2020 has been a year of reckoning for most businesses around the world, especially those in their early stages of development. How does a business that is only getting started, attending events and conferences, and trying to increase exposure, shift their operations entirely to the digital world? After closing up shop due to lockdown around the world since the COVID-19 pandemic started, business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere have been forced to face the music and ask themselves if their business can survive 2020.
For many businesses, survival is synonymous with growth. Survival in oversaturated markets often depends on the growth of your business and brand. So how can you accelerate your growth when you’re struggling to weather a global storm? One foolproof strategy many have been using, even well before the pandemic started, is hiring freelance specialists.
Why a Freelance Workforce Is the Future
In 2017, a Toptal survey reported that 90% of business leaders integrate freelance workers in some capacity. The survey also reported that most companies plan to grow their use of external talent significantly in the next five years. The reasons for that are plenty.
The most obvious and most often cited reason is cost-efficiency. Hiring full-time employees takes a lot of time, resources and a huge opportunity cost. A crisis – like a pandemic – compounds all of that. A two- or even three-digit hourly rate of a freelancer for one short-term project seems like pocket change in comparison, and it is. Companies are estimated to save 20-30% in costs annually by outsourcing.
Specialized Talent & Expertise
Growth cannot happen without innovation; which often means that businesses need to expand into territories that they know very little about. Imagine a team of writers and marketers trying to implement an ERP system. Or a team of IT whizzes trying to write an ebook. Upskilling is one thing, but this would be like learning an entire language and aiming for fluency in months.
Hiring a specialist with years of experience under their belt – without having to shoulder the cost of integrating them into your full-time workforce (especially if their work is only a short-term priority for your business) – is like hitting the jackpot, especially because doing that will allow you to focus on your core business needs.
Another advantage of a freelance workforce is the amount of (nearly-) passive work you can be receiving around the clock. Hiring from a global talent pool of freelancers means you can save time waiting for deliverables throughout the day by assigning multiple freelancers in different timezones. That way, you will be receiving work around the clock with no interruptions.
With the amount of non-core tasks that pile up on a day-to-day basis for a rapidly growing business, hiring freelancers can accomplish a staggering amount of work. A freelance workforce would ensure that all of those pesky tasks are done well before you even start the day, so you can use the prepared work to accomplish your major tasks.
Immense Talent Pool – and More Diversity
Trying to tap into talent – in any niche field or industry – by flipping through resumes that people send you is an incredibly time-consuming and very limited approach to hiring. Besides long interviewing processes, tests and contracts, the actual talent you’re exposed to ends up being a very small percentage of the actual global talent pool out there. Truth is, you can only access those by expanding your reach into the gig economy.
Not only will a freelance workforce shorten your hiring process from months to days, but it will also allow you a diverse workforce – which is the only kind of workforce any company should be aspiring for right now – from different backgrounds, cultures, races and genders. Access to ideas and resources can become infinite with that approach and mindset.
A growing business is also in dire need for flexibility in order to thrive. Not only are internal operations of businesses in the growth stage incredibly unstable, but the dynamic nature of marketplace conditions dictates that your business must be prepared for fast and sudden shifts. Having a contingent workforce would guarantee that your responses to market conditions can be quick and agile without sacrificing quality, cost or credibility.
Let’s look at how this translates in practice. What are some real-life examples of companies that scaled up with the help of a freelance workforce?
TravelPerk is a business management platform that was ranked by Saas 1000 as the world’s fastest growing Software-as-a-Service company in 2019. With 500 employees and a team of freelancers to augment their workforce, TravelPerk managed to score huge clients like Uber, Adyen and Transferwise, and to expand internationally to cities like London and Berlin.
According to their VP of marketing and growth, hiring freelance marketing specialists during their early stages of growth played an essential role in their success. Their specialists helped test different channels and strategies at a phenomenal speed, and were able to apply their experiences with the best marketing practices in the industry to TravelPerk and help it grow.
One of the top 5% of independent dental practices in revenue, US-based Silverstrom Group is a fast-growing innovative enterprise that started out as a traditional solo clinic 40 years ago. Today, it’s an innovative independent practice made up of a blended workforce of full-timers and freelance dental specialists.
The founder and manager, Dr. David Silverstrom, explained to Forbes, “specialists increasingly want to come in, do their work, and not worry about the business.” For him, integrating freelance dental specialists allows them to expand into areas like robotic implant placement, 3D printing, and Oral Facial Myology rapidly and feasibly. This kind of expansion was only made possible with their strategic use of a blended workforce.
The traditional workforce is not only outdated, but it is counterproductive and limiting. In the full picture of a workforce that integrates freelancers, you, your business and your staff all benefit from increased flexibility, specialization and focus, and extra room to learn and reach new heights.
If you’re feeling inspired and you’re looking for freelance talents to jump onboard, reach out to Ureed.com – the largest freelance marketplace in the GCC with over 35k experts across 150+ industries and fields.