5 Ways to Stand Out from the Competition on Major Freelancing Sites

Being able to run a business at home, earn money, invest, raise kids and socially distance all at the same time has become the 2020 marathon. Parents, professionals, graduates and those caught in-between careers weren’t exactly prepared for the new age of working from home; yet, as Covid-19 restructured life as we knew it, we had no choice but to consider alternative work arrangements that supported our families right from our laptops.

Companies were forced to furlough staff as budgets were slashed. Individuals elected to quit their jobs for fear of coronavirus exposure and others realized that, considering how fleeting life can be, they wanted to leave their jobs and do something they love. For all of these people, the arrangement of working on a per-project basis for different companies, brands and startups became more alluring than ever before.

As of last year, nearly 57 million Americans considered themselves part of the gig economy as freelancers. The data for 2020 will show a massive increase in that figure as part of Covid-19’s new normal. Why were so many people joining the gig economy as freelancers in 2019? One study explains it all: skilled freelancers earn more per hour than 70 percent of workers in the U.S.

Related: 50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle

That’s why more people than ever before are wondering how they can not only become freelancers but also how they can position themselves for immediate success right out of the starting gate. The competition to stand out as a freelancer just got dramatically more challenging, and everyone knows it. Tens of millions of people are using the biggest freelancing sites today, from Upwork and 99designs to Fiverr and Guru.

With millions of providers worldwide accessing these sites, how can you ensure that your profile and services are the most alluring?

Here are five ways to stand out from the competition on major freelancing sites.

1. Use your picture throughout your profile 

People think that working online as an anonymous provider, instead of being a corporate employee, means they can withhold their identity from their freelancing profile. Quite the contrary, removing any imagery of yourself from your freelance profile makes it harder for prospective buyers to trust you. Are you really who you are claiming to be? How can buyers be sure? 

Related: 9 Reasons to Start an Online Side Hustle in 2020

Content with imagery and video gets 94% more views than content with only plain text and stats. We are visual creatures, so we need to see photo evidence that we are not being scammed.

  • Include different photos of yourself for your profile picture, services and biography. The more images you use, the more trustworthy you become
  • Post only crisp, high-definition photos in which you are making eye contact with the camera
  • Consider branding yourself with the same colors in all of your images
  • Refresh your photos every few years to match your real-time identity

2. Feature as many reviews as possible

Social proof is essential. It’s the only way we can convince ourselves that someone is trustworthy online when we have never met them in person. That’s why 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they do a recommendation from a friend or family member. Prioritizing your five-star reviews on your profile will help a buyer trust you immediately.

  • Work hard in the beginning to secure a perfect five-star average. Go above and beyond and consider charging less-than-market prices to get your first reviews
  • Proudly present the reviews on your profile, front and center
  • Offer up a summary of your reviews to prospective clients in your messaging inbox

​​​​3. Don’t lie about credentials

Too often, first-time freelancers skew information about their background and experience since no boss is watching them do it. This can come back to haunt you, especially since buyers can do a simple background check on you in minutes. Should the freelancing site catch you lying, you will be blacklisted for the remainder of the platform’s existence. It’s not worth it. Augment what credentials you do have. If you don’t have many, offer free work for friends and family to bolster your portfolio.

  • Spend some months doing work for free so you can add real projects and products to your profile
  • Never lie. As you climb in prominence on a freelancing site, the company will conduct background checks on you.
  • Buyers are more likely to buy from you if they trust you. If they catch you lying, they will never trust you again.

4. Don’t wait for first reviews

One of the most challenging periods in freelancing is the initial weeks when you have to sit and wait for a buyer to be the first one to invest in your service. When you have no reviews, they don’t know if they can trust you.

Related: How to Start a Freelance Writing Side Hustlehttps://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Think outside the box and go to your in-person networks for first reviews. Ask family members, former coworkers, friends and those who follow you on social media if they need your service for their businesses. Accessing your already aggregated networks will have you circumvent freelancing algorithms that can punish newbies.

