Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer? - Daniel Bussius

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

By Daniel Bussius | Business Coaching

Dec 07
Should you hire a freelancer or agency

A big decision (and key dilemma) that many small business owners experience is deciding whether they should hire an agency or a freelancer to help them with their marketing needs. 

Whatever you decide ultimately comes down to which option best suits your business and goalsbut before I dive into that, let's first define the most obvious difference between an agency and a freelancer.

A Freelancer: Typically, an individual person offering a single service (e.g. copywriting, web design, or marketing consultation).
An Agency: Typically, a team of people working together through a single point of contact to provide a range of unified services. 

As I said above, the best decision will depend on your particular business goals, so I've created a 10-question checklist that digs into the most important aspects.  This will help you easily help you determine whether a freelancer or agency will best suit your organizational needs

I'll examine each important question in this blog post, but you can also get the complete Marketing Help Hiring Checklist Download  to use yourself by opting in below. 

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Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #1

Is the work you need done Mission Critical?

If you're just looking for a few minor edits to a email or web page or some basic design work, then you're probably fine with an individual freelancer (unless these edits are critical to converting prospects into paying customers).

But if the work you need can make or break your business - say, a whole new website, marketing strategy, or complex automation - then you'd be better off investing your money in hiring a certified full-service agency who has the experience and knowledge to ensure that your "Mission Critical" projects are done to the highest standards.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Who Should You Hire?

When the work is Mission Critical, we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: HIRE AN AGENCY

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #2

Is the freelancer or agency professionally accredited?

Regardless of the kind of work you need done, it's best to choose a freelancer or agency that possesses legitimate licenses and certifications that come from trusted and critically acclaimed organizations (e.g.  StoryBrand, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Digital Marketer). These organization don't just dole out "badges" without the student having passed scored tests proving their level of expertise in the system and strategy.

Although there are no guarantees you'll get better results from a tested and accredited candidate, the risk you face in making a bad hire is reduced. When it comes to money, the lower the risk with the higher potential for a return is always a smart bet.

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By ensuring that your next hire has the proper accreditations to back up their expertise, you can confidently move forward knowing the work they deliver will be of a certain level. You'll also know there is an organization ensuring their quality standards are met and maintained, otherwise they'll be removed from the program.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Who Should You Hire?

When it comes to professionally recognized credentials with testing standards, we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: HIRE THE CREDENTIALED EXPERT

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #3

How successful is the person or agency?

Are they as successful or more than successful than you? If you are an expert in your field, are they one in theirs? If the person you're considering hiring isn't at your level (or higher), most likely they will do you more harm than good.  

Many freelancers and agency staff members are entry level or, at best, mid-level in their experience. If you need long term growth and intelligent strategy, you can’t afford to have entry or mid-level knowledge at your side. 

If you want to get fit, who would you hire?
Fat man
Fit man representing a successful agency

The same should go for your agency or freelancer you are selecting.

If the freelancer or agency you wish to hire is not at the level of or higher in professional success and comparative revenue then you may be exposing yourself to undue risk.

Accomplished freelancers and agencies have learned their mistakes moving up the ladder. They've crafted their art to a point that they should be at a level of success that they can provide you with the level of quality, insight and execution a business at your level needs in order to stay competitive. Don't play at a lower level by making a bad hire.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Who Should You Hire?

When it comes to vetting your potential hire based on their past and current success, we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: HIRE THE PERSON THAT IS EITHER AT YOUR LEVEL OF SUCCESS (AND REVENUE) OR HIGHER.

You Can't Afford To Hire The Wrong Person
Download The Agency VS Freelancer Scorecard Today 
Feel confident you made the best hiring decision for your business.

Enter your details below to have your free scorecard emailed to you.
Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #4

Do they practice what they preach?

You're hiring this person or this agency to improve your marketing in one way or another.

So...how is the marketing for their business?

Does their marketing engage you and make you want to take action? 

Do they have a fully built-out and impressive marketing system they can show you that's working in their business? No excuses for the cobbler's children have no shoes!

If the answer is no, then most likely, they won't be able to deliver what you need.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Who Should You Hire?

When it comes to vetting your potential hire based on their own marketing, we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: HIRE THE PERSON THAT EATS HIS/HER OWN DOG FOOD AND ISN'T SCARED TO SHOW YOU WHAT'S UNDER THE HOOD AND HOW ITS WORKING.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #5

Do they have an entire team to serve your needs?

If you decide to have a variety of marketing materials (copy, design, automation, Facebook ads, etc) completed by different freelancers, then you'll probably experience the "Frankenstein Effect."  

This inconsistency of tone, voice, and style in your marketing communications happens when you patch together multiple freelancers instead of working with one cohesive team.

Paying for the Frankenstein Effect can be a big waste of your time and money, and can quickly get you into losses, rather than gains.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Who Should You Hire?

When it comes to vetting your potential hire based on their past and current success, we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: HIRE THE COHESIVE VOICE SO YOUR BRAND DOESN'T SUFFER.

Are You Suffering From
 The Frankenstein Effect?

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

With my award-winning agency, Built By Love by your side, you'll have one point of contact and an entire team of pros working for you, together, to achieve your success.

Schedule your free strategic consult​​​​ today and eliminate the monster of marketing chaos.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #6

Do they have case studies they can provide to you?

Of course you'll want to see examples of their past work and past successes. The question is - does their portfolio show you that they've worked with businesses at your level or greater? 

Even better, do they have case studies to share with you? Every professional freelancer and marketing agency should have a handful of well-designed case studies walking you through the journey of a variety of past projects.

