Why “Right People at the Right Time” is Critical to Company Success

Jan 23, 2019 Susan Marshall

I’m lucky to work with a team that embodies the Torchlite mission and vision. Our team has taken the “3 Cs” (our core values — communication, collaboration, curiosity) to heart, and they demonstrate them every day. Building a team of customer success, marketing, sales, development, and professional services experts that share our mission of helping customers achieve their goals has been both challenging and rewarding. Building a team has taught me the value of having the right people at the right time. In a startup, it is difficult to know exactly when you’ll need an extra set of hands. It could be the difference between a successful product launch and missed deadlines. It’s also taught me the importance of asking for help when you don’t have the expertise you need. With the right team and the right resources, marketing results are sure to follow. The Right People: Your Internal Team Our people are critical to our growth. At the core, culture is all about people, and we’ve built a team of driven contributors who share our company’s core values. You can hire a team of A-players, but if you don’t give them the tools and support they need, what’s the point? Before we bring anyone on board at Torchlite, we ask them what they need to be successful. Equipping our team with the right tools (including access to on-demand experts) and lines of communication, allows them to focus on their goals and get more done. The Right Time: Highly Skilled Technical Experts With the right people on your team, you can weather any storm. That’s not to say that your team has to be perfect — you must have the right mixture of people, processes, and technology. But sometimes you can’t deny that you need an extra hand. In fact, the best leaders recognize when they (or someone on their team) needs help, and they facilitate getting that help. The first step in recognizing that you need an expert to fill a gap is understanding that you don’t know it all, and that you don’t have to. With so many tools and technologies available, no one person can be an expert in everything. Why settle for piecemeal marketing results when you could test, change and analyze your marketing techniques more efficiently and effectively with the help of an expert? The type of expert you choose to work with depends on your marketing team’s goals, but making sure that you have your “bread and butter” marketing tactics down pat is a good place to start. An on-demand workforce can increase the efficiency and quality of content produced to meet market demands. If you want to implement a new channel or campaign, freelance experts can be onboarded to help you prove revenue potential before hiring permanent employees for long-term execution. And when your team is occupied with more pressing projects, a bench of on-demand digital experts can make sure that all of the pieces of your marketing puzzle stay together. Since independent contractors tend to focus on a specific platform or skill, they tend to be more up-to-date with the latest product releases, trends, and “must haves” in their field. That means they’re efficient, results-driven, and that they can save you money. Our own marketing team is made up of event and digital marketers, product marketers, and designers. They’re pros at what they do, but sometimes we need an extra set of hands. That’s why they use Torchlite’s marketplace of digital experts to fill the gaps. For our team, that means working with technical experts who have a deep knowledge of Salesforce and Pardot, as well as a digital advertising whiz who helps us target the right people at the right time. From Pardot implementation and support to lead generation campaigns, our own solution has helped us scale our marketing team without increasing our headcount. It’s not just our team that has realized the value of on-demand experts — we’ve worked with hundreds of brands to help them unlock the value of their marketing technology. It's more than building another software solution. It's about bringing people and technology together to create an agile and tech-enabled approach so marketers can get more done and compete in a digital world. Need an extra set of hands? Contact us today and we'll connect you with the top 4% of digital experts.

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7 Signs It’s Time to Hire On-Demand Digital Talent

