Some game-changing tech startups have come out of NZ, the original darlings Xero, Vend & Timely and more recently Pushpay and 8i - but we reckon there’s a lot of innovation, or potential innovation, that goes unnoticed in New Zealand.
Innovation doesn’t always mean startups though, anyone with a good idea can innovate! Being a freelancer is innovative in itself; you’re out there for working for yourself, trying out new ideas and finding what works.
There’s a lot of support for innovators, so if you’ve got a good idea you’ve been sitting on, or you’re looking to develop yourself as a freelancing business, these programmes might be for you.
Mahuki is an innovation accelerator run by Te Papa, aiming to develop ideas into world-leading digital businesses for the cultural sector. A four-month programme based in Wellington, applications close on the 29th of May.
Akina Elevate works with a group of social enterprises across topics that are “fundamental to success”.The programme has a supportive learning environment, combining group learning, specialist knowledge and tools, and mentoring.
Creative HQ’s incubation programme brings entrepreneurs together to create a community with vital help and support. The programme assists entrepreneurs through the challenges and risks of developing a great idea into something more.
Ministry of Awesome’s startup activation programme facilitates informative workshops, events and educational labs where you can up-skill, accelerate your idea and connect with other entrepreneurs.
Biz Dojo specialise in activating spaces by curating robust, diverse communities and implementing activation programmes and events to plug their residents into the wider innovation ecosystem and help businesses succeed and grow.
Festival for the Future is an action-packed weekend featuring a range of speakers, workshops, performances and entertainment. It’s all about inspiring forward thinkers and developing skills for the future.
The H2 Accelerator is all about developing ideas in AI, fintech, digital security, data or marketplaces. However, if the programme likes your idea enough, they’ll accept you even if your idea isn’t in these spaces.
Lightning Lab, Vodafone Xone & Flux have filled their programmes for the year but keep an eye out for the demo days and pitch events in coming months to see the startups formed who are making it big.
Every single business, and every single team for that matter, will complain at some point that they don’t have enough time or enough hands on deck to tick off everything on the list that needs doing. As well, the people currently there might not be able to do half the stuff that needs doing. This is where you should start thinking about freelancers. They will become your guardian angels.
As a freelancer, the world is your oyster in terms of who you want to work for. And just because you may have worked for one type of company in your “previous life” it doesn’t mean that has to be the way going forward. You have options.
Obviously your two key choices are to go either with agencies or corporates. You certainly don’t have to pigeonhole yourself but a lot of freelancers do tend to end up one way or the other. And we love them all so it’s totally up to you.
However, with all that in mind, let’s look at a few questions that may pop up in that crowded brain of yours if you’re finding your way with it all.
Who is going to excite you the most?
No this isn’t a dating app, but if a client, be it corporate or agency, doesn’t float your boat you can happily swipe left. You’re a freelancer no doubt because you want excitement, variety maybe, and projects that actually interest you. So which client is likely to give you that? Agencies, given they themselves have a mix of clients, may be able to offer more variety over a corporate that is solely focussed within a certain industry.
Where can you stamp your mark?
Following on from the opportunity for some cool work, you’ll need to think about where you’ll actually be able to make your mark. Where can you totally get creative? With both agencies and corporates, there may be a tendency to get you to work the way they’ve always done it, or you may have to conform to some strict brand guidelines. However, both have the potential for ideation and letting your imagination run wild. Agencies are there for that very reason, but a corporate may be turning to you for a bit of a fresh perspective as well.
Who will give you more regular work?
This is a tough question to answer as it can very heavily depend on the company and the seasonality of the work. Given agencies have multiple clients, normally, you’d expect they would have a higher workload. However, some big corporates can throw loads of work your way if they like you too.
Agencies have staff on hand so you may find they only tend to bring freelancers in when they are overrun for short contracts, so they may not have regular, ongoing projects to send your way. If heading down the corporate line, you can try and get a feel for the likelihood of ongoing work, the length of projects and what not before you set out which will allow you to make more long-term decisions.
