Technology has created a fundamental shift in the way small businesses run in the 21st century. It has resulted in unparalleled opportunities that were unfathomable even a decade ago. One particular decision that more and more small business owners are making is to hire freelancers instead of traditional employees.
In fact, research from The Plato Group shows, “One-third of Americans — roughly 42 million — are freelancers, with experts forecasting freelancers to make up 50 percent of the full-time workforce by 2020.” Hiring freelancers is becoming the norm and offers some distinct advantages.
Living in the “Gig Economy”
According to Tech Target, “A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.” It differs from a traditional employer-employee relationship in the following ways:
- There’s less of a commitment (workers may only complete a single project)
- Work is often done digitally rather than on-site
- Independent workers typically specialize in a certain niche
Getting on board with this trend can be extremely beneficial to your small business. Here are four specific advantages of hiring freelancers.
1. Less Overhead
The brilliance of the gig economy is that it allows you to eliminate many of the costs and inefficiencies that inhibit profitability and long-term growth. Here are a few overhead costs you can wipe out or at least minimize:
- Work space – Most freelancers telecommute
- Training – Most freelancers already possess all of the necessary skills and qualifications
- Benefits such as healthcare, retirement, paid sick leave and so on -Freelancers are usually responsible for handling this
2. Maximum Flexibility
Hiring a full-time or even a part-time employee typically means that you must offer them a set amount of hours. An antiquated set-up can put you at a disadvantage because you may be paying for more than what you really need. This cuts into your productivity and profitability, which ultimately hurts your bottom line.
Hiring freelancers is a better alternative because you’ll always have just the right amount of manpower. Whether it’s a small-scale project or a much larger one, you get the exact manpower you need. Another plus is that freelancers don’t have to work any set hours. For example, you could hire a web designer to update your site over the weekend even when your business is closed.
3. Find Top Experts
Seldom does a single employee possess the skills to be a master at several tasks. Hiring freelancers puts you in a position where you can hire consummate professionals for each and every task.
For instance, you could hire a highly skilled web designer to manage your website, an SEO expert to maximize your exposure on search engines, a freelance accountant to handle financials and so on. This allows you to operate your business at the highest possible level.
When you extensively train an employee, you’re spending a lot of time and money and are essentially handcuffed to them. If they choose to leave, it puts you in a difficult situation that can thwart the progress you’ve made.
Hiring freelancers is a better alternative because you have the freedom to shift between different workers as needed and can part ways without any messiness. If someone doesn’t work out, simply find another freelancer who’s more suitable for the job.
You could argue that the businesses that thrive are those most adaptable. Understanding the gig economy and getting on board with the freelance revolution is your ticket to sustained growth, greater output and increased revenue.