When asking many business owners, which do you prefer, a freelancer or a permanent staff? Most of them go for the freelancer and majorly because it costs less to work with freelancers. While permanent staff show a certain loyalty to your business and your brand, they are also high maintenance and for many businesses especially budding businesses, saving cost is primary on their list.
There are way more freelancers available for hire on the web than there are jobs available for them and while this is good news to the businesses seeking to hire, it can also be bad news, it means finding real talent and professionalism may be a bit hard. The real gems may be hidden underneath a lot of rubble.
There have been way too many articles intended to help freelancers land high paying gigs, but very few written to businesses needing their services. I have been on both ends of the chart and I feel inclined to give a few tips for finding, hiring and retaining talented freelancers. These tips will be helpful to every business that has chosen this path.
On Finding Good Freelancers
1. Ask for Referrals
I find that referrals are the best option for getting freelancers. When I first had need for freelancers to help me with a massive project, I hired from diverse mediums, but that lasted the test of time were those who were referred to me with high recommendations from business colleagues.
Ask trusted people in your network if they’ve worked with a freelance writer in the past, if they refer one, you don’t have to fret over whether this new person will meet a deadline or turn in something sloppy.
2. Blogs and Websites/Magazines
This is probably the best methods if you are looking specifically for freelance writers. The real advantage of magazines and blogs is that you get to do the search yourself and pick a freelancer that soothes you, by the way only you can recognize the quality you desire.
Read up articles on places like Entrepreneur.com or lifehack.org, if you see an article whose quality you love, look up the writers bio and contact the writer, Google the author if a mail is not provided, you are likely to find a LinkedIn profile.
You can also try googling for freelancers by making targeted searches for the category of freelancers you want for instance, “fashion writing freelancers” or “web development freelancers”. You can try sites and content mills like upwork.com, freelancer.com or fiverr.com. These offer access to freelancers in diverse fields.
On Paying Freelancers
3.It Is Always Negotiable
Payment will always take different shapes; I preferred PayPal and a colleague of mine preferred Dwolla, while some prefer a wire transfer to their bank account. Your freelancer will have his terms for payment as well, whether to pay 50% upfront and 50% after. What you need to know is that these things are almost always subject to negotiations so don’t just jump on it if it isn’t convenient.
For instance an amazing alternative to bank transfers when paying freelancers abroad is the use of peer to peer money transfer. I find that this way I can cut out the middle man (banks) and reduce my money transfer expenses.
Peer to peer money transfer companies are a real life saver in this regard. Companies like TransferWise have thrived on this advantage; TransferWise is presently valued at about £1 billion. Banks make a lot of money from transfers and paying freelancers via transfers for me defeats the purpose of using freelancers in the first place.
On Maintaining Freelancers
4. Keep Communication Flowing
Few things are more de-motivating to freelancers than an idle email thread. The truth is that they are freelancers to you because they work for others as well. A freelancer will not respect your deadlines if you do not respond for days after he delivers on time.
The way you treat a freelancer can turn him into a cheerleader for your brand, involve him as often as it makes sense to and make him feel like he is part of the team… you may just build yourself a hybrid; A freelancer with the attitude of an employee.
5. Respect Their Views
You hired a professional, so let him do his job and be receptive to his suggestions and methods. Trust the work of the freelancer and give them a chance to complete their idea before you decide whether to shoot it down or not.
I am a classic control freak myself and it was a great challenge to relinquish control over the quality of the work I wanted, but in the end, I must confess it felt good to let go.
6. Handle Feedback Personally Or Delegate To A Single Person
It can get really wearying for a freelancer to constantly get feedback from a different person all the time about the same project or for the same brand. You can lose a good freelancer if you don’t have an organized feedback system.
If you can’t handle it yourself as the business owner, delegate it to someone else and introduce your agent to the freelancer officially.
7. Be Considerate With Your Demands
Like I said, they work for others at well and while they would love to do all the work you have for them, they have to be loyal to more than one client, so take it easy on them will you. If you got yourself a really good freelancer, chances are that His other clients have also noticed… if he had to lose a client, it will be the most demanding and frustrating client; you.
With these tips, you are well equipped to navigate the rubble that is freelance hiring. Good luck!