Author: Tatiana Rivers- Tati Rivs Social Media Marketing
The Freelance Economy Keeps Growing
Freelancing is increasing in popularity. With working remotely becoming easier than ever due to technology, more people are looking to create a career working from home and taking on projects that they choose. In the US, the freelance economy is now at 34% and in 2013, the number of businesses hiring freelancers online increased by 46%. The flexibility offered by freelancing is noted as the biggest career draw, with over 69% of all graduates saying they feel independent work offers them a better work-life balance. Source
There Are Challanges With Going Solo
The downside of working from home as a freelancer, is the fact that you work solo. At first this may seem wonderful, no boss or annoying coworkers, however, there is also no collective brainstorming, networking or the ability to learn from your work peers. Solo work can also cap you on the quality and quantity of projects you can take on because you are limited to your skills and time.
Join An Agency To Collaborate Skills And Resources
One way to counter the challenges of going solo is to join a freelancing agency. A virtual group that can allow you to collaborate with freelancers that have complementing skills. Freelance agencies can help bring in more projects through references and referrals. For example, a social media marketer might want to join an agency of freelancers that provide web development, SEO, email campaigns, and branding. If a company hires a freelancer to do SEO, chances are they might need help with social media and online branding. Freelancers in this agency can then share their knowledge, skills and contacts, creating a healthier and more successful career over the long run. The flexibility still exists in choosing projects but their more support is available compared to when working alone.
If You Can't Find One, Make One
Finding the right agency might take some time, although they are starting to become more popular, it is still the early stages of this type of work arrangement. In addition, it may take time to find an agency that would compliment your services perfectly. To speed up this process, you can easily start an agency yourself.
Freelancing sites like Sage Groupy offer the ability to create an agency through their portal. Once you set yourself up through the sites profile system, you can invite other freelancers to join your agency.
Tips On Creating An Agency
Creating a freelancing agency through sites likes Sage Groupy is fairly simple, however, any situation in which work is shared needs to be approached in a careful and professional manner.
To ensure a healthy work environment, we have put together a few tips and best practices that will improve the chances of having a successful virtual agency.
1. Every Agency Needs a Leader
Having one person designated to ensure communication is running smoothly and projects are completed in a timely manner will result in a successful agency arrangement. If you want to be the leader of your agency, make sure you are ready to take on those responsibilities. Decide ahead of time what the expectations are of the roles in your agency. This is espeically important when it comes to the money exchanges. It is usually preferrrable for clients to have one person or account in charge of collecting and distributing payments. Understanding the legal ramifications of this distribution is an important first step and should be researched thouroughly prior to starting an agency.
2. Decide on a Shared Drive
Having one space where collaboration can happen will help with communication and will keep work organized. Cloud drives and apps like Gsuite, Asana, Evernote and Slack make this easier than ever. However, things can get quickly disorganized if too many are used, so choose one or two for your agency and keep it consistent.
3. Create An Agency Manual
When you are just starting out list out all the “rules” for your agency in one document. A simple PDF is all that is needed. Some aspects you want to mention is your preferred way of communication, if there are weekly or monthly meetings that are a requirement, compensation structure, referral fees, payment methods, role assignments, etc. This is not your contract but more of your company manifesto. Have it signed to ensure it was read in it's entirety before bringing on a new member. Using an online PDF signing app or Chrome extension like SignRequest makes signing virtually easy. Pun intended.
4. Have A Contract
Never exchange money without a contract. All freelancers should have their own contracts and any freelance agency should definitely have one. There will be situations where a client may not pay or a freelancer does not live up to their agreement. In those instances, having a contract can protect parties legally. Your contract should be based on your company manifesto but be written out in legal terms. There are many samples and templates to be found online but to create the best contract for your agency, the advice of a lawyer is recommended for a successful arrangement with virtual contactors. Check out our blog post; Freelancing 101- All About Contracts
5. Start Small
If you are just starting your first agency take on one freelancer at a time. For example, if you provide blog writing, maybe hire only one proofreader or digital marketer to start. There will be trial and error and the more freelancers, the more complicated communication and organization can be. Walk before you can run.
For more information and advice on starting a freelance agency check out this article on how to setup a freelance agency.