Are you thinking about hiring freelancers remotely? Over the next few minutes, I’m going to tell you where to find them, how to choose the right person, and how to hire them so you can grow your online business.
More businesses are hiring freelancers than ever before because they are realizing that it lowers their expenses. Further, as a small business, it allows them more flexibility that fluctuates and increases the skill sets on their team. Yes, freelancers may charge more per hour, but you are paying them for far fewer hours. They aren’t getting paid to just show up. They focus on delivering a very specific task or result and they are experts in a few things rather than a jack of all trades. As a result, they usually end up delivering benefits to your business that employees can’t.
What options do you have for finding freelancers? Freelancer platforms like Upwork and Fiverr have exploded in the last decade, so it’s very easy to jump on your computer and find the person you need within a few days. Upwork alone has 12 million freelancers in their community.
I’ve personally only ever used Upwork and Fiverr to hire freelancers, and I use each platform for specific reasons. Upwork is best for hiring people you want on your team long-term because it’s easier to communicate with them. You know their real name, and you can pay them hourly. Fiverr is much more project and gig based. You make orders for each new task you assign a freelancer to do, and then you pay them a fixed rate, which can add a lot of admin time for someone you’re using on a weekly basis. On Fiverr, you can’t do hourly contracts. But it’s great when you need a quick and cheap voiceover or logo design.
Now I do use Fiverr for some recurring work like thumbnails for YouTube videos and voice overs because it’s still very project based, and it is more cost-effective. But you’ll find what works for you depending on your needs.
You can search LinkedIn or other job post sites to try and find freelancers, but you’re going to have a much easier time just using a platform like Upwork, whose sole purpose is connecting you with freelancers. I’ve found that not many freelancers spend time on LinkedIn because they are spending all their time on Upwork. They find jobs easier through Upwork or similar platforms. There ARE competitors to Upwork, but I haven’t used them so I can’t speak on them.
I’ve used Upwork as a Freelancer, and as a business hiring freelancers, so I know the ins and outs of how this works.
When you’ve decided you need to hire a freelancer and you have chosen a platform, what are the next steps to find the right person?
Let’s assume you’ve chosen Upwork since that is more popular for building a team with freelancers rather than one-off projects.
- Create an Upwork account and link your bank to it. A hack that will save you admin time when working with a freelancer is that even if they are billing you a flat rate, set up an hourly contract and leave it up to the freelancer to manually bill the hours that equal the flat rate. As a freelancer, I charge $100/hour in these situations because it’s easier math. If I’m billing a client a flat rate of $500/week then I bill 5 hours regardless of how many hours I actually worked because then it automatically deducts from your bank account. You don’t have to do anything to pay the freelancer. But you can always stop the charge or dispute it if the freelancer didn’t do the work they were supposed to do.
- Create a job post. And I’ll do another blog post where I actually walk you through the process of setting up a job on Upwork specifically, and how to find the right freelancer, but this blog post is more of an overview. With your job post, provide enough detail about what you’re looking for and why to attract the best freelancers. If you only write one sentence, many expert freelancers will skip right over it because it seems like a scam. You’ll be able to set parameters of who you’re looking for, what skills, and even the budget for the rate you’re looking for.
- Invite freelancers to apply to the job through Upwork’s invite tool. Scan the freelancer’s profile to make your choices based on their history and how they pitch themselves.
- Then once your job post is live, the freelancers will start submitting proposals. You’ll be able to shortlist some and delete others that definitely don’t fit what you’re looking for. Interview the ones you’ve narrowed down. When you feel confident that you have a few top proposals that fit what you’re looking for, then make the job post private if you don’t want to keep getting new proposals.
- Interview your top choices through video or audio call. It’s important that you see this interview as different from an employee interview. The freelancer is vetting you as much as you’re vetting them, so they’ll have questions for you too. Don’t act as if you have all the power. Yes, sometimes the freelancer is desperate and will give you all the power, but the expert freelancers, the ones you want on your team that will deliver results won’t be desperate for your job. They have criteria that they are looking for in a client as much as you do in a freelancer. You’re having a conversation to decide if it’s worth forming a business partnership. You must see it like that. Your business is partnering with their business to achieve a certain outcome.
- Make your choice based on whether they have the skills and experience that your job requires. Go with your gut feeling. You’ll never have perfect data to prove to you that the hire will be worth it. You must ultimately go off how you feel about the person and whether it feels right, or whether you have uneasiness about them. At the end of the day, if you’re smart, you won’t form any long-term commitments or contracts. Instead, you’ll have a contract where you take things a week at a time so if they turn out to be a bad apple, you can sever the relationship easily. As a freelancer myself, I always work week to week with no long-term obligations. Sometimes I have to stretch it out into 2-week commitments depending on the project.
- To hire them, you’ll just use Upwork’s tool to set up the contract you decided on. In another blog post, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of flat rate vs. hourly contracts if you’re a business hiring freelancers. There, I’ll show you how to use Upwork. Again, this is just an overview.
It’s worth it to build up a freelancer team, especially if you’re a small business or startup because you have no obligation to pay them if you don’t have work for them. Hiring a bunch of employees when you’re trying to grow a small business poses a far greater risk. You’re on the right track.