There is an alternative the traditional marketing career model that is no less satisfying or lucrative, yet frequently goes overlooked or disregarded. Despite what you might have heard about it, contract marketing is just as viable of a way to make a living doing what you love—and for certain kinds of marketers, it may be a better option in almost every way.
As I like to say, there’s no such thing as a permanent marketing job any more. Even the most reliable and high-demand positions now only have moderate stability. It often only takes one disruptive emerging technology or unsatisfied client or turn in the economy to put almost any marketing career in jeopardy. The nature of marketing has changed dramatically over the last two decades and jobs are changing along with it.
Given that, it surprising how many marketers are still committed to the traditional career model of methodically working their way up the ladder with a few employer changes along the way. Contract marketing is an alternative that offers more for enterprising marketers who know how to take advantage of it.
there’s no such thing as a permanent marketing job any more…
Effective contract and flexible staff can usually expect significantly better pay per hour or job completed than their counterparts in full-time seats for comparable work. If you have a track record of demonstrable results and strong communication skills, you should be able to negotiate a reasonable rate befitting your value.
To be fair, the higher pay comes at a small cost. Most employers invest in their employees and offer benefits you typically won’t have access to: HR resources, insurance, training, retirement plans and the like. But with wise money management and strategic partnerships you can get access to all that and more with the additional rate you’re bringing in.
Faster Upward Mobility
In a normal marketing department or agency, you’re often at the mercy of the organizational structure and the company’s success when it comes to opportunities for promotions and raises.
As a contractor, you’re only limited by your track record of results and your ability to market your personal brand. Instead of waiting for a promotion, you can actively seek out opportunities at the level you think you’re qualified for. As long as you can prove you have the value of someone in a higher level position, recruiters and marketing staffing agencies will consider you.
The nature of contract marketing often makes the work much more flexible than your standard 9-5 office job. Depending on the work, you’ll often find much more freedom to choose when, where, and how you’ll execute your contract. You’ll often find opportunities to work from home, handle multiple contracts simultaneously or otherwise spend your time as you see fit—as long as you’re delivering quality output on the agreed upon schedule. How does working from the comfort of your bed every now and then sound?
Some marketers are content to make the same commute to the same office and work at the same desk on the same kinds of projects day in and day out. But others get restless or fear personal stagnation. Temporary marketing staffing offers a way to build new experiences and opportunities for growth right into your career.
You’ll regularly meet new people, get an inside view of various industries, and encounter new challenges to conquer. And if you ever find that you’re doing work you don’t enjoy, you have the comfort of knowing there’s a definite end in sight.
Finding a Partner with Marketing Staffing Agencies
It’s possible to be a successful independent freelancer or contractor, applying for positions on your own and finding work as it comes along. But coordinating with a well-regarded marketing staffing agency to find work offers many advantages over going it alone and alleviate some common concerns about contract work:
Work availability: Many marketers are hesitant to commit to a flexible workforce lifestyle because they fear long periods of unemployment and tough job searches. It’s understandable—and sometimes there are periods where contract work is harder to come by than other. But the perception of fleeting freelance work and the constant search for new opportunities is rarely the reality for great marketers—especially those working with a staffing agency that understand their capabilities and interests.
If you have a valuable skill, are good at what you do and develop a strong network and reputation, you’ll find you have the opposite problem. Instead of not enough work available, you’ll find it difficult to choose which job you want to tackle next!
Talented, proven marketers can find consistent work that compensates them appropriately. In fact, many contracts last several months or even over a year. This offers a balance of consistency with plenty of time to start lining up your next job before your current contract expires.
Benefits: Strong marketing staffing agencies typically will offer benefits like health insurance or access to retirement plans after working with them for a few months. Though you can get these by yourself, it’s often much more affordable to access them through a larger company.