  • Think outside the box and offer a discount to people you know in the beginning
  • Post about your services on social media
  • Write articles about your services and post them to a website or your social profiles
  • Offer referral discounts to people you know for securing you new clients

5. Offer more than one service

Marketing studies have found that consumers prefer choices when they go shopping. If you walk into a clothing store and see just four shirts hanging on the clothing rack, you start to feel uncomfortable, right? But if you want into a store with 400 shirt options, you would feel free to shop around and find the item that is right for you. 

Related: 3 Best Ways to Diversify Your Income (and Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck) During Times of Uncertainty

The same goes for your freelancing profile. If you offer just one service, buyers will assume you’re new to the site, you don’t know what you are doing and have only one skill-set. When starting, offer at least three (related) services on your profile. That way, buyers can feel like they are really shopping. 

  • If you don’t know what other services to offer, check out your competition. Look up people with your same skill-set and see what other services they list.
  • Don’t be afraid to teach yourself new skills. Take online classes and practice.
  • After a while, increase your services from three to five to even 10!

The art of the side hustle

Those that once laughed at the thought of a side hustle becoming a main hustle are no longer laughing. Our newly decentralized, socially distanced world has made freelancing ripe for the taking, which is why now is a great time to pivot your skill-set online through one of the major freelancing sites. Follow these tips above to ensure you are positioned as successfully as possible while wading into the freelancing waters.

Related: Moonlighting Your Way to Millions: 4 Tips to Turn Your Side Hustle into a Successful New Business

By: Alexandra Fasulo Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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I’m Dan Johnston, a former entrepreneur, turned Freelancer, turned Author and Coach. I value freedom and experiences over money and things and I believe we’re all capable of designing our own lives. So far, I’ve lived in 7 countries, published 12 books and worked hard to achieve my dream of being time and location independent. Along the way, I’ve shared my experiences and helped thousands of people achieve their dream as well. ►One-on-One Coaching Together◄ https://www.dreamsaroundtheworld.com/… ►Free Training and Entertainment◄ http://www.dreamsaroundtheworld.com/f… ►Have a Question or Topic You’d Like Me To Make a Video About?◄ https://www.dreamsaroundtheworld.com/… ►Subscribe to my channel◄ http://bit.ly/ytsubdreams ★☆★Follow me and Learn More★☆★ Website: https://www.DreamsAroundTheWorld.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dreamsaround… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thedanjohnston Podcast: https://www.dreamsaroundtheworld.com/… (or search for Dreams Around The World on iTunes, Spotify, Google Music, or wherever it is you listen to podcasts)

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Employee or Freelancer Which One Do I Need

You need help, but you’re trying to figure out whether it can be on a contract basis or whether you need to payroll someone. This question comes up a lot and it has important implications for working relationships. Do you need an arrangement with a contractor or do you need to hire a regular employee? With millions of freelancers in the U.S. alone, you have your pick of qualified candidates. Take a step back and do some homework to figure out whether you truly need an employee or an independent contractor.

When you have an employee on payroll, you’re in control of what the working relationship and schedule look like. As the employer, you’re most likely paying them on an hourly or salaried basis and taking out taxes. Most employers, of course, are going to offer a benefits package to their workers as well. Contractors, on the other hand, are being paid a flat fee per project or an hourly fee to work with you, but are not receiving W2s or getting benefits in the vast majority of situations. (To learn more about IRS designations and tests used to help you determine whether the working arrangement you have in mind really fits legal definitions, check out this resource page.)

Related: When Is Hiring Freelancers a Good Idea?

There are a few big benefits of hiring a freelancer:

  • Only pay for the work you actually need
  • No benefits payment unless you want to offer it
  • Can seek out competitive rates in the marketplace and match your budget and desired experience level with a like-minded freelancer
  • Access to talent all over the world (which you’ll also get if you hire a remote employee)

Here are the things to consider when deciding whether or not to outsource to a freelancer or bring on an employee.

Working arrangement

Freelancers, by law, need to maintain autonomy in how they do their work. For this working arrangement, flexibility is the key. For most contractor relationships, the freelancer will be working on their own equipment on their own schedule, meeting deadlines on projects as needed. In general, freelancers will remain available for scheduled calls but are not “on-call” during typical working hours the same way that an employee would be.

