If you have struck out on your own as a freelancer, you may be wondering if you should build a freelance agency or go it alone. If you’ve been at the freelancing game for a while, you may be tempted to grow your own freelance agency so that you are able to leverage your time and scale your business. There are pros and cons to each side, and you should spend some time contemplating which direction you want to take your business.
A freelance agency occurs when you hire additional freelancers to freelance for you. These freelancers would be working on your clients’ projects, and you would manage their workload. Having a freelance agency could mean that you do less (or no more) freelancing yourself.
Let’s start with the pros of building your own freelance agency. There are several reasons why you may want to hire other freelancers to join you.
As an entrepreneur and freelancer, time is money. If freelancers aren’t actively working, they aren’t actively earning money. They trade their time for money. So, if you are a freelancer who wants to build more free time into your schedule, it can be difficult. But when you build a freelance agency, you will earn money when the freelancers you hire are working. That means you can earn money while you aren’t actively working yourself. You may be able to free up a lot of extra time for yourself.
Freelancers often get stuck when it comes to scaling their business. They aren’t able to scale because there is only so much time in the day. Taking on more clients translates into more work hours, and scaling becomes difficult. When you build a freelance agency, you are able to take on more clients because you will have more freelancers to spread the workload out to.
When you build a freelance agency, you are promoting yourself in your business because you will now be more of a manager than working on tasks. You become the “boss” who coordinates with clients, directs work, gives feedback and decides who will join you – whatever role you want to play.
While there are several really good reasons you may want to build a freelance agency, there are some drawbacks as well that must be considered.
This can be viewed as a pro or a con, but I list it as a con because it can be a large undertaking that solo freelancers don’t have to deal with. You will have to manage their time, their workload and the quality of work that each freelancer turns in. You will need to ensure that the freelancers you hire are keeping your clients happy and coming back for more. While the amount of effort this takes depends highly on the freelancers you bring into your agency, it can be a large time commitment to put together the right group of freelancers.
Again, this depends on your situation. I list this as a con because many freelancers start out simply because they love what they do. If you are a freelance writer, chances are that you love to write. If you do social media freelancing, I bet you love social media. But when you start an agency, you will have to focus on hiring, onboarding and managing freelancers to take over projects. And this leaves you with less time to work on the craft that brought you into freelancing.
If you have been working solo for a while, you probably have built a list of loyal clients who may or may not be open to working with others in your agency. If you have trouble finding the right people to work with you, you might also run the risk of delivering work below the standard that your clients have come to expect from you.
Working as a solo freelancer, or as the sole member of your business, has a lot of pros and cons as well. If you’ve been in business as a freelancer for a while, you may already know what I’m about to cover.
Let’s begin with the pros of working for yourself as the only freelancer in your business. This can be a great business model to continue with for several reasons.
You only have one person to manage, and that person is you. You won’t have to worry about what anyone else is doing. You find your clients, do the work and make the money. It is simple and effective. You make the choices and decide what work you want to do and when.
Because it is only you, the stress of running your business is less. You just have to keep your clients happy and take on more work as you have the capacity and need. You will be able to leverage existing freelance marketplaces such as FreeeUp to find clients.
When you are a solo freelancer, you have the freedom to make changes to your business at any time without anyone’s input or buy in. If you need a vacation, you take one. If you need more work, you find it.
Solo freelancing isn’t all peaches and cream either. There are always two sides to every story. Here are some potential cons of solo freelancing vs building a freelance agency.
If you want to make more money, you have to raise your rates or take on more work. You are trading hours for dollars, and there are only so many hours in a day. And you can absolutely raise your rates, but there is a limit on how high you can realistically go with your current and future clients.
If you need to take time off for health reasons or want to take time off for a vacation, your wallet takes a hit. Because when you aren’t freelancing, you aren’t earning. And when you need or want to take time off, your clients may not be too happy about it.
Working by yourself for yourself can get pretty lonely. You typically will work most hours without ties to the outside world. And while you will communicate with your clients, that communication has limits, and so does the relationship.
Freelancing is a great career, and you can be successful as a solo freelancer or with a freelance agency. The choice is highly personal and depends mostly on where you want to take your business and your own personal preferences.
If you are still unsure in which direction you want to take your business, start your own list of pros and cons. Take some time to really brainstorm whether you would be more successful as a solo freelancer or by building a freelance agency.
Whether you decide to go at it alone or build a freelance agency, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. FreeUp has built an entire marketplace for you to find work for yourself as a solo freelancer or hire other qualified freelancers to work in your agency. Schedule a call with one of the founders to discuss your specific needs.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer turned integrative wellness and life coach and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She runs her own business, Engineered Motherhood, for moms who have become overwhelmed in the chaos and stress of motherhood so much that they have lost their identity as women. She helps them redefine their lives, rediscover their purpose and streamline their days so that they can live as fulfilled and vibrant women as well as amazing mamas! Oh, and she both works as a freelancer as well as hires freelancers in her business!
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