Why Every Business should employ Freelancers

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Learn why your business or startup should engage freelancers…

49% of all UK Self Employed are Freelancers!!!

Office of National Statistics

Learn:

  • The importance of the Freelancer to you
  • How you can benefit
  • Why you can’t ignore them
  • How to find them
  • How to employ them
  • How to maximise your benefit

Hiring Freelancers has allowed ConXhub to grow and scale, and we’ll highlight some of our experiences showing why they should be a critical part of your business too.

Recorded Presentation – YouTube

Watch the recorded presentation by Mark Trowbridge, Founder / CEO, ConXhub at Elite Business Live 2022 (10th March, 2022)

Elite Business Live – 2022

Presentation Transcript

Today I want to talk about freelancers and really why you as a start-up, or a small business should engage with freelancers.

It’s something I’m passionate about. Actually, while I was putting this production together, I realized that I’ve been using freelancers myself within almost every business that I’ve ever been involved with.

So, the first slide I wanted to draw your attention to is a statement: 49% of self-employed workers are freelancers. So that’s nearly 2.2 million people. That’s just in the UK alone.

The reason I wanted to put that statistic on the wall is just to make you aware that this is a massive industry, but I’m sure many of you are looking at freelancers and thinking, well, I’ve used Fiverr.com for the odd logo or the odd blog post or something small of that nature, and it’s been okay, but it’s not been fantastic.

What I want to put across to yourselves is that the freelance world is actually made up of some of the most talented, experienced, skilful people you could come across.

In fact, since we’ve had the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve actually seen a lot of very serious business people, very high-level business people, move out of the commercial world into the freelance world.

I’m not going to go into all the reasons why they’ve done that. But there are some obvious ones. It’s a lot more fun working for lots of different companies and different bosses and different organizations, different people and having different experiences.

There are many reasons why people would want to go into the freelance world. But what I want to emphasize to you is that it is a large community. If you look at it, nearly 50% of the self-employed community in the UK alone is working as a freelancer. So, it’s absolutely massive, and you, as a self-employed entrepreneur, really would be amiss if you didn’t look at this as an opportunity.

My name is Mark Trowbridge. I am a serial entrepreneur, currently running one of the most exciting telecoms companies on the planet, ConXhub, which is the World’s No.1, Mobile First, Communications Solution.  I’ve actually been running businesses since I was 17, starting & selling businesses throughout my life.

In fact, while I was putting this together, I suddenly realized that it was even in my first business that we employed what we now call freelancers. Back then they were part time employees. Terms have changed over the years!

One of the key marketing aspects we had was direct mail, and we employed a full-time printer. He had two print machines running full time, because every week we were sending out lots and lots of mail to prospective clients.

In the back room we engaged three retired gentlemen, and they came in and did what we call the stuffing of the envelopes. But they told me one day they absolutely loved coming to work. In fact, they said to me quietly, Mark, you didn’t need to pay us. We just love coming and working and feeling needed and feeling respected and having something to do in retirement.

From this, I’ve realized all the way through my business life, we’ve actually utilized, or I’ve utilized what we now call freelancers. So, it’s a huge aspect, and what I really want to put across today is the importance of freelancers to you in your business, and I am going to cover the following:

  • how you can benefit,
  • why you can’t ignore them,
  • how to employ them,
  • how to find them,
  • and how to maximize the benefit.

And I hope that after this session, you’ve at least taken something away from today that makes you think differently about freelancers.

What I’ve noticed in the UK is that there’s quite a closeted dimension when it comes to freelancers. That aspect that freelancers have no real value, they’re not really that good at what they do. I can do better by employing somebody full time. And I’m really here to tell you that’s not the case. And I’m going to give you some examples as we move through as to why that’s not the case for us as a company. Again, it’s not only a huge number of people in the freelance community, but it’s also those people are working across all verticals. So whatever need you have as a small business person, whatever case you have for work needing to be done, you will find somebody in the community that can actually do that. And you’ll find a person that’s actually highly skilled, highly talented, and will do an amazing job for you.