Jan 09, 2019 Emily Brungard

It’s 11 a.m. and your office is buzzing with energy. You’ve got a product release around the corner, updates to roll out, and a team to take care of. You’re in heads-down mode trying to get everything done. Copious amounts of coffee have been consumed. Lunch? You don’t have time for that — there are deadlines to make. But what about your day-to-day work? While your team has been laser-focused on a few short-term projects, have others fallen by the wayside? In a perfect world, all of your marketing work would be perfectly balanced, but let’s be real — that just doesn’t happen. And what about that new tool you bought last month but haven’t had time to implement? If this sounds like you, it may be time to add a support system to your team in the way of on-demand, specialized talent. These are seven ways to know you need an extra layer of support: 1. Your team doesn’t have the expertise Sometimes you need a specialist to get a project done. Maybe your team has been using piecemeal technology to get projects done because it’s too difficult to switch over to a new platform. Maybe you’re implementing a new channel and you don’t know where to start. On-demand digital experts bring you the right expertise at the right time, so you can drive results. Freelancers tend to focus on one or two things they master and continue to obtain training for over the years, which allows you to reap the benefit of a true expert without the expense of hiring a full-time employee or paying for new or ongoing training. 2. Your team is always busy but it's not all getting done If your team is constantly working late nights or missing deadlines, chances are you need some extra help. We can all agree that the work needs to get done and budgets are limited, but make sure to consider how current workload affects employee morale. What are your turnaround times for deliverables? Outsourcing allows you to unlock multiple marketing channels with ease and avoid employee burnout. 3. Your team can do it, but it’s not the best use of their time or talent Let’s say you want to implement the Salesforce marketing platform, but you don’t have a Salesforce Marketing expert on your team. Instead of using your copywriter or designer’s time (who already have work and don't have the training) to set up and optimize the tool, you could hire a vetted technical expert to get the tool up and running in less time with more experience. You hired each person for their specific skill set. So why pull an employee off more important tasks if a freelancer can get it done on a project basis? 4. You’re losing out on opportunities If you’re losing opportunities to build brand awareness because you’re too busy to respond to outreach, it’s definitely time to outsource some work. Are you being invited to speak at conferences or participate on panels only to decline because your workload is too heavy? Is your competition catching up to you? Consider the cost of falling behind. 5. Your top objectives need more time and attention from your team Do you have an expensive initiative in the works or a quarterly goal that you’re struggling to meet? You don't have to drop the ball on other tasks to focus on the ones that need more of your time. It’s time to hire a freelancer if your team is being pulled to dedicate more time to a select few projects. Outsourcing tasks to on-demand experts is one solution that can help you check more off your to-do list without getting behind on your biggest priorities. 6. You want to increase output without increasing head count There's a place for reasonable increased demands on your team, but if they're feeling like they were hired with one set of expectations and you keep adding to their plate, you're going to have very unhappy employees who aren't able to dedicate their own expertise and attention to the projects they already have. If it's feeling like they're being asked to do the job of 2 employees, adding a short-term freelancer can ease that burden, keep your employees happy and productive (read retention and better bottom lines), and the additional work will be getting done by an expert. 7. You're experiencing a transition Maybe your company was acquired, a full-time employee is on parental leave, or your team has been assigned a new project and they're not entirely equipped to handle it. Regardless of the circumstances, freelance digital experts are trained to fill a temporary gap for you or someone on your team. Even during a period of change, the show must go on. On-demand digital experts can fill technical and creative skills gaps across a variety of channels. If your team is overwhelmed with work and you need an extra set of hands, reach out today to find your project's perfect match!

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Unlocking Salesforce: A Q&A with Marketing Cloud Expert Sean H.

