Most agency owners start out as freelancers. They are equipped with talent, skills, and experience that cater to different clients and businesses. Whether they are providing creative services, marketing, IT, and whatnot, they want to move up from being blue-chip freelancers to agency owners. This is where their dreams of going big start.
Being a freelance agency owner is not an easy task.
Just like ecommerce entrepreneurs, you need the initiative to start your business, acquire customers or clients, and continue growing your company. But how do you transition from being an independent contractor to a digital agency with a pool of freelancers to take on your projects for you?
Take a step back and look at where you are now in your freelance career.
You want to take on more clients but don’t have the capacity. The hours in a day are just not enough to finish tasks and projects. It’s time to get help.
This article will serve as a guide for agency owners to hiring freelancers and other agencies to help expand their business. By the end of this reading, you should be able to understand the fundamentals of outsourcing to remote freelancers, how to hire the first talents you need to onboard to your agency, and how to handle everything that comes with it.
But first, let’s start with the basics.
What does it mean to become a freelance agency owner?
An agency is a business where multiple freelancers work together on client projects acquired and managed by the agency owner. The same as how freelancing works, outputs can be completed remotely and can be done by independent contractors or another specialized agency.
A freelance agency can do a variety of tasks from one-time website or logo designing to more complex projects such as mobile app development and ongoing advertising campaigns. The trend in outsourcing today has opened up an opportunity for agencies to be hired by companies who need more than one person to complete their projects.
The agency owner is responsible for procuring clients and the freelancers who will work on the required tasks. Depending on the agreement, clients may choose to communicate directly with the freelancers or only with the agency owner. The latter requires you to manage agency members and oversee the whole project for each of your clients.
Hence, becoming an agency owner takes you off the ‘solopreneur’ mindset. You are now a business owner and it means taking full accountability for the completion of each project and the satisfaction of both your clients and the freelancers who work with you.
Why Start a Freelance Agency?
Running your own agency is one step higher from doing solo freelance gigs. It comes with greater obligations but also greater benefits. Here are some points to motivate you into starting your freelance agency today.
- Larger Capacity – by taking on freelancers who will help you finish different tasks in an efficient manner, you enable your agency to accept more projects than you can handle on your own.
- Expanded Services – by partnering with freelancers who have complementary skills, you can deliver more exciting services to your clients that they never thought they needed until now.
- More Opportunities – equipped with a pool of talent with robust skills, you are open to taking on more complex projects and handling all aspects from conceptualization to completion.
- Increased Earnings – with better and bigger projects, you get the chance to earn more for you, for the freelancers you hire, and to scale your agency.
- Financial and Career Freedom – running your own business gives you financial freedom with your earned profits. Moreover, with everything streamlined, running your agency will be easier and you can focus more on the other aspects of your career.
Outsourcing to Remote Freelancers
The biggest challenge of freelance agency owners is scaling up their company. In order to move up from being a one-man business to an agency, you need to obtain the right partners who will work with you towards the same goal — success.
The dawn of the internet has made communication between people from all over the world easier. Today, outsourcing to remote talent is a common thing for companies. More and more business owners are embracing the benefits of hiring global freelancers.
First-time entrepreneurs can be skeptical about working with someone from across the globe and in a different time zone, for several reasons. However, as a former freelancer turned agency owner, you know how remote talents are capable of producing quality outputs despite the time difference and lack of direct supervision. The freelance industry would not continue to grow if that were not the case.
Here are the top 3 reasons why remote freelancers are the best people to work with.
- It is cost-effective for both the business owner and the freelancers. Because there is no need to travel to the office, you avoid the chances of missing work and decreasing your profits. Furthermore, global freelancers have a wide range of services and rates that you can choose from.
- Remote freelancers are more productive. Remote talents have a flexible schedules which encourages increased productivity. They are responsible enough to complete the work at their preferred time and place to produce the best results.
- Working with different people from all over the world can offer your company different perspectives. Ideas are always helpful to initiate new processes, products, and innovations. Freelancers with different skill sets and experiences create a diverse and colorful culture for your company that might just be the key to your success.
Most Common Freelancer Tasks to Outsource
Before you can start an agency, you first need to decide what type of services will you offer and who you will cater to. Most of the time, agency owners focus on their niche before expanding business solutions. For example, if you started freelancing as a marketing expert for ecommerce businesses, you would want to introduce your name as a digital marketing agency.
There are a lot of services that an agency can offer. The first talents that you should bring in to your company are seasoned high-level experts who will help you set up your areas of focus. These are managerial positions to deal with the core aspects of your business. You can start building your freelance agency by filling in these key positions:
- Executive Assistant – you might not realize it yet but there are a lot of things that you never get to check off on your daily to-do list. Hiring an assistant will give you more time focus on doing your tasks rather than worrying if other things are getting done.
- Marketing Manager – you need to get your name out there and if you are not the expert, you will probably end up losing time, effort, and money trying to market your agency. Hiring a marketing manager is a good investment to make in any kind of business.
