Breaking Down Freelance, Contract, and Project-Based Marketing Gigs

Posted by Paladin on April 16, 2020

In today’s evolving economy, there’s no single way to work. Some individuals spend their days in corporate offices, toiling from nine to five. Others, like agency marketers, may pull much longer hours as they create campaigns on behalf of they clients.

And then there are the independent contractors. These marketing professionals work in conjunction with both brands and agencies. Instead of being tied to a single organization, though, they have the opportunity to pick and choose their clients, and can work partially or entirely from home.

This type of behavior is becoming increasingly popular in North America. According to the 2019 Freelancing in America report, conducted by Upwork and Freelancers Union, 57 million Americans now freelance, and the percentage of those who do so full-time has increased from 17 percent in 2014 to nearly 30 percent in 2019. What’s more, in terms of hourly rate, experienced freelancers out-earn 70 percent of U.S. workers.

For creative professionals, this type of work is especially appealing because it allows them to flex their creative muscle by working on multiple projects for multiple brands. There’s even more flexibility when it comes to what kind of freelancing they perform. From a traditional freelance scenario to a contract-based job or project-based assignment, you can choose the structure that works best for you.

Freelancing the Traditional Way

The freelance lifestyle is just what it sounds like: free. Marketers are able to take on as few or as many projects as they’d like. They can align themselves with the brands that share their beliefs, and partner with companies that value their unique vision.

That’s not to say there aren’t drawbacks to this traditional freelance life. The largest of these is quite obvious: when you freelance, your income isn’t guaranteed. You may find yourself overwhelmed with clients and new projects for three months of the year, only to discover that the summer brings an alarming lull in content development and new advertising campaigns.

There are other hurdles as well, from having to budget for income tax payments to time-consuming invoicing and billing work. Freelancers are constantly hustling for new jobs, and are at the mercy of their agency and brand partners when it comes to project length and frequency.

They’re also on their own when it comes to health benefits, and don’t benefit from perks like paid vacation time. So while cutting out your commute and setting your own hours is attractive, keep in mind that you may find yourself working harder than ever for your livelihood.

Marketing on a Contract-Basis

For these reasons, many marketing professionals seek out contract-based freelance gigs. These types of jobs have quite a few of the same benefits as traditional freelancing, but because they involve a contract with an employer, there’s a more steady paycheck and less long-term uncertainty. Invoicing is simpler too, and when you’re focused on a big project, you don’t have to pitch for new work as regularly.

By partnering with a recruitment firm like Paladin, freelancers can enjoy the perks of working from home on their own schedules, but with the stability of a long-term project and ongoing pay. Such opportunities abound for graphic designers, web developers, copywriters, editors, and digital marketers of all kinds. The bottom line is that you don’t have to give up job security in order to work more independently than you might in a corporate environment.

The Project-by-Project Approach

There’s another alternative available to creatives, and that’s project-based marketing. In some ways, this solution offers the best of both worlds. When you work with a client on a per-project basis, you can maintain your freelance lifestyle but with a similar stability to what you’d get from a contract-based job. It isn’t uncommon for these types of gigs to turn into tempting long-term positions.

Marketers with expertise in content creation, social media strategy, and data analytics are currently in high demand, and the Digital Marketing Institute says that transferable specialized skills like these can be applied to virtually any industry. That’s good news for creatives eager to secure more expansive assignments. Another perk? Project-based marketing gigs enable professionals to invest more time and energy in a design or campaign and really leave their mark on the work.

We can all expect more freelance opportunities in the months and years to come as this career choice gains momentum among marketers. Familiarizing yourself with your options can help you home in on the ideal job for your work style, preferences, and needs.

Posted in: Communications, Creative, Job Seekers, Marketing

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