Is Freelance Work Worth It?; Why Leveraging Freelancers For Your Business May Be Advantageous

Jib Sheet Partners is a full-service digital development agency. We offer a full spectrum of design, development and management services for all size businesses looking to navigate their marketing and audience landscape.

While we are armed with internal resources and a network of talent that can tackle almost (if not any) marketing challenge, we pride ourselves on doing what is best for the client and their unique needs.

Most recently, I got some awkward stares in a meeting when a client turned to us and asked our opinions on freelance work platforms such as Fiverr and UpWork. While every sales bone in my body wanted to jump on the opportunity to sell the client on our in-house design services, I knew it was not what suited their needs.

Maybe it is my personality, business ethics, or just the way we do things here at Jib Sheet, but we are not here to sell our clients.

In fact, we don’t want clients!

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We are actively pursuing partners whom we believe in.

Okay, okay, I hear my sales mentors in the background screaming to shut me up, but in reality… nobody likes client work.

Most clients suck! Many have unrealistic expectations and expect a turnkey solution to complex business problems. Not only are most clients looking for that simple solution, but they also hesitate to pay you for your expertise.

It is with great intention that we did not name our business Jib Sheet Clients. We are actively identifying and seeking partners in which we are confident our complimentary skill set will yield results for.

A partner is someone who works to advocate for the same goal while a client is someone who you deliver work for regardless of the result or return.

I think it is important that both businesses and agencies understand the difference. Too often do we hear businesses who are clients complaining about costs and results; while I equally hear too many agencies complaining about their clients.

Let’s get one thing straight… You do not always get what you pay for.

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Is freelance work worth it?

I will preface this thought by saying how much I appreciate the freelance economy and the opportunities it provides for both businesses and talent. Platforms like Fiverr and UpWork make it possible for someone with graphic design skills in Russia to access a Canadian client and vice versa.

Connectivity is an amazing thing and the foundation in which our growing freelance economy is built upon. Personally, I have a unique perspective and by popular demand, have decided to shine some light on both sides of the freelance equation. 

As a business owner and advocate for freelance work, Fiverr provides me an unbelievable opportunity to connect with amazing talent and keep my overhead down.

Whereas sifting through countless job applications and gambling my cash flow on someone’s Adobe skillset is not a ton of fun, it does have its perks.

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I have several clients who utilize freelance platforms and in fact, there are some clients to who I recommend it as a solution. See, work in general has to begin with a question. What is it I am trying to accomplish and what value does this play to my organization?

Let’s pretend your law firm is looking for a new website. Your goal is to build a user-friendly website that illustrates some important details and qualifications about your firm to new and existing clients. You are looking to attract new clients online by optimizing locally, while enhancing the experience for existing clients by regularly providing engaging content.

Does it make sense to hire a Chief Technology Officer and build an in-house development team? Probably not. On the flip side, is it really worth spending $1,500 on Fiverr to outsource the project to the Middle East? Probably not. 

When we discuss the freelance solution with clients, I always make it a point to illustrate the obvious… there is a reason why some of those options are cheap!

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While we advocate for freelance solutions, it is important that our clients understand their expectations.

A website, for example, is not something most clients understand completely. While they are confident in explaining their goals and expectations, they wouldn’t know how to recognize a properly constructed website if their life depended on it.

It is important that you recognize the value of your investment and what you are specifically investing in.

You are not paying thousands of dollars for a website; you are investing thousands of dollars into a partner who is going to advocate for your business, the scope at hand, and even more so, play a part in measuring the results.

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I could find someone with a lab coat on the street and ask him to diagnose my health issues for $25 dollars and avoid insurance, but I wouldn’t. I am willing to pay my doctor because of their qualifications for the job.

Now let’s say your same law firm has a web development and optimization partner in place. You have chosen the right advocate for the project and together you are continuing to build resources and tools to help you efficiently run your organization.

Your development team is busy building away and you are swamped with new client phone calls but need some graphics for social media. While your development team is part of a full-service agency who offers graphic design services, their rates are likely way higher than a freelance solution.

At Jib Sheet, we recognize our role and we do a very good job at sticking to it. It is your job to run your business, it is our job to build you tools and strategies that help you do that better.

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Our job is not to sell you on every little service our agency offers, our role is understand your organization and make the right decisions. As a partner, I need to set my pride and cash-flow requirements aside and advocate for an investment worth making.

If my best friend comes to me asking me for advice regarding his website development, I am going to begin by asking about his business.

If he has a major organization looking to build a unique environment for his audience and harness a community through integrated technology? I am going to tell him he needs a technical advisor or partner on the project. He needs to build a strong project management infrastructure and identify a technical partner who can help them design, develop, release, and scale that platform.

If he is simply looking to put a website online as quickly as possible because his small business needs one, I am going to recommend he invest in an agency that understands his audience and works within his budget.

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When he tells me that he saw a Facebook advertisement for $500 websites and Fiverr can get him one for $1,200… I tell him to burn his money, it’ll be faster and less painful. 

You are investing in expertise you don’t have. You cannot turn to someone who builds based off  5 questions and 1,000 characters you typed to describe your business and goals.

Not only will you be disappointed with the result, but you also will not have the education to communicate necessary changes. If you happen to be the lucky one who gets the website off the ground, I can assure you it will not function the same in six months. 

So how am I advocating for Freelance solutions? Well, let me explain their place.

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Freelance work is an amazing opportunity for you to take advantage of high-quality expertise at low cost.

Now keep in mind, if you are paying $45 for someone to design your pitch deck, do not expect that to raise you $5m in pre-seed funding. On the other hand, if you are spending $45 for someone to design several business card options for you… power to you!

Any investment is about clearly understanding your expectations for both results and return.

Identify a partner not a service provider.

Be a partner not a client.

Invest only with clear expectations.