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freelancers are a new staff? or why companies benefit from working with freelancers

"How to quit everything and switch to freelancing", "How to become a freelancer?", "Freelance Master" - these are not even search queries, these are names of courses from well-known digital schools.

The Internet has broken down geographical boundaries and has allowed each of us to hire workers all over the world. There has never been access to such a large number of talented people with such low costs before.

The globalization of labor and talent is a long-standing reality. Previously, this was the domain of large international companies, but now it is easily accessible to small and medium-sized businesses in any country.

By 2030, Meta plans to move half of its employees to remote work. Twitter has offered employees who moved to remote work during the pandemic to stay there permanently. And Techcrunch claims that freelancing will soon completely change the organization of work.

The reasons for this are diverse - the development of Internet technologies, the widespread use of the Internet, the availability of computers, and... unemployment. But the most important thing is that the stereotype about the freelancer as "not quite sure what kind of specialist," but cheap to work with, albeit unpredictably - will disappear. Now a freelancer is a person on the team, albeit remote, or at least a project specialist for regular collaboration.

So who is the new freelancer, and how can companies interact with him?

Census of Freelancers

  • - The Russian freelance market is worth $41 billion
  • - In 2025, the freelance market is projected to grow to $102 billion
  • - Russia is among the top ten countries in terms of the size of the freelance market
  • - In terms of the growth rate of freelancers, Russia ranks second in the world, behind the United States
  • - The global freelance market is valued at $6.54 trillion, and by 2025, it is expected to grow to $13.84 trillion

Inspiring numbers for freelancers or scary competition? More like the latter. After all, if in the past information about freelancers revolved around 'I don't know how to do anything, but I want to earn money by working from home', now a freelancer is a full-fledged specialist with their own set of knowledge and skills, working from their personal office – at home, in a co-working space, in a cafe, on the road.

A portrait of a "freelance artist"

Vadim, designer, 30 years old, with a higher education and self-employed status, desired salary - 40,000 rubles.

These are the main possible points from the resume of a modern freelancer. We took them from various studies, according to which:

  • — the age categories among freelancers are 18-34 years old (68%) and 35-44 years old (18%)
  • — 60% of such workers are men
  • — 43% of freelancers have higher education
  • — 26% have registered as self-employed or individual entrepreneurs, and 29% plan to do so
  • — 64% earn less than 30,000 rubles per month, 17% earn up to 60,000 rubles, 13% earn up to 100,000 rubles, and only 6% earn more than 100,000 rubles per month
  • — the most popular freelance spheres are:

58% — design/graphics

46% — web development and maintenance

38% — programming

32% — writing/copywriting

24% — advertising/marketing

Where to look and how to choose?

At ICU agency, we use the following scheme for hiring freelancers:

Stage 1. Search.

We search on two main platforms:

  • - job vacancy channels on Telegram
  • - Head Hunter website

We do not consider freelance exchanges. Usually, "not quite clear what kind of specialists" are "hanging out" there.

Stage 2. Selection.

We review portfolios and resumes and narrow the selection down to candidates with the necessary professional toolkit.

Stage 3. Test task

We prepare a small test task for the performers - easy and understandable. At ICU, we often offer a paid test task. We do not recommend offering a very large task, as it is an unnecessary waste of time for both performers and the company - to compose and check. A good specialist can be seen on a small task.

Stage 4. Interview

Conducted via video conferencing. It is necessary to understand whether a person is ready for remote teamwork, presence at meetings, if asked, in what form it is convenient to communicate with him. It is desirable to choose an ambitious person with his own principles and charisma. He should also be on the same wavelength with the team if it is planned to work with him further.

It is important to take into account that working with a freelancer is based on trust, unlike a staff employee, whose interaction is based on an employment contract. Therefore, freelance partnership will differ from the usual form of work. But let's go through everything in order.

How to demand?

There is an important point in the relationship between the customer and the freelancer: the employer has the right to the result of the work, and the freelancer has the right to advance payment.

The absence of an employment contract deprives both parties of guarantees - the employer may not pay, and the freelancer may disrupt the deadlines or not complete the work at all. To minimize risks, it is necessary we need to:

  • - Draw up the most detailed technical specification possible
  • - Put everything in writing and clarify all agreements on deadlines and payment several times
  • - Invite the freelancer to participate in thematic conference calls

This will create a kind of partnership that benefits both parties and implies their own areas of responsibility.

Is the benefit greater than the risks?

For freelancing-friendly companies, there are several significant advantages that outweigh the risks of working with "free artists":

Of course, the market is full of stories about negative experiences working with freelancers, missed deadlines, failure to complete tasks, and the disappearance of performers. Employers should use the option of post-payment, intermediate control, and look for their own safe routes for interacting with the freelancer.

This article is a great example of that. It was written by me, Maria Tashchyan, a freelancer, for the ICU communication agency.

Freelancing as a form of work has erased geographical boundaries, but has opened up great opportunities for income and development, both for companies and freelancers. Today, this is already a normal practice - it saves time and effort on the road, allows you to work on a convenient schedule, be with children, and ultimately live more. And this changes the rules of the game to "win-win".

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