You‘re looking for a freelance agency to help you with some work. The problem is, and believe me when I say that, it‘s a commercial jungle out there. Everyone is trying to sign you. They want to get into your pocket regardless of what it takes. Everyone is looking to grow and you‘re their route.
Fiverr, Upwork, Toptal, and other similar websites are not after your pocket. They‘re after a certain percentage of it, which does not make it much different.
The biggest proof of such thesis is that if you‘d ask management about your project with that one freelance agency they have, they‘ll never know what it is about and even if they tried, they won‘t understand.
Such platforms are blindly focusing on growth. Other freelance agencies would just cold call and email you till you apologize for giving out your contact information.
Is this one of those blogs that I‘d say that our website, Albusi, is the best? (and I am the founder typing this by the way)
Nope, it‘s far from being perfect. Actually, Upwork, Fiverr, and Toptal have a wider variety of freelancers that are surprisingly better than top executives in Fortune 500 companies.
However, I‘ve been in your shoes, searching for a freelance agency. I sometimes did that to get a freelance agency to help me with advertising. Another time, I‘ve done it to get help designing an app.
But then I reached the ultimate conclusion—A freelance agency most probably is the worst option to go for.
What do I mean by Freelance Agency?
It‘s actually pretty similar to just an agency. The only difference is that there are freelancers involved. If you‘re a freelance copywriter for instance, and you have a freelance designer friend, then you can together create a freelance agency that designs web apps.
Creating a freelance agency is quite lucrative. I‘ve personally done it myself a few years back. It has one of the best financial models I‘ve seen. The revenue is growing. The expenses are not. Why? Because there are no expenses.
If I get work from a client, I transfer it to a freelancer, then take my commission. It does not get better.
The challenge in a freelance agency is usually sales. But in time, it becomes easier to sell your services as you‘re more established. The thing about it is that it‘s not always negative. You could be a great agency and delivering what clients are looking for.
But the essential problem with a freelance agency is that it‘s not optimum. It could get good feedback from 7 out of 10 clients. Yet a really good freelancer would have better numbers.
Hence, so that you‘d simply understand where I am going with this—A solo freelancer you know is a hundred times better than a freelance agency or a freelance platform like Fiverr, Upwork, Toptal, or even us, Albusi.
Your checklist for any freelance agency.
Let‘s say you‘re hiring a freelance agency (or building one actually). There are red flags that you must be aware of.
1. Lack of transparency
The number one red flag and the biggest one. You need to have an open line of communication at any time. If there‘s a question to who‘s doing your work that has not been addressed, you‘re in for a ride.
Delegating work to other freelancers is not a problem by any means, as long as it is communicated.
In many cases, a freelance agency gets greedy. They‘d take a $2,000 paycheck from you, and hire someone to do it for $50 from a third world country where they‘d appreciate a $50. They‘d literally be profiting a $1950 from your payment. The best case for them if you‘re easy to please. This is the ultimate client for such an agency. The client is happy, the freelancer is happy, and we just made a $1950 of profit, next.
2. Weak or unclear legal structure
Sometimes freelancers announce that they have an agency without the legal structure of it. It‘s just a group of freelancers who decided to call themselves an agency. There is no problem with that, except when there are disagreements or legal conflicts. You‘d not have any structure to be having a conflict with. You‘d be having a disagreement with a single freelancer.
Additionally, it is not very legal in many situations.
3. Extreme flexibility
This is the final red flag because it would harm the output quality and your time. When an agency is very flexible that they‘d re-do your work a few times, this shows that the freelance agency is not confident when it comes to their quality of work. They‘re working with the concept, “We will keep doing work until the client is pleased or bored.“
This is a major red flag in my line of experience as it does not become about the money anymore. It becomes about time. Yes, they could release a hundred versions to please you. But, the time spent on these versions is just not worth it eventually.
How should you get the work done, then?
Expand your network, the first rule of freelancing platforms is that they‘re not as good as the freelancer next door. The time it takes to establish trust and proof of quality is sometimes major. If you already know a person who knows a person, it‘s usually the best option. Word of mouth rocks.
However, let‘s say you do not. Don‘t google, “Freelance Agency“, choose the top 10 results from Upwork and Fiverr then start interviewing them. If that‘s what you‘re looking for, then you‘ll end up choosing the top agency of the ten agencies you are interviewing, but not the optimal option for you.
If you can‘t find a friend of a friend, then hire a single freelancer rather than a freelance agency. Then work alongside this freelancer while knowing that there‘s a big chance this person won‘t be perfect. But in time, they could be the best option that you‘re recommending around your area.
Finally, what if you‘re looking for multiple services? The key selling point of an agency is that they have multiple freelancers under one umbrella. In that case, I advise you to hire a project manager freelancer, or a virtual assistant. Then let them be your point of contact instead of an agency.
You‘re waiting for me to explain Albusi? It‘s not your freelance agency, but it‘s a solution.
I get sick of reading these blogs where they compare themselves with other startups and place themselves in the second or third position. Upwork is a billion dollar company. Albusi is by no means remotely close to that. It‘s as if Upwork‘s the sun, and Albusi is a small satellite.
But here‘s the thing, if our freelancers could help you, then I, as the founder, would be able to look at your work and assess the quality. Why? Because we are a niched platform. Our niche is my expertise as well as almost everyone who works here. So when you think your business model is not perfect and ask for another opinion. The management team, including myself, would be able to swoop in and give their professional advice.
So, leaving you with my take-home-message, everyone will try to sell you something. This blog post might be a minor sales one as well (but I did tell you we are far from the best). If you‘re looking for the perfect freelance agency, then learn how to be aware of someone selling you a bad service.
Meet The Author Of This Article
I’m Al Anany, the founder and CEO of Albusi.
Writing in the business industry has shifted my mentality toward entrepreneurship. I started on Medium in 2021 and ended up being a Top Writer of more than 4 categories and had my content viewed more than 213k times.
I always have a single goal while writing: focus on entertaining while adding value.