Grow on demand – how to handle new clients without hiring new staff – StartupSmart

The freelance marketplace has become increasingly sophisticated, and clever companies are using it to play with scale when and how they need


Managing the typical workload fluctuations that occur in a business can be a major headache, even for smart companies. But finding clever ways to manage seasonal variations and new opportunities are all part of the job.


Growing numbers of Australian businesses can see the advantages of utilising online work platforms to handle new clients, removing the need to hire new staff. This is allowing businesses to hire talent when it’s needed most, and respond quickly to changes in market demand.


Businesses that can virtually expand on demand are a growing phenomenon in Australia. There was a rapid increase in online freelancing activity in the Australian market last year, with demand for freelance talent growing by 50% over the previous year, according to a survey conducted of 600 Australian businesses hiring on Elance-oDesk.


Freelancers aren’t just filling the gaps, either. Research shows that 51% of Australian businesses are regularly employing freelancers for meaningful projects. And 72% of businesses say they’ve actually been able to grow their business using talent found on Elance-oDesk.


Last year, over 200,000 jobs were advertised on Elance.com and oDesk.com by Australian businesses, and more than 160,000 Australian businesses are registered on the websites. This equates to roughly 8% of all businesses nationwide. It shows that Australian businesses are embracing this new model of hiring.


Elance-oDesk country manager Kyri Theos says the connected age has enabled businesses to become more agile than ever before. Hiring talent online is safe, fast and effective, he says.


“Online work platforms provide access to professional talent quickly and affordably, meaning businesses can staff up when they need to and quickly respond to changes in market demand,” Theos says.


“By hiring designers, marketers, admin staff and other experts as you need them, you get to focus on the elements of the business that you enjoy most, while leaving more routine and tedious tasks to your online team of professionals.


“Hiring a freelancer also enables business owners to focus on their core strategic and creative tasks. You can also hire people much quicker online than through traditional channels; the average time from posting the job and interviewing talent to hiring the right person is just three days.”


Unlike the traditional job market, hiring a freelancer also enables you to see the freelancer’s ratings, reviews, how they’ve responded to those reviews, examples of past work and all sorts of information that helps you make the right selection the first time around, he adds.


You can find the right person for the task by firstly writing a clear and detailed job post, Theos says.


“Freelancers look for clients who are well organised and prepared. Outline exactly what’s expected and try to answer the freelancer’s questions up front.


“Also, outline the skills you’re looking for. If you’re seeking someone with a background in animation or Adobe Photoshop, make that clear. Include the timeframe, and decide whether you’ll be hiring on an hourly or fixed price basis. Hourly projects are useful for ongoing work, or if the scope of the project may change.”


Theos also recommends using time zones to your competitive advantage.


“If you’re using online freelancers, you can have three times as many productive hours as your competitors in any 24 hour cycle. Imagine how much further ahead you can get from them in one day, one week, or one month” he says.


For more information on using freelance talent visit oDesk.com.



Writer: Nina Hendy

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