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Event orchestration | 17 June 2015

How Event Organizers Can Use Freelancers To Boost Productivity

Sydney Dawes

Hosting the perfect event involves hours upon hours of planning. From responsibilities such as contacting venues and caterers, or even scheduling speakers and  Event planners are usually pressed for time when it comes to completing the smaller tasks, like advertising through social media, transferring data to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or building an SEO optimized event website.

At one time, the fact that event planners were pressed for time simply meant that some of the less critical aspects of event planning just wouldn’t get done. But today, thanks to innovative freelancing companies, event planners can outsource tasks that they are too busy to accomplish themselves.

Tasks You Could Have A Freelancer Perform:

As an event organizer, you aren’t going to want to trust the most critical aspects of organizing an event or conference to a freelancer, so what are some good projects to outsource so that you can save time and focus your energy on things that can’t be done by others?

Design A Stunning Event Logo

Creating a beautiful event logo can take time, and most people aren’t suited to designing one on their own. Graphic design requires an artistic eye, and a deep understanding of complex tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. A freelancing graphic designer should be able to craft a good looking event logo in less than a week’s time. On average, the starting price for graphic designers is about $30/hour.

Build An Event Website From Scratch

If you’ve decided to build an event website from scratch, instead of using a drag and drop event website builder, you’ll likely want to hire a talented freelancer to construct your site. Creating a functional and good looking event website can take time, and will require a talented freelancer who has knowledge of platforms like WordPress or Squarespace. The average cost for a freelancer to build a high quality event website should cost about $1,000 or more, though the investment is worthwhile in order to have a successful event.

Write Compelling Blog Content

We’ve written about it before, having a blog associated with your event or event series is a fantastic way to engage attendees and potential attendees by providing them with valuable content. But not all of us have the time or inclination to content on a consistent basis. Instead, you can outsource this task to a freelancer. Rates vary greatly depending on the quality of writing you’re looking for, if all you want is a basic blog post it can cost as little as $4/hour, however if you’re looking for truly unique and helpful content, it could run you $45/hour.

Handle Customer Support

For organizers planning large scale events or conferences, we know you receive many customer support cases – so many that it can be overwhelming for you to deal with. Consider hiring a seasoned customer support representative to handle the more straight forward support cases can free you and your team up to focus on more difficult queries. Good customer support representatives who are native English speakers will cost about $25/hour.

Edit Event Photos Or Videos

After an event you’ll likely have an overwhelming amount of raw footage and hundreds if not thousands of event photos. Once you’ve collected all of that media, you should find a way to optimize it to share with event attendees and to use as material for future event marketing initiatives. For simple photo editing tasks, expect to pay as little as $5/hour, for more complex video editing tasks, the going rate is between $30-$40/hour.

Administer Office Duties

For smaller events, event planners looking for extra help may wish to hire a virtual assistant. These e-lancers can handle data input and scheduling through Microsoft and Google applications, but some can also help create presentations and brochures. Many freelancing companies offer personal assistants for as low as $5, but for an English speaking representative with solid administrative experience, it would cost $20-25/hour.

Read: 6 Tools To Collect Post-Event Media

5 Freelancing Services To Consider

By now you probably have a fews tasks in mind ideal for a freelancer. Now you need to select the best freelancing (sometimes referred to as “elancing”) platform for you. Below, we’ve listed the top 5 freelancing platforms and have included pros and cons for each one.

1. Elance

Elance, one of the freelancing giants, offers event-planners access to freelancers with various skill sets, including programming, mobile development, design, marketing, finance, and data science. In a few steps, clients can begin selecting the ideal e-lancer, either from a list of recommendations or from their search engine.

Pros: According to Elance, 75 percent of the freelance community has college degrees, and many members are full-time freelancers. Profiles are set up to highlight the skills and experience of the freelancers, and they even have the option of including their portfolio, which makes the selection process less of a hassle for clients.

Joining Elance, along with posting jobs and searching freelancers, is free to clients, and as an added bonus, Elance provides users with tools for management and payment.

Clients pay only when they are completely satisfied with their freelancer’s work. Elance keeps 8.75 percent of the freelancer’s bid, so companies do not have to pay additional fees. If a dispute rises, Elance provides free arbitration to settle it.

Cons: Although you don’t have to pay to join or post jobs, there is a $25 fee for having your job “featured.” Featured jobs are seen by more freelancers, and therefore receive more job proposals. Also, because Elance hosts many freelancers, finding the right one via the search engine can be time-consuming.

Elance does provide a list of recommendations after clients post a job, but the lists favor freelancers with certain memberships. For instance, freelancers that pay for the Individual Membership will have greater visibility to clients than Basic Membership competitors. In other words, just because a freelancer appears on the recommendations list does not mean he or she is the best person for the job.

