Updated: May 25, 2020
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The business world is changing in front of our eyes, more and more industry professionals are becoming overworked and are looking for a better work life balance. Choosing to work from home where possible is becoming the norm. The advancements of technology and video conferencing we have seen during Covid-19 has showed us that working with people from a distance is a viable option which doesn’t have to effect productivity, if anything it allows for more results as people are working in a lower pressure environment.
In the design industry there is an abundance of great freelancers that are looking for steady work but are not ready to commit to a full-time position due to their circumstances or the fact that they feel that working on the same brand might restrict their creativity.
Now this is not about implying you should ditch your designer, if you are a larger scale business you more than likely need them as part of your marketing team. Having an in-house designer is a great asset, I was one for many years before I had my beautiful daughter and I understand how they are relied upon heavily. But, what if, you had one or two designers on the books that you could access when your team is overloaded or experiencing a creative slump? Let’s face it, creativity doesn’t grow on trees and sometimes designers can struggle coming up with fresh ideas especially if they are responsible for a huge design output.
At this point in my design career, I work with several larger scale businesses as the freelancer they use when they need an extra hand. I love this arrangement as I get to work with different brands and styles and it keeps me motivated and excited. After several conversations over the years with the clients I’ve worked with, I have made mental post-its on the benefits of supplementing a design team with a freelancer and I want to share these benefits with you.
Let me walk you through my top 5 reasons why freelancers can work well for larger scale businesses.
1) Flexibility – Freelancers are often flexible with their schedule. They are set up from home and are more than likely willing to work on jobs outside of business hours. So for jobs that have a tight deadline, this can be especially handy!
2) Affordability – Due to minimal overheads, freelancers charge a lower rate than an agency. This rate would be more than your in-house designers hourly rate, but remember, there are no entitlements, and sick days and they are only working for you sporadically.
3) Your In-house team is overloaded – Your design team can often have jobs in the queue for some time, delegating some of these design tasks to a freelancer will increase your output and take the stress off your employed designer/s which will perhaps even make them perform better.
4) A fresh perspective – Sometimes designers can get in a little bit of rut, especially if they are working with the same branding every day. Outsourcing some tasks to a fresh unbiased designer might surprise you.
5) No Commitment - You are under no obligation to keep using the freelancer. Did they not deliver? That’s ok, you can keep looking until you find the right person that understands your business and brand.
Look, I am forever the optimist, but there are things to be aware of if you are thinking of sourcing someone. Firstly, the hugely obvious one is to make sure your freelancer is knowledgeable on working with and adhering to a style guide. Check out their work, do they have relevant and industry experience on the project you need assistance with? A good way to find this out is to send them a small task to see how they perform and if they are able to understand your brief and deliver the design on-brand. Whether successful or not, you have engaged their services so ask them to invoice you for their time.
Secondly, hiring a freelancer can also cause a bit of uncertainty within your internal team, the last thing you need is an unhappy designer, us creatives are a strangely sensitive bunch. Make sure your in-house design team are aware that you are outsourcing someone, only to supplement NOT to replace them. If your designers have spent years working on your brand, they more than likely feel very attached to it, I know I would! Explain to them that their work is appreciated and they do not need to feel threatened, it is to help the business increase output and help free them up to allow them to become a better and more efficient team.
To me, engaging the services of a freelancer is a bet you can’t lose and if you find someone special, hold onto them. They will be an asset for you in years to come.
Did you find this useful? Comment below and let me know.
Have a great weekend, stay safe and keep smiling! BIG LOVE!