If you need someone to be available during your set hours daily, meaning that they’d have to block off their entire day to work when the rest of your team is working, this usually means an employee/employer relationship. And in the U.S., that means payroll, W2, and Social Security/Medicare taxes paid as part of their paycheck.

If you’re open to a more flexible arrangement and truly want to treat this person like an independent contractor — where they control how and when they do their work — a freelancer is the better choice.

Just don’t blur the line. Decide what best suits your needs and keep it that way. If you have to make changes, talk to your worker about the need to change status and whether they are comfortable with that.

Related: Why So Many Americans Prefer the Freelance Lifestyle

Talent

Do I have access to the kind of talent that wants an employee position? Many freelancers work remotely by choice and want to have access to more than one client at a time. This means that some of the best talent out there could be among the freelance pool. Leaving jobs is a bigger commitment, but taking on a new client is commonplace for freelancers, so there might be more people you can speak to more quickly about the opportunity if you go the freelance route.

This is not to say there aren’t great people seeking full-time positions out there. Quite the contrary, actually. But being open to freelancers who might be able to do the job more quickly when you only pay them for the work done could stretch your budget better.

Workload

Do you have enough work to keep a part-time or full-time employee busy consistently? If not, you’ll end up paying a salary or for hours in which the worker has nothing to do. That doesn’t turn out well for anyone.

Sporadic workload or short-term overload is a strong case for hiring a freelancer, whereas ongoing work — especially when you need someone available to you during specific hours — indicates you may need a permanent employee. Since both parties could potentially work remotely, thus expanding your talent pool, it becomes even more important to think about the structure of the working relationship and the overall workload.

While freelancers can stay with your company for a long time billing hourly or on retainer, plenty of them are happy to work with you for smaller projects or shorter time periods, too.

By: Laura Briggs / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Have you ever admired a freelancer’s working life? Here’s a difference between the both and maybe you could relate a thing or two! 🙂 REMEMBER TO LIKE SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE 🙂 SUBSCRIBE TO US! https://www.youtube.com/cjworksproduc…

Have you ever admire freelancers working life? Here’s a skit to show you the difference between the both and you might relate to a thing or two! 🙂 DIRECTED & PRODUCED BY : Jonathan Toh Clement Chen STARRING: Johnny Toh: https://www.youtube.com/johnny_toh/ Clement Chen: https://www.instagram.com/clementchen_/ LIKE US ON FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/CJworksProduc… FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM: CJworks Productions: http://www.instagram.com/cjworksprodu… Jonathan Toh: http://www.instagram.com/johnny_toh Clement Chen: http://www.instagram.com/clementchen_ FOLLOW US ON TWITTER Jonathan Toh: http://www.twitter.com/johnny_toh Clement Chen: http://www.twitter.com/clementchen96 WEBSITE: http://www.cjworksproductions.com

7 Tips to Manage Freelancers Efficiently in a Post-COVID-19 World

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It comes at no surprise that most businesses are shifting to on-demand workforce to optimize costs, survive and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world. Although a contingent workforce existed for many years, very few businesses relied primarily on independent contractors and freelancers. Contract roles were mostly available either to highly skilled management consultants and experts or to seasonal workers.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the workforce dynamics as millions of people have been laid off and businesses have to look for alternative solutions to remain competitive. Hiring freelancers and gig workers on-demand has become a preferred option even for more traditional businesses. However, managing freelancers, remote workers and independent contractors is never seamless and requires processes, planning, and reliable vendor management and freelance management services.

Some industries like software development, e-learning, digital marketing, video production, online events management, hospitality, tourism and more are likely to permanently shift to contingent workforce. As managing freelancers has its own specifics, the following seven tips can be helpful to all companies that are planning to hire more gig workers, remote workers, and freelancers in the future.

1. Analyze your hiring needs.

If some roles had been strictly reserved for full-time employees working in an office environment, now these roles may be suitable for remote workers and freelancers. To identify roles that can be transformed into contract jobs and freelance gigs, the hiring managers need to ask themselves “How critical is this role for the business?’’ If the role is of utmost importance to the business, consider keeping it as a full-time role or offer a retainer to freelancer or independent contractor who has always delivered quality work.

