Did you know that only 8% of companies consider themselves to have an established process to manage and develop freelancers? That means it is up to you if you want to be more of a strategic resource and less of a transactional cost. Seem unfair? Maybe a little. Continue reading to learn how to take action towards being a strategic resource to your clients.
First, lets have a quick re-cap on the current state of affairs with the freelance movement. By 2027, over 50% of the US workforce will consist of freelancers working in the gig economy if trends continue to develop at current rates. With freelancers currently making up 36% of the workforce, this growth will continue to transform the traditional employer-employee relationships that we experience today.
The 9-to-5 five-day work week, popularised by Henry Ford during the Second Industrial Revolution, is increasingly threatened by the freelancer’s flexible work schedule, made possible through digitalisation as many societies enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Already 20% of Fortune 500 companies are using Upwork to prepare themselves for the workforce transformation and 80% of large corporations are planning to increase their use of freelancers in the coming years
More and more millennials (born between 1980 and 1996) are taking the leap of faith out of jobs they hate and into a freelance career that meets them on their terms. With a staggering six in ten millennials open to new job opportunities, it is no surprise that the least engaged generation in the workplace views freelancing as a way to pursue a career that is meaningful to them. Recent data from McKinsey found that almost two-thirds of freelancers are working independently by choice, motivated by lifestyle, flexibility, and the autonomy associated with independent work.
It seems like a match made in heaven – a motivated and youthful freelance workforce on the rise while, in parallel, companies are adapting to the cultural shift and extending work to freelancers through online marketplaces. It looks promising on paper, but is it too good to be true?
There is a definite willingness from companies to tap into the freelance economy, with survey data showing that 33% of companies are using freelancers for IT, 25% use freelancers for operations, 15% use freelancers for marketing and 15% use freelancers for research and development. A Deloitte survey even found that 49% of companies consider freelancers to have a positive impact on their business performance. So where’s the problem?
The problem is that only 28% of companies believe they are ready to capitalise on the freelance market – despite 41% of those companies considering it to be very important.
Most companies look at hiring freelancers as a transactional solution, as opposed to a strategic way of sourcing talent. This fosters an unhealthy relationship as freelancers are viewed only as a transactional cost and not as human beings providing strategic value.
This primarily applies to the subset of skilled professional freelancers that work on more complex tasks. However, this is an important subset because these skilled freelancers have the potential to provide the most value to companies. So, how can skilled freelancers provide value to companies when companies are not prepared to manage them?
Until companies are better equipped to manage freelancers as strategic resources, it is up to you, the freelancer, to keep your ducks in line and help your clients out.
Freelancing is not all sunshine and rainbows. Unless you are a well-established freelancer, which is unlikely considering 50% of freelancers started working independently less than two years ago – you are likely to face some challenges such as finding steady and fairly paid work.
As a freelancer, the only thing you can control is the work you do and how you present yourself to your clients. It is imperative to leverage the best tools available to optimise efficiency, especially considering,
Freelancers already literally spend 50% of their time doing the prospecting, marketing, and administrative work that they need to grow their solo businesses.
– Caitlin Pearce, Executive Director of the Freelancer’s Union
3 Steps To Be A Strategic Resource
At Agado, we have focused on three main areas of a freelancer’s workflow that we believe make both your life and your client’s life easier. These three areas should help you, as a freelancer, to position yourself as a strategic resource.
1. The bespoke resume
First off, give a prospective client confidence in you by sharing a resume that is more than just words on a page. Crafting a bespoke resume takes time and effort and the easy choice is to just send out a generic ‘one size fits all’ CV. Do not make this mistake. Invest your time in showcasing the most relevant pieces of work you’ve done and any relevant details that can show that you are the right person for the job. With Agado, we take the projects that you’ve worked on in our tool and allow you to showcase them in your profile. Companies don’t have the time to review countless resumes, so it is important to make things as easy as possible for them and to show precisely how you can provide value.
2. Formalised deliverables
Once your client sees your profile and agrees to work with you, make sure to send out a professional agreement outlining the deliverables you’ve discussed. Projects are prone to change as you go along and so it is important to keep track on how your deliverables evolve to ensure you get paid for the work you do. Agado allows you to send a client a professional proposal in seconds, where that client can then approve or comment if there is anything that they feel needs amending. This ensures you and your client are aligned from the beginning and nothing gets lost in translation.
3. A set up that allows you to deliver on your promises
After agreeing on the deliverables, it’s up to you to deliver the work as best you can. Managing your projects in one place is important so you can prioritise what needs to be done and update clients on your progress with ease. Agado offers an intuitive way to manage your projects, tasks and To-Do’s so that nothing slips through the cracks. It also allows you to share your progress on the agreed upon deliverables which avoids unnecessary back and forth.
These 3 steps will save you and your client valuable resources and will make you more likely to be seen as a strategic resource. Knowing that only around a quarter of companies are confident in handling freelancers, it is up to you to lead the way and demonstrate your value. Take action with Agado and lead the way to a brighter freelance future.