Earlier this year, I was talking to a student who told me she was considering starting a side online business to generate extra income, and she told me about some challenges she was facing. One of them was about graphic design, our conversation basically went like this:
- “The thing is, I’m not good enough at graphic design.”
- “You don’t have to do it yourself. Do you know anyone who can help you?”
- “I don’t think so.”
- “Well, why don’t you hire a graphic designer?”
- “I don’t think I can afford it. This must be expensive, right?”
And that is when I told her about marketplaces for freelance services.
What are Freelance Marketplaces?
Even though I know a little bit about graphic design, I am far from being skilled enough to produce professional content. On a good day, I could maybe design a decent ad, but there is no way I could come up with a good-looking logo or a product packaging design. When I worked on my first business, I had the same concerns: how much would a professional graphic designer charge for high-quality work?
I did some research on the best ways to find a graphic designer and came across the website, Fiverr.com, an online marketplace for freelance services. On Fiverr, you can find a variety of digital services, including graphic design, editing, translation, proofreading, consulting, and much more. The price for these services starts at $5 (hence the name “Fiverr”) and can reach hundreds of dollars. I’ve used Fiverr extensively for my business, my book, and my blog. I have also hired people on Upwork, another platform for freelance work that is more “Premium” than Fiverr, which is another great option. There are many other options, such as 99Designs or Freelancer.com, but Fiverr and Upwork are still the top 2. I wanted to write about them, as I believe these are an amazing tool to find talented freelancers, sometimes at a very reasonable rate. Let’s see how these marketplaces can help you with your business and various projects.
I am, of course, not talking about outsourcing the conception and the whole design of your products, but some parts can be easily made by freelancers. For example, packaging design is an extremely important part of your product. Whether your product is sold online or in brick-and-mortar stores, the packaging is the first thing your customer will see. Packaging design is also very complex; not only do you need a fantastic and eye-catching design, but you also need a convincing copy and to ensure your packaging complies with all of the regulations (legally required information, safety, hygiene, etc.).
Fortunately, there are many skilled professionals who can help you on Fiverr, Upwork, or other similar platforms. You usually get to see samples of their work and testimonials from previous customers, which can help you make the right decision. For product packaging, you might need to work with multiple people; those who know graphic design, copywriting, and the legal stuff are very rare (and can charge a lot for their services).
Other examples are books and literature. I found my editor and proofreader for my book on Fiverr, and she did an amazing job. Before working with her, I worked with other freelancers on smaller projects, which allowed me to compare the work of other freelancers and see what best suited me. If I wanted, I could find people to help me create an audio version of my book, and I know the process would be painless and very easy.
Now, I don’t recommend opting for the freelancer who has the cheapest rate, but to really spend time reading reviews and, if possible, samples of their work. You might find extremely talented artists who charge very little, and mediocre freelancers who charge a lot more. Working with freelancers takes some experience, and that might be the subject of a future article. For now, let’s look at what can be done to grow a business.
If you are creating a brand, you should be the one designing its identity, its experience, and writing its story. However, if you’re like me, you might struggle to express some of your ideas to your customers. Talented designers can help you create the right logo and visual identity for your brand. On Fiverr, you can even filter what logo style you want, which is very convenient.
Good designers will ask you how you want your brand to be perceived, what industry you are in, the colors you want, and many other relevant questions so you have the best logo for your brand.
Besides graphic design, you can also find talented writers who can help you write the best mission statements and company values. These are extremely important documents, and if you are selling on your own website, you can’t be lazy with your “About Us” page – this is often one of the most popular pages on a merchant’s website.
Marketing and advertising
Marketing and advertising can be very time-consuming for business owners, especially when they are already busy managing operations, relationships with their key partners, or making big strategic decisions. Not everyone can afford a full-time employee to help with marketing. Fortunately, parts of your marketing operations can easily be outsourced to freelancers. This can be especially helpful when you only need temporary work or require help with very specific tasks. Are you launching a new product and are swamped with work? Why not outsource the creation of a paid search campaign, or the keyword research work for that product to someone else?
There are people offering their services for most tasks, including social media management, paid search advertising, email marketing, finding deals with influencers, and more. Not only can working with these freelancers save you time, but some of them are very good at their job and can achieve you amazing results. It does, however, come at a cost. You get what you pay for, and marketing experts who can really make a difference will usually be on the most premium marketplaces. Even worse, if you go with the cheapest “expert” on Fiverr, they might make you lose valuable time and money by providing a worthless service that can even damage your brand.
If you are already good at marketing, and you have the time to do it yourself, you can still find people who can help you with specific parts of your marketing strategy. For example, if you have a great idea for an ad and know what message you want to send but lack artistic talent, you can find graphic designers who can help you turn your ideas into a powerful visual.
Consulting and analytics
While I have never hired a business consultant myself on Upwork or Fiverr, I know that there are many consultants offering their services. Now I don’t know if paying someone $25 for legal advice on Fiverr is the best idea, but there are probably some skilled people who can provide good ideas. I remember hiring someone to help me with my resume a few years ago, and it made a huge difference in my job search.
Yet, I think you should only hire consultants and data analysts you know you can trust. While hiring a graphic designer who creates a hideous logo is annoying, it is only a waste of time and money. Getting bad legal or business advice can mean huge trouble for you and your business. In the same way, if you hire a bad data analyst, you risk making decisions based on incorrect data. I’m not saying you can never get good advice or analytics work from someone you find on Fiverr, but you should be wary of the risks involved.
For me, freelancers can help tremendously by saving you time, money, and providing you with their unique skills and talent. You can find help in many areas of your business, and freelance marketplaces make the hiring process easy and convenient. That being said, you get what you pay for, and you should make sure that the freelancers you hire provide you with the best service that will help you grow your business, and not damage it.