Dec 12, 2018 Emily Brungard

Research from Salesforce suggests that customers now expect a more connected and personalized experience delivered to them in real time. In fact, 70% of customers say connected processes — like seamless handoffs or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions — are key to winning their business. Marketers are expected to take data and transform it into an experience for customers. With tools like Marketing Cloud, the possibilities are endless, but if you’re not dedicated to learning the latest features of the platform, you’re only beginning to scratch the surface. That’s where Salesforce experts come in. One of the top benefits of working with an on-demand Salesforce specialist is that they’re true experts who obtain certifications, read the latest product release notes for fun, and are dedicated to unlocking the platform’s value. We sat down with Sean H., one of Torchlite’s on-demand Marketing Cloud experts, to talk about getting the most from Salesforce, and how experts can help marketers do more with the platform. What is the most common problem you see when working with Marketing Cloud customers? Underutilization. The marketing cloud is a powerful platform, but that can also make it seem overwhelming. Many clients don’t use newer features designed to make their lives easier and campaigns more impactful because there’s a learning curve associated, and they don’t have the bandwidth or the in-house knowledge to invest to really make the most of the platform. What do you predict will be a bigger problem in 2019 for Marketing Cloud customers? “Personalization” became a marketing buzzword a few years ago, and, at that time, many people didn’t understand how the idea of personalization applied to their businesses. Fast forward to now, though, and the best businesses are figuring out how to segment, target, and develop personalized content that is really driving results. For SFMC customers that haven’t taken the time over the past few years to dig into the platform and figure out how to put it to work to personalize the marketing experience, they may find themselves losing market share to competitors that are staying in front of the curve. They may find that the “batch and blast” strategy that served them well for many years just isn’t resonating any longer because Competitor B’s personalized multichannel campaign met their customer’s expectations that much better. What is your best tip for using Salesforce? How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time. With a powerful platform, sophisticated data management, and a number of different ways to effectively execute each campaign you’ve envisioned, it’s easy to be intimidated by the Marketing Cloud. By breaking it down – Who do I want to reach with this? How do I want to reach them? When and how often should we talk to them? – you’ll find the right features and tools for the job, whether it’s a simple Guided Send or a cross-channel journey. What is your proudest Salesforce project? It seems quaint now, but when Journey Builder was still new several years ago, it was a really big deal to successfully build and begin firing those more personalized marketing experiences to customers. It’s not that we couldn’t execute similar campaigns at the time with available tools within SFMC, but the interface and experience was such a departure, really just the beginning of things to come, that you couldn’t help but be a little proud to be one of the pioneers. Why are cross-channel integrations so important for Salesforce customers? Cross-channel integrations are one of the biggest advantages of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud compared to some of the other platforms out there. In today’s information-overloaded, short-attention-span world, repetition is just as important as serving content appropriate to the channel. If you truly want your message to reach and resonate with customers, you have to be willing to take your message to where they are, whether they’re on email, social media, SMS or all of the above. Why is having an on-demand Marketing Cloud expert necessary? Because the SFMC platform is so powerful, and constantly evolving to boot, having an on-demand SFMC expert can be like having an on-call problem solver – you know that you want to reach high-value customers who bought Widget X the last time 12 months ago, for example, but you just don’t how to get there easily without a lot of trial and error. SFMC experts have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the platform, know the shortcuts and the pitfalls, and can look at your problem and tell you, “This is the best route to get there.” In the end, this saves you time and money on internal resources and allows you to drive revenue on your new campaign that much more quickly. Have more questions about hiring an on-demand Salesforce Marketing Cloud expert? Tweet us, or request the help of a Salesforce expert today.

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Use It or Lose It: How to Invest in 2019 With Your 2018 Marketing Budget

Dec 05, 2018 Emily Brungard

You’ve worked hard to win your marketing dollars — so make them work for you. Effectively managing your digital marketing budget is like an Olympic balancing act. Spend too much too early in the year and you risk falling short of your goals. Spend too little and you may lose those dollars at year’s end, potentially missing an opportunity to try a new tactic that could be your new bread and butter. If you’re in a “use it or lose it” position, use it! There are several ways to make the most of your surplus, and build end-of-year momentum to propel yourself into early 2019 success. Invest in People Instead of buying stuff, consider allocating your leftover budget to access and engage flexible experts who can help you make the most of the tools you already have with their skills and knowledge. Most marketing budgets either allow for hiring contractors with people dollars (AKA the money you’d use to hire a new employee), or with program budgets (that you’d use for ad campaigns or printing). The biggest advantage to investing in on-demand experts? When your marketing team’s internal workload increases, you can tap your bench of vetted freelancers to take on projects. Test a New Channel or Tool There are many marketing formats that provide good return with a little investment: think motion graphics, live video, a podcast, or infographics. These scalable projects allow you to squeeze some additional budget out of the quarter’s final days. Plus, they let you test initiatives you want to implement in the new year. The end of the year is also an opportunity for marketers to test out new tools and services or upgrade their current setups. Because many marketing tools require upfront subscription payments for the year rather than recurring monthly payments, they’re convenient places to stash your budget surplus. You may even get discounted rates if you pay up-front. Hire a Salesforce Marketing Cloud expert, experts to optimize your technology investment. Promote Your Best Content A little extra firepower via digital promotion, new targeting, influencer partnerships, or other channels can give your content the traction it needs to generate last-minute leads to add to your Q4 tally. An on-demand paid advertising expert can help you reach the right people, with the right content, at the right time. This is especially smart for gated content like e-books or videos. Want to get even more from your best content? Try spinning it into a new format, like an infographic, webinar, or a series of blog posts. Use It or Lose It Are you one of the lucky few with leftover cash at the end of the year? Use it to get ahead in 2019 by tapping a vetted expert who can optimize your current programs or implement a new one — whether that’s a using new martech tool or beginning a creative campaign. This is your golden opportunity to test new tactics and supplement your team with top talent. Don’t let your surplus go to waste.

