How one can Enhance Output and Innovation by Hiring Freelance Designers

Think about a state of affairs during which your organization should quickly redesign its cellular app to include AI options like picture recognition, customer support chatbots, and residential screens tailor-made to person preferences. Nevertheless, your finances is tight, and your in-house designer hasn’t labored with AI options. Coaching shall be costly and time-consuming, and can distract your designer from their core duties.

Given your timeline and restricted finances, you resolve to rent a contract designer who makes a speciality of AI and has in depth expertise implementing the options you want. When the freelancer joins your staff, they apply learnings from earlier initiatives and shortly ship a research-informed prototype. After a quick technique of testing and iteration, the brand new options go reside, and the challenge concludes on schedule and underneath finances. This isn’t a dream—I’ve seen situations like this play out for 15 years as a contract UI/UX designer, throughout which I’ve partnered with various shoppers corresponding to Royal Financial institution of Canada, Xello, and Rocket Properties Actual Property. I’ve additionally been a part of a number of time-sensitive, cash-strapped initiatives requiring specialised abilities and insights. It’s at all times inspiring and gratifying when my work positively influences my shoppers’ merchandise and their in-house designers.

As extra extremely expert workers turn to freelancing, enterprise leaders are seeing that productivity and creativity improve once they work with impartial expertise. Let’s study three of the largest advantages that freelance designers can convey to your organization.

McKinsey & Company reported that 36% of US workers identify as freelancers.
Because the variety of impartial staff continues to rise, firms must learn to leverage their expertise and various expertise.

1. Entry to Rising and Specialised Expertise

Freelance designers are inclined to work on quite a few initiatives and sometimes purchase new abilities to deal with their shoppers’ extremely particular design issues. Stewart Pressney, Toptal’s Design Matching Group Lead, says that entry to specialised abilities is likely one of the foremost advantages of hiring freelance designers. In keeping with Pressney, impartial consultants are particularly efficient when firms convey them on for various phases of the design course of. “You possibly can have somebody who’s nice at ideating and arising with ideas move their concepts off to somebody who’s good at implementing and creating pixel-perfect designs,” he says.

Freelancers are additionally a wonderful selection for exploring cutting-edge traits and expertise. As an illustration, you would possibly rent a contract illustrator who makes a speciality of 3D modeling and rendering to create photographs that make your digital content material extra compelling and simpler to grasp. Or you might have interaction a contract UX designer so as to add AR/VR options to your e-commerce app.

Think about generative AI brokers like OpenAI’s ChatGPT: These applied sciences have immense potential to rework digital services and products for the higher, however when you’re at a startup or small firm, you could wrestle to draw design expertise with AI abilities. In such instances, impartial expertise could be a terrific method to fill the abilities hole and reap the pace, effectivity, and customization AI affords.

Harvard Business School reported an increase in innovation quality when companies hired freelance talent.
Direct sourcing freelancers may be time consuming and tough. An arguably higher method to entry impartial designers is thru a expertise platform that completely vets its members, like Toptal.

2. Elevated Innovation and Creativity

For firms of any dimension, various views are important in finding effective solutions. As Toptal product designer Eric Müller Moreno says, outsiders have “extra freedom and openness to speak about harsh truths,” including that impartial specialists can uncover organizational inefficiencies which will have hindered earlier design efforts. Having consulted on product growth and design technique for Common Music Group, Deloitte, and the United Nations, he has the uncommon perspective of an business veteran who has partnered with organizations of all sizes.

As an illustration, Moreno was employed by a subsidiary of a distinguished media model to refine the reside beta of its robo-investment app for buying shares and ETFs. The app costs customers primarily based on the funding kits they select. When Moreno got here to the challenge, there was an MVP and a small person neighborhood, however the display screen group was clumsy, and the app supplied restricted selections for investing. Most of all, it didn’t mirror the maturity and distinction of the mum or dad model.

In some methods, the answer was hidden in plain view. “What I made a decision to do was, actually, simply comply with the [parent company’s] model information,” Moreno says. “There was good work finished. It was fairly concise … we simply wanted to raise it.”

To try this, the staff developed subscription-based investment kits. Customers might choose from a number of funding methods, unfold their investments throughout sectors and fund sorts, and resolve what share of their portfolio they needed allotted to every. The app’s algorithms then monitored and managed the portfolio, leveraging an AI agent to make sure diversification and safety in opposition to draw back dangers.

The challenge started as a beauty intervention, however Moreno’s perception into the subscription fashions of SaaS merchandise outdoors the fintech sector elevated it to a brand new degree. His wide-ranging design experiences knowledgeable new options, together with thematic buying and selling choices, an funding dashboard, monetary objective setting, and an improved onboarding circulate. And, the choice to convey larger transparency to the fee mannequin contributed to a 144% improve in income per person, a 275% improve in belongings underneath administration development, and a 40% improve in general product development.

3. Value Financial savings

One purpose firms would possibly hesitate to rent freelance designers is perceived price. At face worth, an impartial expertise’s hourly fee seems increased than an worker’s. However firms hiring freelancers don’t must pay for 401(ok) plans, well being and incapacity insurance coverage, parental and medical go away, inventory choices, or efficiency bonuses. Moreover, most freelance designers work remotely on a per-project foundation, that means firms can theoretically additionally get monetary savings through the use of smaller offices and never paying underutilized full-time staff throughout lulls within the product growth course of.

Companies may rent impartial specialists to fill short-term roles which are sometimes carried out by high-earning staff. For instance, Jake Kahana, a Toptal model designer, just lately partnered with an actual property company on an app design challenge that wanted to be accomplished shortly. The company lacked the funds for a full-time inventive director, however Kahana gave the corporate the strategic management perspective it wanted at a fee that labored for its finances. Overseeing a staff of junior designers, he directed a fast-tracked effort to get the app up and operating whereas constructing belief among the many company’s shoppers that the design imaginative and prescient was grounded in enterprise targets. Kahana entered the function with vetted experience and effectively delivered an answer the company wouldn’t have been in a position to afford in any other case.

Select the Proper Freelance Designer for Your Subsequent Venture

Whether or not you want a graphic designer, UX researcher, or AI specialist, the advantages of hiring freelance designers are clear: Companies that achieve this are in a position to leverage the nuanced abilities of design professionals who convey contemporary views to initiatives—whereas conserving prices in test. The designers, in the meantime, get to be extra intentional in forging their profession paths, having access to various and significant alternatives that may speed up their skilled development. It’s a win-win scenario.

“As an impartial designer, you get alternatives to see totally different firms, totally different organizations, and other ways of doing issues. You’re in a position to be reactive in a method an in-house particular person may not be. Professionally, I’ve had entry to initiatives I by no means imagined I’d have had,” Moreno says, pointing to his latest work on an AI-powered database for the United Nations. “If you do one thing like that, it actually provides you a way of function.”