I admit it, I’m not a millennial, I’m old enough to be in the rebound phase of social media and platform overload, because I remember what it was like to not have to rely on it to promote myself, or have to compete against someone in another country who was charging less than half my rates. I know the value of building a local community.
There are about 3.2 billion users on the Internet and amongst them, a sea of freelancers enticing you with cheap rates, quick turn around times, and no human contact required. But seriously, is this the way you want to build your business? Click, click, click, done. Sure it’s efficient, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way. If you think building relationships with people is a hassle, then sure, stick with the platforms. In my opinion, these platforms are the Tinder of the freelance world. It's window shopping. It's not investing. It's impersonal. I know, lots of people have met the love of their life on Tinder, and maybe you will find your dream freelancer on Upwork, but what if there are benefits to hiring local that you haven't really thought about... because you're too busy swiping left... or right...
What are the benefits of hiring local freelancers as opposed to using online platforms such as Upwork, or Fiverr?
Local means having the option of a face-to-face meeting, which means you can build a relationship. Relationships build trust. I enjoy meeting a client face-to-face, and having a truly interesting or inspiring conversation. I like meeting people. I like developing relationships with clients and seeing how I can best help their particular project. At the end of the meeting we are both invested in the project.
Hiring local freelancers means you are building a local team. Depending on your project, you may need to hire a variety of freelancers, from writers to graphic artists, to SEO and marketing specialists. Hiring local allows the option of getting your people together to brainstorm, or be briefed.
Accountability. Hiring a local freelancer means this person may have come recommended. Local freelancers have an existing reputation in the area in which they live and work. Someone on a platform may have great samples and references, but truth is if they choose to ghost you half way through the project, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Hiring local freelancers means you are strengthening the economy of the place you live and work. Why fill the wallets of the people who own these platforms when you could be putting money directly back into your local community.
Myth: Hiring local freelancers is more expensive than hiring off a platform.
Are you sure about this? Generally you get what you pay for when it comes to freelancers. You are paying for quality of work, experience, creativity, professionalism, and accountability. As a freelancer I take care in my pricing and am sure to price myself according to all of these factors. If someone is charging you less than the market value, then chances are some of these aspects are missing from their value.
Finally, when you hire local, you are building your own community network of professionals, but you are also tapping into your freelancers network. They will have their own take on the project, bringing local aspects to it could be advantageous, or they may be able to help in the promotion by using their own social media channels. More than likely they know someone who would be useful on the current or next project.