Whether your business is large or small, growing or slowing, a qualified freelancer can help you produce more and better work at higher profit margins. The most successful freelancers produce excellent work with a high level of customer service and further differentiate themselves by offering something that other freelancers don't, e.g., extensive knowledge of a particular industry, exceptional creativity, or a breadth of services. Freelancers (also known as 'independent contractors') are responsible for their own office space, health care benefits, and job-related equipment. The only cost to you is the fee you pay for the work they produce.
If you're not sure whether a freelance partnership makes sense for you, consider these five facts about freelancers:
- Freelancers live and die by their reputation. Anyone who "makes it" as a freelancer has figured out how to consistently deliver high quality work on time and within budget.
- Freelancers have nowhere to hide. Unlike a traditional employee, a freelancer bears full responsibility for the work she or he produces. There is no other department or team to blame for a missed deadline or inferior quality work. A good freelancer is motivated by this transparency, and strives to exceed client expectations every time.
- Flexibility is a hallmark of a freelance professional. Because they primarily work solo, most freelancers are able to adjust to changes in timelines and project scope more easily than a traditional employee or entire department.
- Non-traditional working hours are the norm. Many freelancers are willing to work evenings and weekends if necessary to satisfy a client, and since their rate is usually based on the number of hours worked, clients do not pay any overtime fees.
- Freelancers freelance because they choose to, not because they have to. Many leave traditional employment because they feel stifled, either creatively or strategically, and they believe in their ability to compete in the open market. Freelancing is like a never-ending game of King of the Hill. In order for a freelancer to survive, she or he must be better than most other freelancers. Successful freelancers continually innovate and stretch their skills in order to satisfy clients and grow their business.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 10 million workers are classified as independent contractors, and freelancers earn one in every eight dollars in the U.S.1 If you're not taking advantage of the professional freelance pool, someone else clearly is. Perhaps it's your biggest competitor.
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Reference: 1. Navigant Economics, The Role of Independent Contractors in the U.S. Economy (December 2010)
Copyright © 2011 by Sally Bacchetta. All rights reserved.