If you’re starting a business, the odds are against you:
- A little more than 50 percent of startups fail in the first four years
- 19 percent of startups fail because of too much competition
- 18 percent fail because of pricing or cost issues
- team problems account for 18% of the leading causes of startup failures
The odds are stacked against new businesses, but that doesn’t mean you should lose hope.
You can beat the odds by surrounding yourself with experienced professionals. And, you don’t need to hire them full-time to benefit from their expertise.
Here are ten freelancers you should consider hiring to help your small business or startup grow faster.
1. The business plan writer
Never underestimate the significance of a business plan, especially a well-written one.
Business plans are essential to your startup’s success because a business plan is your battle plan.
Studies show that entrepreneurs who take the time to write a business plan are 2.5 times more likely to follow through and get their business off the ground.
A business plan discusses critical touchpoints such as your profitability and growth and highlights every facet of the company — from production to marketing growth to sales.
A professional business plan writer or consultant can help you draft a strong business plan.
And because they have been honed by experience in writing winning business plans, they can provide insights into how to make yours stand out to investors.
Business writers are also familiar with the language and the format investors are accustomed to.
A freelance business plan writer can allot time for the necessary research and writing, saving business owners and startup founders precious time.
The time you save can let you focus on other aspects of the business – from improving product quality to winning investors in startup pitch meetings.
We won't ask for secrets or specifics.
2. The market researcher
Your business plan might define your target markets generally. However, it doesn’t do a deep dive into market research.
A market researcher is like your startup company’s Merlin. They don’t have mythical powers. But they have the brainpower to interpret data that will help you craft informed business strategies.
Market research can help you reach, engage, and convert your target audience more effectively.
Market research pros can also help you refine your product and service offerings to prevent miscalculations. They can provide insights that will determine whether or not the size of your potential customer base is sufficient to help you launch, sustain, and grow your small business or startup.
3. The branding expert
Many founders and business owners fail to recognize how crucial the branding process is to the success of a small business or startup.
Poor branding can undermine your overall brand strategy.
Good branding is more compelling, attractive, and memorable to your customers and prospects.
Good design is good business.
An experienced branding professional can help you complete your brand’s voice, look, feel, and appeal.
4. The web developer
So much of today’s business is conducted online. When you’re a business or startup with an online presence, you know it’s crucial to build a website.
An experienced web developer could use his practical knowledge and specialized skills to build a website and work with a professional designer to design a website that is faster, more sophisticated, and more user-friendly.
The best web developers are the ones that translate your vision from a concept into a digital marketing tool that optimizes engagements and conversions.
Don’t forget that in addition to the visual design of your site, you’ll need to hire backend developers to build the actual site and customize integrations like e-commerce features, subscriptions, a more.
5. The web traffic specialist
There is no such thing as “if you build it, they will come” regarding websites. This is especially true when your website is new.
For your startup to grow quickly, you need to attract site visitors from among your target audience. A seasoned web traffic specialist can help generate leads organically through SEO, social media, and email marketing campaigns, among other strategies.
6. The search marketing pro
Many startups often have limited to no budgets for paid advertising. And when they do opt to spend on advertising, every cent must count.
This is why you need to hire a search marketing expert who can guide your marketing strategy through paid search marketing such as Google Ads, remarketing/retargeting, social media advertising, banner ads, and other channels.
A search marketing pro can help ensure that when you spend your money on paid ads, your investment is rewarded with traffic and high-quality leads.
7. The virtual assistant
Startup founders often wish human cloning was possible. When running a business, you are pulled in multiple directions simultaneously.
Hiring a virtual assistant can help you cover more ground than usual without spreading yourself too thin. You can delegate tasks of low priority, so they don’t fall into the cracks while focusing on the more crucial aspects of the business.
8. The digital marketing specialist
Because digital marketing is broad, quickly changing, and complex, it’s tough to be a successful marketing generalist. People tend to specialize and develop excellent skills in specific areas.
Instead of a generic approach to digital marketing, you can hire digital marketing specialists who can solely focus on their expertise, such as:
- An SEO (search engine optimization) specialist to acquire more quality web traffic.
- A social media marketing specialist to focus on engaging your audience across social media platforms.