This approach can ensure a high quality of work and motivation. On the other hand, all roles that are not critical to the business can be transformed into part-time roles or contract jobs and assigned to freelancers and independent contractors.

2. Develop a pool of freelancers.

Working with people who have demonstrated their skills and delivered high quality work over and over again is the right way to go. At the same time, project managers need to have sufficient information about the projects these freelancers have worked on before and to be able to contact them if there is a new project that requires a similar skillset and expertise. Often, being able to demonstrate that you have sufficient resources is what’s needed to win a new project over the competition.

3. Select a Freelancer Management System.

If more than 10 percent of your workforce consists of freelancers and gig workers, you will most liekly need a Freelancer Management System to be able to keep track of completed and ongoing projects, have access to historical information, manage project budgets, assign freelancers to new projects, approve payments and much more. A checklist will help a lot in your selection process. Answers to questions like “How many freelancers will I be managing in the next three years?”, “Will I manage both freelancers and remote workers across multiple geographies?”, “Do I need integrations with project management and time tracking software?”, “Do I need automated billing and invoicing?”, etc. will help you to select the Freelancer Management System that’s is addressing the needs of your business.

This can help with eliminating duplicate payments as well. Imagine that 10 freelancers are working on the same project but each of them is working on a different task, has different deadline and is paid a specific pay rate. This is the reality for many digital marketing, design, and creative companies. If the payments are managed via Excel spreadsheets and payment approvals happen via emails, duplicate payments are inevitable.

Enterprise solutions like SAP Fieldglass and Oracle HCM are usually not an option for small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) due to the high integration and maintenance costs. Luckily, there are affordable alternatives like Transformify that have been specifically designed to address the needs of SMBs.

4. Source freelance talent quickly and efficiently.

Working with a pool of freelancers over and over again is great, however from time to time you will have to hire new people. As hiring needs highly depend on business growth and customer acquisition, it is hard to predict the skills set that will be required to win the next customer or the next project. Trying to source freelancers via various job boards, freelance marketplaces and the like is time-consuming and the results are often far from those desired. The best solution is to have a Freelancer Management System integrated with an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to be able to quickly source, hire and manage freelancers ad hoc.

5. Know your talent pool.

Historical information about the freelancers who have worked on similar projects is invaluable when starting a new project on a tight budget and challenging deadline. Imagine that you have interviewed seven freelancers for a similar project in the past, three were shortlisted and one got the job. Wouldn’t be great to be able to easily check who those three shortlisted freelancers were and contact them immediately to check if they are available?

6. Manage project budgets.

Often, project planning and project execution are not aligned. There are tasks that have been overlooked and not budgeted at all, skills that are missing and people who become unavailable out of a sudden. It is common for freelancers to work on more than one project at the same time. Being able to move costs from one bucket to another while staying within budget is invaluable. Poor budget management may turn a promising project into a loss generating project.

7. Keep an eye on time-tracking reports.

As freelancers are often paid per hour, project managers need to be able to identify any unusual deviations in time tracking reports. If the same task was taking 10 hours in the past, why is it taking 30 hours now? Team velocity is also important as sometimes team members may happen to be times less efficient than the average for the team. If inefficiencies and overbilled hours are not identified on time, this inevitably will lead to lost productivity, tension in the team and increased costs.

The gig economy was on the rise even prior to COVID-19 lockdowns and massive layoffs. As businesses had no other option than to adopt remote working and work from home policies, going forward more and more companies will rely on contingent workforce and freelancers.

Lilia Stoyanov

By:

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Let’s talk about how COVID-19 is affecting Freelancers, Contract workers, and Self-Employed workers around the world. Over 22 million Americans OR roughly 13.5% of the labor force have filed for unemployment in the last 4 weeks. This is the largest rise in claims since the Labor department started tracking the data in 1967. This pandemic has brought to light the issues with Freelance benefits such as affordable insurance, retirement, and qualifying for unemployment.