Who will pay more?
Some will say it doesn’t matter so long as you’re enjoying your work, but quite often it does matter, especially if you’re new to the freelancing world. Agencies may deal with freelancers more often and as a result, have more standardised rates they are willing to pay. Corporates aren’t stupid, they won’t pay over the odds, but some may be more flexible and willing to negotiate if they really like your work. If they’re big too, what may seem like an amazing hourly rate for you may be chump change to them.
Given the landscape of today’s digital world, you devs are in hot demand. And for good reason, I mean you can make or break a site with your coding. But with all the different types of developers out there and with all the different types of languages when you go freelance, do you stick to a niche or do you go all in and try and cover it all?
Let’s look at it a bit from both sides of the argument.
The argument for specialising is quite a strong one, especially in a time where there are so many different types of developers. To try and do it all could prove near on impossible.
Specialising allows you to really hone your skills and become an expert in your specific field. Whether it be that you’re a front end developer and you want to stick to just UI or UX design or you’re a back end developer and you’re particularly proficient at .Net, PHP or Java, by sticking to one area or a specific coding language you’ll really be able to put your hand up should a client need that skill set.
When you specialise you also naturally spend more time in that job and as a result, get to learn and grow as a developer quicker. It would be so hard to keep up with all the different trends and developments in all areas; whereas if you spend your entire working week on one defined job type - boom you’ll be a self-professed guru in no time!
When it comes to some jobs, being the jack-of-all-trades is a good thing. And in development, the ability to do both front and back end development ultimately led to the full-stack developer. So there’s something to be said for being able to work your magic across different areas.
But it can be your demise, and that’s where you need to be careful as a freelancer especially. Clients obviously expect that you can do the job they employ you for and to the highest of standards. So the last thing you want is to be undercooked at certain points within the project and either,
a) have to rely on someone else to come in and help, or b) not be able to do the job to the fullest.
Quite often a job you’ll be employed for will escalate into something way beyond what you thought and your clients still expect you to be able to deliver if they believe you to be proficient in all skills.
Freelancers can be a
sweet asset to your team, but you may think we’re biased given our whole
business is based around their work. So, what better way to convince you then
going through all the basics and helping you decide for yourself.
Here we go, a few key
things to think about when you’re umming and ahhing over whether to leap in and
hire a freelancer.
It would hardly be a
good business decision if you didn’t ask yourself why you want to hire a
freelancer. Generally though it’s because you’ve got work that you can’t do
yourself. It could be because you simply don’t have enough time to get it done
or that you don’t have the specialist skills to get it done. We can’t all be
perfect, so you may need a helping hand for sure. The beauty of freelancers is
that you can give them an hours worth of work or a whole shed load, it’s up to
you. And it doesn’t have to be an ongoing thing, so you can simply tap into
their resources and time as and when you need them. Much better than
potentially hiring in a full-time contractor where you have to make a business
case to justify having them.
This might seem a tad
obvious but quite often people start looking to employ freelancers and
temporary workers when it’s getting to the stage of being too late. If you’re
under the pump it’s probably too late. You need to start recognising when you
need help well before it becomes critical. Yes freelancers can pump out some
awesome work in record time, but you can’t expect this to happen all the time.
You need to give them time to work their magic. Plus, if you need a different
type of freelancer that you have never used before you need to give yourself
time to find the right one. It’s less stress all round.
The next question you
need to ask yourself is who do you need? What are the skills you need to tap
into? You may just need someone that can do a bit of everything, a bit of a
generalist, and there are those people around. But more often you will need
some specialist skills, so really understand what you need before you go down
the path of finding someone. For example, don’t just necessarily look for a
developer, but understand what kind you may need.
There are loads of
places you can find a freelancer once you’ve decided it could be the way to go.
We even took the time to list out a few of them. Generally though we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t
say to use us, Yudoozy. You’re already here reading the blog anyway so just pop on over here to see for yourself why you would. Cut through the masses and get vetted,
top of the line freelancers at the click of a button. Easy peasy.