You know the type, lurking around in restaurants, buttering potential clients up, always in work-mode, never not networking, rubbing their tow-truck driver ways in your face because they have no overheads and you have just so bloody many.
I’m one of those. And I’m only a freelancer because no one else will take the risk of hiring me. (being 20, a part-time student and a slight nut is not advantageous).
But I’m not posting to whine, freelancing is the kind of job that forces you to be disciplined, there isn’t a boss who lights the proverbial flaming tissue paper between your butt cheeks in order to motivate you to meet your deadlines. All the progress you make is geared towards benefiting you, and that means putting anything else before your client is suicide. You ruin your own reputation, not an agency’s. And you can’t fire yourself if you mistakenly tweet a link at a porn-star instead of the designer you just did a feature on. (true story)
Now here’s why freelancers are doing decently at the moment. Signing on with an agency that employs a good 50 people is a financial schlep, especially if what you’re looking for is a fraction of what they’ll actually charge you. Everybody’s a hustler these days, and more people are recognizing that talent is not confined to the industry heavyweights.
And so. We outsource.
With the rise of freelance web developers, social media managers (everyone is a social media manager/DJ these days) and copywriters, why burn a hole in your pocket on “full service” when you can pick what you need and gooi the rest out?
Now you might think that freelancers are a cheaper (read: better) option but here’s what freelancers won’t tell you.
1. They might have the skill, the tenacity and flair, but they simply do not have the resources for anything brilliant.
2. Where a big agency has multiple employees to deal with the various needs of a client, a freelancer has to focus on every need of every client all at once. Don’t be surprised if you’re the client who has to take a back seat.
3. Freelancers are essentially Tow Truck Drivers. They will make you feel like your brand needs to be towed and fixed (by an oke who’ll give you a good deal hey). That doesn’t mean you need everything that they propose. But then again. Maybe you do.
Hire a freelancer if you’re in the mood to scream F*** the system. But if you want stability, go to one of the pretty places in the Northern Suburbs, they’ll make you feel safe, but you’ll have to pay for it.
(if a potential employer/one of my clients is reading this, know that I am not of the Tow Truck Driver caste and have more than enough insanity reserved to love each of my clients equally)