Freelancers are everywhere. Coding at a local coffee shop. Blogging in the park. Offering legal counsel from a sofa. Nearly 57 million Americans do freelance work and that number is expected to grow. By 2028, according to Statista, the majority of the U.S. workforce will be involved in temporary help services. So why does hiring freelance workers feel so daunting? Retail shops, salons and restaurants rely on their people. Trusted employees can provide a sense of security in a sometimes complicated business environment. Outsourcing important tasks can feel like a loss of control. However, freelance talent marketplaces are now making it easier for small businesses to form reliable partnerships and make freelancers “their people,” too.
What are the best platforms for finding freelance talent?
Marketplaces for freelance talent take the guesswork out of freelance services. They provide ratings for freelance workers, and let business owners post jobs and choose which freelancer(s) they’d like to hire. Here are some online platforms that cater to small businesses:
- Fiverr connects businesses with freelancers offering digital services in 300+ categories. Price: freelancer price + processing fee (5% of total cost). Fiverr offers Fiverr Business, a business solution designed for teams.
- Upwork is a marketplace covering a range of areas, from web development to admin support to marketing. Price: freelancer price + processing fee (3% of total cost); Upwork Basic is free; fees for Plus and Enterprise levels.
- Freelancer.com is a great source for web and visual design services. Price: freelancer price + processing fee (3% of total cost).
- TaskRabbit is a marketplace for tasks like delivery, moving, cleaning and furniture assembly. Price: freelancer price.
- Skyword is a marketplace for finding talent in brand strategy and content production and curation. Price: variable.
When to use freelance services
Not all projects require hiring a new employee. But because many small business employees already wear a lot of hats, it’s helpful to recognize tasks that can be outsourced to experts. Assembling a new piece of furniture for a salon waiting area isn’t necessarily a job suited for a hair or nail professional. Luckily, dozens of freelancers on TaskRabbit can quickly and safely handle the assembly. Or what about the server running the social media account for a local restaurant? She might be the perfect voice for the brand, but needs support when it comes to SEO/SEM, ad campaigns and blogging. Remote workers from Skyword can help fill in the gaps of the overall marketing strategy. And small retail shops need attention now more than ever. Temporary workers from platforms like Fiverr or Upwork can provide web development services and logo design to make sure small brands have the online firepower to compete in the digital space.
Seasonal needs can also be a great opportunity to capitalize on freelance services. Doing end-of-year accounting work is burdensome and adds another layer of stress to HR and operations teams. Rather than hire a new employee, small businesses can consider bringing on a freelancer to push teams over the hump of the busy season.
Among the most in-demand freelance work is in marketing, writing/editing, graphic design and accounting. Pursuing freelancers in these areas is especially important for small businesses that often do not have the budget to hire a full-time marketing team or accounting department.
Collaborating with freelancers
Building working relationships with freelancers is important. To make the most of these relationships, it’s important to do three things well: communicate projects succinctly, set clear expectations from the start and treat them like a partner.You can view ratings and reviews of their work on Fiverr, Upwork, etc. and further vet their experience on LinkedIn. Many freelancers have their own websites where you can explore their work and decide whether they’re the right person for the job.
The biggest challenge to managing freelancers is communication. Downloading deliverables and keeping up in Slack channels requires a strong internet connection. Virtual collaboration with freelancers sometimes requires video calls through Zoom—and projects simply can’t get done if you’re frozen on screen. Make sure your office has the best internet connection possible. Fiber, if you can get it, is a great option.
The freelance marketplace awaits
Leveraging the benefits of freelance services for your business offers the flexibility you need to be successful during unpredictable times. Temporary help services are revolutionizing small businesses—and not just small offices. Restaurants are hiring remote supply chain specialists. Retail shops are finding sales managers and visual merchandise experts on freelancer websites. Remote freelancers are designing new logos for arcade bars.
Some jobs last a lifetime. But some only last an afternoon. Determine your needs and then hop online, post a job on a freelance marketplace and find the right person for your business.
Product features and prices may have changed and are subject to change.