Freelancing is on the rise, but many of these new entrepreneurs are concerned with finding ways to grow and avoid the plateau experienced by many scaling businesses.
According to the MBO brief Independent Workers Lead Recent Surge in Professional Service Business Applications, in 2020, professional services applications from independent workers (freelancers, independent contractors, etc.) increased by 21% over 2019. This trend has continued into 2021, with January applications rising by a whopping 51% over January 2020.
It’s reasonable to assume these increases were boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this spike is part of a long-term trend. By 2027, it is expected that a majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers.
“We’ve watched throughout the years as the freelancer workforce steadily grew. Aside from more freelancers entering the talent pool, the most important trend we’ve seen is the increase in “professionalization” of the freelance and contractor world,” Valerie Freeman, CEO and Founder of Imprimis Freelancers, a division of a full-service professional staffing firm that provides both flexible and permanent staffing solutions to hiring organizations.
“In the past, many freelancers were career professionals who did work on the side because they enjoyed it or to make ends meet. Today, we see a shift from ‘informal revenue generation’ to individuals who believe that their work is valuable stand-alone, as a business entity. It’s a turn toward an entrepreneurial mindset.”
However, a rise in freelancing also means a move away from a supportive office structure. Freelancers are specialists in their fields, but, as new entrepreneurs, some of the biggest pitfalls they encounter include:
- Focusing on what they like doing without focusing on developing skills to run a business.
- Failing to have a short-term and long-term plan.
- Not valuing their skills and time enough, charging and paying themselves too little.
- Not being honest with themselves about what they can and can’t do.
- Trying to do it all themselves and reinventing the wheel rather than seeking advice.
Fortunately for these recent entrepreneurs, the rise in freelancing also means there are now more fellow contract professionals who can lend a hand.
3 Considerations for Utilizing Freelancers to Grow
- Determine what tasks are essential to your business and what non-core work can be outsourced to others who are expert at those tasks. This will help you proactively plan how to fill the roles you need in order to grow. (e.g. a VA or social media admin)
- How and where you find your talent can make a big difference. With various talent sources out there, it’s important to be clear on job requirements, expectations, workstyle and communications.
- Explore ways to offer a combined value proposition by partnering with other complementary freelancers (e.g. web design and copywriters)
Read on for more insight into our 3 considerations.
“As freelancers become more successful and have a business model that is working and growing, they need to think about scaling. This means outsourcing work to other contract specialists who can support them in important but non-core tasks,” said Freeman. Non-core is work that does not directly impact customer value delivery. It’s necessary to run a business but your clients won’t pay you for it.
“Utilizing other freelancers to grow is all about finding ways to expand their combined value proposition. It’s an approach that allows contractors who partner to focus on what they love and are good at, while outsourcing the rest to achieve the professional and financial freedom they seek.”
Outsourcing and partnering are where many freelancers stumble because finding trusted connections is not something that happens easily or quickly. Fortunately, there are resources that these entrepreneurs can utilize, including:
- Business groups that provide information, structure connections, and offer networking.
- Apps that provide marketing and distribution channels.
- Job platforms that highlight the skills of potential contract connections.
“Because there are thousands of job platforms, finding the right one can be difficult,” said Freeman. “The key is to find one that aligns with you. We suggest that people look at “Best Of” lists and experiment with various platforms.
When searching for a job platform to partner with, freelancers should look for a platform that fits their purpose and provides the structure and tools to help them get clients, make connections, and grow their business.
Imprimis Freelancers is skilled at finding the talent that best fits your needs, has the right skills, and is a culture fit – taking the guesswork out of hiring freelancers. Additionally, our partnership with recruiting technology platform, ResultsResourcing, enables us to also offer the added solution of virtual-only freelance talent.
Want to scale your freelance business while boosting other freelancers as well? Connect with Julie Stephens today to learn more about the process and get connected with the resources you need!