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Hiring On-Demand Marketers: 7 Pros and Cons

Nov 21, 2018 Emily Brungard

In today's competitive, evolving marketplace, an agile methodology could mean the difference between becoming a booming business or closing your doors. With more than 41.8 million independent workers in America, hiring freelancers is one of the most effective solutions to securing top talent without going over budget — and there are plenty to choose from. Yet, like everything in business and in life, there are pros and cons to hiring freelancers. By taking the time to do your homework, you’ll save time, money, and headaches. Read on for seven pros and cons of hiring independent contractors. Pro: The Cost When you factor in the cost of recruiting, salary, benefits and company perks, and desk space taken up in the office, hiring a full-time employee can become pretty costly. The average employee hiring process costs $4,129 and takes 42 days. Who needs to spend that much extra time and money? Companies save, on average, between 20 and 30 percent annually by hiring an independent contractor. Going along with cost, the risk associated with hiring freelancers is lower, because you only need to hire and pay freelancers when there's work to be done. Because you work with them on a project-by-project basis, the worry of digging yourself into a payroll hole during downtimes is lessened. Con: Less Face-to-Face Interaction Given that most freelance work is done remotely, you shouldn’t expect to see your freelancer every day. Clear communication is essential in any working relationship, but it’s especially paramount when working with freelancers. Your freelancer isn’t in the office every day so they’re not privy to water cooler convos or even major announcements unless you share the news with them. You are their primary source of information on all things related to your business and your marketing initiatives. Don’t assume they have any insight into changes, progress, setbacks, or glitches, and always err on the side of over-communicating to prevent misunderstandings. See 8 ways to work better with your freelancers. Pro: Marketplaces Make Hiring Easier Than Ever Marketplaces like Torchlite facilitate long-term relationships between full-time freelance experts and marketers so that you can unlock the value of your marketing technology, get more done and compete in a digital world. We only connect you with the best freelancers (check out our vetting process here) — so you can rest easy knowing that the marketers you’re trusting with work will follow through. Marketplaces like Torchlite give you a full view of the experts you can access at any time, and facilitate the onboarding process. Con: Less Consistency With a freelancer, you have a specialist — but the tradeoff is that they may not have the historical knowledge that a full-time employee would have. Your independent contractor has the know-how to get the tasks you assign done, but they won’t be as familiar with your organization’s marketing strategies, what has been tried, and what direction to take things in the future. However, freelancers offer unmatched flexibility and can come on to a project whenever the need arises. Pro: You’re Not Limited to Local Talent Companies look to freelancers to find talent outside their current location. Expansion or an understanding of new markets can be made without onboarding a full-time employee. This allows you to bring new perspectives to your team. Con: You’re Not the Only Client An independent contractor’s job is to make clients happy and provide business results. The reality is that a freelancer is likely working on making several clients happy at a time. However, it’s also in the best interest of an independent contractor to get results for their client in order to build up clientele as well as reputation. This means that the freelancer’s time isn’t dedicated solely to you — they’re juggling many different requests, one-time projects, and strategies. A freelancer might also choose to perform the work outside of normal business hours, making immediate contact difficult without prior planning. Pro: Access to Specialized Talent Freelancers tend to focus on just one or two things that they’ve gained complete mastery of over the years. If you want to hire a content marketer, then you’ll get someone who specializes in content marketing and little else. This is far better than forcing someone from business development to make an attempt at content marketing because you simply can’t afford to hire another full-time employee. As a third party, a freelancer will be able to work on your campaign from a point of view that you may not have previously considered. Hiring isn’t something that should be done lightly, no matter if you’re searching for a full-time employee or a freelancer to complete a one-off project. It’s not always easy to find top talent, which is why Torchlite exists. We make it easier to connect with the top four percent of specialists to get more work done without breaking your budget. Connect with an expert today.

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Torchlite Secures Funding to Scale Marketplace of Certified Digital Marketing Experts

Oct 03, 2018 Susan Marshall

Today, we are pleased to announce a $3M strategic funding round that includes new investor Salesforce Ventures. In 2017, Torchlite doubled revenue, demonstrating a massive need in the market for certified digital marketing experts. In the past year, we've transformed Torchlite into an enterprise platform that helps customers access and manage a private marketplace of on-demand experts so they can dramatically improve the performance of their digital marketing campaigns. With this new platform, customers can also make those resources available to their entire enterprise, across business units and franchisees. Marketing departments who were once overwhelmed and understaffed can now tap into their own bench of experts to improve their performance of online ads, email, social campaigns, and customer journeys. Our platform is squarely focused on unlocking the value of Marketing Clouds with certified experts and data-driven playbooks that are focused on results. With this funding, we're excited to make it even better and can't thank our community of customers, investors, and supporters enough! Here's to an even bigger and better Torchlite. Press Release

