How To Hire A Freelancer In 7 Easy Steps
Updated: Nov 7, 2020
Your business will probably benefit from hiring a Freelancer at some point. Whether you're a solopreneur or an international enterprise, Freelancers get your projects complete and get you the results you're after.
I'm a Freelance Case Study Copywriter and have been writing since 2011. I have put this post together through my experience and carefully researching the topic so that you can benefit from understanding the process of hiring a Freelancer to benefit you and your company.
What is a Freelancer?
A Freelancer is a person who offers their services to businesses to achieve common goals set out by you, the client. With that said, the Freelancer is not an employee that will do any work you set them. Think of them more as a service provider you're paying for.
The Freelancer is their own business, and will usually work remotely (unless they have their own premises). They will also work with several clients at the same time and, unlike employing someone, will sort out their own tax and NI contributions - they're a business after all.
Freelancers tend to work in the creative industries - Writers (like me), Designers, Web Development, Photography, Art, etc. And, don't come with the additional costs that hiring an employee can have - such as needing insurance, paying tax and NI contributions, training and so on.
Here are a few tips to help you with finding your Freelancer and getting the job done correctly.
1. Where Do You Find Freelancers?
Freelancers tend to hang out in bars, cafes and restau... Well, we do like food, but seriously, to find the right Freelancer for your project, you need to know where to look. In some cases, your Freelancer finds you, but I'll talk more on that later.
So, imagine this...
You know you need a Freelancer, someone who is an expert in their field. Chances are, the first thing you do is go to Google and type in "Freelancers for hire" or something to that effect. You'll see a few websites that are familiar to most Freelancers:
You get the picture, and on paper, these are fantastic platforms to introduce you to amazing Freelancers. However, as you look in more detail, you notice how low the rates are. These platforms are fantastic for finding new talent and if you're in a position to help someone new to the world of Freelancing, then, by all means, go for it.
However, experienced Freelancers are aware of the low rates, and for that reason, it's doubtful you'll find them here. Instead, what you can do is post your Freelance Job Brief on reputable sites as if hiring traditionally. In the UK, that would be cv-library.co.uk, reed.co.uk, or Indeed.co.uk.
Another way to find the Freelancer of your dreams is through your connections and professional network. If other businesses have had success with a Freelancer, they'll be happy to recommend them to you. A lot of my clients come to me directly via referrals, and this makes finding projects easier for me.
Social Media is an immensely powerful tool that you can utilise to find your expert Freelancer. Facebook has over 2.7 billion active users, Twitter has 330 million, and LinkedIn has 260 million. This means that if you post in the right place, you'll find someone.
Lastly, as hinted above - you may be lucky enough to have a Freelancer find you. That is, they may send you a Cold Pitch Email, which is essentially part of their outbound lead generation. Even if you're not looking for a Freelancer at the time, it's always useful to keep their contact information just in case something comes up in the future.
2. How To Budget For a Freelancer
As I've already said, a Freelancer is a business. They provide a service for your company and will usually set their own rates. I have had prospects in the past want 15 blog posts that are:
Search Engine Optimised
Minimum 1200 words each
In perfect English
Engaging and Informative
Deadline for all 15 was the following Friday (this was on a Tuesday)
When I asked what their budget was, they responded with £100. I asked if that was for each blog post and they laughed and said: "no, that's for all of them". To put this into perspective - that is £0.005 per word. Not including all the research, proofreading and editing that would have to take place.
The prospect went elsewhere for their blog posts. This is why I advertise my prices alongside each service that I provide.
Now, each Freelancer is different, and each Freelancer provides their own set of services. They also have their own pricing structure. Again relating to Freelance Writers, some charge per word, others provide an hourly rate or day rate, and others (like me), charge per project.
The best thing you can do is shop around, do your research and be realistic.
That prospect came back to me a few weeks later complaining about their blog posts. I fixed it for them, but they could have saved a lot of time, money and hassle if they had just done their research.
