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Every day has only 24 hours and only so much work you can do. Fortunately, there is a way to increase the amount of work that can be done. You can hire a freelancer. In this article, you will find a handful of tips to make this task easier for you. These tips are not limited to any industry or business. They are universal. I hope you will find these tips useful. Without further ado, let’s start.
Make Project Description Specific
You just got that breakthrough idea that will change everything. Your mind is going all over the place visualizing how every detail will look. You can’t wait to hire a freelancer and set the project into motion. Nothing against your enthusiasm, but you should slow down. You need to calm down your mind and write down the description for your project. No matter where will you write it, make sure to explain every detail in-depth. It should be descriptive enough that anyone can literally see it like real without giving them more additional explanations.
Why is this step important? First, you will be able to get the holistic vision of your project and see any gaps or issues. Second, freelancer you will hire to get your project done will need to understand it into the smallest detail. Let me put it this way. The less descriptive and precise you will be, the smaller the chance you will hire a freelancer that will be the right fit. Imagine it like fishing. Vague description will allow you to attract many fish, but not the ones you would love to catch. You will probably get many responses, but the majority of them will be almost unusable.
You have to understand that the best freelancers don’t have time to try to understand your vague description. If it is hard to understand, they will simply pass it on the rest of the crowd. Unfortunately, this crowd is not desirable for you. To reverse this situation you have to provide descriptive, but still brief description. Meaning, go to details, but keep it short. No one wants to read three-page essay. By the way, if you think this will discourage less experienced freelancers, you are wrong. Most of them will just skim it and paste their “default” proposition, or reply if you want. Remember, pros work only with people who know what they want.
Takeaway: Being descriptive, brief and easy to understand is the only way to divide the best freelancers from the rest.
Choose Quality over Money
If there is one mistake many people do when they want to hire a freelancer is that they favor price before the quality. I always have to ask why. What makes people incline to such a bad idea? I understand that you can have limited budget, but do you really want to risk getting poor results? Meaning, do you think that skilled freelancers with a lot of experience and established expertise will be willing to give you their time for such a wage? Would you do it being on their place? Probably not. You wouldn’t even consider thinking about that.
The second thing that comes almost hand-in-hand is the risk of paying twice. When you hire a freelancer with lower rate (i.e. cheaper one), it makes you open to risk that the work quality will be poor. Sure, this doesn’t apply to all cases and situations. I have many great experience with freelancers working tirelessly no matter how much would you pay them. I like to call these people craftsmen because they often talk about their job rather as a craft. When you take a look at some of their work, you almost immediately see the love and effort they put into it.
If we take into account assumptions described above, we are left in uncertainty. One premise says that the only way to get quality work we have to pay more. On the other hand, second premise says that we can find freelancers willing to work for lower, even much lower, rates and still get excellent work in return. What conclusion can we draw from this paradox. Well, if you find yourself in doubt, take a look at freelancer’s previous work. His portfolio should tell you everything you need. You can also ask him or her directly to get to know him or her better.
Takeaway: Although money can’t buy you happiness, they can buy you quality. And, when in doubt, look at previous work or just ask.
Do Your Research and Ask Questions
One quick tip to increase your chance to hire a freelancer you will be happy to work with is to invest some time to research. Meaning, don’t be afraid to ask the freelancer for contact on his previous clients. Talking with previous clients is one of the best ways to get to know the freelancer better. You will get precious insights into his work and the process behind it. You will also find out how communicative he or she is. Also, don’t forget to ask questions about freelancer’s ability to meet the deadlines and work according to schedule set for that particular project.
Chances are that if that freelancer were delivering his work with delays in the past, he’ll repeat this behavior in the future as well. Sure, there are freelancers who regularly work on themselves. Unfortunately, these people are often also the ones with higher rates. That being said, I don’t mean you should automatically skip the research in case of more expensive freelancers. No matter how much will you pay, researching and asking questions will still be a great way to get relatively unbiased view of the freelancer you want to hire.
The last thing to discuss related to this tip is what to do if you are dealing with someone new in freelancing. Beware! Just because some is new in the business doesn’t mean he or she has to be inexperienced. There are many freelancers working using freelancing as a way to earn more money in addition to their regular job. There are also freelancers switching to freelancing from full-time job. They may not have any previous clients or portfolio, but they can supplement it with a big amount of knowledge and experiences.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, you can do three things. First, you can try to contact freelancer’s previous employer. Second, you can trust the information you will get directly from freelancer. Third, you can go and find someone else to hire. It is up to you to decide which option is more interesting for you. Just don’t exclude someone only because he or she is less may be in the business for shorter time. In a fact, some of these people are diamonds waiting to be discovered.
One more thing … I forgot to mention this before, but you should always accept the information you will get either from freelancer or his clients with caution. When you get a feedback, be it from previous employer or client, don’t assume it is completely objective. For example, you may get a great recommendation for a freelancer, but the truth is that it can be based on personal preferences rather than actual work. On the other hand, if farewell with client or employer was unpleasant, you might obtain a piece of advice to not hire that freelancer.
