Could Your Business Use Freelancers?How hiring temporary talent could help you succeed

The ways we work are constantly changing.

In the 21st century, one of the growing trends has been that of self-employment.

Numbers have risen fairly steadily and there are now over 4 million self-employed workers in the United Kingdom.

Of that, a significant proportion freelance as their main occupation. These workers can offer skills and expertise on a project or as-needed basis, making them a useful resource to know how to tap into.

So let’s look at why your business might hire freelancers and how to go about doing so.

Freelancers can offer niche expertise

There are some jobs that are a great fit for external talent, either by their nature or the skills they require.

For instance, a task requiring specialist skills that your business doesn’t often use, but does occasionally need, could be best carried out by a freelancer.

While some skills generally fall into the category of service providers—you rarely hear people talking about hiring a freelance cleaner—skills like graphic design, marketing, accounting, translation, software development and many others are popular among freelance workers.

Such expertise can be difficult or impractical to acquire through permanent hires, or by upskilling existing members of staff.

You work alongside them, but don’t employ them

Businesses may also work more closely with freelancers than they might with service providers, and freelance contracts often allow for more flexibility and adaptability depending on demand.

Conversely, freelancers aren’t considered employees, and so many of the costs associated with permanent employees, like the legalities of hiring or pension contributions, can be avoided.

Freelancers are also great for carrying out one-off projects. If your business needs a new website, but doesn’t have in the skills to do this in house, hiring a freelancer to design and develop this for you makes things much easier.

So how can businesses go about finding freelancers to add valuable skills to their organisation?

Identify suitable talent gaps

Work out what skills your business could use to grow, and evaluate whether those skills would be best added through a permanent hire, training your current employees, or bringing in a freelancer.

For instance, if your store is looking to create a new e-commerce offering due to overwhelming demand from customers, you can reasonably expect that this will create a regular need for the skills to manage this new channel.

Managing the online store, from uploading inventory to fulfilling orders, is going to be a regular part of your business. It may make most sense for you to train up an existing employee to do this, or to hire someone with the right skill set.

Conversely, you might hire a freelancer to build the website. This is likely a one-off task that you will want implemented well very quickly, so taking the time to train someone in website building, isn’t practical.

Find and vet freelancers

Once you have a clear idea of the skills you want to introduce into your business, it’s time to find freelancers who can offer them.

The rise in freelancing has corresponded with the explosion of online talent marketplaces, of which Upwork and Fiverr are two of the best known. These sites count millions of freelancers and clients among their users, connecting businesses with skilled workers on a daily basis.

It’s easy to filter freelancers by the skills and experience you’re looking for, review their previous jobs and feedback, and reach out to discuss your requirements. The sites typically also handle communication and payment streamline the process and avoid disputes.

Social media can also be a great place to find talent, particularly if your business is already active online. Posting what skills you’re looking for can be a quick and easy way to reach out, while many freelancers have business accounts set up on social media, be it a more professional page on Facebook or a LinkedIn profile.

Established freelancers may also have their own websites, so it’s usually worth searching online for what you’re after and seeing if the sites of any individual freelancers pop up.

Once you’ve find some likely candidates, reach out to discuss your requirements in more detail. Review their portfolio and ask for examples of similar projects they may have completed.

Asking them to carry out a short paid trial is often a good way to further evaluate their skills and what they’re like to work with.

Adopt a flexible scheduling approach

Once you’ve found the right freelancer, you may want to introduce them to your business’s ways of working. There’s nothing to stop you including them on your rota if you’re collaborating with them regular, and they may need to know where to find information relevant to their role.

Using an online scheduling solution like Findmyshift can make managing freelance talent alongside your regular employees easy. Plus, using a team noticeboard to keep all your onboarding information in one place can make it easy to get new freelancers up to speed.

Good luck with however you decide to make use of freelance talent to grow your business!

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