Web design, development and marketing freelancers are everywhere. If you get the right freelancer they can certainly help improve the digital arm of your business. We work with many clients who have had experience with digital freelancers, some of which have been positive, however many of which have been very negative experiences and in some cases, have had lasting damage to the business. It all depends on the individual freelancer and it’s difficult to see these issues arise until it’s already too late.
What are Freelancers?
Freelancers in the digital industry and individuals who take on clients and work on the digital arm of the businesses for a fee. They are great if you are a start-up business with no technology knowledge to help build and develop the beginnings of your business, and often they are a cheap option. However, we have found that over time problems can arise.
What are the common limitations of using a digital freelancer for your business?
Here at Libero Net, we have designers, developers, digital marketing, SEO, PPC and conversion optimisation specialists. Our skills set as a team is vast and our ability to work together means we can be more creative. We produce a better quality of product for our clients and have an excellent support network within ourselves.
A freelancer will tend to specialise in a field or will dabble in numerous fields. I, for instance, do not claim to be a developer, however, I have some rudimentary understanding of how web developers work. My speciality is Digital Marketing and the development team trust me to be able to carry out that work on the websites that they develop. They understand what I do and why I do it and in many cases, will use their skills set to help me to achieve a goal for a client.
An individual freelancer, by definition, will have a limited skill set and depth of knowledge, this could result in your website not achieving the full potential it could do or your digital marketing campaign not performing as optimally, as it could do.
A freelancer will sell themselves as a “digital agency” encompassed within one person, with few overheads to worry about. They will have a few clients that they work with, usually smaller in number than many agencies. This may sound ideal for your needs as a cheaper alternative than a digital agency.
There are some downsides to this, however, a freelancer working on numerous clients will ultimately result in less time being spent on your work than an agency would. This is because a freelancer must manage his own time effectively while performing all the duties of an agency.
They will want to be taking on more clients, which is a long process of networking and proposals. If they do get a new client, the start of a project is always the most time consuming, which will usually take time out of work on your website.
We as an agency team spend all our time working with our clients within our specialties, we have a dedicated salesperson who deals with bringing in new clients and we have a dedicated project manager who deals with the time management of our team and for each of our clients, as well as being a point of contact for all clients.
We are aware that the quality of our work is paramount to what we achieve. We accept that mistakes occur for even the most talented individual, so our working methodologies are created in such a way that when mistakes do occur they are caught and dealt quickly and efficiently.
All of our work is passed on to another member of the team with similar skills, who will quality assure the task to check it has been done to standard. If necessary, extra testing is conducted to ensure that the final product works as it should.
As a sole freelancer, it’s difficult to achieve this level of quality assurance without fresh eyes to check the work, in these situations the quality assurance usually comes from the client, which can be a huge drain on your time.
They should, of course, be checking their own work, however, like this blog post, I could re-read it over and over and not see any errors and someone else could read it and see many (hopefully not, however*).
*Note from the Quality Assurer of this post “There were errors, it’s okay though because I found them!”
As I’ve already mentioned, freelancers can be effective, if you’re lucky enough to find the right one. Also, if you are employing a freelancer for one speciality, for example, PPC, then with a good relationship and management they can be very effective. This should only be done if you are lacking a skill set within your business that needs filling and they should only be utilised for that speciality. Employing different freelancers for your business for numerous specialities that a business will need would be a very expensive process.
As a digital agency, we remove the management, worry and lack of quality that a freelancer can bring and although the cost may be higher the end product and quality is higher too, which in the end means a bigger return for your business.