Could your business benefit from the gig economy?
At some point, every business owner needs outside help to improve efficiency – or to free up their time so they can take steps toward future growth.
The trouble is, the cost of hiring regular staff, even on a part time basis, can eat up a company’s budget – especially in the early years when you’re still just finding your feet. The rise of the remote freelance worker (otherwise known as the “gig economy”) can offer business owners a simple, cost-effective solution when they need extra help with a one off “gig” or short-term contract.
Of course, there are pros and cons to hiring any new worker, whether permanent, remote, or casual. Read on to decide whether hiring remote freelance help is right for you.
A look at the pros
For many business owners, the bottom line is often their greatest motivation for hiring independent contractors. It’s a much less costly option than taking on an employee – and this can be especially true with international workers whose rates reflect a lower cost of living. Another benefit to hiring remote workers who live in different time zones is increased efficiency; when you’re sleeping, someone is still hard at work on your business. In addition to increased productivity and affordable help when you need it, greater ease when you’re ready to scale is another excellent reason to consider hiring remote independent contractors. For some businesses, hiring freelancers on a regular basis keeps their operations running like a well-oiled machine. If the idea makes sense for your business, make sure you create processes to onboard new workers quickly, so you get the most value for your time and money.
Consider the cons
Working with remote freelancers does pose some risks business owners should be aware of.
Loyalty. Unlike employees who receive regular benefits on top of their salary, gig workers may not feel motivated to stick with you long term, which can be detrimental to your business.
Consistency. Hiring people on a casual basis means you may have to find more than one person you can rely on to get the job done. Inconsistent help can mean inconsistent results.
Reliability. Freelance workers hired from popular sites like elance may be more interested in finding a large number of clients to increase their pay by volume than providing high quality work quickly and reliably for every job that comes up.
Cost. Sometimes you “get what you pay for”. Low rates can amount to low quality work, which can be both frustrating and costly for your business.
In the end every business owner has to decide what makes sense for their business. It may make more sense to hire a local worker at their professional rate than someone on a site like elance whose fees may be attractive but reflect a low end client experience.
In the best case scenario, hiring remote independent contractors can be a win-win situation. Skilled workers who want to set their own hours and rates enjoy the freedom they desire while business owners are free to hire talent from anywhere in the world and pay what makes sense for their budget.
One final thought to consider: hiring remote freelancers at low rates can have an impact on how your customers perceive your business, especially with recent news stories of “poverty pay” for exploited gig workers.
Every business decision you make should align with your company values and build trust in your brand–including the help you hire for your business.