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Press Release: Torchlite Raises $3M to Expand Marketplace of Certified Digital Marketing Experts

Oct 02, 2018 Torchlite

INDIANAPOLIS (October 2, 2018) -- Torchlite, the platform for finding and managing on-demand digital marketing talent, announced today it attracted $3 million in funding to expand its tech-enabled network of digital marketing freelancers. The funding round includes funding from existing investors, including Scott McCorkle, a technology investor and advisor, and new investor Salesforce Ventures. “Torchlite was created to enable every company to unlock the value of its marketing technology by making it simple to manage highly sought after certified freelance digital marketing experts.” said Susan Marshall, Torchlite’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to welcome Salesforce Ventures as an investor.” Torchlite’s platform provides large organizations with a private marketplace of pre-approved, on-demand experts, from technical architects to content creators and writers - assembled to meet the needs of the enterprise. By accessing their own network of specialists, businesses can extend their marketing teams, fill critical gaps and transform their digital marketing. “Torchlite’s on-demand freelance approach empowers us to swiftly flex to meet the demands in our marketplace,” said Carole Casto, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at Cummins Inc. "The ability to access a pre-approved roster of creative experts provides tremendous value as we plan and execute our digital marketing strategy.” According to Forrester Consulting, 66% of business leaders say that the primary barrier to long term success is talent, and only 3% of marketers feel that they are getting the full value of their marketing technology*. “As digital marketing becomes increasingly specialized, many companies are turning to on-demand, independent consultants to fill gaps on their teams,” Marshall said. Edelman Research reports that over half of the workforce is expected to be freelance in the next ten years, and 57% of companies are using freelancers regularly. Since its launch in late 2015, Torchlite has raised a total of $5.5M, doubled revenue from 2016 to 2017, demonstrating a massive need in the market for certified experts and a more effective way to manage those resources to build complex digital marketing campaigns. About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite provides businesses with access to a private marketplace of certified, on-demand digital marketing experts. Torchlite helps enterprise companies fill in critical gaps and transform their digital marketing. With Torchlite's platform, organizations can easily manage highly sought after freelance experts with a variety of skill sets, from writers to designers to digital strategists and more. Check us out at torchlite.com. Salesforce Ventures Salesforce is the fastest growing top five enterprise software company and the #1 CRM provider globally. Salesforce Ventures—the company’s corporate investment group—invests in the next generation of enterprise technology that extends the power of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, helping companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways. Portfolio companies receive funding as well as access to the world’s largest cloud ecosystem and the guidance of Salesforce’s innovators and executives. With Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies can also leverage Salesforce's expertise in corporate philanthropy by joining Pledge 1% to make giving back part of their business model. Salesforce Ventures has invested in more than 275 enterprise cloud startups in 17 different countries since 2009. For more information, please visit www.salesforce.com/ventures. *Source: A commissioned study, conducted by Forrester Consulting July, 2017. ** Source: Freelancing in America Survey, 2017

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Retaining Top Freelance Talent: It’s Like Dating

