Our guest today is Rachael Bozsik, a keynote speaker and thought leadership coach supporting female entrepreneurs.
Rachael, hiring freelancers is still seen as risky by many entrepreneurs, especially early on. Why did you decide to rely on gig workers?
We have great experience hiring freelancers and the success is credited to strategically recruiting individuals who view their gig work as a creative outlet from their nine to five careers. Freelance work supports them to pursue their life's mission and passion, while still having the stability of their nine to five careers. As a society, we are shifting to the gig economy due to the low capital that’s required to start a freelance business, the mass amount of information surrounding starting a freelance business and the wide variety of high-quality websites that allow freelancers to showcase their portfolio and grow their client base.
That’s true, although growing a client base is still a challenge for many freelancers. What comes on the top of your list when hiring freelancers?
Personally, I hire freelancers to recruit the highest level of expertise for a specific project. For example, recently I needed someone to book, run and manage my speaking tour and hired a freelancer with a background in event logistics. She booked me for 28 events (both digital and in-person) in a 3-month period. Through those events, she has helped me grow my business by 23%. It was a very specific project-based task, and I needed someone with previous background, experience, and knowledge to complete it. By hiring a freelancer who had niche expertise, I benefited from her previous experience and eliminated the need to provide training.
That’s absolutely valid, especially in those cases when there is no one on board who could train the new joiner. Still, it is argued that freelancers are not as loyal as employees due to the nature of their work. What is your opinion?
Actually, gig workers are more motivated than full-time employees. In many cases, the freelancers we hire are working on graphics, event planning and booking as a side hustle which is usually their core passion. Meaning, they deeply enjoy the work they are doing freelancing and it is an extension to their 9-5 career. To them, freelance work is an opportunity to fulfill a deep need and desire while serving you (their client) with strong and strategic work. For example, a freelance graphic designer I have on retainer shared with me recently that she deeply enjoys the work she is doing for my company. Not only does she get to serve a mission-oriented organization but also, she is a leader in the digital design, direction, and branding – it’s her project from start to finish. She has the authority, autonomy, and voice - not something she has in her 9-5 career. Supporting the creative development of freelancers is key to ensure that they are up to speed with the project and understand your vision.
To us as business owners, it can sometimes be hard to release control over a project. However, micromanagement is likely to result in a lack of creativity and proactiveness.
Do you have experience with freelancers juggling multiple clients?
Absolutely! Freelancers are not working with you 40+ hours a week so when they come to work on your project not only are they excited for the creative outlet and increased autonomy but also, they bring a fresh perspective since the project feels "new." Recently, my freelance bookkeeper was looking at the way we tracked business expenses and came up with a solution that streamlined our processes and made it easier to track for the end of the year taxes. She saw the issue within 3 days on the job. She saved us thousands of dollars in potential fees, over 30 hours of future work and supported us thinking about bookkeeping in a new way. It was brilliant to have her expertise on the job. I credit this quick fix to the fact that she has already gained substantial experience with other clients. Meaning, she was innately able to come up with a solution because rather than working "in" the business she was working "outside" the business and offered a very fresh perspective. Hiring gig workers and freelancers as consultants can be incredibly rewarding to not only support streamlining efforts but to brainstorm and get a new perspective on campaigns, product development, event management, etc.
There are many advantages, do you believe that the gig economy is the future?
Definitely. As we live in an incredibly connected and digital age, our society offers the opportunity for individuals to bring their unique talents to the marketplace from anywhere around the world. Employees no longer feel the need to "wait" until they retire to pursue their passion. Now, they have access to mentors, can develop a side hustle and be paid for their work. Additionally, there is easy access with a low barrier to entry to the freelance market. In most cases, freelancers and gig workers do not need a lot of capital to start their new business. It is a low-risk venture and can be a quick way to make money and pursue their passion.
In addition, there are many digital platforms that educate freelancers on how to conduct business. Take Youtube, there are thousands of videos and free content explaining how to invoice customers, how to use social media as a marketing tool, how to develop a strong referral system, etc. On top of the low capital requirement and the mass amount of information on the web, freelancers also have the ability to showcase their work and talent online on websites like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, Thumbtack, Transformify, etc. Having digital outlets that allow freelance talent to showcase their work supports them in launching their business with inbound leads. The future is a mix of the gig economy and 9-5 work that allows individuals to showcase their unique talents and fulfill their inner desires.