- Project Manager for each type of service – as mentioned, a freelance agency can offer different kinds of services to all kinds of business. Depending on your type of business, hire a project coordinator to oversee the planning and execution of every new project assigned to their department.
- Lead Generation Manager – similar to being an independent contractor, you have to allot time to find clients, send applications, and communicate with clients back and forth to see if it’s a good fit. Hire a lead generation manager to take care all of these for you and more.
- Accounting Manager – managing finances is essential to every business. Hire an excellent accountant to take care of the bookkeeping for you.
Entry-Level, Multi-Skilled Freelancers
After securing the executive positions, you move forward to building your network of prime and competent remote freelancers. As an agency owner, how do you know what kind of freelancers to hire?
Think back on your own experience. You know the kind of projects clients want and most of all, you understand the kind of people they are looking to work with. Based on the solutions you will offer to clients, hire freelancers with on-point skills and experience. You will want to engage with the ones who have proven track records. These are the kind who highly value communication and professional work ethics.
To give you an idea, here are some of the freelancers you want to hire depending on the type of service you offer.
Digital Marketing Agency
- Web Designer
- Logo Designer
- Graphic Designer
- Video Editor
- Content Writer
- SEO Specialist
- PPC Expert
- Ad Campaign Manager
- Social Media Manager
Ecommerce Freelance Agency
- Virtual Assistant (e.g. for Amazon, Shopify, etc.)
- Product Sourcing Specialist
- Product Listing Expert
- Fulfillment Expert
- Inventory Manager
- PPC Ads Expert
- SEO/Product Writing Specialist
- Video Editor
- Graphic Designer
- Ecommerce Platform Designer
- Social Media Manager
- Customer Service Specialist
- Software Developer
- Website / Backend Developer
- Mobile App Developer
- QA Tester
- CRM Specialist
And a whole lot more. Check out some of the freelance skills offered by FreeeUp.
Finding The Right People
Hiring new people is a fine way to grow your organization’s strength. However, finding the right people to work with is extremely challenging. As an agency owner, you need to onboard and observe new hires while you continue to manage and expand your client base. The easiest and most effective way to find proficient freelancers is to have a recruitment partner.
Online hiring experts such as FreeeUp specialize in finding the perfect fit for your agency. Currently, the majority of their freelance talents are experienced in helping ecommerce businesses with their marketing, creative, and administrative projects. Recently, they increased their services with more skills to cater to other types of businesses.
Instead of spending time posting to project boards across online freelance platforms, join FreeeUp and be spared from the hassle of interviewing hundreds of applicants. The network pre-vets applicants for competency and work ethics before they are introduced to clients. With the help of FreeeUp CEO Nathan Hirsch and his assistants, you are assured that every freelancer introduced to you fits the bill.
If you need advice from the hiring experts, check out FreeeUp for Digital Agencies so you can start hiring freelancers who are from the top 1% in the industry.
How to Manage a Remote Workforce
Creating and maintaining client relationships is the key to success and survival. As a solopreneur and top-rated freelancer, you have a deep understanding of the passion, hard work, and consistency needed to build a sustainable freelance agency business.
Hiring talented and competent freelancers is one thing. Creating a system that will allow them to work together efficiently is another, and that is your primary goal as a freelance agency owner.
Frankly, it is trial and error when it comes to managing people. You already know that remote freelancers are adept at working independently and with minimal supervision. Nevertheless, you have to consistently monitor them during the first stages of your work relationship. Over time, you need to ensure the satisfaction level of not just your clients but also the people who work with you.
To give you some guidance, here are the top 10 tips for you to learn to embrace to effectively manage a remote workforce for your freelance agency.
- Set clear expectations from the onset of the engagement.
- Provide them with reliable tools to make work more efficient and productive.
- Build a culture that values communication highly.
- Build an inclusive culture.
- Treat and communicate with freelancers as important parts of the agency.
- Express your trust in their skills and capabilities.
- Be open to constructive criticisms.
- Schedule one-on-one check-ins to check happiness levels.
- Reward achievements.
- Build a truly collaborative and engaging community.
Over to You
You have to think big and aim big if you want to achieve your dreams of success and freedom. Becoming a freelance agency owner is a giant leap towards reaching your goals. Instead of restricting yourself to 8 hours of work per day, you can earn so much more by hiring freelancers to help you complete more projects.
Just like starting your first online business, switching over from solo freelance work to managing freelancers of your own is no easy feat. You can read hundreds of guides on how to start and find your first partners, but still make mistakes. That, however, shouldn’t keep you from pushing towards your end goal. There are a lot of resources and experts within the industry that you can seek help from.
If you are constantly looking for new talent to onboard, don’t hesitate to contact FreeeUp. We are the perfect partner for digital freelance agency owners who are looking to scale up their business.
Lailah Paredes is an engineering student, creative entrepreneur, and a self-confessed island girl. As a travel junkie, she loves experiencing different cultures and sharing them through her writing. Read about her travels across the beautiful islands of the Philippines at her blog.