How to know when you need a specialized generalist

Why You Should Hire a Specialized Generalist

With the rise of the gig economy, it can be tough to find the right freelancers or full-timers for your special projects. The good news is that many creatives have become specialized generalists to stand out above the competition. A Specialized Generalist is someone deeply knowledgeable in their niche who also has a wide breadth of knowledge across their industry. The best part? They can easily work cross-functionally because they know enough about what other jobs entail, making them a huge asset for teams. Specialized Generalists are always great to have on your team, but there are specific instances where they can truly make projects flow smoother, faster, and on budget. Here’s a list of reasons why (and when) you should hire a specialized generalist.

1. They are versatile

Specialized Generalists can tackle multiple tasks at once, leaving you more room in your budget to hire in other areas of your company. For example, you may need a complete brand refresh. A brand design Specialized Generalist with experience in the copy and art direction worlds would be a prime candidate to create your brand book. You might have to bring on an editor to fine-tune areas of copy, but the advantage is that you’re hiring one person to tackle multiple parts of a project upfront, allowing others to fine-tune later.

When is versatility most advantageous?: For any company looking to complete a multidisciplinary, yet cohesive project, like a brand book, app development, or 360 campaign, those are situations where a specialized generalist would be truly beneficial.

2. They make the best collaborators

Given their expansive expertise, Specialized Generalists tend not to be ego-driven and are happy hopping in wherever needed. For this reason, they're even better for long-term solutions because you’ll get a level of consistency and continuity over time on your projects. They are also well-equipped and experienced in communicating with various professionals, thanks to their breadth of knowledge. Because they are so advanced and can hop in anywhere that’s needed, they’re able to keep the wheels going should any problems arise.

When does collaboration come in handy? If your teams are already small and there are gaps in knowledge and experience, a specialized generalist can help fill in where expertise is needed. This type of person could also help mediate, adding focus and helping to streamline projects across teams. For example, if you have UX designers (mostly visual thinkers) and copywriters (mostly verbal thinkers) working together for the first time, someone who’s experienced in both could bring improved clarity, understanding, and direction.

3. They are innovators

Specialized Generalists don’t get to be where they are without hard work and insatiable curiosity. It’s the latter that will help your company think in new ways and approach projects from new angles. They will also help spark curiosity in the rest of your team, encouraging others to learn new skills and more efficient modes of operation and organization.

When do you need this type of innovation?: Any time you are thinking “I wish our company could do X”, there is a Specialized Generalist out there who can help you achieve it. For example, you may have never approached 3D animation or VR but want to now. A Specialized Generalist with experience in these areas plus a background in branding or graphic design would be ideal to help you see that project to fruition.

4. They are cost-effective.

Many workplaces have faced too many layoffs or budget cuts in recent years, which leaves an opening to hire a Specialized Generalist to keep your projects going right now. When you consider you’re hiring one person to ideate and help create the assets of a team (instead of hiring the full team immediately), the price is right for your current budget. As long as you’re budgeting in more time and being upfront about the needs of the project (so the individual doesn’t burn out), you can work with a Specialized Generalist and save some serious green on hiring and management costs.

Who can benefit from cost-effectiveness: TBH, everyone! But small start-ups and businesses with shrinking budgets will always benefit the most from this type of setup—so if that’s you, let Artisan help you find your Specialized Generalist!

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