How to Pick the Right Freelancers

Time is considered the most valuable commodity. As a startup owner in the race to beat all the odds, would you spend too much time sorting emails or balancing accounting books, when you could be concocting world-domination agendas? Any minuscule processes that can impede the growth of your business should be tasked out. Save time, effort, and money by connecting with a specialist who is in the know, and going online is the easiest way to do it.

The start is always the trickiest, but once you get the hang of hiring online, you'll never go back. The process may seem time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you're fairly new and have no idea on how it actually works. To save you from the jitters, we have listed some tips below for finding the right freelancers.

Find the best online resource – A website teeming with experts and professionals who are serious about what they do is not hard to find nowadays. Everyone is advertising their skills online especially in social media or crowdsourcing marketplaces. Still, the best place to search for a freelancer is in a platform designed for hiring purposes. Freelancer.com has over 14 million users and has a total of six million-strong high-quality projects posted.

Look through the projects posted by other employers to gauge how complex their requirements are and how the freelancers they hired responded to it. The more you see capable people, the faster it would take for you to find the person you need.

Know what you need and be specific about it – Before you post the project up for bidding, you need to have a clear vision of what you want and how you want it done. Going through the hiring process without telling freelancers important details about the project makes it difficult for them to measure their asking price and timeline. Posting complete details will attract freelancers who have the exact skills you need.

Examine each bid carefully and check profiles – Depending on which industry your project is about, you may get dozens of bids in under an hour or none at all. Web Design/Development, Graphic Design, Creative, and Administrative tasks are some of the top-tier industries where freelancing thrives. However, some industries have been on the rise the past year, such as social media and engineering as in the case of Freelancer.com.

Once you get bids, you need to weed out the bad apples. Be wary accepting the cheapest bid – although budget is an important consideration, drop it for a moment when doing the initial search. Check the remaining freelancers' proposals. If these fit your project, skim through the freelancers' profiles and read feedback. Freelancer.com's profiles are easy to view as you can see the capabilities of your prospect at a glance. The completion rate and the skills say a lot about the freelancer, as well as the reputation (measured in stars, the highest being five). Also, do check their portfolios, where you can see samples of their past projects.

Interview and align timelines – When you have narrowed down your search, contact the freelancers you've chosen to have an in-depth discussion about the project. Here you should finalize the timelines, deliverables, and milestone payments. During the discussion, be upfront with your expectations and do not compromise on anything less than what you need. Ask the freelancer how they plan to deliver to ensure that they clearly understood what is expected. Before sealing the deal, have your chosen freelancer sign a contract detailing the project outline and deliverables to protect you against any future claims.

Conduct a test – If you want to make sure that your freelancer is who they claim to be and is confident enough to take on the project without any hassles, give them a test project but make sure to pay for it. This is a good way to know if your project is in good hands, especially if the freelancer can provide a sample piece that meets your criteria.

Get a referral – This is one of the easiest ways to find the right freelancer. By asking colleagues who previously hired an independent contractor, you will know easily why you should hire a person. Ask how well the candidate performed on previous projects (especially those that are related to yours), how they responded under pressure, and their dedication to meeting deadlines. If you don't have any colleagues you can ask, feel free to contact past employers of the freelancers you are eyeing.

Startup founders and small business owners increasingly turn to freelancers for smart and cost-effective ways to solve problems. Some examples of tasks you ought to outsource are administrative tasks that are too time consuming, accounting, and website maintenance work that take a long time to learn, as well as growth projects such as marketing, advertising, and designing.

Hiring the right freelancers for these tasks not only saves you time but also saves you money -- both precious resources you can use in other growth-related business matters.

Ready to hire a freelancer? Post a project now!

Nikki Hernandez
Nikki Hernandez Staff

Wired and Inspired | Content Coordinator, Freelancer.com

I'm the coordinator of Freelancer's Case Study Program. I write inspirational success stories of employers and freelancers. When not busy writing, I play video games.

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