Notes from a Freelancer During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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There is a lot of talk about how many people are losing their jobs and the economy is going to tank. This is obviously a terrifying thought for many. The majority of people in the U.S. and around the world have a job with a boss that they go to. Their doors have likely been shut (or there’s a looming sense that they will) because of the Coronavirus.

It is a magnificent act of “human love” that we all care enough as a whole to stay home, but of course there is also a reality. For all you entrepreneurs out there who have some attachment to a brick-and-mortar establishment, I’m sure there is a lot of uncertainty on how you’ll stay afloat. A family member of mine has a yoga studio in a smaller city, and even with just one month of it being closed, the writing is already on the wall for her, she’s closing shop.

There is a lot of sadness in this, and it’s hard not to fall into the abyss. We aren’t free, and for those of us in countries that have always been free, this is a hard pill to swallow. There is the other side of things though. This time to reflect and figure out what you really want. To take stock of who you are and what direction you’re going in life. We have slowed down to a glacial pace in life. Haven’t we asked for this (even if just secretly). As you take stock of your life, you might also want to look at your possibilities for starting anew. It is possible even with very little money. While the world might be scared, and perhaps very broke at the end of all this, there will be needs everyone has. Can you fill those needs?

Shifts in the Freelance World

I can see how things have drastically changed for many people, especially for those who work in an office. For me, things haven’t changed too much. Okay, other than the fact that I was very comfortable living in Vietnam and felt the need to come home when the country threatened a strict lockdown. I work from home, and have for many years. My clients are all over the world. I am a writer of all kinds and I am finding that currently, the business is thriving.

I am still doing the same thing I’ve done for years. I do some yoga, grab a simple breakfast, and go to my desk at home to start working. When it comes to work opportunities, I have found that they have grown. In fact, I have found that my work opportunities have doubled since Covid-19 was deemed a pandemic.

Many online businesses are needed or desired more than ever. As many people move quickly to make money online, there is a lot of support that they’re going to need. Businesses that have been long established are all of a sudden looking to change their content online. I am writing articles on the Coronavirus that are helpful for the general public. Certain sectors, such as  coupon websites, are stepping up their game as they’re sure to see a surge in popularity.

Enter the Online World (if you haven’t already)

I have friends who teach abroad in brick and mortar schools. Some of these schools shut down, but it didn’t take more than a day for these teachers to get gigs. In fact, the money was much better, and they didn’t have to deal with the bureaucracy or contradictions of an international school system in a developing country.

As I work online and travel around the world, I have met a lot of people around the world doing the same thing. It’s a pretty common theme actually, and so easy to do. Though I have to say when this virus went viral, many of the people I met went home right away. There’s something about being an expat when humans are considered “weapons with a potential deadly virus” in them, you start to feel uncomfortable.

Friends I’ve met around the world who have always worked online are finding ways to get through this time. In fact, many people are incorporating the pandemic into their business content as a way of helping others. For example, during the toilet paper panic, a successful Instagrammer buddy of mine was tipping off people on how they could get toilet paper from another source. Usually he was giving business tips, but he had to shift his message to be relevant (and do his part to help).

Another friend of mine abroad had just begun her online marketing business to help businesses with their social media marketing. She was worried at first, but when she reached out to some businesses, she actually ended up getting many clients. Businesses are taking this time out to reinvent their companies, to rebrand and do some of the things they didn’t have time to do while business was moving along. I guess the moral of the story here is don’t tell yourself that things aren’t possible and not ever try. Tony Robbins has said in the past that you can still make money when things fall apart. He said this after the housing market crash in 2008.

Making This Time Count

There is always a way to be of service if we can be creative and understand people’s needs right now. Not only are you keeping yourself busy, but you’re also helping people through this. Maybe you’re a yoga teacher or personal trainer. This is something you can do online. Maybe you wanted to before, but didn’t have the time. That’s all changed now.

This time of reflection can be a real benefit to you. With all the free apps out there, you can start something meaningful, and it won’t cost you a cent. This is the time for creativity. You have all the time and tools you need to reinvent yourself and start doing something in life you’re passionate about. The world really is your oyster. Striving for the things you want are going to keep you out of a depressive, desperate state of mind. It will get you out of bed in the morning and keep you passionate about life. When this is all over and you can live again, you’ll be bounding out to share what you’ve come up with.

