Charlotte Dimond explores the world of freelancers and looks at how we are building our virtual agency.
Three is a magic number, or so they say! There are three directors here at Sidekick PR and we certainly like it that way.
However, there are times when we have key projects, or during holiday periods, when we buy in extra expertise. Yes, we navigate the freelance world and employ our very own sidekicks.
For some tasks it is easy for us to know who to turn to as we have a number of talented contacts who we’ve worked with for a while and nurtured, but for others we’ve started to widen out the net.
One of the key reasons for doing this was our interest in working with freelancers who have skills that we simply don’t have, complementary skills to our own to help us to deliver a wider service to our clients.
So, we’ve dipped our toe in the water and asked freelancers from across a variety of different disciplines - from video production and copywriting, to social media and web design - to get in touch with a view to expanding our database and finding new, fresh talent that will enhance our offering.
We’ve had some great responses and we are now working to get to know people.
Of course, as with any recruit, we need to feel comfortable and confident in a person’s abilities before we introduce them to our valued clients and trust them to do a good job.
Plus, as is the way with freelance support, people are based all over the country - in fact from the responses we had, all over the globe.
It’s been great to see each person’s individual response to our call out and the different ways freelancers work.
So what have we learned so far? And what top tips would we give to freelancers looking for work?
1. Just because someone is freelance, they still need to ‘gel’ with our team
We have a close-knit team here at Sidekick and we value the relationships we’ve built with our clients. Any freelancers we work with need to fit in with our ethos and be enjoyable to work with – no matter how far away they may be located!
2. Be clear on your pricing
Everyone’s pricing structure is so different and so this tip applies to both the agency looking for support and freelancer themselves. On our side, we will always be sure to agree the cost before beginning work and we expect the people whose services we employ to be clear on costs, too. For example, does your fee include travel time and costs or will these be added to your invoice?
3. Keep talking
Keep talking – it has to work for both of you. We’ll always be honest in terms of what we have to offer and the amount and frequency of work we can provide. However, even during quiet periods we feel it’s crucial to maintain contact – even just an email or two every month or so – to maintain the relationship and keep up to date with each other’s developments.
As more and more people turn to freelancing as a career option, attracted by the flexibility and freedom it brings, we expect to see an increasing number of businesses following our lead and working as ‘virtual agencies’ with a core hub of full-time staff supported by a network of tried and trusted suppliers.
It’s great to be able to support people who are out there making a living for themselves through whatever talent or skill they have, and it means we can offer our clients a wider variety of services – safe in the knowledge that each and every freelancer we bring in has been vetted and approved by us personally.
If you’re interested in finding out more about working with us as one of our team of freelancers, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org