Freelancers — some people like hiring them; others are more reluctant to take them on.
Hiring a freelancer can be very hit and miss.
Choose a bad one and it could damage your business.
Outsource the work to a good one and you could save money, get the job done and run a more profitable business.
Unfortunately, there are freelancers operating out there who give freelancing a bad name.
Then there are others who are real assets to the businesses who hire their services.
How do you know whether the freelancer in front of you is an asset?
Here are a few things to consider:
Think about what they charge
The bottom line is, you’re a business, so you want to save money. That’s partly why you hire freelancers.
We all know the adage, however: pay peanuts and you’ll get monkeys.
So, consider their rates. What are they charging?
If they’re willing to do a job dirt cheap, it’s a red flag because they may be sacrificing quality for earnings.
(At the same time, don’t offer miserly rates yourself. You could attract freelancers who are less invested in the project and won’t deliver the necessary quality.)
It’s possible, too, though, that they’re a good service provider but are inexperienced and not at the level required to charge higher rates.
If they’re charging at the higher end of the scale, you must decide how much you’re willing to pay, which leads us on to the next point….
Check out their work (and with other clients)
If you’re paying the top rate for their services, you want to be sure they’re going to do a good job.
Check out their portfolio and see what they’ve already done. What do you think of it?
Are they walking the walk they say they can or are they an empty vessel making a lot of noise?
If they can’t provide any samples of their work, speak to their current clients and/or previous ones.
A satisfied client will be happy to refer them to you.
Should the client appear unwilling to give them a reference, take this as a bad sign.
Take note of how well they communicate
Sometimes, you’ve got to make changes or something comes up and you need to contact your freelancer(s) at short notice.
Can you get in touch with them quickly?
How long does it take them to reply?
A responsible freelancer will communicate within a day of your original message.
You won’t have to message them repeatedly to get a response and they won’t leave you high and dry, wondering what the hell is going on.
If there times when they won’t be available, such as holidays, they’ll advise you of this beforehand.
Assign them a small task
When you think you’ve found the right professional to work with your team or on your project, but still aren’t 100% sure, you don’t have to jump in with both feet and work with them straight away.
Set them a small task and see how they get on.
Do they complete the task on time?
How do they conduct themselves during this trial period?
Have they met the brief — or is their work a case of ‘It’s not quite what I expected’?
How they respond to the task will give you a good idea of whether they’ll fit well into the business or perform on the larger-scale project.
To hire or not to hire
A good freelancer will, in general, be highly competent. They’ll work well and communicate well, and they’ll do so for a respectable rate, in which case hire, hire, hire!
However, don’t dismiss a freelancer automatically if they don’t have a certain skill.
If a freelancer shows potential and is willing to learn, that’s a good sign.
The question is whether you’re willing to invest the necessary time in training them for the project.
Don’t rule it out completely. You may have found a diamond in disguise.
Whether you choose to hire someone is your decision, but know that when you make the right choice, the returns will be worth the investment.
A professional could be just around the corner.
I’ll let you get on with the hiring.