Now, the other aspect you need to also look at and think about whilst we think about freelancers, is that we’re in a global economy and what you’ll find is that the freelance world is actually that, it’s worldwide.

As a company, we now employ many freelancers, and I use the word employ, as in that I regard our freelancers as the same as full time employees. We have two levels. We have those that are working for us ad hoc, doing one off projects or tasks. And we have those that we actually want to engage them on a monthly basis; for them to do a task regularly for us. And I’ll run through some examples of that.

So again, when you’re looking at freelancing, look outside of your local community, look outside of your local county, and look outside in terms of not only nationally, but internationally as well.

An example of that for us, is that we run an international company, so we need to cover our support times 24/7, 365 days of the year. Now, yes, we could take on three UK based support staff and some of those would be working through the night and working odd hours, but it’s actually more beneficial to us and our staff if we employ them in the different hemispheres. So, in terms of support, we’ll have support running in the American hemisphere, and we’ll have support running in the Asian hemisphere so that we can cover all time zones.  For international staff, it’s their normal workday and work hours. So, it works really well from that perspective.

We were very fortunate in just coming out of covid-19 lockdowns, we were able to put a team conference together where we tried to gather all of our team together or as many team members as we could, into one venue. We actually bought everybody to Benidorm in Spain. We had a long weekend, and it was a good time for us to meet staff that we had never met before.

We’ve been employing or engaging consultants and freelancers for many years, and we hadn’t even met some of them, so this was an ideal opportunity to meet and get the whole company on the same page.

 As I mentioned, we utilize freelancers from around the world. We have freelancers in Canada, the USA, Colombia, Spain, the UK, the Philippines, and further afield, and our intention is to continue to engage with freelancers and get them to help us grow our business. It’s a fantastic way of helping your business scale.

If you’re thinking; I’m a one-man band, I’m a small business, it’s not going to help me… stop there. We started using freelancers when we were just two people strong, and had we not used freelancers, I really don’t believe we would have grown as successfully as we have. They’ve been a tremendous asset to us as a company. And once you start using and once you understand what you can gain from the freelance community, I think your mental aspect towards it will change. So you’re never too small to grow.

I want to look at the why you shouldn’t dismiss freelancers, and one of the ways of looking at it, is always about finances, about money.

To me, it’s almost like you can’t afford not to hire a freelancer. It falls into two parts. There’s a very simple equation for me.

What’s your cost value? How much are you worth to the business?

There are jobs within business that we love doing. There are jobs in the business that we’re great at, that we’re phenomenal at. We wake up every morning, we’re excited to do, and then there are jobs in our business where we go, oh, God, do I have to do that?

For me personally, it’s the bookkeeping. I know there are people in the room that can relate, yeah, I know that one. For others, it will be marketing, for others it might be sales, there’s many components in running a business.

I’m a very forward-looking person. I hate looking back and that means I hate looking at invoices that have gone, that’s done, it’s gone dusted. I just hate bookkeeping and VAT and anything to do with that. But of course, as a small business person you have to do it.

However, for me I’d procrastinate over it. I’d leave it to that last minute when it’s got to be done by Monday morning and its now Sunday night, just a nightmare. And of course, when you procrastinate and you hate doing things, you do things badly so you make mistakes and then you have to go and do it again or you leave things to the last minute and you’ve lost where those invoices were. You put them somewhere, they’re in a folder somewhere on your computer but you’ve forgotten where that was.

Me, absolutely dire. So when we’re considering the use of freelance, I have this very simple cost matrix and just an example.

Cost Value Matrix

On the left-hand side here is what’s my value cost to the business.

My hourly cost: let’s say hypothetically is £50 an hour. And let’s say I’ll work 7 hours a day. And again because bookkeeping is so horrible, because those tasks you hate doing are so horrible. You make mistakes, you procrastinate over it, you take longer. So for me I was taking three days to do bookkeeping.

If we just added that together, £50 an hour, 7 hours a day, three days…  the cost value to the company is over £1000.

