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5 factors you should consider before hiring a freelancer

'Content is king'. It’s tyrannical King Joffrey, always demanding more and never satisfied with what you give. Content. Argh. It's that thing we don't always want to make, but we kinda always need.

When you’re marketing in the digital space, you usually need a steady stream of content, whether through blogs, articles, pictures or video, give or take. You might have set up a blog, social media and created a website and even a little marketing plan listing when and where you produce your content.

Then comes the hard part: actually creating the content. This is when many of us choose to delegate this role to a freelancer.

Before we begin, let’s consider why you would skip an established business and hire a freelancer:

Often, a freelancer can offer a very low price. There’s no shortage of graduates and beginners posting on sites like Upwork and Fiverr,  willing to work for low costs. These sites can allow you to easily recruit people in other countries, which can offer a huge convenience if they are working for you as you sleep.

But while price and convenience are good initial lures into hiring a low-pay freelancer, there are other things down the line you should consider before making the hire. This blog isn't here to scare you away from freelancers, just to remind you what you could consider for the benefit of your marketing and business.

Reliability

  Is your work a point of focus, or are you in a long queue of semi complete projects?

Is your work a point of focus, or are you in a long queue of semi complete projects?

Reliability is often not an issue of the freelancer's competence (you might have discovered a genius). It's more of a question of how much they're able to prioritise your job. For example, I had a client who needed video content created but didn’t want to spend a lot of money (surprise).

So he used a certain freelance services website (I won't name) to get the job done for cheap by a remote worker. But the freelancer had to take up a full-time job offer and couldn't deliver on the original delivery time. That's when the client turned to us at KG Design Consultancy so we could set a resolution time.

I'm not writing this to demonise freelancers. If I were in his shoes, I would have done the same thing.  Ironically, it's reliability that might have spurred him to take up the job - most people would prefer a reliable 9-5 job over the unreliability of freelancing.

Lack or order in freelancing is part of its beauty, but it's also a good time to stop and consider how important your project's deadlines are. If you're looking for something with more process and reliability, it's ideal to hire an established firm that devotes its entire schedule to your own.

Culture

  Where do you fit?

Where do you fit?

All culture is complex, and it means so much more than your home country or city. There are different layers of culture, subculture and counterculture. There's the cultures of businesses and organisations, workplaces and teams. Hiring a freelancer means both finding someone who can do work appropriate for your culture, and ensure that their culture is suitable for your work.

If you’re outsourcing your work to people in other countries, cities, demographics or else, consider what kind of culture you’re ultimately trying to market to. An experienced content creator knows your target market well, including what resonates with them culturally. 

Speed

  How urgent is your project?

How urgent is your project?

The biggest factor in determining how fast a job gets done is often not drive, motivation or energy. Those things can change. Rather, speed is often based on the processes in place that allow for a more efficient workflow.

When you have to hire the cheapest option, one of the first things you might need to sacrifice is speed. Freelancers often don’t have the same fixed workflow that you’ll find in an established business, and as a result, productivity can fall behind. Like all things freelancing, you might stumble upon a pot of gold, but established businesses can ensure that the product is delivered on time. 

Communication

  Who's saying what?

Who's saying what?

Good communication with a client is like a spark on a dinner date, ‘you know when it’s there, and when it isn’t’. It’s pretty easy to tell when your content creator doesn’t ‘get’ what you’re trying to do or achieve.

When hiring a freelancer, you want to create an environment where you two can effectively communicate with each other. You also want to ensure that the communication isn’t wasteful, is appropriate towards the kind of work you are achieving. Are they showing an active interest? Are they making an effort to communicate and understand your goals properly? Consider how your own need for convenience could rub up against effective communication with your worker. Is it really worth it to have the convenience if the end result is you having to go back and reiterate your plan?

Communication has come to mean more than just barking out instructions and making them heard. It’s about really understanding the core of who you are and what you’re trying to achieve.

Which brings me to the final thing you should consider:

Your Own Time

 A freelancer should be able to save you time, and communication should be quick. No constant phone-checking!

A freelancer should be able to save you time, and communication should be quick. No constant phone-checking!

They say that time is money. Some people take this more literally than others, hence the idea of relative income. But when you’re facing the cost of work from an established firm, the higher cost is often based on the amount of time and energy the company is investing into the project, hence saving you time and energy.

When you consider relative expenditure, the gap between hiring a freelancer or a firm is less dramatic.

Established service providers are often committed to making the process as smooth as possible. Often you’ll face a process to help prevent you from wasting too much time. They know what questions need to be asked, and which don’t. They probably have a better sense of what you’re expecting, and know how to meet your expectations beforehand, so you do not have to re-instruct the worker with every new decision. This is because freelancers often work alone, and therefore have fewer people to bounce of their ideas and brainstorm with so they inevitably turn to you. Is it better to hire a single person, or a whole team?

So basically...

It has been said time and time again: we’ve all learned the easy way or the hard way - hiring a freelancer is completely hit or miss. Don’t be afraid to conduct interviews or be specific about your job requirements. Don’t be afraid to push a newbie freelancer, as your scrutiny will give them valuable experience which will help lead them to command higher prices. But for now, you can expect mixed results.

If you believe your job deserves expert attention, you might be able to get it from a freelancer and give them valuable experience as a result. But it doesn’t compare to the benefits of hiring an established firm to create your content.

— Kathryn George, founder and Creative Director at KG Design Consultancy.


If you’re looking to create video content for your business, organisation or website, KG Design Consultancy is a service dedicated to producing short, ‘snackable’ videos to help you communicate your brand in a fun, visual format. You can check out some of our recent work on our website, or follow us on Facebook for latest news and updates.