By CHLOE MOK
It has been three years since I started my freelancing journey. Until recently, there was an unspoken stigma surrounding freelancing where freelancers were perceived as work-from-home individuals who were in between jobs or prefer to work from their beds, or worse still, simply lazy.
I confess I too thought the same of freelancers – until I became one myself.
In 2017, my career path was changed forever when I had my baby. I was determined to make a career out of freelance digital marketing. And now, three years later, I’ve realised that my perception of the industry could not have been further from the truth.
According to a recent report in 2019 by leading freelancing platform Workana, millennials make up the biggest demographic of the freelance workforce with 35.6 per cent of freelancers aged between 21 and 30.
It also reported that the freelance workforce is ‘professionalised’ and 73 per cent of them continue to invest in upskilling themselves through digital platforms or e-learning spaces.
…we see many startups that have grown exponentially over the past years cite hiring freelancers as one of their secrets of growth.
As the world is gradually being introduced to the possibility of employing professional freelancers to tackle a specific job scope, we see many startups that have grown exponentially over the past years cite hiring freelancers as one of their secrets of growth.
Here, I am referring to freelancers as skilled professionals who are serving several clients and are not looking for full-time employment. An article from CNBC revealed that in the U.S., these skilled freelancers earn more than 70 per cent of workers in the overall U.S Economy and 51 per cent of them are not looking for traditional full-time employment. The rising gig economy is teeming with skilled millennials who could very well be the answer to filling professional gaps.
Over the past few years, many of my friends have been genuinely interested to know why companies would hire freelancers at all. While every freelancer has a different skill set that makes them an attractive hire, here are the top three reasons why hiring freelancers is an inevitable move for startups who want to grow bigger and run faster:
1) Freelancers are experts
In order to keep one’s freelancing career afloat and sustainable, freelancers often need to be working on several projects at once. Additionally, their final product must always exceed the client’s expectations for repeat and long-lasting working relationships.
This situation creates a steep learning curve where one has multiple case studies to back his/her professional experience. As freelancers take on more projects and learn more on the job, they have more opportunities to hone their skills and therefore can deepen and broaden their knowledge in a shorter time frame.
Put simply, getting a freelancer to work on a project often means that it will receive expert attention, giving the client qualified advice and credible opinions.
You may enjoy reading: Why You Should Consider A Career In the Gig Economy
2) Freelancers are more dedicated
When it comes to results, freelancers must always keep clients satisfied. This may mean a consistent streak of achieving goals, or contributing over and beyond the specified job scope. Despite the general perception that freelancers have highly flexible working hours, most skilled freelancers keep to a strict work schedule so that they can develop and maintain a reputation of being responsive and trustworthy while working remotely.
Furthermore, in order to continue to garner support from stakeholders, freelancers are also more likely to invest in upskilling themselves, thus upgrading their professional market value. Meanwhile, full-time employees who were qualified at the time of hire may lapse into contentment and fall behind the times.
3) Cost effective
Instead of committing to employee benefits such as paid leave, health insurance and EPF, businesses can now choose to hire freelancers for short-term projects, or on a trial basis.
This offers a win-win situation for both parties, as freelancers can use the opportunity to try out the working relationship. This ability to ‘plug and play’ and hire on-demand has many advantages, including the non-necessity of long-term commitment, resulting in a shorter decision-making process on whether or not to bring experts on board. Work can thus potentially be completed in a shorter time with better expertise.
The rising gig economy presents a considerable challenge for traditional employers. While it might be a disadvantage to established corporations due to a potential loss of talent, this phenomenon is also a great opportunity for startups and SMEs as experts can be hired with no long-term commitment, thus equalising the playing field. As technology allows for more flexible working terms, there have also been many occasions where freelancers have been recruited as permanent employees after having established a fruitful working relationship.
Keeping in mind that businesses need to solve 21st century problems with 21st century solutions, capitalising on a new market opportunity has never been easier. With online freelancing platforms such as Guru and Workana investing heavily in recruiting skilled freelancers, employers have no reason to delay looking at different talent sources for their businesses.
Be it big corporations or small businesses, hiring talented and skilled freelancers could well be the one strategic business move that answers their problems.
Chloe Mok is an advocate of digital marketing and is passionate about the latest marketing trends in town. She is a certified marketer from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and is currently working as a digital marketing consultant. To get in touch with her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: We have just launched a global ‘DoGood’ campaign called the 21 MAD Days challenge beginning 16 of February 2020. Each day, from the 16th of February to the 7th of March, a daily ‘Make A Difference’ challenge, based on United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be issued. Complete the challenge and post your ‘success’ on any social media platform. To register for the challenge, go to: https://mad.leaderonomics.org/
Once you register, you will get a special 21 MAD Days kit outlining the daily challenges. Looking forward to see you all finish the 21 MAD Days challenge. Enjoy and lets go MAD together #21maddays #leaderonomics
Finish all the challenges and be a MAD champion (and a cool cert to prove it!).