It’s been a crazy year, to say the least. The arrival of COVID-19, the rise of Zoom meetings, and the mass destigmatization of remote work have all led to a massive uptick in the number of businesses looking to hire freelance experts.
The number of people accepting freelance projects has also grown dramatically as a result of the pandemic.
According to recent findings shared by NPR, a whopping two million Americans have started freelancing in the past year alone.
Remote talent has never been more readily available or accessible for businesses of all sizes.
But working with freelancers isn’t for everyone. There are distinct pros and cons that every business owner, marketing leader, and HR team should know about and consider before deciding whether or not to hire.
Here are some of the biggest points you should consider:
The Pros of Hiring a Freelancer
Hiring a freelancer can be a great way to fill an immediate need, get work done faster, and scale your business.
Here are some of the main advantages of hiring a contractor:
Freelancers work on either an hourly or a project basis. With an hourly expert, you’re able to leverage their skills however and whenever works best for your business. Busy the first half of the month, but not the second? No problem! You can be more efficient with your budget without having to pay a retainer.
Expedited Hiring and Training
It can take a lot of time and energy to find, interview, hire, and train full-time employees. And there’s nothing worse than going through a process that takes months only to find out that your new hire isn’t actually a fit.
With GrowTal’s network of freelance experts and marketers, you have instant access to top performers and we do the vetting for you. We take every applicant through a rigorous vetting process to ensure that they’re equipped to handle whatever project you need them to own. By hiring a freelancer instead of a full-time employee, you can have a paid social expert up and running your ads within a week or two.
We also have a Risk-Free Hiring Guarantee, which means if you’re not pleased with the talent we’ve provided in the first 7 days for whatever reason, we’ll find you a replacement in no time and at no cost to you.
More Experience From an Objective Outside Party
Another advantage of working with freelancers is that they can also come into a project with fresh eyes and look at challenges from an objective perspective.
In addition, they usually have more experience than a full-time employee might have because they’ve solved similar problems for many companies at different stages and across many industries.
The Cons of Hiring a Freelancer
While hiring a freelancer can be a great option for some companies, others might find it more challenging.
Here’s what makes hiring a freelancer difficult for some companies:
Freelancers Prefer Part-Time
Most freelancers aren’t looking for full-time engagements, that’s why they decided to become a freelancer in the first place. Some chose to become a freelancer because it allows them to create more work-life balance for themselves. Others became freelancers because working for one company at a time doesn’t excite them—they want to solve problems for a lot of companies at once.
On the downside, this makes it harder for us to place GrowTal experts as full-time hires. But on the upside, we actually think this approach is more beneficial for most clients because you get access to people who have a wide range of experience solving all sorts of problems that your own business might encounter.
You Have to Be Willing to Build Your Team Differently
It can be a tough transition for businesses to rethink not only their marketing strategy but also how to effectively structure their team. In the long run, we think it is of vital importance to make sure your marketing team is not only composed of the best of the best but structured in a way that is as efficient as possible in terms of work results and budget.
We ran the numbers and wanted to break down the basic cost structure of hiring a full marketing team vs. freelance experts:
Here’s what an average Full-Stack Digital Marketing team might look like in terms of salaries, dependent on experience, the scope of work, location, etc.:
- Digital Strategist: $80-130k
- Sr. Paid Social Marketer: $70-100k
- Sr. Google/SEO Marketer: $70-100k
- Media Analyst: $60-80k
- Social Media Manager/Content Designer: $60-80k
On the low-end, for a basic structure team, you’re looking at $340k/year in salary costs alone.
This isn’t the most bare-bones team, but it’s about what you would expect to be a fully-serviced approach to digital marketing.
Now let’s say you’re a smaller business spending maybe $5-30K/month across all platforms. It’s unlikely that each of your team members actually has enough work to fill a 40-hour workweek.
Your Strategist can probably finish their planning and build out their strategy to the tune of 3-5 hours/week.
Your Sr. and Jr. media buyers can probably handle their work in about 10 hours/week, as can your designer.
Let’s take the higher end of those hours and calculate our new salary costs:
- Strategist Hourly rate ($150) x 5 x 52= $39K
- Sr. Paid Social Marketer ($100) x 10 x 52= $52K
- Sr. Google/SEO Marketer ($100) x 10 x 52= $52K
- Media Analyst ($70) x 10 x 52= $36.4K
- Social Media Manager/Content Designer ($60) x 10 x 52= $31.2K
That’s a total of $210K/year in salaries at the highest level, assuming a consistent workload every single week.
As you can see, by hiring an efficient team of hourly marketers focused solely on output instead of building out a bloated full-time team, you could save at least $130K a year in labor costs, not including what you pay in benefits, insurance, etc.
Expertise Comes at a Cost
When it comes to working with contractors, you almost always get what you pay for. If you’re looking to hire a freelancer to save money but you also expect top-dollar experience and output, you’re not going to find what you’re looking for. Cheap labor usually means cheap quality. If you want the best output from the best people, you have to be ready and willing to invest.
As outlined above, the benefit of leveraging freelancers when your business may not require full-time hires is apparent, but the hourly rate is still high.
In our honest experience in the digital marketing space, you always get what you pay for. Hiring a FB Expert for $15/hour from Fiverr or Upwork can be easily justified, but the quality of work is likely just as cheap.
Since the majority of freelance engagements are part-time with easy-out clauses, rates are higher to compensate for the inherent risk in a partnership. You will pay more for a full-time freelancer than you would for a full-time employee, but the investment can be and often is well worth it considering the pros listed above. That, combined with the fact that the majority of engagements are part-time, means that you’re still as efficient as possible.
Need Help Finding the Right Freelancer for Your Team?
If you’re thinking about or looking to hire freelance marketers, our team would love to chat with you about how we can help!