Should you hire a new team member or find a freelancer?
We’ve been discussing the rise of the virtual agency this month. We showed you why virtual agencies are making a rise in the insurance agency, and we pointed out that sometimes the best place to get things done is not actually at the office (Jason Fried: Why Work Doesn't Happen at Work).
Anyone embracing the concept of a "virtual agency" has to also embrace a new way of thinking about how work will get done. So, one big question is: with all of this technology and the new way of working, does it make more sense to hire people to be a part of your team, or should you contract out some of your administrative work on sites like Elance.com?
Websites like Elance.com allow freelance workers to interact with businesses looking to “hire” someone to do a specific task or project for them. Businesses can set their price, or the freelancers can bid on a project, detailing how much they will charge for their work. The freelancers also have profiles business can view to check out previous work and be sure of credibility.
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether to hire people to your team or contract out your work:
What type of work are you looking for help with?
First, you have to take into consideration what kind of work it is. Is it a small project that one person could handle on their own, or is it a larger project that requires a lot of collaboration and understanding of your business? In addition, is it a one-time assignment or an ongoing project? If it is the latter of both questions, hiring a new team member may be in your best interest. But, if it’s a one-time, small project, you could look into hiring a freelance worker. (Examples: your website, blog posts, accounting, videos, online advertising, etc.)
How long will the project last?
Is it a project that will only take a few weeks, or is it something that can take months? Freelancers usually are involved in shorter projects, such as creating an eBook or other marketing materials. You give them the information they need, and they reply with a first draft in a a few weeks. If it’s a longer project, you will probably need someone you can connect with daily due to the nature of longer projects: they can change quickly and often.
What’s your budget?
If you have room to hire another team member and see benefit in doing so, then someone who can learn your business and who is valuable in the position is worth spending the money. However, if you need to get this project done and don’t have much to spend, finding a freelancer will clearly save you money because they bid on your work, often driving the overall price down.
What’s your preference?
Most importantly, what do you want? You can read the pros and cons of anything and, still, you often make a decision based solely on your preference. So, if you prefer to keep your team smaller and you trust freelancers to get the small projects done, do that. If you feel more comfortable hiring another team member who will know your business like you do, then do that.
The concept of a virtual agency can definitely be scary, especially if you’ve already gotten into a routine that works well for you. But, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at the technology readily available now whether you’re working from a virtual agency or from a large office building. The technology available today will undoubtedly make you more efficient and, hopefully, happier in doing your work.