Below is a guest post from the team over at Bolton Remote who are doing some pretty amazing things with remote teams and freelancers. If you're a freelancer and looking to work with a team, this is something you should definitely look into!
Enter Bolton Remote!
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Whether you're aiming for bigger clients, or are looking to take on more projects, progress for most freelancers means having to grow from being just a one-person team. However, this isn't always the simplest thing to do with all the options you have available to grow your team.
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The first thing that might come to mind would be to hire fellow freelancers. This is usually because, as a freelancer yourself, you've probably had clients who were budding businesses; solo entrepreneurs who need to hire more people to take on larger scale projects or to simply make sure they don't turn any opportunities down due to being fully booked for the next few months.
Now that it's your turn to grow your business, how exactly can you do this?
Your Usual Options: Hire Other Freelancers, Find Local Staff
Hiring other freelancers makes sense because freelancers are accessible, usually have reasonable rates, and can easily be replaced if you find someone better. It's a pretty flexible system that you can use to grow your business's advantage.
If you choose to hire locally, then you can be sure that managing tasks will be relatively easier than hiring an international freelancer. This is because these guys will be working right next to you, so having meetings, making project changes, and even enforcing company culture (if you have one) will be a cinch.
But there are Disadvantages…
Although both seem like great choices, know that there are some disadvantages as well, and these usually come up after you've grown to a certain point.
For example, going with a pure freelancer team to help scale your business can get messy in the long run. Being a freelancer yourself, you know that you have complete control over which projects you want to take, continue, and complete. You can easily leave a client for something better, especially if there's no contract to keep you locked in.
This is something you have to think about if you're staffing your entire team with freelancers. Of course, this doesn't mean that every one of them is untrustworthy; you just have to make sure you find loyal team members to help you out.
Going with a purely local team, on the other hand, is great until you have too many people in your payroll than your funds can handle.
Think about it: every one local staff member will need his own desk, computer, chair, set of standard software, health insurance policy, etc. If you can handle this, then you're all set. If not, then think twice about an all-local team.
Luckily, these aren't the only options for growth.
Remote Staffing: The Virtual Muscle Behind Your Budding Business
Remote staffing is a new way for small businesses, startups, and one-person teams to grow fast and smart through full-time, dedicated office-based remote teams. This team can consist of one person or a whole group, depending on your growth needs, who are 100% yours, but fully supported by the remote staffing company. It’s essentially having a brick-and-mortar office team that just happens to be working outside of your office.
Much like traditional office setups, your remote staff is provided with:
- Workplace facilities and amenities
- The equipment they need to perform their tasks
- The right software to allow them to work with you effectively
You're also provided with the benefits of working with a team that is together in one space (much like an all-local team). No more dealing with dispersed staff that's difficult to communicate and collaborate with because they're rarely available at the same time and place.
But Don’t Freelancers Cost Less Than Remote Staff?
If we’re talking about what you pay freelancers by the hour, then yes, freelancers often cost less. But factor in what you get in return, and remote staffing solutions comes up as the more cost-effective solution. These include:
- Direct management, which eliminates a lot of back-and-forth communication that potentially lead to delayed, if not lost, projects
- Employees working together from the same office, which increases productivity and leads to quality results that may convert one-time clients into repeat customers
- Remote teams have lower employee turnover rates, potentially saving you the trouble of having to hire, train, and mentor another team member mid-project
- Typical setbacks such as Internet connection problems, home distractions, and technical hardware/software issues will also be lessened.
Simply put, a remote team gets things done faster and more efficiently, saving you a lot of money in the process.
Building Your Remote Staff
Considering that remote team building is fairly new, this doesn't meant that it's difficult to pull off. In fact, it might even be easier than finding freelancers or local staff. In fact, it can be done in three steps:
1. Define Your Processes
Flesh out a solid set of working processes for easier adoption by your remote staff. As a remote team’s success is greatly affected by the processes in play, it’s important that you sort out the kinks in your methods before you pass them on. Here’s a great example on drafting processes from Lise. These would also help you out with detailing the next step.
2. Draft the Roles You Need
List down the roles you would need filled by your remote team. Come up with descriptive job titles with detailed responsibilities (here’s where those processes come into play). Identify the tools to be used, and how they would be used by each individual.
3. Reach Out to a Remote Staffing Company
As always in hiring, your best hires will come from referrals; people who’ve worked with the people that they know would be a good fit for you or your needs. Location-wise, you’d do well to hire from someplace that speaks good English, and with a culture not far from your own (or at least would be easier to adapt to).
Ideally, your remote staffing company should be able to work with the list of roles you came up with and take care of the entire hiring process as well. All you'll need to do is choose already vetted candidates, and you've got yourself a remote team.
Starting a business is never an easy feat. Advancements in tech have allowed for different ways to staff businesses though, and it’s all a matter of finding the best fit for your line of work.
Do you know of any freelancing businesses that remote staffing wouldn’t work on? Share your thoughts in the comments below!