Now the converse of that on the right-hand side. Let’s say we used a freelancer to do that work and let’s say top end £20 an hour. And let’s use the same equation, they’re going to work 7 hours in a day. The difference is the freelancer likes doing bookkeeping, they know how to do bookkeeping, they know how to add up and subtract and get everything in the right place. They know how to put all the invoices in the right order and put them into the right mechanics. So if we did the simple math, £20 times 7, one day gives you that total of £140.

The cost saving to my business is over £900.

I hope that kind of makes sense in terms of the cost value to your company.

Now there’s also a flip side, there’s another benefit…

So instead of me doing that job I hate, I can now give my business those three days back and I can give my business that time in doing things that I can actually do.

Just financially, it’s a really simple equation and I’d be mad not to use freelancers. I’d be mad not to get rid of that job. I really hate, I’m really useless at that, that’s just screwing up my business, and not give that to somebody else!

There are many reasons why you would hire a freelancer, but these are my top three.

Costs is one lowering of costs to you as a business. And please don’t think, oh, that’s going to cost me £300, £400, £500. Whatever it is, as you’ve just seen, it’s actually a value benefit.

The second one is that they’re Masters. They’re Masters what they do. As I say, if you give that work to the bookkeeper that knows how to do bookkeeping. They bring the tools of their trade to that task.

The biggest one for me is they bring their ‘A’ Game. A  freelancer wants to please you. They want to do the best job they possibly can every single time, not the day they turn up or a week into work, every single time.

They want to be proud of the work they deliver for you. That to me is probably the biggest part.

So just to elaborate on these, when we talk about lower costs, we’ve already spoken about the cost benefit in terms of value. But the other cost is there’s no ancillary costs. You haven’t got to supply office space, you haven’t got to supply equipment, you haven’t got to supply uniforms or anything of that nature.

There’s no training. These people know what they’re doing, they’re a master of what they do. You don’t have to train up a bookkeeper. They know how to bookkeep. If they don’t, you shouldn’t be employing them.

When people know what they’re doing, you’re getting the best out of them.

When you start to look at the cost value of that particular person, you may be thinking, oh, my goodness, £20 an hour multiplied by 7 hours, multiplied by 30 days…. £4,200!!!. Stop..

You’re not employing them fulltime. You’re not employing them seven days a week, 8 hours a day. You’re employing them just for the time that’s needed to commit to that task. And indeed, you’ll probably find that the freelancer doesn’t want to work for you full time, 24/7. That’s not why they’re freelancing. If they want to work for you, that’s brilliant. If they’re good at what they do, fantastic. But you’ll find in terms of that overall cost? Yes. While it may sound expensive as an hourly rate, as a total cost, it’s a lot, lot lower. So don’t get confused by hourly rates and just look at how much time they’re actually spending on that job.

Also remember that because they’re very skilled at what they do. Whilst you may have thought, well, that might take somebody maybe a day, two days, it will actually be a lot less because they’re really skilled, they’re going to do it a lot quicker, and I’ll give you an example of that, from our own experience.

As I mentioned, they bring the ‘A’ Game every time- this is really, really important, and I’ll give you some examples.

I’m going to talk about some of our team, just to give you some context on how we’ve been able to utilize the freelance community to our benefit.

I mentioned Bookkeeping. So indeed, our first hire started to look after Bookkeeping, and I got rid of that role. And my God, thank goodness. And it immediately, literally, immediately just released me. I didn’t only get those three days back, but it stopped me worrying about the end of the month. So automatically I got more energy.

I want to talk about Rob. Rob is based in the Philippines. He’s been with us now two and a half years, and he’s on the editorial side. Absolutely amazing. We engaged Rob, in blog post writing when we started about two and a half years ago, and we haven’t looked back.

He does the majority of our blog posts. He writes for some of our web pages. Anything to do with writing. He’ll write for us. Rob’s got to know us so well over the last two and a half years.

Rob’s role with us went from ad hoc to actually, “Rob, would you mind working for us permanently?” Not as a full-time employee, but as a permanent freelancer.

What that means is there was a transition from just ad hoc jobs based on how much would you charge for this? to, how much would you charge for being with us every single month and doing X, Y, and Z?