In both cases, the feedback you received is based on personal feelings instead of how that person works. Another thing to consider is freelancer’s personality. For example, hearing that someone is uncommunicative or inaccessible can simply mean you are dealing with introverted person or someone who likes to keep distance. The only way to find out where the truth is by talking with freelancer face-to-face by yourself and creating your own impression.
Takeaway: Remember, you will never know if you never ask. So, don’t be afraid to contact previous clients of your chosen freelancer to get insights on his work process and reliability.
Agree on Deadlines and Milestones
Setting deadlines and milestones is somewhat harder to discuss. In many cases, this topic is left to the freelancer. One reason why you want to hire a freelancer is because he is the expert. Meaning, he should also come up with schedule of milestones and deadlines. Let me tell you something. You are right. Unless you have knowledge in the field related to your project, asking you to create the schedule would be nonsense. Sure, you can set the time frame in which the project must be completed. However, setting the individual deadlines and milestones is job of the freelancer.
So, why did I mention this topic? Again, because you should never rely on someone else. Don’t assume that when you hire a freelancer, everything will be taken care of in a flash. Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to convince you to be paranoid and to think that the freelancer you hired is incapable of doing his job properly. Not at all. What I want to say is that there is a huge amount of things that needs to be done at the beginning of the project and it can’t be done at once. All these things require time and should be addressed one-by-one.
What am I trying to say is that you need to make sure that this subject of deadlines, milestones and overall time frame must be addressed. The sooner you and the freelancer you hired will agree on this part of administration, the sooner he will be able to start working on it. So, make this subject one of the first things you will discuss with freelancer.
Takeaway: Deadlines and milestones should be addressed as soon as possible. In the end, if it wasn’t for deadlines nothing would get done.
Keep the Conversation Flowing
One if the things you should discuss after you hire a freelancer is how will you communicate and how often. Setting specific calendar or deadlines for communication will save you from possible headaches. Through the years of my work either as freelancer or entrepreneur I found that almost every freelancer has his own personal style of communication. Some will contact you only when roof is on fire and will be very brief. On the other hand, others will write you two-page emails about every detail.
Depending on what style of communication do you favor, you should consult it with the freelancer you hired. Keeping the communication flowing without any problems is crucial for successful completion of the work. This means addressing all issues right when they appear. You should never postpone any question or suggestion for whatever reason. Issue that may seem small at the moment can grow significantly larger with time or can be a symptom of a bigger problem. So, don’t hesitate to contact the freelancer any time.
This also applies to recommendations and updates to your previous project description. Remember that there are only couple things worse for you and freelancer than doing the whole work all over again. The only way to avoid such a situation is to always make clear what your expectations and goals for the project are. Whenever you will feel unsure about anything, you should discuss it with the freelancer you hired. Remember that he or she is in it as well as you are.
Takeaway: When you hire a freelancer, keep the conversation flowing. Remember, the best way to solve problems is through dialogue.
Plan for Additional Expenses
The last tip on how to hire a freelancer I will give you is to always set aside some amount of money for additional expenses. These expenses will vary depending on what kind of work you need to get done. Some examples can be stock images or videos, fonts, custom graphic, sounds, web hosting, domain and so on. For peace of mind, you should always discuss all these things right after you hire a freelancer. Let me reformulate that. These things should be addressed and discussed before you will shake hands. That way, you will know you found the right man or woman for the job.
On the other hand, skipping this step in the beginning can result in unexpected price increase for your project. Fortunately, when you hire a freelancer with higher amount of experiences, he or she will often address this issue even if you forget it. In case you will not follow the tip number two and hire cheaply, you had better have a good memory. Cheap freelancers are often interested only in getting work done as fast as possible and moving on. The reason is that because they charge less, they have to get work on more projects in order to stay in business.
Anyway, the best strategy for you is to always rely on yourself. Don’t assume that the guy or gal you hired will address the topic of additional expenses by herself. In a fact, if you hire a freelancer with lower rate there is a chance he will avoid discussing this subject. Why? He will be afraid of losing the job because of price increase. Some freelancers may even risk using assets illegally rather than asking for increasing the project budget. So, always make sure all the assets are either bought or distributed with free license. Otherwise, you are opening yourself to problems in the future.
Takeaway: By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Always plan for unexpected expenses. It is the only way to avoid future problems.
Closing Thoughts on How to Hire a Freelancer
I hope the tips we discussed today will make it easier for you not just to hire a freelancer, but to hire the right one on the first try. There are topics that I left out such as contracts, organization of the project workflow, revisions and so on. That doesn’t mean they are not important. I just wanted to give you as much information as I could without overwhelming you (too much). The rest of the tips we didn’t discuss today will be addressed in the future. So, don’t worry.
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