Why You Need a Freelance Management Platform
Apr 03, 2019 Emily Brungard
You need help yesterday.
We see marketers struggling with this all the time.
A big client just signed on. Another has been slow to respond to emails, but now they’re back and pushing for results ASAP. A third is adding on an extra project that requires specialized help. And on, and on, and on…
Your team is bogged down with both client and internal requests, and they just keep coming.
When this happens (and it always does) you have three options.
1. Outsource to another agency
Let’s say you work for an agency that specializes in Salesforce Marketing Cloud services. You’ve got a bunch of competitors, and your team’s capacity is filled to the brim. Do you outsource to a competitor? And who’s to say that your project is going to take priority ahead of more expensive campaigns? The price is usually steep regardless and oftentimes they want to make the decisions instead of just doing as you’ve asked.
2. Find your own freelancer
The marketing industry is small. If you ask around, you’ll eventually find someone who knows someone who can vouch for someone who’s used a rockstar freelancer in the past. Word of mouth and peer reviews are great, but the risk often comes with getting on his or her docket, getting your job ahead of others, and making sure that their skills and industry expertise line up with your needs.
If you need help now, you’ll need to make sure that hour requirements and schedules are set well ahead of time. Plus, paying an independent contractor through PayPal can sometimes raise eyebrows in accounting.
Online talent marketplaces of specialized experts have transformed the way marketing is getting done. These marketplaces consist of what we call technical “flexperts” — or flexible experts — who can take your projects and get them done when you need them most.
Finding a freelancer isn’t necessarily a difficult task, but finding the right one for the right project can be a headache. Not only that, but managing your people, processes and projects can take up far too much time and resources.
Finding the Right Freelancer is Hard
There are so many variables that you have to take into account when adding a freelancer to your team. It can become a hit or miss game, where your projects feel like they are in limbo because you’re not certain that you have the right expert to get the task done.
We know this feeling all too well.
Finding the right freelancer means that you will spend precious time making certain that:
- They are properly vetted (aka they can walk the walk, not just talk the talk)
- They are the right fit for your team
- They are prepared to hit strict deadlines
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A lot more goes into managing freelancers than most realize… until it’s too late.
Managing Freelancers is a Pain
Finding the right on-demand expert can be a challenge, but managing them can be even tougher. Plus, once you’ve found a great expert, you have to worry about keeping them engaged and wanting to continue to work with you.
You’re able to pick and choose from an almost endless workforce for specific expertise — saving you on onboarding a new hire. The flexible nature of freelance work gives you more breathing room and freedom to offer your clients a better product or service. It really is a win-win.
But managing all this talent is a pain.
Organizing different work styles and personalities is tough enough when your team is in-house, but it’s even more difficult when they’re spread around the country or even the world.
Freelance management platforms offer a unique solution to this common management problem. When paired with a marketplace of on-demand experts, which serves as a place to pick and choose on-demand experts for every project you could dream of, the benefits are compounded. These platforms also serve as a way to facilitate projects and communication. That’s often the biggest roadblock that keeps marketers from working with on-demand freelance talent — they’re afraid of lapses in communication.
A freelance management platform empowers you and your clients by offering them the right people, in the right place, at the right time — after all, these experts are available on-demand. Management platforms like ours even share insights to help you get more from your freelance engagements, giving complete transparency on project progress, success and expert effectiveness.
Keeping Top Freelance Marketing Talent Engaged
We’ve said this before: Keeping the very best freelance talent around is like dating.
What exactly do we mean by this?
Well, just like you are looking for the right freelancer for the right project — those very same freelancers are looking for the right client that meshes well with their preferred work style, expertise, and their own budgets and timelines.
It’s a two-way street.
Finding the right freelancer who understands a specific niche or market is hard — and that’s why they’re worth keeping around when you find talent you like. It’s your responsibility to hold up your end of the relationship and work to make the connection stick (see, just like dating!).
Setting expectations about projects and rates is an essential step in the process. You want them to feel like an extension of your team — not a “one night stand.”
Communication is also key. Make sure to include them on any necessary meetings, calls or emails that can help them do their job successfully. Don’t limit their communication to one channel either (unless they prefer it that way). It’s important to make freelancers feel in the loop and a part of the team.
You’re not their only client — remember that. Don’t expect turnarounds that aren’t in the agreed upon contract or commitment. It’s not realistic or fair to freelancers to demand deliverables because you’re in a bind, unless you’ve established boundaries around this. because your freelancers are likely working around other client deadlines as well.
You Need a Freelance Management Platform
Finding a freelancer can take up a lot of your time, but so can hiring a full-time employee.
If you’re going to make the effort to find the perfect on-demand expert, you need to hold onto them. Using a freelance management tool like Torchlite enables you to keep track of who you’ve worked with, create collections of pre-approved experts for your team to use, and makes it easy to track a freelancers time and progress in real-time.
You need coordination of your marketing efforts.
Keeping your experts organized doesn’t just provide peace of mind — it increases your team’s agility. Most of us work with freelancers often and having a familiar set of on-demand experts and consultants can also decrease the time it takes to get new projects moving.
Whether you’re launching an extension of your brand, breaking out into a new market, attempting a new creative direction, or even keeping things status quo — your internal team is busy. This is why many marketers are turning to collections of pre-approved, certified experts that they know they can depend on. They build their benches of experts so that when an urgent project comes up, they can work with experts who are familiar with their brand, their style of work, and their expectations. You don’t have time to waste tracking down a freelancer with the capacity to take on your project, because that’s just not efficient. Freelance management platforms enable you to get better work done faster.
Saving Your Wallet
It’s no secret that freelancers are a cost-effective way to get marketing done. The freedom to hire experts to perform tasks without having to commit to a full-time salary has transformed the way marketers work.
And thanks to technology, your marketing team has the power to access and engage professionals with extensive experience, without geographic limits, all in one freelance marketplace.
We drink our own Kool-Aid here at Torchlite because we believe in what we do. Our marketing team has saved more than $250,000 over the last year by leveraging our own business model.
Onboarding an employee costs, on average, $4,000 and takes between three and four weeks. No one has that much time and no one wants to spend that amount of money. If you factor in recruiting, paperwork, administrative time, and the time it takes for your new hire to reach peak productivity it becomes difficult to see how it’s all worth it.
Freelancers are efficient because can be productive immediately. They are experts in their own field and they already have the knowledge and skills to get the work done. And the best part — they’re only paid when you need specific work done.
Businesses that use freelancers also save a ton on benefits like insurance, retirement contributions and PTO — freelancers aren’t employees, after all.
This saves companies an average of $4,708 per employee per year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If a company can hire ten freelancers instead of ten employees, that adds up to $47,000 in annual savings on healthcare alone (that means an entire additional employee!).