You can order anything on your phone, from grilled cheese to your brand new company logo. That’s because of the gig economy, or the trend towards people who hire freelancers.
Freelancers are skilled people who only represent the clients they can help and they like working with. Want to be one of those clients? Learn how to properly hire and work with freelancers below.
1. Figure Out if Hiring Freelancers is Right for You
The gig economy is blessing a lot of people. It’s giving those who can’t get enough hours (or the ones they want) more work, and it’s cheaper for employers.
But it takes a certain type of person and good communication skills. If you’re hiring a freelancer to come work in your office or space, that’s one thing.
But if your relationship is going to be completely digital, you need to know how to express expectations clearly and give written helpful feedback. That’s harder than it sounds for some people.
So if you know you struggle with 100% online communication, either delegate the freelancer reporting to someone else or find someone to work with you in-house.
2. Determine Your Project and Its Length
Many freelancers are used to working on a per-project basis, but even so, you need to clarify. If someone does good work for you, you express praise and happiness, and never contact them again, they’ll get confused.
Let them know if there’s an opportunity for more work in the future, if they do a good job, or if it’s a 100% one-time thing. It’ll not only help them have appropriate expectations, but it’ll help them plan the rest of their workload too.
3. Think Through all Parts of the Task
If you’re hiring a freelancer for something you don’t know how to do, then you’re trusting them to do it right. But if it’s something you can do but don’t have time for – be specific about what it entails.
For example, a content writer may be able to do the writing, but maybe they don’t understand how to do SEO research. By listing what your project involves in detail, you’ll be more likely to get a better fit.
You’ll need to let them know what your expectations are for communication as well. If it’s a simple “please deliver me the final product by date”, what format do you want that product in?
Does it need any “accessories” like a stock image? The more information you give, the better.
4. Be Clear About Expectations
Each freelancer’s version of perfect is a little different than someone else’s, especially if you’re hiring someone for something creative.
You need to let them know what you expect, in detail, and even better if you can provide examples:
I’d like this done in this format style, which you can see an example of here.
We touched on this earlier, but you’ll also need to be clear about time deadlines. When do you expect to see the first draft? When is the absolute deadline for them to get the work back to you?
Do you expect communication during the creation product, or do you just want the finished product? It’ll depend on the type of work they’re doing and yourself as a leader.
Remember, they can’t give you something you want unless you ask for it. They’re freelancers – not mind readers.
5. Turn the Above into Your Job Posting
See, there’s a method to this madness. Now you know your exact timeline, your scope, and have a list of expectations for a freelancer to work from. Those should all be details in your job listing.
Or, at least, they should be one of the first things you send people when they express interest. Giving people all the information right off the bat will keep the ones unwilling to do work far away from your company.
6. Look at Applicants
A lot of online freelancers have reviews through the site they’re on – or they just have work examples. You can ask for references, but it may take a few days for the clients to get back to you.
You should do your research, but ask the freelancer what the worst feedback they’ve ever received is. Ask them if it’s the first time anyone’s said that, or if it’s something they struggle with.
No one can make everyone happy, especially on the internet. One bad review doesn’t mean they’re not a good worker. You want to pay attention to what the bad review said, and see if their complaint is something you could (potentially) put up with.
If they have more than 20% of bad reviews, it’s time to move on. But 1 out of 20? It’s something we all deal with (including, probably, yourself).
7. Find the Right Site
There are different freelance sites where people post job listings and availability. If you’re looking for a P.E. for hire, you’re not going to look in the same place as you’d look for a content creator.
Make sure you research niche sites so you can get the best and most specialized applicants.
Hire Freelancers, The Right Way
Just because someone represents themselves, doesn’t mean you can treat them as if they’re not another business. You’re building allies and networks with them, as much as you would with someone who has multiple employees.
Conduct yourself the same way you would if you were hiring a new in-house employee, minus the drug test and interview.
If you do that, you’ll have no problem when you want to hire freelancers, and they may just continue to want to work with you!
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