If you’re a solopreneur, you’re likely used to wearing multiple hats. However, not knowing when to ask for help can lead to costly mistakes. Whether you need a human resources specialist, graphic designer, or accountant, websites like Upwork and Fiverr provide a marketplace for freelancers looking to work on a temporary or project basis. If the freelance world is new to you, there are several things you can do to make the journey easier.
Have a clear posting
I once did a consultation with a small business owner who said that he needed a marketing freelancer. When I pressed him on what marketing functions he needed specifically, he didn’t know the answer. He wasn’t sure if he wanted someone to do search and social advertising or SEO or social media. He wasn’t in a place to hire a good freelancer because he didn’t know enough about marketing to make an informed hire. If there’s a misalignment between your needs and expectations and what the freelancer can provide, there will likely be frustration and confusion for you both. Having a clear job posting is the first step to finding a great freelancer. If you need to hire in an area that you aren’t familiar with, take the time to learn about its various functions before posting your job ad to ensure that you find a solid fit.
Look beyond price
One thing about the abundance of freelance job sites is that you’ll see a wide range of prices for similar services. For example, it’s not uncommon to see web designers charging as little as $30 per hour and as high as $150 per hour. That’s a huge difference. While you have to consider your budget, it’s prudent to look beyond price and consider the experience and skill level of the freelancer. Look at work completed for other clients, reviews, and experience to determine whether or not they can deliver a quality job. Chasing the lowest price won’t necessarily lead you to the best results. Just as you wouldn’t hire someone for a full-time position without any vetting, you shouldn’t do it when hiring a freelancer.
Set deliverables on big projects
Let’s say you’re hiring for a large website redesign. You would hate to get all the way to the end of the project and realize that you hate what the freelancer has done. That why it’s beneficial to break larger projects into pieces with check-ins and smaller deliverables along the way. This keeps you in communication with the freelancer throughout the project and ensures that you’re both on the same page. For example, if you’re redesigning your website, instead of one big reveal at the end you can do several smaller reveals along the way. This way, you can quickly course-correct if you’re not happy with the results.
If this is your first time hiring a freelancer, it may be wise to start with a small task or project first. Once you find reliable freelancers who you know you work well with, you can graduate to bigger projects that come with more responsibility. While it can be done, it’s risky to give a consequential project to someone with whom you have never worked with. Giving someone a smaller project gives you an opportunity to examine his or her work quality, reliability, and compatibility for yourself.
Learning to vet and hire freelancers will certainly get easier over time. Doing your research, setting expectations, and communicating clearly will go a long way to making sure that you have a positive experience. While preparing to hire a freelancer can involve a significant amount of work, having someone who’s an expert in a particular field and can deliver an expert-level result will make it well worth it.