In 2015, the Harvard Business Review noted that private label brands had grown their sales by 8.8% in the previous three years. In comparison, national brands with a presence in grocery stores only increased their sales 0.7%. The growth shows that more and more consumers are putting their trust in smaller, more boutique brands. If you are an entrepreneur behind private labels, then these findings mean you currently have a huge opportunity to win over new customers.
The challenge for entrepreneurs working with private labels is that many consumers already have a connection to national brands. They recognize the names, labels, and marketing approach, and that recognition drives their purchases. To convert new buyers, you need to establish a similar recognition-driven relationship between customers and your brand. Often, that means investing in better marketing and design, which in turn might mean hiring freelancers to write marketing copy, design logos or other brand signifiers, and more.
The question is, how can you be sure that you are hiring the right people? Freelancers can enhance your business by bringing new skills into the fold, but they can also add more work if you have to hold their hands through the process. Below, we’ve outlined four strategies that should help your brand hire freelancers and reap the benefits they offer.
- Use the internet to your advantage: The internet has opened the network of freelancers, making just about any kind of service accessible to any client. On sites like Upwork, Craigslist, and Fiverr, countless freelancers are offering any category of work you might need. The catch is that many of these freelancers only work remotely. Unless your project demands face-to-face meetings or in-the-office freelancer assistance, be willing to work with someone via email, telephone, or Skype. By narrowing yourself to one geographic location, you also narrow your candidate pool. Allowing someone to “telecommute” for your project will give you a much broader array of talent to choose from, which will ultimately benefit the quality of the work.
- Know exactly what you need (and find someone who can provide it): The sheer number of freelancers you can find online makes it easier to locate the talent you need, but can also make for an overwhelming search process. Before you start browsing for freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr, sit down and outline the specifics of the role—just like you would for a full-time job. In which category does the project fall? Graphic design? Copywriting? Digital marketing? Perhaps something else? How much work is involved? Is your project a one-off job, or do you need a freelancer to work on multiple projects? Don’t forget to outline your timeline, too. What is your deadline for the project? When you hire a freelancer, the chances are that they are going to be juggling your project with work for other clients. As such, it’s possible that a freelancer is the perfect fit for your project based on their talents and experience, but can’t take on your project because the deadline conflicts with other project deadlines they have. It’s important to know these things up front.
- Ask for work samples: When you hire someone for a full-time role, you probably place a lot of emphasis on reviewing their resume—with special focus paid to work history. Resumes tend to be less traditional for freelancers because their employment histories consist of dozens of brief contract engagements rather than a small handful of full-time jobs. When you go to hire a freelancer, you can still review resumes, but put more focus on work samples. You want to find someone whose talents and experience line up with the project at hand. Seeing three or four work samples for each top candidate will help you decide who is the best fit for your brand. Checking work samples can be an important part of a private label business, whether it's about vetting freelancers or your private label skin care manufacturer.
- Plan to check in frequently: Once you do hire your freelancer, make sure to keep the lines of communication open throughout the project. Before the freelancer starts work, have a meeting—whether in person or via video chat—to discuss your brand, the project, and the expectations you have. This kind of introductory session gives the freelancer a chance to ask questions and clarify things, which is vital. The biggest reason that freelancers fail is because they don’t have enough information to do the job according to your expectations. Once the freelancer is working, check in regularly via email to see how everything is going. Depending on the size of the project, you might even ask to see the work in progress multiple times. These check-ins make sure everyone is on the same page and increases your likelihood of getting exactly what you want.
Has your private label brand worked with freelancers in the past? If so, do you have any additional tips or strategies you would recommend? Share your experiences in the comments section!