As your business grows, so will your need to fill important gaps within your team and hiring full-time staff to manage all of the critical components that make your online business tick can be costly. With more companies looking to outsource and save on running costs, it seems logical to follow suit, but, how can you be sure you are making the right decision for your business when it comes to hiring external labourers?

In this article, I will help you debunk some of the common myths and answer the questions that business owners will have when it comes time to hire a consultant, a freelancer or an agency.

When to Hire a Freelancer

With the rise of the digital economy, Freelancers now account for 35% of the US workforce making it easier than ever to find extra hands when you need it most.

Freelancers work independently and normally bill based upon an hourly, daily or per project rate and generally find work through websites like Upwork, PeoplePerHour and Freelancer.com to begin before building a pool of clients that will provide them with regular ongoing work. As these platforms provide access to a global workforce a project may receive bids from freelancers around the globe making it an extremely competitive market resulting in a large pool of potential freelancers of varied skillset, experience and pricing.

In most cases, Freelancers are graduates, international workers and people who are looking to make additional money outside of their full-time jobs and are available on short notice, however, may not see the work as a long term partnership.

Pros

  • Freelancers can be hired for as low as $5 – $10 per hour
  • Freelancers are available to complete projects and tasks on short deadlines
  • Freelancers have no associated costs of a traditional employee (Tax, Sick Leave etc.)

Cons

  • Freelancers set their own working schedule and working location
  • Freelancers may be working on multiple projects at any one time
  • Freelancers may not be available for long term projects

Overall, Freelancers are ideal when you are looking to complete ad-hoc tasks within your business on short notice with less outlay than hiring a full-time employee or agency.

 

When to Hire a Freelancer
When to Hire a Freelancer

When to Hire an Agency

Hiring a digital agency to complete your project provides you with access to a full-scale team of multidisciplinary individuals that can manage projects for you. Think of it as having access to a web designer, a content writer and marketer at a fraction of the cost of if you were to hire for each of these roles within your own business. Agencies can be based in your city, state or country and provide you with an end to end solution for all of your digital needs. Agencies have been built using tried and tested processes, tools and knowledge that can be used to guide your project and business to success.

In most cases, agencies have a full team on hand ready to begin working on your project and will bill based upon a per project or monthly fee and look for long term engagement with clients.

Pros

  • Agencies can provide you access to an entire team with multiple skillsets
  • Agencies can have multiple people working on your project at any one time
  • Agencies can provide fast turnaround on large scale projects

Cons

  • Agencies may outsource your project to external freelancers or junior staff
  • Agencies may have large overheads that need to be accounted for in their pricing
  • Agencies generally only work within traditional office hours Monday – Friday, 9 -5)

Overall, Agencies are ideal for businesses who are looking for a team that can provide services across multiple areas of their online business without the need to hire internally.

 

When to Hire an Agency
When to Hire an Agency

When to Hire a Consultant

A consultant is a person who provides advice and implementation in a specific area and develops a solution that is valuable beyond the time invested in creating it. Most consultants are highly skilled within their field of work and are selective about what projects they take on to ensure that your long-term return is greater that what the project costs.

Most consultants are thought leaders within their industry and have acquired their skills over a long period of time and see all engagements as a partnership rather than being just a labourer who will complete the project before moving onto the next client.

In most cases, consultants work on a one-to-one basis with business owners and bill based upon daily, weekly, bi-weekly or per project based rates.

Pros

  • Consultants generally specialise in one specific service or solution
  • Consultants have extensive experience and qualifications within their field
  • Consultants look to generate more value than what is invested

Cons

  • Consultants are selective about who they work with
  • Consultants generally are not available for completing ad-hoc tasks
  • Consultants mostly work remotely, however, may be available to work on-site

Overall, Consultants are ideal for businesses who are already established and are looking to solve a problem specific to the consultant’s skill set by working directly with the business owner or decision makers of the business.

 

When to Hire a Consultant
When to Hire a Consultant

 

Knowing which one is right for you?

Having previously owned an agency and worked with freelancers for projects of my own I can honestly tell you that there is no right or wrong answer here. The most important considering factor in making the right choice is which solution will help you reach your business goals and complete the project on time and within budget.

 

 

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