More and more businesses are starting to realize that outsourcing work is safer, cheaper, and faster than hiring a new employee in the beginning. However, which do you use? Freelancers or Agencies?
Early on in your business, you can easily manage all aspects on your own. But once your company starts to grow you’ll quickly realize that you’re spending more time working in your business rather than on your business. And if you’re working in your business then who’s growing it? Let’s say you hire a new employee – well now you have to pay insurance, pension contributions, maternity leave, etc and if they’re not doing their job right it might be harder than you think to fire them. In other words not good for a starting business. Freelancers and agencies, on the other hand, you only pay the agreed-upon fees this could be hourly, project-based, commission, etc and if they aren’t doing their job right you can just get rid of them and find someone new. Pretty clear they’re the better option, right?
What’s the difference?
Before I go on to tell you the pros and cons of each let me just take a second to define what freelancers and agencies actually are and how they differ.
They are independent, self-employed workers generally specializing in one specific area or a category of areas. For example, you can find freelancers that specialize only in writing blog posts and freelancers that will have general knowledge about many marketing mediums.
They are a group of specialists that work together to bring you a fully done-for-you service. Depending on their size they may be able to take care of all of your marketing. Agencies will also likely have dedicated account managers for each client.
So, which do you choose?
There are three things you should consider – services, price, and communication.
Here you should consider what you actually need help with. If you only need help with one specific area such as email marketing then a freelancer will be your best bet. There’s a small sea of these specialized freelancers on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. However, if you need help with multiple mediums then an agency might be the better option. With an agency, you will get direct access to a group of people where each is specialized in a specific medium all for one price tag.
How about the quality of these services? A freelancer’s best marketing platform is referrals so you can be sure they will do everything they can to impress, satisfy and leave you happy. However, since freelancers work remotely and have no boss, they can ghost you out of the blue.
The people working on your account in an agency however won’t have that same drive. They still get a paycheck whether you’re happy or not at the end of the day. So picking an agency that has your interests as its top priority is essential. For example picking an agency that gets paid based on commission, like us, ensures that we do everything we can to get you results that make you happy. Otherwise, we don’t get paid simple as that.
Freelancers will ask to get paid per hour, per project, or even commission based. Depending on where the freelancer is these rates might even be lower than minimum wage where you’re from.
Agencies will either ask for a monthly retainer, project-based, or commission based. For most high-end agencies retainers can go above $10k per month and most small businesses won’t even spend close to that for all their marketing combined. Smaller agencies will charge anywhere from 1k-5k per month.
Freelancers will be much more flexible in terms of communication and will generally communicate informally through direct messaging or social media. You will find many freelancers also don’t speak English as their first language so some communication might be difficult.
Agencies on the other hand will have a set schedule for meetings and when you get reports. So you can always stay in the loop and know what is happening. Agencies will also have systems set up where you can get in contact with someone that has access to your account whenever you need. With us for example you would get a weekly report of performance, changes, and plans every Monday and would have a bi-weekly meeting with your account manager.
So when it comes down to it, which is right for your business? It will ultimately depend on what stage your business is at now, to what extent you need help, and what your budget is. If we have a scale of 1-10 for these where 1 is just beginning and 10 is making over one million in revenue per year. The closer you are to 1 the more likely a freelancer will be your best bet, anything above 5 you should really start considering getting an agency. If you’re making well above one million revenue per year then you should consider hiring in-house.