Should You Work with an Agency or Hire Freelancers? | Ep. #488

In episode #488 of Marketing School, Eric and Neil discuss whether it is better to hire an agency or a freelancer to market your business. Tune in to learn which approach is best for you and your company.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • [00:27] Today’s Topic: Should You Work with an Agency or Hire Freelancers?
  • [00:36] Establish a goal.
  • [01:15] Freelancers are great if you have a lot of time to manage people; plus it’s more cost-effective.
  • [01:46] Agencies tend to move faster than the companies that hire them; hire them if you need someone to push you.
  • [02:33] You can find freelancers on sites like Upwork, Problogger, or Fivrr.
  • [03:38] You can use tools like Hubstaff to manage your freelancers (it takes screenshots and helps to track their time).
  • [04:15] Before you hire anyone, be sure to ask what they are going to do for your business.
  • [05:00] Check agencies’ and freelancers’ past work, experiences, and ratings.
  • [05:33] That’s it for today!
  • [05:35]  Marketing School is giving away a 90-day free trial to Crazy Egg, which is a visual analytics tool.

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The post Should You Work with an Agency or Hire Freelancers? | Ep. #488 appeared first on Marketing School Podcast.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Announcer: Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with the gile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. You're listening to Marketing School with your instructors, Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Eric Siu: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.

Neil Patel: I'm Neil Patel.

Eric Siu: Today, we're going to talk about if you should work with an agency or hire a freelancer. My take on this first is you have to establish a goal. What are your goals exactly? If your goals are to just have someone take something and put it on autopilot, just for execution, maybe an agency's better for that because they're very process-oriented and they have something built up where they're a shop. They have their processes, they have the people, and they're just cranking out the same kind of thing, ideally, or if you're looking to maybe start out, get someone a little more involved, but you're not quite ready for full time, then you might be looking for a freelancer.
First and foremost, it depends on your goals. Each and every one of them has their use.

Neil Patel: You also need to think about where you are in your marketing. All right? If you have a lot of time, and you're up for managing people, freelancers are great. You can hire specialists. You're going to have to do a lot of work managing them, making sure that they're producing on time, and then you can end up getting stuff done. It's way more cost effective than going with an agency, but on the flip side, if you don't have much time and you just want someone to come in and figure it all out, you're much better off with an agency, because from what I've seen, because I've been on both ends where I've hired agencies, I've even owned an agency, I've hired freelancers, I've never really been a freelancer, but I've hired a lot of them, and what I ended up learning was, with agencies, it tends to be where they're moving faster than the company that they're working with in most cases, assuming you're picking the right one, and they have to keep on you and being like, "Hey, you guys need to implement this or get this done. We already sent you the work."
If you need someone to push you guys harder, move faster, and take over the whole process, agencies are typically better. They're more expensive, but they're proven and they have a much better track record, again, assuming you hire the right one. Freelancers are amazing, but they tend not to have the consistent work ethic, you have to micromanage them, you have to put the pieces together, and you may have to hire a few different freelancers to do the work, and when you combine them, you can get the same result as an agency, but the way I look at it is if you have the money and you don't have the time, go with an agency. If you don't have the money and you have the time, then go with freelancers. You can find these freelancers on Upwork or jobs at, Fiverr, and then for agencies, you can just Google and find them.

Eric Siu: People always ask me all the time, "What's different about Single Grain? Why should we work with you?" It's exactly what Neil's saying. We're going to focus on innovation, and we're going to focus on the execution so you don't have to keep looking behind your back all the time and worrying about if things are getting done or not. The agency has processes, assuming you're working with a reputable agency, you vetted them out already, maybe you've looked at reviews on a site like to vet other agencies. You want to make sure that you've done your due diligence there.
Same thing with freelancers. You have to have your own process for testing these people to make sure that they're actually able to execute. The problem, as Neil mentioned, well, when you look at freelancers, they are mercenaries at the end of the day. You're paying them to get a job done. You just got to make sure the task is getting done. Oftentimes, they have multiple clients. Maybe these freelancers are trying to transition over to agency. You just got to make sure you're good at holding freelancers accountable.
You might be using a tool like Hubstaff. That's H-U-B, staff, That way, it's a little invasive, but, at the end of the day, you're paying for people's time. It takes a screenshot of their screen every five minutes, and it also tracks their time, too. If you're paying for time, you might as well be getting the most of it. You got to be making sure that you're holding people accountable, but, see, the thing is I'm telling you right now, there's a process to hire agencies and freelancers that you need to establish, and, also, if you're hiring an agency, you can understand that there's a lot of processes around it, but just understand that they're also going to charge a lot more money, too, because they have to cover their costs and they have to make a profit. Neil?

Neil Patel: Whoever you hire, before you hire them, ask them, what are they going to do for your business? Don't get generic response like, "Oh, we're gonna do content marketing and SEO and link building, and we're gonna do copywriting and here's how it works." "No, no, no, no. What are you gonna specifically do for my business?" If they can't tell you specifically, "Here are the changes we're gonna make. Yes, content marketing works, but here's the type of ideas you need to write to generate more leads because these other type of content pieces will just generate you traffic, but not the conversions." If they don't get into the specifics, there's a good chance you're going to be hiring people and they're going to fail.
Not only do you need to get into the specifics of what they're going to do for your business, you also need to look at their qualifications, and not qualifications like, hey, yeah, they have a lot of experience in marketing, been doing this for 10 years. More so, what are the reviews and their star ratings on sites like Upwork, or if they're agencies, what kind of other work have they done for people within my industry? What kind of results have they achieved for these people? Can you talk to them to verify this, because just because they say they've done good work, everyone says that. You want to talk to them, and you want to even ask these people, "Hey, can you introduce us to someone who didn't renew their contract or doesn't work with you anymore, but has in the past," because you want to ask them, "Why'd you stop working with them?" That'll all give you good ideas of who you should be hiring and who you shouldn't.

Eric Siu: Great. That's it for today, but before we go, we have a 90-day free trial of Crazy Egg, which is a heat mapping analytics tool designed to help you grow your business online. All you need to do is go to to learn more, and you can also learn more about how you can actually win a one-year annual subscription to Crazy Egg. We'll see you tomorrow.

Announcer: This session of Marketing School has come to a close. Be sure to subscribe for more daily marketing strategies and tactics to help you find the success you've always dreamed of, and don't forget to rate and review so we can continue to bring you the best daily content possible. We'll see you in class tomorrow right on Marketing School.

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