He’s a tremendous individual, and in fact, what’s happened more recently…  I used to spend around 4 hours, maybe 5 hours a day on LinkedIn, as many of you do, because LinkedIn is about relationship building. Rob got to know me so well. He started to become me on LinkedIn. So, in fact, this is a top secret. Don’t tell anybody, but if you write to me on LinkedIn, it’ll probably be Rob that’s replying.

As you grow your time becomes even more limited, you will have to find the right person, for you.

I’ll be honest with you; I’ve been on LinkedIn, and I’ve read some of the replies that Rob’s given. I could have written it. It’s as though it is me!

Again, I’m trying to emphasize; the calibre and quality of individuals out there, it is incredibly high.

In business we talk about; “if you want to be successful, surround yourself with people that are more intelligent and more skilful than you are”. And that’s what we’re doing with our freelancing community.

The other person I want to talk to is a guy called Paul. Now, Paul is the most dynamic graphic designer you could come across. There are lots of graphic designers out there, but the graphic designer that you need, needs to fit with you, needs to understand what you’re looking for.

 There’s no point in the graphic designer producing everything in blue when your favourite colour is green, if that makes sense.

They need to be on the same wavelength, on the same page as you. We were incredibly lucky to come across a guy called Paul actually living and working in Pakistan. He completely transformed our website and our graphics and all our imagery for blog posts and banner ads and literally anything that has an image need.

In fact, some of the leaflets that you’ll see around for ConXhub and our business cards. Anything that has an image on it, goes to Paul.

Again, it started off as just, “can you do some pages on our website? Can you do the home page? Can you do some imagery for that?” And very quickly Paul transitioned into being a full-time freelancer for the company month in, month out.

Over two years, Paul has been with us, and I hope he never leaves. He’s just an amazing individual. The whole company loves him to pieces. It’s not just me asking for things to be done. It’s every Department saying, could you do this? Could you do that? And he just does it. It’s just amazing.

What’s been really exciting for me is that by him having a full-time freelance contract, he’s actually been able to move from Pakistan to the USA, where his wife was living, who he hadn’t seen for two years. I was absolutely delighted for him that he was able to move on the basis of us giving him some full-time contracts, albeit in the freelance space.

I’m not going to embarrass him. Actually, I am! Another one I want to talk about is a guy called Corey. Corey has actually only been with us six months, and Corey is actually in the room. But what a fabulous young man he is.

He works for other companies and individuals building websites.

Websites are pretty important to every business, and there’s a part of the website that Google looks at that tells you whether it’s any good or not, that is website health and Google will actually start pushing more traffic to you, the better up the scale it is.

We had an average site health percentage of about 72% when Cory joined us. As of Monday, when I looked through the work that Corey’s done over the last few months, he’s pushed our web page up to 99%. And actually, he didn’t know it. But when I looked this morning, it was at 100%. So that for us as a company is just unbelievable because we now know that Google are looking at our website and going, that’s a damn good website. It’s got good content, it’s fast, it’s got good graphics. The end user is staying on the website, all those analytic things that we’re all looking for. And it’s all because we engaged with Corey.

When we first asked Corey to join us, we agreed terms. Two months in we upped the agreed amount and we’ve just done it again, because the value that Corey gives our business is immense.

If you imagine where we are now, I think there’s another 10% of users coming to our web site. So what that means down the line in terms of sales is massive. You just can’t buy that. The calibre and quality of work; we couldn’t get that anywhere else. We couldn’t do that internally even though we’ve got some good website people internally, because it’s something you need to focus on and concentrate on, and we couldn’t do that internally because we’ve got so many other things we’re trying to do.

As business owners, we’re all juggling every single day. We’re juggling to run our business. The fact that we could say, okay, we’re going to have somebody that’s going to specialize in this and do a really good job, is immense… and again, I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve got someone like Corey. I mean, he’s just an amazing individual, and he’s doing an awesome job. Thank you, Cory.

These are a few examples of freelancers that we’ve transitioned into full time contracts. We love having them on the team. I’m going to talk to you about how you should engage with those people within the business, but I also want to talk to you about just one-off jobs & individual contracts because they’re equally as important to you.

