How small businesses should approach outsourcing and finding the right freelancer

Using a freelancer can be a boon for any small business struggling with a specific skill, whether it’s web design, SEO or social media. And best of all, you’ve got a global talent pool to draw on

When you are a small or medium-sized business, all the expenses you incur for professional services can quickly mount up and affect your bottom line, threatening your future and your ability to do what you’re good at. That’s why it’s always important to look for smarter ways to operate, which will save money and help you find new opportunities for growth, expansion, or diversification.

Top 5 reasons why SMEs should hire a freelancer

#1- Pay-as-you-go flexibility

Coupled up with the fact that freelancers are ultimately less costly than hiring permanent staff is also the flexibility they offer.

You can hire a freelancer only during periods of growth or when you need their services for specific projects or when you need a very specialist skill such as a copywriter for your ad campaign or a photographer for a photo shoot to showcase your products, etc.

Then, when business is slow, you can easily reduce your spending on freelance platforms such as Fiverr, where you only pay per order without any commitment or minimum spend.

This flexibility is mutual, as the freelancers themselves also prefer to work on a variety of projects which ensures they gain varied experiences and can contribute with more innovative and out-of-the-box solutions to their clients.

>See also: How to start a freelance career in the UK – a beginner’s guide

#2 – Work around the clock

Among the many advantages of the global gig economy is the access to specialists worldwide, which also brings the big benefit of being able to hire freelancers who work for you and your business while you sleep. Literally. If you need a quick turnaround on an investor deck for the next morning or someone to edit your email template or quickly launch a social media campaign for selling surplus stock, you can always find an experienced professional to do it right away.

And, while having reliable and trustworthy employees is great, you won’t be gaining in the popularity stakes as an employer if you keep dumping last minute tasks on them, especially after hours, while a copywriter or developer in a different time zone will be only too happy to help.

#3 – Experienced professionals

If you choose the right freelancer(s) by setting the right objectives and looking at a selection of platforms, then you can gain access to a hugely experienced pool of specialists in many different areas. This is a massive benefit, especially in a VUCA (Volatile Uncertain Complex Ambiguous) economy where you cannot survive as a small business if you only rely on the tried and tested methods.

Even if you invest significantly in developing your own employees, hiring a freelancer with the right skill set will help you stay ahead of the competition, despite the challenges and constant changes.

>See also: 7 tips on how to manage freelance workers remotely

#4 – Managing tight budgets

In the early days of starting a business, you want to keep your vision clear and your costs down as you’re starting to grow. But even when you get traction and even have some employees on the payroll, it might be tricky to expand by hiring even more full-time permanent staff. Thus, using the services of a freelancer will keep your costs down while you can still get diverse skills and experience in many professional services without a long-term commitment.

#5 – Freelancing is the future

According to research, the overall proportion of freelancers as a percentage of the total workforce is growing continuously, not just in the US but also in the UK and Europe.

The trend has been greatly influenced by many factors such as better mobility, an increase in the home-based and digital nomad workforce, as well as the trend among the younger generations to want to diversify their skills and not settle for working for a single employer.

The picture varies in Europe depending on the country and is continuously rising for certain professions such as graphic and web designers, copywriters and editors, photographers, SEO consultants and many others in the top 20 most-searched-for in Google.

Cast your net wide

Once you identify the skill gaps in your business or you have a specific long or short-term project in mind, you can cast your net as wide as you want in order to find the right help at the right price and within the expected delivery time.

Make sure you identify what’s important for you – skills, experience, portfolio and references from past clients are all valid questions to ask – so you can find a good freelancer match.

Start small if you are worried that you might make the wrong choice, and, once you’ve built a good network of freelancers, or found the right one for you, continue to work with them as they become an important part of your business.

Don’t forget that every freelancer is an entrepreneur, just like you, so you might have more in common than you thought. Use this to your advantage and it will be a win-win situation.

Bukki Adedapo is UK country manager of Fiverr 

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