Mark Trowbridge, CEO & Founder of ConXhub took to the stage for the first day of Elite Business on 11 March in a breakout session, speaking about hiring freelancers for your business – and why outsourcing work can sometimes be more beneficial than taking on full-time staff.
Many people leave their full-time jobs to become freelance workers. Some feel unfulfilled or undervalued and choose the self-employed route. But for others, they may simply enjoy the flexibility freelance work has to offer. Regardless of the reason, the freelance economy is growing – and there are potential benefits to hiring these skilled workers. Mark explained: “The freelance world is made up of some of the most talented, experienced and skilful people you can come across. Since we’ve had the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of very serious and high-level business people move out of the commercial world into the freelance world.”
“It’s a lot more fun working for lots of different companies, bosses and organisations, as well as having different experiences. There are many reasons why people would want to go into the freelance world. I would like to emphasise that it is a large community. Nearly 50% of the self-employed community in the UK alone is working as a freelancer. So, it’s massive. You as a self-employed entrepreneur really would be amiss if you didn’t look at this as an opportunity.”
In the early days of a business, it can be hard to execute every task efficiently. Regardless of the stage your start-up is in, hiring freelancers can be an effective way to ensure things run smoothly across the board. Mark explained: “We started using freelancers when we were just two people strong. And had we not used freelancers I really don’t believe we would have grown as successful as we had. They’ve been a tremendous asset to us as a company. Once you start using and once you understand what you can gain from the freelance community, your mental aspect towards it will change. You’re never too small to grow.”
Mark explained the several benefits of hiring freelancers for your company. This is because they are lower in cost, they are masters at what they do and they bring their ‘A game’ to the team. He said: “A freelancer wants to please you; they want to do the best job they possibly can. Every single time. Not the day they turn up or a week into work. Every single time they want to be proud of the work they deliver to you. That for me is the biggest part. When we talk about lower costs, there is a cost benefit in terms of value. There is also no ancillary cost. You don’t have supply office space, equipment and uniforms of that nature. There is no training, they know what they are doing, and they are a master of what they do. You don’t have to train up a bookkeeper. They know how to bookkeep, if they don’t, you shouldn’t be employing them.
Hiring freelancers may appear to be more costly per hour, but you end up getting more for your money overall. This is because freelancers are usually highly skilled at what they do. You will be employing them for completing one task, compared to hiring a worker full-time – meaning the overall costs will be much cheaper. Mark said: “When people know what they’re doing, you’re getting the best outcome. When you’re starting to look at the cost-value of that particular person, you’re not employing them full-time. You’re employing them just for the time that’s needed to commit to that task. And you’ll find the freelancer doesn’t want to work 24/7, that’s not why they’re a freelancer. But you’ll find in terms of that overall cost, while it may sound expensive as an hourly rate, as a total cost, it’s a lot lower. So don’t get confused by hourly rates and look at how much time they’re spending on that job. And because they’re very skilled at what they do, what might take someone a day would take them a lot quicker.”
How do you hire the right freelancer for your business? Mark shared his top tips for finding the right candidates that can propel your business to greater heights. Firstly, decide specifically what you need to outsource. Then, search and review different types of freelancers and which one would suit the needs of your business. It is also important to respond and reply to freelancers, even if you don’t think they’re a right fit for your business – because you might need their resources in the future. Mark usually shortlists suitable freelancers based on set criteria. Before hiring a freelancer, it is vital to check their previous work. And when everything seems to align, arrange a call with your chosen freelancer to see if they are the right fit for your company.