When you Google (and yes, it bothers me that “Google” has become a verb!) the term “hire a freelancer,” you get a list of websites enticing you to “Choose from 1000s of freelancers,” “Hire freelance rockstars,” and “Free quotes.” It all sounds mighty glamorous, and it’s hard to know where to start.
Don’t worry. Most of these websites are generally “the same” meaning they offer the same people, just on different websites. Most freelancers have their profiles on at least three different websites. Probably more. (I include myself in this list.) On our side of things, we need to make ourselves exposed to as many eyes as possible – competition is fierce. So when you’re searching on different sites, you may get the same person returned to you.
At this point I’d like to say that I do not endorse any one particular site. I will tell you that I registered on eLance, Guru and oDesk when I started out. Those seem to be the “top 3” when I talk to my other freelance associates. They are all good and all bad in their own way. I’m not here to talk about what each site needs to do to be better, or to sing their praises. When you, the employer, start searching, you just need to know you’re going to get in touch with a good list of people.
To be fair, let me list (posting them in the order they currently appear) the top4 Google returns for “hire a freelancer” so you have the links at your fingertips.
Of course, you don’t have to just use these sites to find good freelancers. Talk to your own business associates and ask them if they’ve used a freelancer before. If you want someone local, you could try Craigslist. Even better, go to your state government’s unemployment agency and look through their talent bank to find someone. I know when I was unemployed, I would have been thrilled to have someone offer me a “work at home” job!
Jump in to Step 3 when we talk about posting a job to get the right freelancers bidding on your projects.
The first step in finding your freelancer seems a bit obvious, but I think it often gets overlooked. Ask yourself this: What do I need done? (I said it was obvious.) It is very important to know exactly what you need. If you don’t, you might end up getting a freelancer that is single-faceted when you need someone working in ten different directions.
So, think about the job or jobs at hand. Maybe you’re swamped with invoicing right now, and you can’t see the forest for the trees (or the debits for the credits, as the case may be). So of course you’re thinking you need someone who has some good account reconciliation skills. Great. You run out, grab that person, have her start working, and once the pile of invoices starts to shrink, you can start thinking about the rest of the tasks on your plate. You need someone to update your tired website. You need someone to do some research on products you’d like to sell. You’re a complete wreck when it comes to social media.
And now you’ve got multiple tasks, but you’ve just brought on one person who is extremely capable at one thing. So, what do you do? Your invoices will always be piled up, so you need to keep her. But she doesn’t have the skills you need “technology-wise” to reign in the rest of your tasks.
Before we go on, I just want to say that I don’t believe that all, or even most, freelancers are single-faceted. But many are. Many have focused their skills on the niche they enjoy or feel comfortable in. That’s not a bad thing. That’s how people develop their expertise. It's actually very necessary and very needed. And if all you needed was just one expert to do one thing, you'd be fine and you wouldn't need to be reading this blog.
My point here is that if you write out a list of everything you’d like to get out of a person – a wish list – you’re going to be better off in the end because you’ll have been looking for someone who can assist you in all (or most) of your tasks. It will be so much easier than having to hire one person for each task, and then trying to manage it all. Too many cooks can spoil the pot! (There is my cliché saying for the day!)
Ready for the next step? Let's move on to Step 2, Where to Search for a Freelancer.
I would like to take a moment to welcome you to my blog. I’m starting this to offer up some hints, suggestions, thoughts and ideas about employers, freelancers and the relationship between the two. I hope you find things interesting here. I tend to speak from experience and give real-life examples when I can, rather than just talk in “big picture” sort of terms. I’m not that great of a blogger. I try not to be formal, and I speak plainly yet personally.
Sometimes I lag a bit in between posting. That's a positive - that just means I'm hopefully busy helping you out with your business!
Tomorrow I’m going to start out with a little series on how to select a freelancer for your business. I hope you’ll join me!
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.