How To Hire A Freelancer For Your Business
Becoming a freelancer was one of the most challenging milestones I’ve achieved in my life. Well, maybe not becoming one but establishing as one.
It might seem like a dream come true – you have no cubicle limits stopping you from traveling the world, freedom to work from anywhere you want, and pursue your dreams creatively. With the current remote working trends, many people choose to follow the path of freelancing.
But but but.
Often, what is good has a negative side to it. Yes, working on your terms is great, but being the one responsible for keeping up to the schedule and doing all the administrative work suck.
Working on a tropical beach is fantastic, but sunlight reflecting on your laptop screen and unbearable heat suck.
And while I don’t think I could go from freelancing to working full-time on-site, it’s not as easy as it seems. One thing is to learn and master your skills, and another is to find clients who are willing to pay for those skills and respect your work.
It’s still common to see freelancers as somewhat irresponsible and unreliable employees. This belief makes it difficult for clients to hire and trust such candidates and for freelancers to find worthwhile projects.
But like in all relationships, in the freelancer-client relationship, communication is the key.
In this article, I’ll try to answer the most common questions you might have before hiring a freelancer and how to get the most out of this partnership.
How to hire a freelancer
If you have some work that you are able to outsource to a freelancer, you can get a great deal for your business by hiring an outsider. While there are risks involved in hiring freelancers, benefits often outshine them.
So how do you start?
Where to look for freelancers
The obvious choice, if you want to hire a freelancer, is to go to one of the freelance marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr, etc. And you would be presented with thousands of professionals from different backgrounds. By using these platforms, you have the advantage of working with people that offer a variety of skills and prices.
Although there are great professionals looking for work, many freelancers on those platforms aren’t worth the hassle. It’s easy to get scammed – receiving finished work with lots of mistakes, people taking your money and disappearing. So, if you’re looking for someone more reliable with a decent portfolio under their belt, you might want to look elsewhere.
LinkedIn could be your first try, as you can see whether a freelancer has some shared connections, expertise, and a good representation as a professional. I believe that every professional should have a LinkedIn profile in this day and age. Even if you’re not looking for a job, it’s a great place to network and showcase your work.
Another safe bet is recommendations. You might be surprised, but people love to give good recommendations. You just need to ask. Ask your friends, colleagues, or anyone in your network if they have someone to recommend. I bet that you will get at least one or two valuable recommendations for your next hire.
How to start communication with a freelancer
I wrote a post before about long-term communication with a freelancer.
There I go more into detail about communication with a freelancer and how to make this partnership last. But the main point is that if you want to succeed in finding the right fit, you have to be transparent and upfront. Tell them what your expected results are, when you want it done, and your budget and expectations.
A freelancer, an expert in their field, will only take the work that matches their experience and availability. So, it’s better not to waste your time and discuss these basics upfront.
How to seal the deal
If you’re satisfied with what a new contractor offers, you can finalize the deal. It might be tricky to trust someone without the proof of work, so make sure they have a portfolio of similar work you are looking for.
Some clients ask for a test task, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it should be short and shouldn’t take too much of the freelancer’s time unless you’re willing to pay them.
From my personal experience, I like to give a discount to my first-time clients to make sure they like the work and are willing to continue working together. But asking a freelancer to do a whole bunch of work for free is just exploiting them.
When you agree on the terms, it’s recommended to sign a contract because there are very few legal bounds (depending on the country) that protect you and a freelancer. Unless you know you can trust another person or have very little work that needs to be done, I wouldn’t risk too much working without a contract.
How much does it cost to hire a freelancer?
Freelancer rates depend on multiple factors: industry, their field, experience, deadlines, given resources. And the way freelancers charge depends on their field. For example, freelance writer for hire pricing can be based on the word count, project, or hourly rate. In comparison, most designers would charge per project.
Is it cheaper to hire freelancers?
Yes, it’s cheaper to hire a freelancer for the most part. But why then, according to the statistics, do freelancers make more than their on-site counterparts? It’s very simple – freelancers can optimize their work and do more of it, working for different clients.
As for the company, it’s cheaper to hire a freelancer because you’re paying for their work, and not for their pension fund, insurance, days off, sick leaves, etc. Of course, it might vary depending on the country, but in most cases, freelancers pay for these services themselves, and their pricing usually includes it.
What to expect working with a freelancer
Work ethics and management
I bet your employees don’t like managers lurking behind their back, checking every detail of their work – neither do freelancers. It might be intimidating to work with someone without being able to see their process (if not agreed otherwise), but a freelancer is an expert, and it’s important to trust them.
Of course, major red flags like mistakes, poor communication, and disrespect are out of the question. But if you like their work, you have to trust their experience and the process. Sometimes a different perspective can give you a new and improved outlook on your projects.
To make it easier, agree on mutual terms to communicate and track the progress. Schedule follow-up meetings or email reminders. Have a platform where you and the freelancer can both see the work and leave comments and edits. Whatever works for both the company and the hire.
There are countless freelance fields, and each person has their process. And even if your projects aren't tied to deadlines, they can help bring more clarity to work. It can also show you if the freelancer you’re working with is punctual and respects your management. Missing one or two deadlines isn’t a big deal, but when it becomes a habit, that’s a red flag.
Companies hire freelancers for different types of work. Some are looking for a long-term partnership, and others need to outsource only one or two tasks. Regardless, you should agree on the price and terms before starting to work. Of course, along the way, there might be some changes like additional edits or more work that could change the pricing, but in general, it’s better to agree on a price instead of fearing to see the next bill.
Usually, freelancers charge for a project or at the end of the month or agreed period. It depends on the nature of the work. Some also take a part of the payment in advance to secure their work.
There are many ways a business can benefit from hiring a freelancer to do extra work. It’s cheaper, faster, and can give you an outsider’s insight into your business. However, to find a good fit, you should know where to look for professionals.
With the new year starting, maybe it’s time to try outsourcing your work. If you’re looking for a freelancer content writer and strategist, let’s talk!