Jul 18, 2018 Emily Brungard

When you find top freelance talent, you don't want to lose them. It's hard enough to find a full-time employee, let alone an amazing freelancer who understands your industry and your specific business. In that way, it’s a little like dating—you have to learn someone’s preferences, talents and expectations in order to click. And for freelancers, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Deloitte Insights’ research suggests that employee retention and engagement are the number two concern in the minds of business leaders, second only to the challenge of building global leadership. This statistic isn’t just relevant to full-time employees—it’s a trend that has made its way into the 1099 workforce. Workers are more like free agents than ever before. So how do you keep them engaged? Allow Ramp Up Time Hiring a freelancer helps you save on recruiting costs by getting to work sooner, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need ramp up time. If you truly want the best quality work from your on-demand help, give them a chance to learn your preferences and learn about your brand. If you routinely switch freelancers after just one project, they may not have the chance to ramp up properly. After your first project, be sure to set a meeting to provide feedback, review expectations and see how you can work better together. It can be as simple as spending five minutes at the end of an engagement discussing what went right and what went wrong, but more frequent feedback is even better. Set Expectations Early Consider offering your freelancers a fixed monthly retainer if you like their work and plan to keep sending projects their way. Include a set amount of work in the monthly retainer, and get their rates for any work that falls outside of it, so they can bill you the extra as needed. Don’t fall into the trap of making your relationship with freelancers purely transactional. If you want to get to work with them again in the future, make sure to treat your freelancer like they’re a true extension of your internal team. Communicate Frequently Treat them like they’re a part of your team, even if they’re not in the office next to you every day. Don’t just rely on written text. Schedule a video or voice call to convey more details. While it might seem like it takes too much time, doing this up front can actually improve clarity, prevent misunderstandings, and save time later on. This also helps you establish a closer connection. Don’t limit interactions with freelancers to just your own. Connect them to more team members to help them learn about your projects and business. Understand You’re Not Their Only Client Because you’re likely not your freelancer’s only client, you have an opportunity. When was the last time you asked for their advice? With a diverse portfolio of work, it’s likely that the freelancer(s) you work with can provide a unique perspective on the content you’re putting out. In the same vein, remember that the freelancers you work with could be working with several clients at the same time, including you. One of the advantages of freelancing is flexibility, so if a client frequently shoots over urgent last-minute projects or expects the freelancer to be available 24/7 (unless specific times of availability were agreed upon), chances are that freelancer will look for work elsewhere. Pay on Time The best freelancers are in very high demand. They can pick and choose their clients. In fact, freelancers might decide to stop working with you entirely if you don’t treat them well. More than 70 percent of freelancers have trouble getting paid at some point in their careers, and 29 percent of freelance invoices are paid late. It’s not difficult to get ahead of this problem: be transparent with your freelancers about how your company’s fiscal year runs, how long it typically takes to process invoices and how it pays its contract workers. The keys to successful freelance relationships are a lot like what it takes to be successful in any other relationship: transparency and communication are key. By setting expectations early and reviewing those expectations often, you set yourself and your freelancer up for success.  Implementing these tips may nurture what could ultimately become mission-critical relationships for you and your company. It could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Are you a freelancer looking for your next gig? Sign up and join Torchlite today.  

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Behind the Scenes: Our Freelancer Vetting Process

Jul 11, 2018 Maria Rummel

We know that adding a new person to your team, whether full-time or freelance, takes both time and effort. In other words; money. This is why freelance marketplaces like Torchlite develop rigorous screening processes for their freelancers. The goal is to ensure clients are matched with the perfect person or team for their project, but not all talent pools are created equal. Some platforms allow anyone to fill out a profile making businesses do the work of wading through resumes and portfolios, trying to balance budget with professional talent. This is a great way for freelancers to get their start, but it's not always the best way to find the exact right person for the job. Increasingly, freelancer marketplaces are choosing to scale down the number of profiles, instead focusing on proven track records, strong portfolios, and excellent reviews. We wanted to give you an insider look at how we select our Flexperts, so you have a better understanding of the difference. 1. Profile Check All potential Flexperts are asked a series of questions before moving onto the application process. This serves as a "weed out" right off the bat. Our goal isn't to serve a million clients at a time. We want the very best for you, so we only accept the very best. And, while this makes our talent pool a little smaller than some of the big guys, we've found our clients consistently rave about the performance of our freelancers, and our retention rates for both clients and freelancers is enviable. 2. Application Next up, we get down to what really matters — proof. All potential Flexperts submit an application including a resume, multiple work samples, and references. The truth is, anyone can apply, but what sets a true professional apart is several examples of their work, including metrics, if applicable. 3. Review All applicants are reviewed by our team of industry experts, including our CEO. If we put our name behind someone, we want to make sure they pass muster up to the very top. After receiving an  application, our resourcing team reviews and considers any attached work samples, recommendations, and the applicant’s resume. And, we're not just interested in the work- we want to know about the person, too. We're looking for those soft skills that will make their addition to your team seamless. 4. Phone or video interview Call us old-school, but in today’s marketing age it’s important that teams know they’re working with a real person. We also want to know that our freelancers will be are available, responsive, and able to effectively communicate with our clients. We attract talent from all over the world, but only a handful make it through to the next round after speaking with us. 5. Availability and hours In order to help us match clients and freelancers for optimal working conditions, we will ask all applicants about their availability and hours. Torchlite does not require our Torchliters to be available at specific times of the day, or for certain amounts of time. However, we do take availability into consideration when resourcing accounts to fit our clients' needs. 6. Acceptance The final step of our vetting process ensures that each freelancer understands what it means to be part of the Torchliter community and work for Torchlite’s clients. This is an essential step of transparency and agreement between Torchlite and all of our freelancers that helps us both decrease the amount of time it takes to resource accounts and cultivate a community of top-notch digital marketing freelancers. If you’re a marketer looking to add our vetted talent to your bench, contact us today. We’d love to hear from you!

