Many full-time workers or salaried employees often toy with the idea of quitting their jobs and work as freelancers. How many of them actually go on to become one? Very few, thanks to how potential employers view them in their respective industries. The clichéd idea of a freelancer is of an unemployed person in his 30’s, undisciplined and simply failing in life. However, one really cannot ignore the fact that there are many successful freelancers in the world. The concept of freelancing is not new anymore, but it still comes attached to a certain amount of stigma. What are the notions that lead to this stigma?
Freelancing means unemployment
The number one reason is mistaking freelancing for unemployment. The notion hiring professionals have that freelancing equals to being unemployed is not only obsolete but also extremely unfair. It is important to understand that freelancing is, more often than not, a choice. It is self-employment, not unemployment. HR professionals and corporates need to broaden their outlook. Freelancers are talented individuals who do not wish to be stuck in a cubicle, working a 9 to 5 job. Freelancers can flourish when they start offering freelance services.
No emotional attachment to companies
Companies often wonder whether freelancers feel a sense of attachment for the firms they work with. Many companies perceive emotional attachment as a prerequisite for loyalty. They are skeptical about hiring freelancers as they normally tend to work with more than one client. With soaring competition, even a salaried employee of a company cannot vouch for his/her emotional attachment to it. So what is it that sets freelancers apart? The answer, most definitely, would be the emotional attachment to their work. Studies show that when the work environment is most conducive, the result is higher work productivity. Freelancers can be relied upon to deliver the desired results even though they may work with various clients.
No job title, no knowledge?
As we get highly accustomed to living the corporate life, we start evaluating people as per their job titles. While job titles convey a fair idea of how experienced a person is, it can never be the ultimate way to judge his/her knowledge or skills. Freelancers may not have a job title. But what they do have is tremendous exposure that comes with working with multiple clients across the globe. This inevitably enhances their knowledge, keeps them up-to-date and helps them develop amazing people skills. How many full-time workers can boast about this?
HR concerns in hiring freelancers
How important would you say is checking the stability of a candidate in the hiring process? Extremely important, of course. Freelancers may commit to work for big firms over a period of time or do smaller, one-time projects for individuals. Freelancers should maintain a solid portfolio of all the work they have done. Companies can make hiring decisions depending more on the quality of the work done and whether it was delivered as promised. Freelancers are encouraged to provide references to their clients or testimonials that can make it easier for potential clients to hire.
Freelancers can be hired for free
Perhaps the most contested aspect of freelancing is the earning. Most companies either tend to quote cheaper rates for their services or expect it to be totally unpaid! It is unfortunate that there are no set standard industry rates. However, the work done by a freelancer is as chargeable as the work done by a salaried employee. Companies should ideally judge based on the freelancer’s portfolio, whether or not to go by his/her rate card. If they are not convinced, it is best to move on to other options. It is strictly advised to never ask the individual to work free of charge.
Too many amateur freelancers spoil the broth
With freelancing becoming a more commonly accepted employment status, more and more individuals are delving into it. There are chances that companies might encounter amateur freelancers, who may not necessarily be as dedicated as those who are relatively seasoned. It cannot be denied that there are amateur freelancers or those looking to make a quick buck. There have been instances of providing fake references, leaving a project incomplete or churning out shoddy work. This is something companies are wary about and also it ends up reflecting poorly on the entire freelance community. For motivated and serious freelancers, the only way to counter this is to build a strong portfolio and maintain its authenticity. Companies, on the other hand, need to have a good eye to spot a reliable freelancer.
There is no doubt that freelancing has opened up many opportunities. It is just a matter of eliminating the stigma that is currently limiting the freelance community from unleashing its true potential. This will be achieved by enhancing networking between both the entities.