So think about the things you love to do. Think about what people need right now. How can you fulfill those needs with your special talents? You have something to give to the world. Think about what you like to do in your spare time. Do you have a talent? At this point, you literally have nothing to lose by following your dreams (in the confines of your own home for now). Dare to dream and start to take the steps to get you where you want.

Loraine Couturier

Source: https://startupmindset.com

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The federal stimulus package is supposed to cover additional unemployment benefits for freelance and part-time workers, but a growing number of those workers say they’ve been unable to access that money.

The Top 25 Skills Businesses Need Right Now – Larry Kim

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A whopping 94% of recruiters actively use LinkedIn to vet candidates. Professionals use LinkedIn when looking for new jobs and to showcase a career and stand out to recruiters. Does your profile have what it takes to stand out from the masses? LinkedIn released a report that reveals the top 25 in-demand business skills searched for in the hiring process. Discover all 25 skills, plus key jobs that use those skills and the salary (national average) of a U.S. professional in that industry according to Glassdoor…..

Read more: https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/09/skills-in-demand.html

 

 

 

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Tips for a Successful Freelance Business — Ashley O’Melia, Author

I’ve been doing freelance work part time for seven years, and I began doing it full time four years ago. It’s been an interesting little roller coaster, with plenty of ups (This is amazing and I can’t believe I haven’t been doing this my entire adult life!), downs (Oh crap. I’m going to have to […]

via Tips for a Successful Freelance Business — Ashley O’Melia, Author

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Why Freelancers Are Good For Your Company – Irene Corchado Resmella

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More and more companies are hiring freelance writers nowadays. Some companies need to increase their content production and their current team can’t cope with the workload. Others are expanding into new markets and struggle to find writers in other languages willing to relocate. Likewise, many start-ups rely on freelance writers during the early stages of their business before they can set up an in-house team.

Whatever your case may be, you may be asking yourself whether working with freelancers is a good idea. While setting up an in-house content team has numerous advantages, freelancers can bring many good things to your company – from more productivity to added-value. You can even save money!

If you’re not sure about working with freelance content writers, here are four good reasons to do so.

It will boost your productivity

The more writers you have, the more content you produce. It’s a no-brainer. However, the process of hiring full-time employees is time-consuming and expensive, and in-house writers aren’t generally as productive as freelancers. Writing is a creative activity that requires high levels of concentration, and that’s when the flexibility that comes with freelancing helps. Freelancers can choose where and when to work.

They don’t waste time sitting at their desk waiting for the creative muse to show up. If they aren’t inspired or feel stuck, they can take a long break, hit the gym or go for a walk and return to the text with a fresh mind. By maximising the times when they are most creative, their productivity improves, and a productive freelancer can produce more content than a stressed or overworked in-house writer.

Working with the right freelancers will add value

Freelance marketplaces are full of amateur self-proclaimed writers looking for some extra cash to top up their income. That’s why they’re cheap, and that’s why the risk of receiving sloppy articles is high, so choose your writers wisely. Look for professionals, not hobbyists; subject experts, not generalists.

To get maximum value, hire writers with a strong personal brand, and social proof. Building a portfolio is key for writers and they normally share the (credited) content they produce. A writer specialising in your field who has an active online presence and a large following will help your content reach a relevant audience and increase exposure for free. This is a value-added collaboration which will certainly pay off, so think about it as an investment and budget accordingly.

Their flexibility can be your lifesaver

In-house content writers aren’t flexible as far as time is concerned. They need to attend meetings and do everything thrown at them content-wise. If something isn’t finished by 5pm it won’t be finished until well into the next day. Having a freelancer at hand will help you fit in small urgent projects at odd hours, even if you need to pay a bit extra.

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Freelancers can also be your lifesaver during peak periods or emergencies. Think about your in-house content team being overloaded with seasonal content projects, too many people being off work at the same time, or an important piece of content for your imminent campaign launch being ‘forgotten’. Misunderstandings and mistakes can happen, too, so a freelancer is your best bet here.

