5 tips to find a freelancer: an entrepreneur’s guide

Needing to find a freelancer is a common issue for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Consider this scenario (which will probably sound familiar): You’ve landed a great new client or vendor. They are super excited to work with you and you’re excited about the growth potential for your business. Then, all of a sudden, you have the realization: there is no way you can complete this work on the timeline you’ve outlined without some kind of miracle.

What are your options? You can either go back to the client or vendor and tell them that you’ll have to change the terms of your agreement or you can find someone to help you get the work done on time. The first option may end with the deal dissolving completely which can make finding a freelancer to help you sound like a no-brainer.

However, there are some pitfalls that you may want to consider when you look for a freelancer. Here are some tips to find a freelancer that will help you get your project done without making you look bad to your clients or cause more work for you in the end.

1.     Understand exactly what you need from a freelancer. If you’re in crisis mode this might slip off your radar, but it’s a necessary first step to find a freelancer. You can’t expect a freelancer to pick up all your slack. Determine which job functions are the biggest priority, the ones you will have the most trouble fulfilling and focus on finding a freelancer for just those functions. Hiring too many freelancers can cut into your revenue big time before you know it.

2.     Write a scope of work that outlines your needs and expectations in clear language. There’s nothing more frustrating than a job that doesn’t get done because of miscommunication. To ensure you don’t waste your money on a freelancer that doesn’t meet your needs because they don’t understand what you need, create a document that outlines the project, the deliverables you need from the freelancer, the timeline you expect them to deliver the work and the compensation you will provide. The compensation may need to be adjusted depending on your timeline and the freelancer’s payment schedule but having a good idea of your budget can help limit your expenses.

3.     Look for freelancers from a source that meets your needs. The freelance economy has exploded and with that explosion there has also been an exponential increase in the number and variety of platforms and sources to find a freelancer. These platforms range from sites like Upwork that offer a range of freelancers including highly-skilled professionals to places like Fiverr that allow users to find freelancers starting at $5. If you are trusting a freelancer with a key piece of work, you shouldn’t pay them $5. That old saying “you get what you pay for” holds true. Value skilled work and be willing to compensate accordingly.

4.     Require the use of free time-tracking software during your freelancer’s work. This is a no-brainer. To make sure you aren’t billed for hours that your freelancer was actually doing laundry, you can require the use of a free time-tracking software. There are plenty of options and some take periodic screenshots of the freelancer’s computer to ensure they’re staying on task. Here are some options.

5.     Give your freelancer honest feedback – good or bad. At the end of the project, be sure to provide your freelancer with honest and constructive feedback. A good review can help a great freelancer find their next gig, which might be with you! If the freelancer didn’t meet your needs, tell them why and give them some ideas for improvement. Improving the freelance economy overall will make sure high-quality freelancers are available when you need one next.

For more small business tips and article, check out our blog here.

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