We’ve heard the old adage that small business isn’t for the faint of heart. True enough but small business leaders can save some wear and tear by recognizing when they need help. That help can come in many forms including the next new full or part-time hire. However, increasingly small business owners are turning to the growing numbers of skilled freelancers as part of the Freelance Economy.
Upwork’s “Freelance Forward 2020” Study reports 59 million Americans, 36% of our total workforce are now freelancing. Fifty percent of those freelancers provide skilled services such as computer programming, marketing, IT, and business consulting. In the government sector, freelancer skill sets extend to the entire acquisition cycle from business development to proposals and post-award delivery of service.
Here are eight key reasons why the benefits of freelancing can make sense for your business:
Government Sector Knowledge and Insight — Government sector freelancers typically bring specific experience in dealing with or working for government departments and agencies. They know the market, the key people, the programs, the issues, and the history you need to know to successfully compete and build your business.
Specialized Capabilities – Government projects require some of the most complex technical requirements anywhere. Many freelancers are highly skilled experts. Some have chosen freelancing as a lifestyle, while others are transitioning or retired from industry, the military, and federal agencies. They bring years of experience and insight. Many enjoy helping small businesses grow.
Flexibility – Government contracting can be unsteady at times. There are delays in releasing requests for proposals, continuing resolutions, bid protests, and other uncertainties. Keeping a full-time staff can be difficult during tough times. Freelancers help not only during tough times but also during those hectic surge periods when everything seems to happen at once.
Affordability – Freelancers provide a budget-friendly alternative to hiring. The costs to recruit, onboard, and retain permanent employees can be prohibitive. Freelancers typically arrive fully trained for the task at hand.
Time Savings – Small business contractors spend an incredible amount of time making the business grow. At some point, it becomes critical to bring professional help in from time to time to focus on the urgent matters which can be delegated. Freelancers can help you make the best use of your time.
Quick Reaction Capabilities – Freelancers can respond quickly to your requirements. They arrive on the scene with the knowledge and skillsets required to roll up their sleeves and get to work immediately.
Path to Future Employment – Hiring a freelancer for a project is a great way to get acquainted. This benefits both the contractor and the freelancer. Sometimes neither the company nor the independent expert think in terms of future employment but it can turn out that way. When it does, hiring may be a more informed decision for both parties.
Competitive Advantage – Large businesses and leading small businesses are using freelancers today to gain the advantages highlighted in this article. The pool of available freelance talent is growing but so is demand. Those who act now to build freelancers into their planning will benefit the most.
The Freelance Economy is increasingly recognized as a key element of the Future of Work. Building the effective use of freelancers into your business planning can become an essential element of your overall strategy for business growth, effective delivery of services, and future success.