Have you ever had difficulty financially justifying a new hire, despite your staff feeling a little overwhelmed and at max capacity?

A full time employee might not be the answer to your staffing challenges. In fact, a full time employee can be a potential risk – if they don’t work out, you’re back to square one. But a freelancer might just be the perfect solution.

A freelancer is someone with a particular expertise who works for one or sometimes several different organizations.

Think about how many hours of work you really need completed. If the answer is 20 or less per week, chances are you’re in a position to contract out. For example, if your team simply needs someone to manage the blog and create web content, a freelancer would be an excellent candidate rather than a full time employee.

There are freelancers for nearly every type of job, including marketing, customer service, writing, editing, recruitment, sales, IT services, design, business development, telemarketing … the list goes on.

Let’s look at some pros and cons of hiring freelancers.

Pro No. 1: Reduce hiring and employee costs

Freelancers can be more cost effective than full-time employees for a number of different reasons.

For starters, full-time freelancers are focused experts in a specific set of business functions. Their expertise will save you countless hours and dollars on typical employee training/on-boarding.

Additionally, freelancers are contractors, meaning you don’t have to pay them a salary nor provide benefits. Your association can even set up a customized compensation structure. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) pay a freelancer by the hour. Pay them for the work they complete. For example, if hiring a freelance writer or editor, pay them per word or per article completed.

Live in an expensive city like Washington, D.C.? Expensive cities equal higher salaries. You can find less expensive, quality freelancers in smaller towns who can telecommute if you’re diligent with your search.

Pro No. 2: Ability to outsource specific business functions

Often, you don’t need a full time, 9-5 employee for a specific business function. Consider where your association is short handed.

Do you need a marketing manager to lead a team and develop strategies? Or do you really need someone to create content for emails, websites and publications? There’s a big difference between the two, and you could save time and money by opting to hire a freelancer.

Con No. 1: Geographical constraint equals potential communication risk

If you do choose to hire a freelancer who works in a remote location, make sure they are over-the-top great communicators. Hiring a freelancer who lives far away means you will likely never see them. If you’re going down this route, make sure to thoroughly vet their communication skills. A bad communicator who lives 100s of miles away working for your organization can create disastrous results.

Con No. 2: Hiring a freelancer can be challenging

If you have no experience working with or hiring a freelancer, jumping into this arena may be a challenge. Here are a few tips you need to know when recruiting a freelancer:

  • Ask for previous work, such as a portfolio or website that showcases their talent.
  • Ask for a reference from one of their clients.
  • Make sure they are excellent communicators, especially if they are located elsewhere.

As the association landscape continues to change, the way we do business will evolve. Did you know that according to the Freelancers Union, nearly 55 million American workers do some type of freelance work? That’s 35 percent of the American workforce. We are transitioning into a freelance economy.

There’s a reason for this shift: More employees and organizations are realizing the benefits of freelance work.

Next, learn how to hire the ideal freelancer.

owner/blogger | [email protected]

I am a dedicated association professional and the owner/blogger of AssociationWork.org.

My expertise includes digital marketing strategy, marketing automation and association technology. I am borderline obsessed with new technology and I’m constantly on the lookout for tech that will improve work/life.

When I’m not working on my blog or developing marketing tactics for NAIFA, you can find me running around the block, reading James Michener books, or fishing in a stream off the beaten path.

I am a dedicated association professional and the owner/blogger of AssociationWork.org. My expertise includes digital marketing strategy, marketing automation and association technology. I am borderline obsessed with new technology and I’m constantly on the lookout for tech that will improve work/life. When I’m not working on my blog or developing marketing tactics for NAIFA, you can find me running around the block, reading James Michener books, or fishing in a stream off the beaten path.

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