Why it’s time to start making your business freelancer-friendly.
The marketing landscape is transforming like never before. Changing client demands combined with a growth in the creative freelance workforce means that businesses need to adapt. But how are these changes impacting on agencies creating content? Why should you care? And how can a freelancer help? In part one of this two-part article, we explain why you need to rethink the way you work with freelancers if you really want to get ahead in 2018.
In November, the Creative Industries Federation (the national organisation for the UK’s creative industries) reported new growth figures, demonstrating that creative industries, (which include advertising, design and technology) grew at twice the rate of the wider UK economy from 2015 – 2016.
In fact, creative industries now make up 5.3% of the UK economy, with the entire advertising industry almost doubling in size since 2010. Alongside this, the CIF reported that 89% of these creative businesses employ fewer than 5 people, with the majority of businesses unable to afford the range of skills they need.
If you’re reading this, you are no doubt aware of the growing pressures on brand marketers, not only to deliver more visual content but to deliver this content in various formats, adapted to work across multiple touch points. Whilst this alone puts more pressure on an already diminishing marketing budget, client demands are changing too. With a need to create more content for less money, comes a demand for low cost, speed and agility, alongside an increased demand for expert talent in a growing number of niche markets from VR to vertical video. In addition to (and partly because of) this, an increasing number of clients are moving away from retainer-based working and towards a project-based model, looking for specialist talent to deliver in each niche area. Finding an increased overall demand for their time and skills, many creative talents are embracing this growing freelance-economy and moving away from permanent roles to go freelance.
Speaking at the 2017 AdWeek Europe panel on the agency of the future, ex-TBWA strategy chief Amelia Torode explained:
“The most talented people [will] extricate themselves from “big, clunky, networked” agency structures in favour of picking their own projects as freelancers”
And recent data shows this to be true, with a reported 47% of creative talents in the sector currently now self-employed. And this number is set to rise.
So what does this mean for agencies creating content?
The increasing number of clients now favouring a project-based model, combined with the demand-driven growth of the freelance community means that your businesses needs to adapt. If you want to be able to respond swiftly and efficiently to your clients needs, you need to be able to access specialised freelance talent quickly.
The good news is that there are plenty of great reasons to incorporate freelancers in to your workforce. Below are just a few ways that you could benefit.
Filling skill gaps
With more and more clients looking for innovative ways to make content, you may not be able to build a permanent workforce to cover every skill set you need. Freelancers can help you to fill those skill gaps, increasing the scope of projects you can take on.
A scalable workforce
With clients working to a project-based model, you need your workforce to be easily scalable. Having access to a pool of freelancers means your team can expand quickly to meet demand.
Fast turnaround project? Your freelance workforce can continue working when everyone else in the office has gone home, meaning you can deliver content, on-demand 24/7.
A fresh perspective
Most freelancers will work with a number of different clients every year, which gives them insight into how different businesses work. Your freelance can give you insight into different work styles, methods and best practice.
An injection of enthusiasm!
A new face in the office, even just for a few hours, can really bring some fresh energy to your team, as well as keeping your permanent workforce on their toes!
It could be the start of a long and fruitful relationship
Working with a freelancer gives you the chance to see their skills in action. And if you need them more regularly, there’s always a chance that they could be looking for a permanent contract. Plus, if you start working for a different company, you can take your freelancers with you!
In fact, relationships are key when you’re building a community of freelancers. And as with any good relationship, it has to be benefit both parties. There’s more to building a responsive and versatile freelance workforce than jotting a few names in your little black book.
In order for you to truly harness the power of the growing freelance economy, you need a process in place that allows you to find the right talent and get them working on a project as quickly as possible. This is where the biggest challenge lies. Within most businesses, a lack of processes and regulations mean that a hassle-free up-scaling of your workforce is impossible. If you want to build a business that really benefits from the freelance economy, there are a few things you need to consider.
Invoice payment procedures
Late or unpaid invoices are a huge source of conflict between agencies and freelancers. A lack of payment procedures can cause friction and stress and at the worst can severely damage your reputation.
Storing freelancer data
Who was that designer you worked with last year? And where did you save their number? Its great having freelancers on-call but how do you find the people you need, when you need them without spending hours trawling through your inbox?
You’ve got your freelancer in the office they’re ready to get stuck in but first you need to get them set up. Do they have all of the assets they need? Do they have all of the passwords and email addresses for relevant contacts on the project? You can spend valuable time getting your freelancers set up before you’ve even got started.
HR processes and dispute resolution
Imagine your freelance designer vanishes the day before that big deadline. Perhaps they’ve made a complaint or you’re unhappy with the quality of their work. How do you deal with it? If you have no HR policies in place for your freelance workforce, you could really be putting yourself at risk. HR policies for freelancers will improve their experience of working with you too.
Too much of a good thing
When it comes to freelancers, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. If you need to find a new talent fast then sorting through applications can be time consuming. You want to be able to filter your talent to find exactly who you want, in the right location and with the right availability.
Do you have enough room?!
If you want to deliver a project quickly, you need to be able to communicate with your freelancer and your client, in real-time, wherever you are. But email threads can get long, meaning it takes time to find the important details. How do you make sure that communication between parties is quick and easy to access from anywhere at any time?
These are just some of the challenges that are preventing your businesses from benefitting from the freelance boom. And the businesses that are overcoming these challenges now are guaranteed to thrive. So if you really want to get ahead in 2018, it’s time to start making your business freelancer-friendly.
The Trigger Studio is a curated community of 3,500 content creation professionals, bigger than any black book and individually vetted by our producers. We harness the power of the gig economy and our bespoke content production tool to collaborate with clients and the best freelance, on-demand creators to make impactful content at scale. Our team becomes your team – the right experience and the right skills for your brief. Selected, available and committed to the job.
To find out more please email email@example.com or give us a call on 0203 865 2176
In part 2 of this article, we’ll detail how you can address these challenges, so that you can benefit from a freelance future.