Here is an example of what my agency has in the many, many case studies we can provide to our clients.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?
Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?
Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?
Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

If they've only worked with businesses smaller than yours, then most likely they won't be able to deliver what you need

Who Should You Hire?

When it comes to asking for and reviewing case studies , we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: YOU SHOULD WEIGHT THE REVIEW OF CASE STUDIES HEAVILY. THEY PROVIDE A DETAILED INSIGHT INTO PAST PROJECT SUCCESS.

You Can't Afford To Hire The Wrong Person
Download The Agency VS Freelancer Scorecard Today 
Feel confident you made the best hiring decision for your business.

Enter your details below to have your free scorecard emailed to you.
Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #7

Do they have any video testimonials of their past and recent customers?

Written testimonials are great, but they're not as easy to trust as video. In today’s day and age, being able to see the actual expression and hear the voice of someone helps you be able to see if they are truly passionate about the level of service they received.

Here are a few examples to show you the power of a video testimonial. Remember, a video testimonial cannot be doctored whereas a written testimonial most certainly can.

Who Should You Hire?

When it comes to doing your homework and reviewing testimonials, we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AT LEAST 10 TESTIMONIALS TO REVIEW WITH 50% OF THEM BEING VIDEO.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #8

How long have they been in business?

If you hire a freelancer or business that has been around for less than 5 years, you may be playing with fire. Since 50% of businesses fail in the first 5 years, and another 30% fail in their first ten, you want to be sure that who you are hiring has shown that they've been able to adapt, adjust, and survive with the ever-changing digital age.

Additionally, the longer someone has been in business, the more on-the-job training and experience they have. They have seen more in their professional experience and had more wins as well as losses. The school of hard knocks teaches the best lessons and you want someone who is well versed in their expertise.

When reviewing freelancers and candidates, you are encouraged to look at who you're hiring and ask yourself, "If this person was a heart surgeon, would I want he/she to be operating on me with the amount of experience they have"?

You'll know your answer right away. Your business is the lifeblood of your income, just as your heart is vital to your livelihood.

The last thing you want or need is to hire a freelancer or agency that hasn’t yet learned the ropes or weathered the storms of successfully guiding their clients to success.

Who Should You Hire?

When it comes to reviewing the length of someone's career, we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: HIRE THE PERSON WITH A PROVEN TRACK RECORD OF BUSINESS SUCCESS GREATER THAN 5 YEARS.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #9

Do they have a prebuilt foundation to scale with you as you grow?

Are you planning on growing your business? If so, then you'll want whoever you're working with to have the team members, resources, and know-how to grow with you. 

It's wise to have an eye on the future - You don't want to start from scratch all over again one day because you hired the freelancer or agency that could handle your needs today, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is where your future and success lies, today is almost already in the past

The true cost of an ill-fit hire that you later need to replace can be astronomical.

That's why most experts put the true cost of the wrong hire at ten times your sunken cost.

A $10,000 hire could cost you $100,000 to replace and fix that bad hire!

Who Should You Hire?

When it comes to considering scalability, we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: HIRE THE PERSON THAT IS ALREADY EQUIPPED TO SCALE WITH YOU. YOU BOTH CAN'T AFFORD TO FIGURE IT OUT DURING YOUR TIMES OF GROWTH.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

Qualifying Question #10

Do you like them and are they smarter than you?

Last but not least, do you get along?

This shouldn't be ignored or discounted  - you'll be working alongside these people on very important projects. So, with that in mind...are they responsive to you? If they are an agency, is everyone on their team fun to work with? 

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

And most importantly...are they smarter than you (or at least at your level)?

The most successful business icons said that they reached unimaginable heights of success because they hired the best and the brightest. Don't cheat yourself out of success because you hired a freelancer or agency that can just "get the work done" but, has no strategic insight.

You'll desperately need that insight to scale and navigate the ever changing world of marketing.

Who Should You Hire?

When it comes to vetting your gut and their intelligence, we suggest the best bet for your money is:

THE SMART CHOICE: HIRE THE PERSON YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH AND THAT HAS THE BRAIN POWER TO IMPRESS YOU.

Should You Hire an Agency or Freelancer?

THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE

Compare your potential hire against our agency.

In conclusion, those are some of the most important questions you should ask yourself before you hire a freelancer or agency to handle your marketing needs. Hire the right one for your goals, and you'll be sure to see success.

If you are a business owner that is serious about growing his or her business, then I would like to personally invite you to schedule a free strategic consult with my agency. 

We'll discuss your road map to success and how we can add value to your company by creating and implementing intelligently designed marketing strategies, video, graphics, and copy writing into your business. Click here to schedule your free consult.

daniel-bussius

Daniel Bussius is an award-winning Infusionsoft Certified Partner who is highly sought after Marketing Agency CEO and Professional Consultant, Daniel and his agency, Built By Love, work with celebrities, New York Times best-selling authors, Fortune 500 companies and over 1,000 small business owners from around the world.

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Daniel Bussius Digital Marketer Certified Partner

Daniel is the world's only dual certified StoryBrand Certified Agency and Infusionsoft Certified Partner. His agency holds a long list of certifications and hires top talent that has one primary goal: to make the client achieve their wildest dreams. 

You Can't Afford To Hire The Wrong Person
Download The Agency VS Freelancer Scorecard Today 
Feel confident you made the best hiring decision for your business.

Enter your details below to have your free scorecard emailed to you.
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About the Author

Daniel Bussius is an executive marketing consultant, marketing agency CEO, Infusionsoft Certified Partner and Digital Marketer Certified Partner

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