Software is eating the world claimed famed tech investor Marc Andreessen in 2011. At the time many disagreed with his assessment, but four years on it’s almost impossible to refute. Every aspect of our working and personal lives is ruled by lines of code - everything from grocery shopping to dating.
On the back of the software boom businesses are going through a golden age of productivity. New apps are launched every week to optimise everything from simple to-do lists to meditation in the workplace. There is even software that lets anybody create their own simple programmatic automations to make themselves that little bit more efficient, like IFTTT and Zapier.
Making complex tasks simple is what good software is all about. A human could very well lose their mind trying to monitor and match prices for products they’re trying to sell, but Amazon’s software alters more than 2.5 million prices per month without breaking a sweat.
Good software automates tedious processes, but the best software strings together clever automations to make a user’s experience completely painless. Virgin America’s website, which won a Webby Award for Best User Experience, strings together scheduling, pricing, booking and other systems to make finding and purchasing flights - a process known the world-over for it’s complexity - a piece of cake.
If you’re one of the thousands of businesses which is embracing a an on-demand team of freelancers software automation can save you time, money and stress by housing the complex process of working with freelancers under one digital roof. It won’t just benefit your bottom line - it’ll make your agency more efficient, financially astute and competitive. With so many agencies already teaming a talented freelance pool with a streamlined freelancer management system, there’s a greater need than ever before to get software in place to manage the process to keep your agency at the top of its game.
Full-time workers have a degree of regularity about them - the same amount of salary, tax and holiday every year - making them a fairly uncomplicated resource to manage (employment law notwithstanding). Freelancers, by contrast, will have irregular hours, a variety of rates, different pricing structures and a variety of skills which allow them to work on different project concurrently.
Historically this complexity has been a barrier to businesses - especially smaller agencies - employing freelancers. However the rise of smart online software services means these complexities are no longer a problem, as everything from pitching to staffing up to payments can be automated.
Thinking about using some freelance software to save yourself some time and money? Here’s why it’s worth considering.
Everyone is accountable
Good freelance software will have built-in project management tools, with important milestones included in the process. Projects can be planned and executed with total visibility - no missed meetings, no crossed wires.
Many agency projects stumble over the finish line on deadline day not because they were badly planned, but because the plan wasn’t followed or executed poorly. Freelance software is designed to keep the process in check, and to make sure your freelance strategy lives up to its original promise.
Another symptom of poorly planned project work is a gradually expanding budget. Small additions here and there, a few costlier-than-planned-for expenses, and an extra pair of hands to help you hit deadline day; suddenly you’ve massively overspent. A study of large digital projects by Harvard Business Review found they were, on average, 27% over budget. That’s the kind of price inflation that can ruin client relationships overnight, or destroy your profit margin.
In the same way freelance software keeps all involved parties on-task, it can also a keep slim agency margins safe from scope creep. With spending assigned to specific deliverables, every cog in your agency machine knows how much budget they have to play with.
Manage an on-demand team with ease
Many employees and managers won’t have experience working with freelancers, and hiring a remote team can be a steep learning curve for employees used to managing in-house personnel. Proposals, contracts of service and invoices can all be a little baffling to people who haven’t dealt with them before.
The best freelance software will streamline the management and handle the process, from initial enquiry and hiring all the way through to payment, simply enough for any employee to make informed decisions and manage their remote team with ease.
Debrief with data
When a project is wrapped the smartest agencies will hold a retrospective session, looking at what went well, and what needs improvement next time around. With project management, trackable milestones and budgets all recorded by your freelance software identifying areas for improvement is as simple as looking at the data.
With data recorded across the duration of the project, you’ll know which specific areas went over budget or took too long. Maybe a back-end build took longer than expected, meaning designers couldn’t start work as soon as expected, in turn delaying the copywriting process. Without data all you might know is that the project was late - with milestone tracking for individual freelancers you can track down the root cause, and make sure you hire the right number of back-end developers next time around.
Freelancers and software perfectly complement one another
If you’ve invested time and money in a freelance strategy for your business, not putting in place the correct measures to manage that strategy means the chances of success are drastically reduced.
A freelance strategy involves two layers of complexity: hiring and managing the freelance workers themselves, and integrating their skills into your existing team. Freelance software, when used well, takes away these complexities for your team, meaning they can take advantage of the speed, knowledge and cost-effectiveness of the on-demand economy without the steep learning curve.
It’s no coincidence that some of the fastest-growing businesses in the last decade (Uber for cabs, TaskRabbit for labour, Delivery Hero for takeaway food) have paired an on-demand workforce with freelance software to seamlessly hire, manage and pay them.
Looking for a freelance software solution?
We can help you find the right freelancers, and give you the best software to manage them. Contact us today to learn more.