If you’re just starting out in business, you’re bound to be excited. You’re nurturing your dreams and making your business goals a reality, and most of the time you’re doing it alone. Trying to manage all aspects of a business by yourself isn’t always easy. But, there is something you can do to get the help you need when you need it – without hiring a team that you’re not ready for just yet.
Hiring a freelancer
While I knew that you could hire a freelancer for copywriting or graphic design work, it’s not until recent years that I discovered that you can hire a freelancer for just about any job, task, or specialty that you can think of. I was mind blown. Not only is this convenient but if you’re a digital/internet entrepreneur like I am, this option offers a priceless alternative to adding staff.
It’s often a less expensive, easy-to-get-going alternative to hiring an employee. This works especially well when you need help with a specific task or project. The work is generally done offsite and you can communicate remotely via video conference, project management software (Asana is a good one), phone or email.
Finding a good (qualified) freelancer? That’s where it can get tricky.
There are countless freelancers worldwide waiting to take on new projects. Finding the right one that fits your project and standard of performance may take a little time. Just because you’re not hiring a permanent team member doesn’t mean you should skimp on the details.
Tip: If you handle proprietary or confidential information in your business and the system or website that you’re using to screen potential freelancers doesn’t offer background checks you can complete your own with a website like ClearStar.net.
Do a little research.
You can find some great freelancers waiting on websites like Elance, Upwork, and PeoplePerHour. These sites allow you to advertise the job you have and allow people to apply for it directly. You will also be able to view the profiles of freelancers and approach them directly and discreetly through the website.
Tip: Consider location when making a decision. While these sites are great for global freelancers, keep in mind the level of communication that will be needed for your project. Having to wait eight hours or more for a reply to an email because of a time difference, may not be what you had in mind.
If you are able to meet your potential freelancer in person, do it! There’s no substitute for the vibe you get from someone in an in-person meeting. It’s important that, if you’re able to, you get the chance to meet and get to know the person that will be handling your next project(s) for you. You’ll be able to candidly discuss timeframes, deliverables, and staying within budget.
When it comes to the budget, be realistic. Be prepared to pay for quality work. For simple tasks consider using a flat fee rate. For more complex or creative projects you may need to offer a per hour rate. Be sure that the freelancer is upfront on the turnaround time (the amount of time that it will take for them to complete and submit the completed project back to you). Include the exact amount of time, that was quoted to you, in the contract (for your protection).
You may not find the perfect freelancer the first time around. But when you do, you’ll be able to rely on them for future projects. The most important thing is that you do as much research as you can. As tedious as it may be, always get recommendations and references, and actually verify them.