This is a real story. My background is in SQL servers and that whole horrible geek stuff. I had a report to produce for a particular client, and I was really struggling to get it built. It was a really complex report, and I was struggling. I’d nearly get there and then not, and I’d have to walk away from it. I’d walk away and go back to it. I’d spend another few hours and nearly get there, but not quite. This just went on for weeks, and to the point where the clients were pushing for a conclusion, and I was starting to feel some pressure.

I was so stupid, seriously, because we’ve got this whole world of talent that’s available to us. It’s just there. And what I did was, I went out into the world and said, is there anybody out there that knows how to do SQL Server reports? I came across a guy called Mark who’s based in Canada. He’s actually Australian, but married to a Canadian and now living in Toronto. I sent him the spec, and I sent him all the queries that we’d done and all the tables. And he looked at it. He said, yeah, should be able to do that.

Thirty five minutes later, bang, done and passed to the client.

Oh, my God. They said, this is amazing. This is amazing. And it’s still alive today.

This particular report, it is an amazing report. What I’m trying to say to you, I was the idiot because I was spending hours and hours and hours trying to do something that I’d never get done. And there’s talent out there that can do it.

Mark is one of those that we don’t engage him on a contract every single month. But we do engage him as a company when we reach problems in that domain. The whole company knows Mark. They know who he is, what he does, how specialist he is, and we’ll go to him.

So, there are specialist individuals within the marketplace, and if you are struggling to get something built or finished, use them.

These are just some ideas about how we utilize freelancers. Above all, we use many and we use them across the board. And I’ll speak to you in a little while about some other aspects.

How do you trust the freelancer?

That’s a brilliant question. Thank you very much. And you’re right, I have been very positive, about freelancers, but there are negative sides too. There’s good and there’s bad, and I’ve fallen foul. I’ve had work done, and it’s not been quite up to speed. It’s not been quite what I imagined it could be or should be. And I’ve been disappointed. I’ve still paid the fee, and I think rightfully so. I’ve still given them four or five stars or whatever because they’ve produced the completed work, but sometimes it’s not their fault, sometimes it’s the spec.

Sometimes we’ve given them the wrong information or we haven’t been explicit enough about what we need. Have you ever done that test where you’ve given a sheet of paper to a group of people and said draw a square and then draw a circle within the square and then draw a triangle and your image of that and then you asked them to show their image they’re all completely different?

Somebody’s got a little square in the corner, another one across the  whole page. Ones got a big square, another a tiny circle. Because we haven’t been explicit enough. We haven’t explained everything in finite detail.

There are those that actually aren’t that skilled, I’ll be honest, there are good and bad. So what we’re going to look at in a minute is the hiring process, what we have learned over the years of how to hire and where to hire and the questions we should be asking to get the best.

I have to say the bad occasions are minimal, if nonexistent.

But there’s another really key part to this in that we’ve not employed this person. We’ve not gone through a whole rigmarole of going through CVS and all of that.

We use the phrase very easy to hire and very quick to fire, and it’s very, very simple. If the work is not up to scratch, you don’t have to use them again. If you start on something very small and the work is not up to par, then the cost detriment to you is minimal.

I’ll give you an example.

I mentioned to you earlier we’re looking to engage with more writers. We want more high quality blog posts for our website. And so we started engaged with writers. We have been looking at some of the normal sites like So Fiverr.com and we actually engaged with somebody the other week. Now, these people, freelancers are incredibly busy. The good ones really busy. So I engage with somebody. I asked them to do a blog post, 1000 word editorial. And that came back. Now, I passed that to my PA and said, what do you think? And she said, I don’t think that’s very good. And I said, well, let me put it in this context. We only paid for 1000 words and we got delivered a thousand words. And also the topic was really horrible. I mean, the topic was voicemail. How many of you could write an article on voicemail, 1000 word? It was horrible. So it was kind of a test. So for me, when I read it, punctuality, spelling, context, flow was absolutely brilliant. And when I put that back to Paula my PA, she said, actually, Mark, you’re right.

