What to consider when hiring freelancers

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Hiring freelancers is more than price. But if you check most freelancing platforms, that is what they push you towards.

You can understand why. It’s much easier to compare a set dollar amount than look at a person’s experience, expertise and attitude. There’s a big push to award freelance work on price because it makes it easier for the platforms that offer it.

However, a focus on money as your only or main deciding factor significantly reduces the opportunities and the outcome potential. Price is not an accurate way to determine if two (or more) people should be working together. Nor is it ever an indicator of skills, experience, and knowledge.

If you’re a client looking to commission freelance work, you need to look for the person that supports your goals.

Here’s why a focus on price is not a great idea when hiring freelancers 

Collaboration matters

When you hire people for your business, you look for the person that is the right fit for the job. But if it began and ended with the CV and the laundry list of skills and qualifications, why then would you even bother with the interview process?

It’s because no matter the project, the person you are dealing with matters too.

A side profile of a shadowed figure to demonstrate hiring freelancers. This person has a beanie on and looking intently at their laptop in a cafe window.

Thanks to Hannah Wei for sharing their work on Unsplash.

The same is true when you’re hiring freelancers.

We’ve all met the genius who can’t get along with anyone. We’ve all had to deal with the fall out from their actions and the issues it creates. For a genius, we might be willing to take the risk.

But for a relatively cheap piece of freelance work, do you really have the brain space to deal with someone who isn’t the right cultural fit?

We (begrudgingly) accept divas when we have to because they add to the project through their skills. However, if we end up with a Diana Ross sized diva and the freelance work undertaken is cheap, it’s a much more bitter pill to swallow.

If you’re looking for someone to do freelance work for you, especially for ongoing work, a long-term business relationship or a large-scale project, you need to know you can work with them.

Price is not an indicator that someone can collaborate or play nicely with others. If you want to move away from the mythology freelancers are unemployable people, stop choosing the people who have to drop their rates to compensate for their bad attitudes. Stop choosing the ones so green they don’t know how to charge.

Pick your chosen freelance worker for attitude and teamwork abilities instead.

Skill and experience pay dividends

If someone has to study their butt off to do their best damn freelance work, it is to your benefit. The problem with studying their butt off means they also have to be able to afford to study. The freelancer in question needs to take the time off to do that study. Even if it’s self-study where they set themselves projects or independently learn, your chosen freelancer still needs to spend time and money to make it happen.

Courses, software, new tools, hardware, books – all of these things require money. As wonderful as the blogging world can be to start someone off, there needs to be an acceptance that both time and money are needed to invest in people’s skills.

Experience creates efficiency. Experience minimises the margin of error. Plus, it means the freelance work is not prohibited from being the best work it can by someone focusing on mastering the tools on your paid project.

You are meant to pay a rate that allows freelance professionals to study and level up in their own time. You want the tattoo artist that has gotten the experimentation out of their system. You want the doctor who has taken the time to be mentored as an intern.

So why would you want the freelancer who is clutching at your project as their latest practice round? Hiring freelancers that know what they are doing is paramount.

The assumption that the software can do the heavy lifting forgets that the operator makes all the difference. By lumping everyone who can write a sentence in the box with the copywriters means you don’t care what you communicate, you simply care that it happens.

Don’t risk your business to such vague ideas of what creative skills look and feel like.

cheap work contains hidden costs 

Freelance work is not only about being able to regurgitate what is already out there. You want someone that stands out to your customers and makes you competitive, right? But we all know the cheap freelance work attracts issues with IP infringement and plagiarism. This can be a huge expense if it’s not caught in time.

Plus, compliance and best practice can dictate the terms of the freelance work. For example, you want someone that understands medical writing guidelines, legal aspects of the industry, financial best practice or governance if you plan to release work in these industries. We all know the ATO, the law or the government don’t take ignorance as a suitable defence. Hiring freelancers that are professional minimises your risk.

The time taken to get work done is also an issue. Do you really want to wait for someone to read the internet on your particular field, put something together and hope they got it right?

And let’s not forget the joy of having to get things redone. I knew a web development freelancer who began his career by redoing the websites, apps and other associated pieces of digital marketing that had been done cheaply. Security risks, poorly done code, basic WordPress modified over tweaking the plugins or customising on top of the platform- all of these problems and more were things he encountered.

Do you really want to go to the trouble of hiring freelancers twice and three times to get the work done?

Project management reduces mistakes  

One of the most interesting things you come across as a freelancer is the assumption by business owners they know what they are asking for. It’s lovely to come to us with a laundry list that says you need a daily post on Facebook and your community management is sorted. Or that you believe you need a new lead generation funnel because the latest conference said so. But what are the outcomes you are looking for?

Real freelancers, ones that are experienced and skilled, know that to look after your project properly, they need to focus on the outcomes. Sometimes, that outcome isn’t evident when asking for things in word limits, post schedule or line item format.

You aren’t hiring freelancers to run through a TO DO list. You are hiring freelancers to get you the best outcome.

So, let us do that. Let us add value to your project by working with us to get the best result.

Freelance work is as much about cracking open the brief and comparing it with the client’s intentions as it is with performing the task. We need to know that you haven’t missed an opportunity to do something of greater impact with your business. Or that you haven’t forgotten to include elements by focusing on one area.

Asking for a marketing element without overarching strategy isn’t going to move the needle. You have to dig deeper.

For example, when I speak to a client interested in hiring me or hiring freelancers I know, I ask:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Are you looking to convert new customers or is this about retaining the ones you have?
  • Do you need to slim down your calls to customer service?
  • Are you getting leads but losing them before they convert?
  • How are you winning your leads and does the project you’re asking for support and/or expand on that?
  • Is this part of a larger campaign or strategy?
  • How much work can you do to support your marketing efforts once the item is built?
  • Where did the inspiration for this project come from?
  • Why are you choosing to commission this freelance work over other available options?

Asking questions about the project and building what is going to work isn’t going to happen if you simply say, “copywriting please” and choose the person willing to do it by regurgitating what is already on the internet for $50.

Think it through. And think it through with someone who is paid enough to think along with you!

When does price matter when hiring freelancers?

Of course, price can and does remain an element of all the freelance work we do. However, it’s a deciding factor after a myriad of options are considered.

What you want is to know your freelance project (and your business baby) is in safe hands. You want to know that if you commission it, will get done and not need to be redone. And it will be done to a standard that supports your vision and your goals. You also want to make sure you have the time and energy to support the freelance work reaching the best outcome. That means being able to communicate efficiently, work as a team, and make sure the time is well spent. That’s all without pulling you away from the core focus of your business- or putting you in hot water with your industry or the law.

If you’re looking to hire high quality freelancers, check out the Freelance Jungle. There are over 400 local Australian and New Zealand freelancers with great skills and industry knowledge waiting to help you.

Want to meet the right person for your project? Check out the Freelance Jungle directory. OR contact me so I can hand select the right person for the job.

Take the guess work out of hiring freelancers. GET IN TOUCH NOW. 

 

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