You will save money

Hiring freelancers isn’t always more expensive than setting up a team in-house. Not only that, but it can even be cheaper and help you save money, as you won’t have to cover the costs associated with employees.

I’m referring to taxes, for example. You don’t have to worry about taxes, as freelancers pay their own. Likewise, you don’t have to win them over offering pension schemes, gym membership cards or insurance. Moreover, you won’t pay for wasted time. Let’s face it – office writers don’t stay focused for eight hours, but you still pay them a full-time salary. With freelance professionals, you only pay for projects completed.

Another advantage is that experienced freelancers don’t need training. Companies setting up an in-house team often go for junior writers. By training them they save a bit of money on salaries, as they can pay them less than to senior writers. What they often forget is that they could be saving money and time by hiring experienced freelancers instead. External writers won’t be paid a full-time salary and your trainers’ time will surely be better spent doing something else, like managing the content strategy. So, choose content writers who are subject experts, set up an initial chat on Skype to go over the basics and provide a detailed briefing and a style guide. That’s all they need.

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Content Marketing Outsourcing: The Agency Vs Freelancer Question – Mariame Bakkouri

Content marketing outsourcing - the freeelancer

Richard Branson once said: “Everything in your business can be outsourced, if you’re not emotionally attached to doing it.” Indeed, any project type can be outsourced, including content creation and distribution.

CMO.com cites 10 reasons when outsourcing your marketing is a better choice than doing it yourself.

Here are five of them:

  1. You don’t have the time or expertise.
  2. You don’t have the technology.
  3. You want to lower your marketing costs.
  4. You’re on a rapid growth trajectory.
  5. You’ve just expanded your business to operate in another customer channel or geography.

As your business grows and your content marketing needs become too much to tackle in-house, consider outsourcing.

Freelancer vs. content marketing agency

One question foremost on businesses’ minds when deciding to take the outsourcing route for their content marketing is:

Should I hire a freelancer or an agency?

This article will explore the advantages and disadvantages of hiring freelancers over agencies, and vice versa, so you can hopefully arrive at the best possible decision when confronted with the same dilemma.

Option 1: The freelancer

Freelancers can come in handy for any project type – writing, administrative assistance, design, data entry, or transcription services.

And with job sites like Freelancer, Upwork, and Craigslist carrying a diverse and massive pool of freelancers from all over the world, depending on your objectives and the amount you’re willing to pay to achieve them, there’s a freelancer that’s just right for you.

Advantages

1. Skill

You can hire freelancers for a specific skill set your full-time employees don’t possess. That said, you can hire as many freelancers with certain skill sets (e.g. subject matter experts, writers, editors, designers, video creators, community managers, and social media professionals) as you need.

If you already have a roster of freelancers to tap into, you can award projects to those whom you think are best qualified for the job.

2. Flexibility

When business is on the upside, keeping full-time staff to perform needed tasks and other activities is an advantage. It’s a different story, however, when the amount of work fluctuates.

Freelancers, on the other hand, can be hired per project or for a limited time. If you no longer need their services, you’re not obliged to keep them. You can always rehire them when business booms again.

 3. Lower costs

Freelancers have less overhead expenses compared to their agency counterparts, which explains why they normally charge less than the latter.

 Disadvantages

 Limited availability

There’s a saying among those seeking lifelong partners that goes, “All the good ones are probably already taken.”

This also applies to freelancers, who are known to juggle multiple projects and multiple clients.

There are good, dependable freelancers, and there are also those to avoid like the plague. Good freelancers take it upon themselves to regularly update you of their progress, while others can disappear into thin air when it suits them, without any way for you to contact them.

 A procedure that’s not entirely off your hands

Creating an organized, committed, and cohesive team of freelancers from different parts of the world, from different time zones is no easy feat. Face-to-face relationships with fellow workers are a necessary ingredient for successful teamwork.

This being the case, you must have the right tools and strategies in place for your team to effectively bond, collaborate, and communicate.

Also, if you hire multiple freelancers, you will have to take on the role of project manager to ensure everyone is on the same page.

