their registered freelancers so be sure to take full advantage of this before you part with your cash.
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