Nobody can build a thriving business entirely on their own. Sooner or later, we’ll need to work with other people to take our business to the next level. And one of the biggest decisions we’ll be faced with is the choice between hiring a freelance writer and hiring an employee.
We can make this choice easy by (honestly) answering the following questions:
1. What type of work do you need done?
Some types of work lend themselves more easily to freelance work than others. Most freelancers chose to freelance so they can structure their lives however they want. They aren’t going to jump as eagerly at positions that require them in the office during specific hours, but it’s hard to work together closely when you’re in completely different locations.
Sometimes you also need a physical presence in your store or office. If a physical presence is absolutely required for an extended period of time, your best bet is to search for an employee. If you can do it mostly or entirely through online communication, it’s probably better to look for a freelancer.
2. What is the scope of the work?
How long is the project? What are the size of the deliverables? When is your deadline?
If you’re working on a massive project that will require 20+ hours of work every week for more than two weeks it’s probably best to look for a temporary employee. Most freelancers only take on a certain amount of work from each client so they can maintain a steady roster of customers. This protects them from losing their entire income with one client, but it limits the time commitment you can get from them.
If you only need a few hours of work each week—or your deadlines are spread out even more—you’re better off seeking a freelancer. They’ll be happier to take the short work and less likely to leave you for full time employment.
3. Are there going to be similar projects coming up soon?
If the answer is no, hire a freelancer.
If the answer is yes, how many of those projects do you expect? How much time will each one take? Are the budgets for these projects similar?
Freelancers love clients who provide a steady stream of work, and if you build a roster of freelancers they’ll be able to cope with any number of projects. But eventually it becomes more practical to hire a single employee to do all of the projects instead.
4. What is your budget?
Freelancers typically charge a higher rate up front, but when you factor in the costs of benefits and employee taxes freelancers cost significantly less overall. You might be able to get around some of these costs with temporary or part time employees, but many of the best potential employees avoid these types of jobs. Freelancers, on the other hand, are often the best in their field.
If your budget is limited—or based on a temporary spike in income—you want to hire a freelancer. If you’ve got the money to pay for benefits and employee taxes, consider bringing a new member onto your team instead.
Once you’ve answered these questions you should know whether you want to hire a freelance writer or an employee—and then the real fun begins! Sifting through hundreds of resumes, interviewing people, haggling wages. Consider saving yourself the trouble by working with a recruitment agency instead. Most are focused on connecting people with full time jobs, but many now offer access to freelancers too.