If you are an entrepreneur, or venturing into the startup world, you will realize something very quickly. Hiring quality talent is difficult and expensive. While startups and businesses, in general, fail because of a broad range of reasons, inability to hire quality talent is one of the major reasons. If you need quality talent, but lack the budget to hire full-time, looking to freelancers may be the answer.
The freelance labor market allows you to cherry-pick top talent and pay relatively low amounts to acquire their services. Be warned, however, that the freelance marketplace is not without its challenges. In this article, we give you some tips to navigate these choppy waters to find a freelance solution that works for you.
How to Hire
How you hire plays a big part in who you hire and, the outcome of that hire. Some things that could go wrong include; hiring unskilled persons, time zone mismatching, language barriers, and a host of others. Here are some points to follow to avoid these pitfalls.
First, write down your project requirements. Unlike a full-time hire who will be around as you figure out the way forward, freelancers require a highly specified project plan to deliver results. Determine the timelines, deliverables, milestones and every other detail you can squeeze into the project plan. Rule of thumb: the more detailed it is, the better.
Next, set a budget. This is the trickiest part. If you go recruiting with a blank check, you will get quotes from as low as a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. To properly gauge your budget, talk to a few friends and bounce budget ideas off them. You can also look at what other clients are paying for similar projects. Consider setting a minimum and maximum so you allow room for negotiating.
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Cast your net wide. Look for as many quality freelancers as you can and invite them to come for an interview. What you are looking for here is availability. The best talent is useless to you if they are unavailable. Once you lock down several freelancers with top skills, who have shown interest in your project, it is time to review.
Peruse their past projects. What did past clients have to say? How were they rated? How many similar projects have they undertaken? Never take a freelancer’s word concerning their skills. Test all of them to determine their skill level. Once you find one that works, interview the freelancer and then get started.
Where to Hire
Now that you have a good idea of what to do when hiring a freelancer, where do you find them? Here are some places to look.
Today, major marketplaces that you can find freelancers include Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, and Guru. The main advantage of going with these marketplaces is the depth and breadth of talent available. The main challenge, on the other hand, is sifting the wheat from the chaff. You will have to work harder to surface and hire the right talent for your project.
These are smaller niche sites like 99designs, Toptal, QuiGig – hire now, Matchist and others. These sites offer a better experience because they invest a lot in recruiting quality talent for their platforms, as well as in value-added platform features. This makes it easy to get top talent. One notable downside is they are often more expensive.
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These include sites like Behance, Dribbble, Stack Overflow and GitHub. On these sites, you have an opportunity to see upfront what the freelancer has accomplished. The main challenge with these platforms is they do not provide project management tools and, it is often difficult to ascertain the authenticity of a portfolio.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit also offer a fertile ground for recruitment. Most of these platforms have groups, or communities, of freelancers where you can go and post a job and get proposals. While this is an easy option, you will face the challenge of vetting proposals and figuring out how to move forward once you hire.
Hiring the best freelancers takes time and patient reviewing and vetting. However, a talented and reliable freelancer, once discovered, can add exceptional value to your project over time.