Taking on a new project is an exciting time for any business – it’s a sign of success and the chance to earn more. But, once the initial glow of excitement fades and the influx of new tasks comes, it can be overwhelming figuring out how you’re going to cope with the mounting workload.
Delegating certain tasks to freelancers can give you a bit of breathing room. Hiring freelancers will mean freeing up your time to concentrate on other things while still being able to meet critical deadlines and not taking on too many overheads that you’ll struggle to service once the project is over.
A freelancer is someone with expertise and/or specialist talent who is self-employed. Generally, they’ll seek out work opportunities from other businesses and negotiate at their own rate. Freelancers are common in writing, design, financial advice, photography and in PR, but it is also popular in other lines of work.
In the guide, we will talk you through the four steps you need to do to find a freelancer, which include:
- Assessing your own workload
- Working out what sort of candidate you need
- Where to look for freelancers
- Making sure you get the right person
Why hire a freelancer?
A freelancer is beneficial for many reasons. Firstly, they’re not on a full-time contract, so you don’t have to worry about extra benefits or sorting out payroll. Essentially, they’re an extra pair of hands to lean on when you know you’re not going to meet a deadline – ideally an experienced and talented person to turn to.
Freelancers will typically take care of their own tax and insurance contributions, which is one less job for you to think about. You also don’t need to find space for them in your office or, typically, provide them with expensive equipment. You just need to make sure you action their invoice.
When you hire a freelancer, it’s typically quite different from hiring a full-time or part-time candidate. You may not even see the freelancer face to face. But, there is still a process to consider.
How to know if you need to hire a freelancer?
Not every business who hires a freelancer will actually need to. It can be a common solution when a waterfall of extra work lands on your desk – and it’s easy to fall into the habit of reaching for the freelance button as a safety net before you’ve looked into whether you need it. When the work lands, don’t panic. Simply look at how much time and production is needed to complete the project. It can be helpful to lay out a step by step timeline to see the full complexity of the project. Compare this to your current workload and capabilities to see precisely where and when in the project you’d benefit from the input of a freelancer.
What sort of freelancer do you need?
When you’re trying to understand what credentials you need to help your project move forward, it’s a good idea to approach this as you would with a full-time employee by assessing your current team’s skill set.
You might just need more manpower – and people with the same skills as your existing team – or you might need a specialist with something a little different. Making sure the freelancer has a strong track record, can meet deadlines and manage their own time is important.
Where to find freelancers?
Freelancers are usually needed on a last minute basis, so it’s a good idea to nurture your talent pool so you can lean on talented people for support as and when they’re needed. If you’ve never used freelancers before, however, you’ll have to start a fresh search.
When writing a job description for freelancers, the most important thing is to clearly state that it is for a remote working freelance position. This way, you won’t accidentally attract candidates looking for full-time employment.
Although you can find freelancers from websites with a database such as Peopleperhour, you will also be able to find them on social media websites. On Twitter, use specific industry hashtags and on LinkedIn broadcast to industry groups.
Whether or not you want to state how long you need the freelancer for or if you want to keep the position open, it’s a good idea to keep the post short yet eye-catching. Make sure you include clear contact details for them to follow.
Depending on the sort of skills you need, it’s not that common to formally interview a freelancer you work with. You may speak on the phone, but it’s rare to meet them face to face. This could be because you can hire a freelancer from anywhere in the world or because there is not enough time to meet them.
However, all freelancers should have a CV and some evidence of their work that they can share with you. From looking at this – and from having a conversation over the phone – there are some things you should consider before hiring them:
As the position will not be held in the office, you can essentially hire anyone from around the world. This does have its benefits as it widens the talent pool. But, do make sure you can accommodate their working hours with your own, especially if you need to be in regular contact. For example, hiring a freelancer in Sydney Australia seems fine until you need to call them and forget they’re 10 hours ahead of GMT.
It can be a good idea to put a freelancer’s skills to the test. Ask them to complete a short task which showcases if they are able to the task you require. It’s no use hiring someone on the assumption they can do the work when it turns out they need training as this will halt the process.
Generally speaking, if an employee is passionate about their work, they’ll complete it to a high standard. They might become an asset to call upon for future projects and allow you to offer new products and services.
Although you may be setting the deadline, it can be a good idea to ask if they have any time constraints that may hinder the process. Bear in mind you might need to give them shorter deadlines to ensure you have time to check their work etc.
From knowing when to hire a freelancer, to the important questions to ask them before they commit to your project, here are some key takeaways to consider:
- Freelancers are used to multitasking and finding their own work so, if they’re not keen in the beginning, they’re may not give your project their full focus.
- When advertising for freelancers, make sure you give a clear call to action at the end of the description. This way, they are clear about how to get hold of you.
- Nurture your talent pool of freelancers to use them more efficiently for future projects.
- Although you may not meet them face to face, you can still make sure they’re right for the role by sending them test pieces of work to complete.