What’s going to be interesting is this person is five star, absolutely smacked out with work, work coming out of her ears. But I want to engage with her. So we’re now in discussions about, well, would you like to have some more? Would you like to do one blog post for us a month or two, a month or whatever? And we’re in those discussions because I think she’s got legs to help.

So, I think, yes, there are bad. Don’t worry about it. It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg. You haven’t got to go through tribunals for hiring and firing. It’s a lesson and just learn how to engage better the next time around and look for better. What I’m saying to you is from my experience, it’s the normal stats, 20% are bad, 60%, are okay and going to do a good job and then you’ve got the cream. There’s a good 20%, up there.

In fact, I’ve met people here today who have come out of corporate. There’s one young lady I´ve met, she’s come out of Shell Oil, a CIO in Shell Oil, major, major. She’s offering her business experience to small businesses. She’s effectively a freelancer. And anybody that doesn’t take that experience is mad. She’s offering that experience from big corporate life. And again, the reasons she went into freelancing were her own reasons. But she loves the variety of dealing with small businesses and small business owners.

So, very, very quickly, how to hire:

  1. I’ve already covered it. Be very specific in what you need. Help the  freelancer, understand what your needs are and help them to help you. If you just say, here’s your topic, can you give me 1000 word editorial? It’s not going to help. What are your keywords? What words are you looking for? How are you looking for it to be penned out? So be very specific and I would write it down yourselves because if you write it down and read it back, it’s going to make more sense.
  2. When you’re looking through the infinitesimal number of freelancers, look through and review, look at the work they’ve already done and make sure that they’re in line with what you’re looking for. There’s huge choice out there, which is a nice thing, but you can also get blinded. It’s like walking into the sweet shop and there’s so many sweets, you can’t imagine which one to choose. There is so much choice, so much quality. When you’re looking, make sure you’re reviewing who you’re looking at and look at their testimonials and what work they’ve done.
  3. I always like to respond to everybody, even if they’re not going to be suitable for us, because you never know whether they might be suitable down the line. So always be polite, always be nice. And then shortlist, shortlist down to three, four, five. Whatever you think is applicable depends on the task. If it’s a one-off task, I just want the logo done. You probably just look at three and then see who may well fit with the style that you’re looking at. If it’s for something more and if you’ve got a desire to be more permanent, then you might want to expand that a bit more and dive into a bit more detail.
  4. This one is really critical and I’m going to give you an example as to why. Now, if you’re going to be engaging a freelancer that you would hope to be a long-term engagement with you rather than just a one off, the fit is way more important.

A good example I would give is marketing. We used to have what you would call a CMO, our chief Marketing officer. And what I found was he was a great guy, absolutely wonderful, loved working with him. But the depth of what we were getting back wasn’t good enough for the company. We just weren’t moving forward. I realized that marketing is much bigger than just a one-person job, and what I realized was that we could actually get top, top people in each of the marketing sectors. If we separate marketing out into SEO, PPC, LinkedIn, Facebook, if we separate those out and we get the best people for those sectors, then we’re going to be halfway there.

That’s really what we decided to do and we came up with some short lists. The next thing we did was ring them. What’s ironic, is marketers will actually tell you they’re great at marketing. They’ll spread their net really wide because they don’t want to miss any of you. If there’s an opportunity to get some work from you in SEO or PPC or any of the other marketing aspects, they want it. So every single CV and every single one was saying, I’m great at marketing.

Here’s a top tip. This is what we did. We rang them, and we asked, what do you love doing? What do you love getting up for in the morning? What’s your passion? And the irony is that each one would say, well, actually SEO is what I love doing. I can do all the other stuff, but I just love SEO or another would reply I’m fabulous at PPC. And it was incredible because one by one we were going, there’s a tick. We’ll have you for that, we’ll have you for that, we’ll have you for that, we’ve grown just such an amazing team of highly skilled, highly talented focused individuals.

There’d be corporates that would hire these people. And we’re so lucky that we’ve come across the freelancing world and that freelancing world has given us this level of talent that’s allowed us to grow and expand.

