Article | 28 Nov 2023

Top 4 Considerations When Building a Strong Freelancer Base For Your Scaleup

Posted in Business, Freelancer, Top tips, Tools & Advice, Client,

The sheer scale of businesses deploying freelancers to support their operations isn't a trend - it's a phenomenon.

Millions of small, large, and global brands are opting to hire freelancers every day as a means to achieve a wide range of objectives. Not to mention retain agile business models in a less-than-certain post-pandemic world. And there's no lack of talent.

There are currently around 1.57 billion self-employed professionals around the world - that’s 46.7% of the working population. Contributing billions to the economy each year, and actively supporting organisations of every shape and sector grow.

If you're considering building a base of freelancers for your business, it helps to know how.

#1: Strategy vs. Delivery

Strategy is tantamount to businesses' success, whether it's PR, Sustainability or Marketing. Professionals offering strategic direction can…

  • analyse your current needs and trajectory
  • provide a highly specific approach to achieving your outcomes
  • directly and indirectly upskill your permanent workforce

Delivery is also in huge demand, and there are freelancers who focus solely on actioning your strategy or tactics. These professionals can…

Most freelance consultants will provide a 360 service, pairing strategic consultation alongside delivery. This can be beneficial for businesses in need of hands-on support that’s underpinned by wider objectives. However, if you’re looking for someone to develop and deploy a complex strategy and monitor its performance, you’ll need a seasoned consultant.

#2: Specialist vs. Generalist

Specialists offer insights on a highly-focused area or provide specific skills, and will typically have years if not decades of relevant experience. Having said that, these types of professionals can be hard to find, and because they’re highly focused in specific sectors, it’s possible there’ll be conflicts of interest that will prevent a partnership.

These freelancers can…

  • access a great network within an industry
  • keep their ear firmly to the ground for up-to-date trends and knowledge
  • help drive success for a scaling business

Generalists offer a holistic package of skills, or operate in any number of sectors. Of course, you can opt for an individual with generalist skills in a specialist industry; or vice versa.

These freelancers can…

  • be deployed by businesses who need to expand their resources or capabilities
  • balance a number of tactics through a variety of experience
  • recommend professionals with complementary skills within their network

#3: One-Off vs. Ongoing

Freelancers hired on a one-off basis are typically brought in to run a project or lead a campaign. They're ideal for developing a new website or steering company change management, for example, but won't typically provide ongoing support without a monthly retainer.

These professionals can…

  • identify core challenges relating to a singular need
  • quickly and proficiently executing solutions.

Freelancers hired on an ongoing basis could support delivery of a strategy, day-to-day operations, and so on. So you’re often gaining the benefits of a permanent employee without the long-term cost commitment, and with added flexibility.

These professionals can…

  • accumulate a more in-depth understanding of your business over time
  • work as an extension of your teams or marketing department

#4: Project Fee vs. Day Rate (vs. Monthly Retainers)

One of your biggest considerations is the budget you can allocate. Most professionals and consultants will either charge a project fee or a day rate - but preferences vary hugely.

Consultants working on a one-off basis may charge a project fee split across a few months or invoiced in two payments at the start and end of the work. Day rates are often used by ongoing freelancers, or fixed-term contractors.

But, this can also depend on the type of business you operate. Most agencies will rely on day rates to help track usage against their own client accounts, and allocate budgets more accurately. Whereas, other companies might prefer a project fee or monthly retainer.

Monthly retainers can be beneficial since they establish a set of deliverables and it can spread out larger costs. These typically incorporate a set number of hours per week, or specific deliverables/outcomes your consultant will need to achieve across a month period.

There's no hard and fast here. It's worth speaking to other leaders who have worked with freelance talent, and downloading our 2023 Day Rate Guide for the latest insights.

Proven Pros

Freelance professionals and fixed-term contractors are some of the best equipped to help support enterprises' every day operations. Their experience with a wide range of companies means they often have advanced knowledge of industries, trends, and disciplines, and see what works - and what doesn't.

If you're looking to expand your agile workforce, let us help. The Work Crowd is connected to over 5,000 professionals with diverse skills. Meaning you're never left short of innovative ideas and unique viewpoints for your business.