Managing Your Business Virtually in 2021

Managing Your Business Virtually in 2021

Attaining high levels of accomplishment in your chosen profession or business entails never-ending learning, working intelligently and constant improving on productivity.    It has been fascinating to observe how companies and organizations handled being forced to navigate through a new work landscape of allowing employees to work remotely; revealing both steep challenges and tremendous opportunities to reexamine and improve work processes.   

Undoubtedly, running a successful business has been transformed with technology advancements introduced at an almost breathless pace in the last few decades.  Couple tech with one of the most unimaginable global viral outbreaks created 1) heavy reliance on the digital marketplace for sustenance and home essentials and 2) obsessive cravings for human connection.  This, in turn, increased our addictiveness to our screens… mobile or otherwise and the business community had to react and reinvent how to conduct business.  Traditionally, CEOs and business owners hire teams of support staff and departments to expedite and run operations.  2020 will be forever be known as the year of “working from home”.  Whether large or small, businesses had to develop transitional systems for employees to work at home or be nimble and agile enough to switch to hiring independent contractors to complete tasks.

Since our inception, Beau Satchelle has increasingly relied on the skills and talents of freelancers to work on aspects of our luxury accessories business that would take us away from our high-level responsibilities (design/production of our products, marketing, and sales).   We have found it more beneficial to outsource especially in the areas of video production and editing, copywriting, and web and graphic design.  As we grow, we continue to look for freelancers who can save us mostly time (and labor money) while offering quality work that complements our luxury offerings.

The advantages of hiring virtually (freelancers or independent contractors) include:

·         Outsourcing professionals remotely in many cases will be more efficient than office employees.

·         Accessibility to high-level talent.

·         Cost-Effective Alternative: You pay for work done on a per-project basis, no payroll, overhead costs or staff benefits.

·         Freelancers are even more incentivized to deliver quality work for repeat business and referrals.

·         Flexibility  – The ability to interact with you and your online clients at irregular hours versus the typical 9-5 schedule when employees report to work.

·         This is a vendor relationship that with compatible matches will convert into a long term business relationship.

As your business grows, the need to hire specialties to various operations become essential.  Whether you are a coach or consultant, a designer/artist, a manufacturer, in the travel/ hospitality industry, or a high-end retailer reaching your market more efficiently and seamlessly will determine a steady routine of hiring digital experts and assistants for support.  Freelance University, a premier training company for niche freelancers categorizes digital skills into seven areas that all businesses may consider:

1.        Digital Marketing

·         Social Media Management

·         Email Marketing

·         Content Marketing

·         Search Engine Optimization

·         Digital Advertising

2.       Writing and Editing

·         Content Creation

·         Editing

3.       Digital Media and Content Production

·         Webinar management

·         Virtual Conferencing

·         Podcasts Production

·         Video Management

·         Online Course Creation and Management

·         Digital Book Production

4.       Virtual Administration

·         Client Support – email/calendar management, CRM/lead generation, bookkeeping, online research, etc.

·         Customer Support – inquiries, help desk, etc.

5.       Online Business Management

·         Project Managers

·         Productivity Consultants

6.       Web and Graphic Design

·         Graphic Design: photo editing, image logo design, e-book design, brochures, etc.

·         Website Design and assessing current

7.       Technology Support

·         SAAS (Software As A Service)  such as Mailchimp, Convert Kit, CRMs

·         Assisting with technology tools (e-commerce, landing pages, email marketing, membership site, course management, etc)

For upstarts or those new to the digital workplace solutions, many turn to freelance services marketplaces such as Freelancer, Upwork, etc. to advertise for a project to be completed, but the challenge for a hiring company is competition is so fierce that one criticism is the environment forces contractors to underbid for jobs, although companies have had success in finding solid freelancers.  Just be sure to do your due diligence when hiring. With Fivver, instead of posting your project, you have the ability to search through the gig workers, just know that contractors’ prices fluctuate all over depending on skills and experience.

There are several sites that have developed platforms for hiring freelancers who are heavily experienced in their field of expertise.  As stated above, certain businesses choose to run their entire operations by hiring freelancers eliminating the hassle of payroll taxes, health insurance, and all the benefits associated with hiring a W2 employee.  However, speaking on behalf of my colleagues who work in this freelance space, due to the result of freeing up a business’ challenges, freelancers expect to be paid well for their skills and talents.  Most of these types of sites will require a fee paid by the employer and rules are set to prevent bidding wars between freelancers. 

Where can you hire  – full list on Geekflare.com

Working Not Working – geared towards the “creatives” industry – writing, editors, producers, photographers, and illustrators

Braintrust and Toptal is a site for technology specialists

WAHVE – enlists pre-retires in the fields of insurance, human resources and accounting

Flexjobs

ProBlogger

Guru

LinkedIn

When searching for that perfect freelancer:

·         Be sure they provide you with recent referrals and testimonials and a portfolio with relevant experience

·         Look for high ratings and review profiles on the platforms they use or their own website

·         Have them conduct a trial project

·         Talk with your industry peers for recommendations

·         Rate their communication skills and ability to accept feedback

·         Be prepared yourself before beginning the search (be detailed and clear in explaining the project)

Many, many lessons have been learned from the past year and my hope is as business owners, we all have the opportunity to pivot, adapt and recognize opportunities to save time and money by working with quality freelancers who will assist us in reaching our goals of business success while living the good life.  –AJ

Thank you to the following content sources:

Freelance University

Los Angeles Times – Here’s  where skilled freelancers can find jobs

Geekflare.com – 17 Best Places to Find and Hire Freelancers

Thank you to the following photographers’ contribution to this week’s blog:

Pexels – Perfect Workspace

Mikael Blomkvist – Digital Marketing

Christina @ wocintechchat.com –  Deep in Thought

Elvis – Laptop and Tablet in Sync

Major Tom Agency – At work

Kevin Phillips – Woman holding cell phone

Kevin Bhagat – Work Hard Anywhere

Chris Montgomery – Zoom Call

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