 Time-consuming selection process

Choosing the most qualified freelancers involves time and attention. You will have to look through their work portfolios, ask for samples, and even check with their previous clients if they can be relied upon. As freelancers come and go, the vetting process will have to be done repeatedly.

Also, freelancers may be limited in terms of the things they can do and are willing to do. Often, the good ones are experts in their fields and possibly won’t take on projects that are beyond their field of specialization.

 Where to find freelancers

 Social media

LinkedIn is a good place to start when looking for freelancers. You may also post job openings to your Facebook or Google+ business pages.

If you have an email list, inform your subscribers of the opening, requesting them to also send your email to people they think are qualified, particularly if they themselves aren’t in the market.

 Job boards

There’s Craigslist, Upwork, and Freelancer, and they’re worth looking into if your content marketing budget isn’t much. Then again, like most marketers have already realized, you get what you pay for.

You can also look into advertising at Inbound.org, Smashing Magazine, and Problogger.

On blogs/online publications

Freelance content writers and marketers use guest blogging or run their own blogs to showcase their expertise and market their services. Take time to scour relevant blogs for skilled freelancers.

 Option 2: The agency

Freelancers, in general, work alone. Agencies, on the other hand, are composed of a group of people who are experts at certain fields. They can even be a team of skilled freelancers working together.

Agencies can range from three-member teams to full-service marketing agencies handling hundreds of content marketing projects simultaneously.

Advantages

Dependability

Content marketing involves a wide range of skills. The Content Marketing Team Matrix by Chris Lake, DueDil’s VP of Inbound Marketing, presents 16 roles and their required skills. Most people possess two or more of the said skills, but those who possess all of them are a rare gem.

Agencies, generally, are a one-stop shop. And they already have the necessary communication and collaboration tools in place, all you need is to lay down your objectives and expectations, and then measure their output against your ROI benchmarks.

Expertise

Besides being made up of a team of experts, agencies use specialized marketing tools and strategies to grow your digital presence on various channels. The tools at their disposal can include integrated reporting software, social media analytics tools, SEO software, even subscriptions to stock image sites.

Agencies also have structured processes and can easily scale.

Time savings

Because agencies are made up of multiple people with varying expertise, with a project manager to monitor each member’s progress, you don’t need to find and select the right people to create your own team.

Disadvantages

Higher costs

Compared to keeping an in-house content marketing team or organizing a team of expert freelancers, agency services generally cost more. In his article on Quick Sprout, Neil Patel says:

 “Typically, you’ll need to be spending at least a few thousand before an agency will take you on as a client.”

A process that’s completely off your hands

Delegating content marketing – and most other business processes, for that matter – to outside providers is an entrepreneur’s dream. However, there’s always the chance that an agency’s output, particularly if they’re not as familiar with your business and industry as you are, won’t hit the right note with your more savvy prospects and customers.

Hiring content marketing agencies specializing in your field is the safer bet.

Time invested on your projects may not be adequate

While this is in no way a generalization, agencies working on several projects at the same time may not afford you the dedication you expect of them, particularly if you’re not a “big fish”. Also, once your contract expires, you don’t get to keep their services until you renew your contract with them.

Content Marketing Outsourcing: The Agency Vs Freelancer Question

Conclusion

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of all customer-brand relationships will be made without human interaction, which further reinforces the increasing value of content marketing.

If you’re not equipped with either the expertise or resources to tackle content marketing in-house, know that your budget, objectives, and the effort you’re willing to put in are essential to figuring out if it’s a freelancer or an agency you need to hire.

As to the lingering question of whether an agency is better than a freelancer, all I can say is this: I know of companies who have expressed disappointment over agency performance while lauding the efforts of independent freelancers.

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Australia’s Expert360 raises $10M for its freelance consultant marketplace

Freelance workers and consultants make up a third of the US workforce, but that figure is expected to approach 40 per cent according to some studies. And we know how big the overall gig economy is going to become. Thus, marketplaces which meet that need are going to continue to grow. Hence, this is probably…

via Australia’s Expert360 raises $10M for its freelance consultant marketplace — TechCrunch