- An email marketing specialist to optimize the customer lifecycle, from nurturing leads to cultivating referrals and driving repurchases.
- A content marketing specialist can focus on adding high-quality content to your website and blog, driving more web traffic and conversions.
9. The copywriter
A good copywriter can help you craft your brand and product messaging.
A great content writer can help you articulate the company’s vision to its target market.
Because freelance copywriters are exposed to various writing formats and styles, they can quickly adapt writing personas or voices. They can shift their writing style with ease to match your brand.
10. The graphic designer
Your brand logo, the packaging design of your product, your business website, and all other visual elements that reflect your brand all combine to create a brand identity for your business. Brand identity is one of the most potent marketing tools for any business. If a good graphic design can make your reputation, a bad one will break it.
By hiring a freelance graphic designer, small businesses and startups can fill that gap and have a professional, custom-designed visual identity without the steep fees of a full hire or a creative agency.
6 Benefits of hiring freelancers
1. Saves time
Freelancers are not only striving to deliver fast but want and need you to be happy with their work product so that you will refer them to their next gig. Referrals are essential to a freelancer’s survival, so they’ll work hard to make you happy.
2. Less supervision
Freelance workers juggle multiple projects with varying timeframes. An experienced freelancer who reflects positive feedback from former clients is typically efficient, professional, and highly organized.
Supervising everything is unnecessary, so you can focus on addressing other aspects of the business that need your attention.
3. Saves cost
Money is a concern for every business. And for small businesses and startups, cash flow is especially critical.
Hiring a freelancer part-time would be the more fiscally responsible decision over a full hire. You wouldn’t need to expose your already tight budget to the added expense of a full-time employee. Freelancers allow you the flexibility to scale your hiring needs as you scale your business.
4. Lets you focus on your core expertise
A startup’s survival often comes down to its founder or founders. From the get-go, they will have a lot on their plate.
Startup founders often find themselves entrenched in sales and marketing, accounting, and administrative work that they can sometimes overlook the core development.
It is vital for a startup to keep its sights on the big picture and not get bogged down in the more rudimentary tasks of running a company.
Hiring a startup freelancer gives the founder more bandwidth to concentrate on core needs and tasks.
5. Keeps you flexible
Many startups are on hectic schedules that require their employees to work overtime. To complete an order or a project, they often have to work on the weekends too.
Working on weekends is too much to ask for from a full-time employee already rendering at least 40 hours per week. Their motivation and performance can suffer. They can quickly burn out.
With freelancers, however, you might not even have to deal with this problem. Many freelancers are agreeable to working weekends because their schedule is flexible.
Where to find freelancers for your small business or startup
Ask for referrals
Go to your own network and ask who did what for them. You are likely going to get immediate recommendations.
Try chatting people up online: 85% of successful freelancers are part of online communities and meetups. Many job leads and hiring ops rapidly travel through the freelancer-to-freelancer grapevine.
Browse people online
You can start with something as simple as googling “B2B email marketing specialist”. Or doing a Twitter bio search for “freelance UX designer”.
Then look around different portfolio websites. See who’s doing what in your industry. Freelancers leave an online trail of “breadcrumbs” you can trace with a bit of effort.
You can also run keyword-specific searches for people on LinkedIn.
Look up if you have shared connections with some freelancers. Or check Services Search (rebranded from LinkedIn ProFinder).
This feature helps you discover individual service providers on LinkedIn. The platform doesn’t broker the deal or take a fee for connecting you to anyone.
A job board
If there are still crickets, browse niche job boards. Many freelance job websites now proliferate either by industry or profession.
A freelancer marketplace
Finally, you can also head to a freelancer or talent marketplace. You may still have to do some serious candidate research, but you’d likely get a good selection of applicants.
Freelancer marketplace platforms such as crowdspring offer access to talented and professional creatives from across the globe.
These platforms often make searching easy through the use of search filters. You can be as specific in the skills requirements you need.
Freelance marketplace platforms also have a mechanism to rate freelancers based on their work. You can shortlist applicants, review each candidate’s skills through their portfolio, check client feedback, and compare their ratings.
By surrounding yourself with experienced professionals, you can do more with less. And you can improve your odds of building a successful and sustainable business.
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