2. Freelancer

Freelancer is one of the largest freelancing sites available, reaching around 250 countries. Here, event professionals can find thousands of freelancers with experience in SEO marketing, website design, mobile development, and blog writing.

Pros: Within minutes of posting projects, clients receive bids from freelancers. Freelancer clients have access to a mobile app and  time tracker. Also, clients can talk to freelancers directly on the site with Real Time chat.

Freelancer also sends a recommendation list to clients after they post projects, which may help in the selection process.

Cons: It may appear that Freelancer offers many services for free, but beware of the hidden fees and charges. Freelancer asks for 3 percent of whatever clients pay their freelancers (or $3, whichever is greater). When freelancers accept a project, employers are charged another 3 percent fee.

Other fees are charged to the employer for various reasons, including deleting a project, creating a private, urgent, or featured project, or requesting a non-disclosure agreement.To avoid charges and to unlock more benefits, clients have to purchase membership plans that range from $50-$200 per month.

3. UpWork 

Formerly oDesk, UpWork offers event professionals a chance to connect with experienced freelancers. According to this year’s data, UpWork boasts 9 million freelancers and 4 million clients.  Event planners can find potential employees with a variety of skill sets, such as sales and marketing, design, accounting and consulting, and blog writing. 

Pros: UpWork has features that other freelancing companies do not offer. For instance, many clients who hire freelancers for hourly jobs can use Work Diary, which takes screenshots of a freelancer’s work computer to ensure that person is on task. Also, UpWork allows clients to search for freelancers based on skill-categories, such as WordPress, SEO, HTML, Microsoft Excel, grammar, Android development, YouTube, Twitter, and internet research. For times when a task is too much for one person, clients have the option of either hiring a freelance project manager, who will gather other freelance workers and accomplish the job, or hiring the UpWork Enterprise team, a group of specialized UpWork employees.

Cons: According to the hefty comments section on UpWork’s blog, any of the clients who used the redesigned platform have complained about UpWork’s new format, saying it’s difficult to manage compared to its original design.

4. Guru

Guru reaches over 1.5 million freelancers internationally, all with specializations in specific categories, including architecture, engineering, multimedia design, translation, and management.

Pros: Upon its emergence in 2001, Guru has strongly emphasized customer service; this company provides numerous online resources, such as tutorials, a blog, and a digital community, for both clients and freelancers.

With Work Room, clients can keep track of all their freelancers and manage projects. Like many other freelancing companies, Guru doesn’t make clients officially pay until they are satisfied with their freelancers’ work, and Guru handles the payments to freelancers, taking 10 percent of the freelancer’s pay for itself.

Cons: Guru is not public about its many fees. According to the Terms of Service, when a client pays its freelancer with a credit card or PayPal account, a 2.45% fee is charged to the employer. Unlike other companies, dispute resolution of any kind is tied with a fee of either $25 or 5%, whichever is greater.

5. PeoplePerHour

For event planners looking to hire e-lancers who only want hourly worker, PeoplePerHour may be ideal. This company is designed to help smaller businesses quickly scale their workforce, while allowing freelancers to maintain their independence.

Pros: PeoplePerHour checks freelancers for quality upon registration: any experience, publications, or references listed by community members are reviewed for accuracy. Also, there are multiple ways to find hourly-workers. Clients can browse featured hourlies and send them requests. Clients can post a job and wait for proposals from a few of the thousands of registered freelancers. Or, clients can search for profiles themselves and contact freelancers directly.

PeoplePerHour offers a online management, payment, and communication software: WorkStream. With WorkStream, clients can access all the tools they need to interact with their freelancers.

Cons: PeoplePerHour has received negative attention for taking commissions off of refunds. Also, in its Terms and Conditions PeoplePerHour shows great reluctance for settling disputes, leaving many clients and freelancers to solve their own conflicts with no intervention. Odd fees are also tacked on at times, such as a fee when money is transferred and a fee for having an inactive account.

Freelancing sites can be an amazing tool for helping event planners increase productivity, as long as they do their part to ensure the desired tasks are completed.

To get the most out of an experience with an e-lancer, event planners need to clearly communicate with their temporary employees and let them know what exactly needs to be accomplished. Elance, for instance, suggests that event planners request status reports from their freelancers, depending on the assigned task and time-frame of the job.

As described above, many fees and restrictions come with certain types of membership. It’s best to review each membership plan and pick the one that best suits the of needs the event planner.

One of the best projects to outsource to a freelancer is event website development and search engine optimization. But first, you need to know a thing or two about SEO first. Download our free guide to creating an event website that ranks well by clicking the button below:

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