This is what I’m trying to implore you as small business people and start-ups, do not forget the freelance industry. It’s phenomenal. So that’s a top tip for you on how to engage.

  • Step number five, just agree terms and move forward. Now, it’s about is there a fit? Is there a fit between the freelancer and yourselves, is there a company fit? Is there a cultural fit? Is there a fit in terms of what they can do? Does it fit with what you need? The nice thing about the freelancing world is you can engage for a shorter period or a project, a single project, and then go from there. We would always start with just a very small almost a tester and just see how we’re getting on. And as the case with Corey, we started off on some small stuff. Can you do this? Of course.

What impressed me about Corey and everybody else that we’ve taken on, they’re doing things without being asked. They’re saying, you know what, I’ve seen a problem,  they go and fix it or they add to that or they give us that. It was like Paul just knew they’re going to need business cards. So, business cards were produced or the artwork for those, they’re going to need a leaflet for that produced a leaflet, they’re going to need a home page.

So this is the level of skill that the freelance industry can bring you as a small business. And for a business owner, it’s just sweet because you know, you’re thinking of everything. You go to bed, I’ve got to do this tomorrow. What about that? And there’s that, that, and when you start getting people around you who are actually better than you, have more skills and want to work for you and produce the best, it’s unbelievable. You start to get things done that you never imagined would be done.

Where to hire.

In terms of where to hire, we’re in such a wonderful age. As I mentioned earlier, we’re now seeing huge growth in the freelance community and globally. There are lots of amazing sites out there. They all have a different purpose and work slightly differently, but there’s whole communities of freelancers. Use them, drop in and out. It costs you nothing to look and see what the skill sets are there and find out what could marry with what your needs are.

You’ve definitely got needs and you’ve definitely got freelancers that can fill those needs. So have a look on those sites, have a look on Google, do some searching, do your research, and don’t forget it is global. Don’t be frightened of employing globally, because we’ve all just gone through two years of semi working from home. It works. There’s no difference in somebody being in the next town, or in the next continent. It makes no difference. You’re not buying on where they live. You’re buying on what skill sets they have and what they can bring to the party, how they can benefit you and your business. That’s the key.

So culturally, this is really important. I think I’m quite fortunate that I was brought up to treat everybody the same. I think that’s been fortunate culturally within our company. The whole company treats our freelancers just like full time employees. And I like that. I think it helps those that are full time employees to integrate with our freelancers and vice versa. As you saw earlier, we ran a conference. The conference wasn’t just for our full-time employees. We wanted everybody to be there. We wanted everybody to engage with each other, learn what they do, see where the hiccups and problems are, and learn from those and basically work as a team because it’s all about a team.

My top tip is, don’t treat the freelancer like a one off.

If you’re thinking about engaging with people that are going to help grow your company, then treat them with respect. That’s the most important thing. And if you can then bring that into the company where your colleagues and the other members of your team are doing the same, then you’re on a real winner. So that’s a real top tip for me. And again, we’ve spoken about the freelance world being full of experts. And I’ve spoken to you about the cream effectively coming to the top. What’s amazing for all of you, all of you small businesses, you’ve got access to these people. You’ve got access to the top, top people in the world. And it’s inexpensive. And as you saw earlier, I’d actually flip that. I’d say you’re actually crazy not to engage. You’re actually losing your company money by not engaging with top, top freelancers.

I hope that’s been useful. It’s been a hell of a whirlwind ride for us. As I mentioned earlier, I have been using freelancers, throughout my entire career at some level or another, what we’re doing now with ConXhub, my own company, is unbelievable with the freelance community, and we’re really enjoying our experience in terms of using different people, to do different jobs.

So I’d implore you, and that is a really strong word. I would implore you to consider looking at the freelance world and engaging within the freelance world.

I hope that’s been useful to you at home and everyone here.  I hope you’ve taken something away that will benefit your business and I wish all your businesses the best of growth moving forward.

Thank you very much for listening to me.

Mark Trowbridge

CEO/Founder – ConXhub

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