3. Sorting Out the Brief
Okay, so you know you need a Freelancer for your project. You need to be very concise and forthcoming when it comes to the brief. The finer details can be discussed later, but a good brief will usually outline:
Your product or service
Your audience and how you talk to them
What you need producing
What the deadline is
The budget (see above for advice on how to set a budget).
A great brief will also include links to your website, product images or even samples you like from competitors or different industries.
4. How Do You Know You Have Found Your Perfect Freelancer?
Just like any service provider, it's always useful to get to know who you're working with. This is where interviews, chats, and even more research can come in handy.
You'll see the top answer for this question will always be - "Check out the Freelancers portfolio". But, there is more to it than that. The portfolio will give you an idea as to the talent and skill of the Freelancer; however, you may see things that aren't necessarily relevant to you or your company goals.
Take time to get to know the Freelancer, build a relationship. This will be important to ensure that you're a good match. Also, be sure to check out their reviews, testimonials and case studies. This goes a long way for you to get to know who they are, how they work and the type of results you can expect.
Remember, as part of the interview process; the Freelancer will be interviewing you too. This is not like conducting interviews for hiring an employee. The Freelancer is also making sure that you're a good match to the type of clients they want to work with.
5. Paying Your Freelancer
This is an important factor that highlights the difference between a Freelancer and an employee. As I've said, Freelancers tend to set their own rates; they are a business. So it stands to reason that transactions should be made just like any other business.
Each Freelancer will be different, of course. Depending on the service they provide, you can expect to pay an upfront deposit of 50% and pay the rest when the project is complete. Other Freelancers prefer being paid in full upfront, and some may have a lower deposit etc. You may even be able to pay a monthly retainer and receive ongoing work from your Freelancer.
Paying the agreed amount on time is important to keep the relationship strong. Most Freelancers will give you an invoice that will be payable within a specified time frame.
6. Drawing Up The Contract
Any experienced Freelancer will provide you with a contract that both parties must agree on before starting work. The contract will outline:
The Ts&Cs of the contract
The length of time agreed for the project
The price of the project, deposits, additional costs etc.
When and How payments are to be expected
A description of the Assignment
Changes and Revisions
Signed and Dated by both parties
7. How To Get the Most From Your Freelancer
Forming a good working relationship with your Freelancer is integral to your project. It's mutually beneficial, and keeping a positive relationship improves efficiency, productivity and willingness to do more.
Having a good relationship also allows you to seek out the Freelancer's services again in the future should you have another project. To get the most out of your Freelancer, you should avoid:
Dictating Schedules: Aside from establishing deadlines, you have no control over the hours the Freelancer works. Schedule meetings when it's convenient for both parties, don't tell the Freelancer that you expect them to be there at your convenience.
Assigning critical tasks: A Freelancer is not part of your company; their work should not be important for you to conduct business as usual. They are there to provide a service that helps boost your business.
Micro-managing the project: A Freelancer is an independent body, they are also experts in their field. By all means, arrange regular catch-up sessions, but don't expect them to follow your company's methods or report too often.
Expect to be able to contact the Freelancer whenever suits you: Most Freelancers will set their own schedule, hours/days of work and are in complete control of when they expect to speak with their clients. Please be respectful of operating hours, we do try and accommodate your schedule and days of work as best we can, but we're not available 24/7.
Changing the brief: Once work has commenced, and terms are agreed, don't expect the Freelancer to stray from that willingly agreement. You need to be clear and concise in your needs at the beginning.
You are paying a Freelancer to provide you with quality service. Don't fall into the trap of thinking quantity = better value for money. You need to take your target market into account. By having an understanding that the Freelancer is the expert, you may also benefit from consultations, advice or ideas from a new perspective.
This is largely from hiring a Freelance Copywriter perspective, but the same can be applied to hiring any Freelancer out there.