Agencies and small businesses have always taken the approach of expanding their teams to offer new services.
Occasionally, you’ll see a fleeting freelancer step through the door who’s retained for a long stint, brought on full-time, or disappear before you know it.
Now that the landscape of office dynamics is shifting, remote and online businesses are excelling. The challenge now is to create sustainable business models that are financially viable and offer the best level of work for clients.
All hail the era of outsourcing and freelance!
The crutch of business
For many businesses, particularly smaller and entrepreneurial enterprises, outsourcing and freelancers can provide a vital crutch in helping them grow by offering a broader range of services without the need to bring on full-time employees.
A more comprehensive service can offer great potential for scaling your business and attracting a higher level of clients.
By seeking out third-party skills, you can meet the customer’s expectations while providing high-quality services and still focus on the core competencies of your business.
The question is, which one is better for your business, and what is the real difference between outsourcing and freelancers?
Outsourcing vs freelance, what’s the difference?
At face value, both of these services offer essentially the same product, but they differ significantly in how it is executed and often also in cost.
Outsourcing is the practice of hiring an external company to perform services. These services can support what is already being produced or be a supplement to services lacking in expertise.
The outsourcing partner will employ a number of contract workers allocated to different clients depending on the specific requirements. They will be required (usually) to adhere to a code of conduct and will have regular working hours. For the client, outsourcing is often a cost-effective move, allowing businesses to save on resources without sacrificing product quality.
A freelancer is an individual who earns money based on a per-job or task basis. As an individual entity, they are not an employee of a firm and can undertake as many jobs concurrently as they please/are capable of unless contractually committed to working exclusively.
With so many freelance network platforms available, anyone can now become a freelancer, either as their full-time source of income or as a supplement to other work.
A primary benefit for freelancers is the flexibility to work as and when they please, with no fixed hours or schedule. Because of this, they are generally contracted for temporary positions or individual projects.
The pros and cons of outsourcing vs freelance
Working remotely with any business has its advantages and disadvantages. With the structures of freelancing and outsourcing being very different, they can result in challenges that need to be overcome.
The main pro to outsourcing is that businesses and entrepreneurs have access to specialists whose work has been vetted by the outsourcing company. This implies that the work produced will adhere to guidelines and best practices set by the firm, and which will have been sold to the client, therefore managing expectations on both sides.
Clients will have access to a support network within that field of expertise meaning that if anything happens to the individual contractor — such as illness or inability to work — a replacement can usually be subbed in to cover.
It affords a strong sense of trust and reliability for the contracting business.
As is the case with any company, there are good ones, and there are bad ones. If you’re not careful in your research and do not check reviews, you could end up stuck in a contract with an unreliable outsourcing provider.
There are also legitimate security concerns regarding sensitive information or data shared on the contracting side. The client could feel that they are losing control over aspects of their business by outsourcing services or have concerns about communication breakdowns, especially when working with contractors in different time zones.
Most freelancers will work with open time schedules and will rarely affix themselves to strict times making them very flexible and adaptable to clients.
The temporary nature of their work allows companies to hire freelancers for a specified period of time and pay them directly without incurring additional fees and without tying into a fixed-term contract.
Because freelancers retain complete autonomy over their work, they can take on multiple tasks and clients conjunctly. This can lead to the quality of their work suffering.
As with outsourcing, clients are also at risk of security breaches because they will need to share their proprietary information with an individual that has no requirement to abide by specific codes of conduct or regulation.
What is the best option?
So what is the best option to go for? Well, there are pretty even pros and cons on both sides; however, there is one glaring difference between the two that offers real peace of mind to the client.
That is, accountability!
If you choose your outsourcing partner properly – ideally by finding genuine, glowing reviews or by recommendation – the typical concerns surrounding delivery, quality, communication, and particularly security, can all be alleviated.
When you work with an outsourcing partner, there will always be a point of contact and contractors can be held accountable for the work they produce.
Freelancers are on the whole reliable and professional, but there is a lingering concern that relationships can sit on a knife-edge between bliss and dread.
In the same way, as many freelancers are concerned about being paid, the clients equally have concerns of whether work will be delivered and to what level, without running the risk of being ghosted.
Liberate your resources
In working with an outsourcing partner, you can free up your staff to focus on the core of your business. Be that growth, client management or just expanding the business to move into new territories, you can pass on the smaller but not insignificant jobs such as content creation, copywriting, and web development.
Alleviate all of your worries around outsourcing by partnering with a proven-fabulous outsourcing specialist, like us at GoWP, for your web development, copywriting, and blog writing needs.