Hiring Freelancers to Advance Your Business

There will be a day when you have a full staff of employees. But as you are building your company from the ground up, you have to make the most of every dollar you have. One of the ways you can do this is to take advantage of the vast network of freelancers – both in the United States and throughout the world – to help you with various parts of your business. Freelancers can supplement your growth by providing various resources on an “as needed” basis without the need to hire full time employees.

Considerations For Hiring a Freelancer

Hiring a freelance contractor is a great way to save time and money. However, because the freelance marketplaces across the globe are filled with freelance contractors all bidding for a limited amount of jobs, you might get flooded with a large number of proposals for a given job. And the mix between price and quality is skewed due to the difference in the value of money in different places throughout the world. How are you to know which freelancer is the right contractor to hire?

“Hiring freelancers can advance your business.” 

Here are a few things to consider when hiring a freelancer.

  • Check The Freelancer’s Portfolio. Before comparing prices, you’ve got to know if the freelancer can deliver. The only way you can legitimately do this is by seeing a portfolio of work. If the freelancer has provided some links to some online examples of their work, great; however if you feel you need to see some more, don’t hesitate to ask. If the freelancer is indeed keen on working for you, this should be no problem for them. If they resist, you know what you need to know.
  • Communication Frequency And Medium. Set the ground rules for communication with your freelancer. Whether it’s by Skype, email, or a weekly phone call, you need to be comfortable with the communication frequency and medium prior to starting any job. Often you’ll be working with freelancers who are not in your location. It is important to set up time and method where your freelancer and you can communicate freely. Most freelancers are very accommodating and may have solutions to your problems, particularly those they have experienced with prior clients.
  • Don’t Automatically Pick The Cheapest Contractor. It can be so tempting to pick the cheapest option when selecting a freelancer but this can more often than not lead to disaster. It’s not to say that each and every time, picking the cheapest contractor won’t work out, but be careful when considering an entry-level price point contractor as you do get what you pay for when hiring freelancers. You are far better off choosing based on expertise and experience than price point, because generally you will be doing well financially regardless of your choice.
  • Ask For References. Ask the freelancers for several references and also to speak with some clients. Don’t rely only on online written references.
  • Get A Team Player. This can be a little tricky to determine, but if this is a requirement for you, i.e. your freelancer needs to interact with various members of your team, across complex items, then simply ask them. At the very least this will indicate to the freelancer that teamwork is important or a vital element to them succeeding as your candidate worthy of hire.
  • Timeline Management. There’s nothing worse than running a project that misses numerous milestones for one reason or another. The best way to mitigate this is to be upfront with your expectations for delivery of project milestones. This should be very clear in your job advertisement, and you should not bend on this at all when making your hire. By being well-organized and providing a clear framework for the project, which may include external elements relevant to the freelancers role on the project, you’ll be ensuring that your freelance project runs on time and to schedule.
  • Previous Experience. If you can find a freelancer who’s worked in your industry, or has done a comparable job, this can go a long way. Because the freelancer has already completed a job of similar nature, they will most likely be able to produce your work in a speedy and more developed state based on having already completed a “trial run”. This can really help to narrow your search for a truly suitable freelancer.
  • Payment Terms Must Be Reasonable. Project milestones are more than reasonable, especially if the project is lengthy, but to ask for payment prior to starting work rings alarm bells. For a longer-term project, two or three milestones is a common scenario. This is something I believe works well, as it rewards the freelancer for the work they have done, and signals the next stage of work to come.

Working with freelancers isn’t for everybody. Some entrepreneurs prefer working with people directly, in a more hands-on fashion in an office environment. But if you’re a startup, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t leverage the opportunities this industry lays out for you.

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