Insource or outsource? Freelancer or permanent employee? It’s one of the most common questions we get asked by our clients. When it comes to marketing, there’s no denying that the use of freelance marketing consultants is growing in popularity. In fact, according to a recent Guardian poll, 79% of UK small businesses use freelancers and say they are a big part of their business strategy. And with the growth of freelancer websites such as Freelancer, you don’t even need to search for good local freelancers anymore; instead you can just outsource pretty much every part of your business to absolutely anywhere in the world, instantly. There’s no denying that having a pool of good go-to freelancers is absolutely essential for creative agencies, but could a freelance marketing consultant ever be an alternative to permanent staff? We take a look at the pros and cons of using freelancers and what’s best for your agency…
They deliver high-quality work, fast
Freelancers run their own businesses, so they have to work hard to deliver exceptionally high-quality work as quickly as possible. Basically, they want you to keep coming back for more, so it’s in their best interest to work as hard as they can for you and deliver their very best every time. Freelancers don’t have off days because they simply can’t afford to - which means you can get the job done quickly and efficiently.
But they are probably multi-tasking
Yes, freelancers will turn around work quickly, and there’s no doubt that it’s in their best interests to produce their best work for you when they can. However, you aren’t their only client and they will probably be working to other deadlines too. Basically, a freelancer will never have the loyalty or commitment to to your business that full-time staff do, because their primary focus will always be their own business.
They have special skill sets
Content writers write compelling content, web developers build wonderful websites and designers create jaw-dropping designs - it’s just what they do. And because they specialise in just one thing, it’s pretty safe to assume that they’ll be pretty good at it too. So if you’ve got copy that needs turning around fast or a design project that needs to get out the door, a freelance marketing consultant could be perfect for high-quality work time at short notice.
But there’s an initial risk
However good they are at what they do, the fact is that when you first hire a freelance marketing consultant, you’re taking a risk. It’s not like hiring for a permanent position where your recruitment process allows you to really get to know your potential employees, their skills, achievements and whether they will fit in with your team. With freelancers, you have to take their experience at face value and a quick flick through their portfolio - which means you aren't able to make such well-informed, measured decisions as you do with permanent hires.
And they can disappear
We’ve all been there: your working relationship with your freelancer is going great and they are frequently delivering high-quality work on-time and within budget. And then… nothing. You don't know what’s happened but deadlines are getting missed and the quality is getting sloppy - and before you know it you’ve got quite a big mess to clear up. Unfortunately, freelancers are much harder to keep track of than permanent employees who show up to work every day from 9-5, which can make it harder to ensure deadlines are met and that work is always of the quality you need.
So is it worth it?
In conclusion, hiring a freelance marketing consultant can be a fantastic stop-gap for busy marketing agencies - but it’s important to weigh up the positives and negatives. Whilst hiring freelancers can be a great way to get you through busy times and allow you to scale up and down whilst still hitting those deadlines, the reality is that when it comes to loyalty, business growth and dedication, permanent staff will win time and time again. Permanent staff contribute much more to your business than just their work, and if you’ve taken the time to recruit the right candidate then their value in terms of what they add to your workplace, culture and team morale is priceless.
If you’d like to find out more about how to put together an exceptional team to achieve growth in your agency and drive your business forward, contact one of our expert marketing recruitment experts today.