Our connected world has fueled the rise of numerous digital agencies offering a variety of services, one of the most popular being digital marketing. One of the biggest challenges that these digital agencies face in the freelance economy is scaling.
As a digital agency, the best structure you can have to attain the growth that you need, with both flexibility and quality, is one that brings the right marketing freelancers together into a smoothly functioning system.
As a marketplace run completely by freelancers under the guidance of its founders, FreeeUp is in a unique position to understand this hurdle, and how to overcome it. Founders Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan have gone through the growing pains of figuring out how to grow and create systems and processes that will help the marketplace reach its full potential.
From these experiences, here’s how your digital agency can put an amazing group of marketing freelancers together in a three-step process to help you achieve scalability.
Find Marketing Freelancers to Set Up in Managerial Positions
The first step is to find the right marketing freelancers to set up as managers for your key areas of focus. These are the key people in your business who will take responsibility for much of what happens in these areas. They are the small group who will work directly with you to maintain accountability and ensure that you are focused on the same overarching goals.
Among other responsibilities, for their own areas, these marketing freelancers will:
- design onboarding guides for the different tasks that you will hire for in the second step
- onboard and manage other marketing freelancers who are hired for their specific task expertise
- create whatever internal systems and processes are needed to push forward
- supervise the individual activities conducted
Before you select these managers, make sure that you are completely comfortable with the way that each of them work. Ask yourself if these marketing freelancers have proven to have the right:
- skills for the position
- level of commitment to the work
- passion for your business
- degree and level of communication
You want to make sure that you will be able to develop a long-term working relationship with these marketing freelancers. Be sure that they have the skills that they need to perform their daily tasks at a very high level. Know that they will be there consistently to take care of everything and clearly communicate with you regularly and professionally about what’s going on. Be confident that they believe in and are passionate about your business.
Once you have the right marketing freelancers to place in management, you can start building your core areas with these key positions:
Ensures the accurate creation of all content relating to your business in accordance with pre-defined branding guidelines and targets. They will also work with the Marketing Manager for all content needed for social and email campaigns, and the like.
Manages general business and product marketing, overseeing the design and execution of all creative brand awareness and product campaigns according to pre-defined strategies that you will work with them to create.
Handles daily administrative tasks and personal assistance to keep you organized – managing your calendar, task lists, etc.
Lead Generation Manager
Organizes and executes all lead generation campaigns according to pre-defined strategies that you will work with them to develop.
Keeps the books in order and alerts you of any concerns with margins such as areas where budgets need to be trimmed or areas that can be expanded in accordance with pre-defined guidelines and targets.
With these key marketing freelancers in place, you can begin to hire other marketing freelancers who can be onboarded under the managers in each area of responsibility.
Hire Marketing Freelancers for Each Task
The second step to prepare your digital agency to properly scale is to work on getting the right people for specific tasks.
You don’t need to build out each area simultaneously. In fact, this is not recommended since it will most certainly end up eating up all of your time and energy. Instead, start with the area that needs the most attention, or the one that you really want to get up and running independently. In some cases, you will need to build out different levels within an area of responsibility.
⊕ The Hiring Process
You can choose to keep this task on your plate, or pass it off to trusted managers. If you have thoroughly tested them for their skills, passion, attitude and communication, you know that they are capable of identifying the various tasks that need to be done, and what specific marketing freelancers they need to look for to take care of them.
Ideally, hire between one and three new marketing freelancers at a time. At this stage, working alone, managers will have a lot on their plates. They will need sufficient time to pay close attention to their own tasks as well as to the onboarding process so they don’t miss any red flags or fail to properly communicate expectations and task requirements.
Here are the individual tasks that need to be filled under each manager for clients and your own marketing efforts:
Photographer – taking pictures and editing all kinds of images
Graphic Designer – creating attractive graphics that communicate your message at a glance
Copy Writer – composing a variety of content pieces, from advertising copy to social media posts
Video Creator – overseeing the design and editing of video and audio
Video Editor – expertise in video manipulation
Audio Editor – expertise in audio manipulation
SEO Director – planning and execution of all relevant search engine optimization strategies
On-Page – executing an optimization plan for your website
Off-Page – executing an off-site optimization plan
Link Building – generating quality backlinks
Blog Manager – organizing your content calendar
Content Writer – composing a variety of content pieces, from website copy to blog posts
Editor – proofing and preparing content for publication
Email Manager – planning and execution of strategies for email campaigns, including newsletters
Social Media Manager – planning and execution of strategies on the major social platforms
YouTube – executing platform-specific strategies
LinkedIn – executing platform-specific strategies
Instagram – executing platform-specific strategies
Twitter – executing platform-specific strategies
Facebook – executing platform-specific strategies
Digital Advertising Manager – planning and execution of web marketing strategies
Facebook Ads – executing platform-specific strategies
Google Ads – executing platform-specific strategies
Amazon PPC – executing platform-specific strategies
Lead Generation Manager
Client Outreach – planning and execution of strategies to attract new clients
Partnership Outreach – planning and execution of strategies to develop valuable partnerships with clients and other businesses
Bookkeeper – executing bookkeeping data entry work
⊕ The Onboarding Process
This is a vital stage in the process of setting up marketing freelancers to run your digital agency. If it is not done at the highest level possible, you can run into multiple issues down the line that can make everything fall apart, or at least jam up the works enough to make a significant impact on your business.
Managers need to be free to properly vet, set up and supervise each new hire. Onboarding cannot be rushed, even when you need to get all the positions filled. Work with managers to find the right people, and make sure that they know that they can take the time that they need to make sure they have the right fit for each task.
Like the managers, these marketing freelancers working under their supervision should have the right skills, commitment, passion and communication practices for the tasks that they take on. The marketing freelancers you hire will need to be properly tested in the actual work environment to see if they function well independently and integrate well with the other people they will be working with.
Observe and Tweak
Once you have hired for one to three positions in each area, keep in close communication with the managers to get updates on how the new system is working out. Give them guidance as needed on any issues they are facing with the system and with new marketing freelancers. Spend time at this early stage to make sure that you have the right people in place. If something isn’t going well, don’t wait too long before you make adjustments or hire a different person so you don’t let a huge investment go to waste.
As each position is filled and running smoothly, add a few more in. Repeat the process until you have the complete set of these 32 marketing freelancers that you need to run your agency. Then you’ll be able to focus on providing the leadership that the business needs to grow to its full potential.
Julia Valdez is a professional teacher and decades-long lover of the art of words on paper, the stage and the big screen. She spends most of her time doing freelance content and project management, community volunteer work with the Philippine Advocates for Resilient Communities, adventuring with the Greenhouse Christian Fellowship, and sharing lots of laughs over little crazy things.