Freelancing is becoming more and more popular. The likelihood is that we, as photographers, do our fair share of freelancing. But do we rely on other freelancers to enhance our business, freeing up our time to spend on business-critical matters? The UK economy and alternative working hours and locations for office-bound staff are evolving rapidly. A large number of options now exist for consultants of all shapes and sizes to put themselves out there to small and large companies for very flexible terms.
In theory, this outsourced way of working suits both parties as there is no long-term contractual agreement in place. No large financial overhead or related tax, employment law to adhere to. In practice, this outsourcing mostly works fine under defined parameters and this is the point. Managing expectations for both parties is the key to ensuring there is a successful outcome.
One of the largest problem as a photographer is storage and hardware needed to handle this.
- Some outsourcing is easier than others. Measurable work is always going to be more accountable than vague prospecting. Giving your accountancy or software management duties to an outside agency are obvious areas where you can measure their input and there are clear boundaries to the work.
- Marketing and new business. There are ways to measure these areas but they are less distinct and as such, they need careful management. Marketing comes in many forms and the digital parts of this can be learnt and managed in-house with the right applications. Outsourcing digital marketing is easy as it’s very measurable.
- IT and data. Unless you are a multi-headed chain of franchises, the chances are you do not have very big data demands and IT infrastructure issues. One of the largest problems as a photographer is storage and hardware needed to handle this. Purchasing this hardware is a big onus and there are plenty of options for rental should you choose this route. Storage in the cloud is certainly option one, but backing up this storage to an outsourced provider might well be the safety net. Thankfully, we at theimagefile cover both bases.
- Trusted partners. Without trust, outsourcing cannot work in the long term. Does your accountant fill in your tax returns on time to prevent HMRC knocking at your door? Does your admin assistant ensure all invoices are done in a timely and accurate manner? You could do without the headache of worrying about such matters as it deflects your energy away from other matters.
There are lots of freelancing services out there, you should have no problems securing a deal that is both cost-effective and more than capable from a capacity perspective. Consultancy services are just as available but the homework that needs doing is vital as just about anyone can set up shop with what looks like the right credentials. Be necessarily wary, but open-minded. There is some great, experienced talent to take advantage of.