What can small do for you? Five benefits of hiring a freelancer.

Even if you’re totally happy with your current ad agency or in-house production department, there are a lot of good reasons to consider adding an independent freelance graphic designer, writer or marketing consultant to your stable of creative vendors. 

The obvious benefit that comes to mind when hiring a freelancer is that it’s a way to stretch your creative budget. Working with a freelancer can save you serious coin, especially when compared to the fees some agencies charge. Here are some other things to consider before beginning your next marketing or communications project:

  1. Don’t assume that because a freelancer costs less that his or her work is lower caliber than an agency’s. Many freelancers have agency backgrounds and have set out on their own in order to build specific skills or advance their careers in directions not possible inside an agency or corporate setting. A freelancer’s professional reputation and business success ride on the value of their work in a very direct way, so they tend to be highly motivated to produce a quality product. Regardless of size, you’ll get better results from any creative company by evaluating their style and work methods to make sure they mesh with your own prior to signing them for a large project.
  2. Freelancers can often provide a higher level of personal attention to their clients than large agencies can. This is especially true for small to medium businesses that may have to compete for agency interest with much bigger accounts. Basically, you’re more likely to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond when you work with a freelancer, or even a small design firm.
  3. As business becomes more global and more creative professionals enter the scene, it becomes imperative for consultants and freelancers to focus on a niche market and become an expert in that area. This means that it’s easier than ever to find a freelancer who is familiar with your industry, can play to its strengths and “gets” its challenges. Even better, such a person becomes more than just a freelance writer or designer. They become an extension of your marketing or creative team, sharing their unique industry experiences and knowledge.
  4. With a freelancer you have the benefit of interfacing directly with the person who’s producing the work. And, that contact stays consistent over time, unlike some agencies that experience the revolving door effect when account reps and creative staff leave to pursue other opportunities.
  5. Freelancers can often work within extremely tight deadlines since they wear many hats themselves and don’t have to pull together an extended team for a rush project. It goes without saying that an independent freelancer’s rush charges will usually be less than those of an agency. Freelancers can also step in quickly to handle overflow or production when your in-house creative team is swamped—the type of work that agencies are less interested in since production is generally not glamorous work.

There are a lot of good agencies and design firms out there, and I’m not suggesting you should dump the ones you work well with. Some projects are too large in scope for a solo freelancer to manage effectively. Agencies and freelancers both have their own roles and strengths, so it’s a matter of choosing the best fit for each specific situation. Hiring a freelancer for projects that don’t fall clearly within your agency’s forte can save you time, money and hassle. And more importantly, building a solid working relationship with a freelancer who takes the time to really get to know you and your business can improve the quality of the creative process and the marketing materials you produce.

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