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8 Ways to Work Better With Your Freelancers

Mar 09, 2017 Beth Smedinghoff

You need to get more done and you’ve decided a freelancer is the person for the job. Good choice! Freelancers are a great way to fill skill gaps and extend your team. They bring vast experience and a deep knowledge of their specialty to the table. As with any hire, it’s important to understand how to best collaborate, communicate, and work with freelance talent. Freelancers aren’t full-time team members, and they’re often juggling multiple clients at once. This flexibility empowers them to be experts in their field, but it also requires that you manage them differently than your full-time staff. To help you set your extended team up for success, here are 8 ways to build a strong working relationship with your freelancers. 1. Don’t just communicate, over-communicate Clear communication is essential in any working relationship, but it’s especially paramount when working with freelancers. Your freelancer isn’t in the office every day so they’re not privy to water cooler convos or even major announcements, unless you share the news with them. You are their primary source of information on all things related to your business and your marketing initiatives. Don’t assume they have any insight into changes, progress, setbacks, or glitches, and always err on the side of over-communicating to prevent misunderstandings. 2. Manage expectations Out of the gate, it’s important to establish total alignment on what needs to get done, how, and by what date. Help your freelancer better understand your goals so they can better help you achieve them. Clearly define the project from scope to schedule. It’s important to set your freelancer up for success by providing clear guidelines and sharing your expectations from the start. 3. Trust and empower them to do their job Freelancers are experts at what they do, which is why you partnered with one. They help clients across a variety of verticals achieve marketing success in their area of expertise. Empower them with the tools, knowledge, and deadlines they need and then trust that they’ll get the job done – and get it done well. Make yourself available if they have questions (see #6) and be open to receiving their feedback. This type of mutual trust will only benefit your business. 4. Tap into their expertise Along similar lines, be sure to take advantage of their expertise. Freelancers are specialists with extensive knowledge and experience around a central topic. Ask for their advice and opinions whenever possible. Perhaps they’ve run into a challenge you’re facing before or have feedback on a better way to get something done. Ask them what you could do differently or where they see projects like yours typically go off the rails and then take their advice. 5. Treat them like part of the team Your freelancers will be more effective if you view them as a partner, not just a cog in the wheel. When possible, copy them on team communications or include them on conference calls. Get to know them personally and encourage the rest of your team to do the same. Helping them feel connected to the team takes little effort on your end and is sure to produce major results. 6. Make yourself available When you first start working with a freelancer ask them how best (and how often) to communicate with them. Once you understand how they work, make a point to regularly check in with them. If your freelancer can’t track you down for approvals or questions it can lead to delays or cause the final product to miss the mark. Provide feedback, answer questions, and listen to their concerns just like you would a full-time hire. Similarly, let them know when you’ll be out of the office or on vacation so they can play accordingly. 7. Plan ahead Provide your freelancers with insight into your goals for the entire year, not just for a specific project. Giving them a better understanding of the big picture allows them to produce work that scales and delivers long-term results. Planning ahead also means giving your freelancer a heads up about potential shifts in strategy or deadlines. Freelancers often work on multiple clients at one time and aren’t always able to drop everything to meet an urgent request. If you can anticipate when you’ll need more of their time, it’s always helpful to give them a heads up. 8. Provide valuable feedback Tell them specifically what you like and what you don’t like. Freelancers are experts in their field but they won’t be an expert on your brand overnight, especially if you don’t provide concrete descriptive feedback. Review their work in detail and provide suggestions on how they can improve and better support your brand and business objectives. Keep this productive feedback loop going and they’ll start to understand your brand just as well as you do. At the end of the day, remember that your freelancer wants to help you grow your business. If you can keep the lines of communication open and build a strong, collaborative partnership with your freelancer, the results will speak for themselves. Know you want to extend your team with high-quality freelancers but don’t know where to find them? Torchlite Flexperts can help.

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