Published Mar 09 2020
With all the new technology, the world is changing continuously and business with it. Now more and more people are leaving their full-time jobs to join the gig economy. According to a survey, 57 million people in the United States were freelancing in 2017 with 8.1% growth rate. If the trend continues, more than 50% of the U.S population will be freelancing until 2027. It’s not necessarily a bad thing for you or your business. You won’t have a talent shortage, instead, you will find it in abundance.
Unfortunately, the majority of businesses in the U.S aren’t ready to hire freelancers. They are comfortable with their old ways of doing business. But if there is one thing history has shown us, it’s the fact that if you aren’t willing to change with the world, you are not going to survive for long. The fact that 60% of the fortune 500 companies of the 90s didn’t even survive is a testimony in itself. Hiring a freelancer is the best way to get an extra pair of the hands-on board without having to worry about paying someone full time. So, it gives you flexibility as well as speed, which are essential to your business’ success.
I am not saying that if you aren’t paying someone full time, you don’t have to be careful while hiring. After all, their work is going to represent your company. There is a good chance that you won’t meet face to face with the freelancer you hire so you can’t use the same hiring process. Here are the 6 things you need to consider before hiring a freelancer.
Freelancer Should be Qualified for the Job
I know it’s like stating the obvious, but you have to conduct proper due diligence to see if a freelancer is a good fit for your project. The one mistake most clients do while hiring a freelancer is that they just look at the overall rating of the freelancer and client reviews. Undoubtedly, it’s important but it won’t serve the whole purpose.
Let me show you why. Let’s say you have an eCommerce store and you need a Google ads specialist to market your products through PPC (Pay Per Click) Campaigns. Now you find two potential candidates that you can hire. One of them has a lot of experience in running B2B PPC campaigns. The other freelancer’s profile doesn’t have a lot of past projects but has more relevant projects of running successful ad campaigns for eCommerce businesses. The choice looks simply, you need to hire someone that has the experience with very similar projects. Right? However, you won’t find it unless you do proper due diligence. Along with the overall rating of the freelancer, you need to find the details of the past projects as well. Only then you will be able to shortlist the right candidates for the job.
Prefer someone who knows the culture
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to say that you need to hire someone who shares the same values as your company so he can adapt to your company’s culture. That might be true, but I am not implying that here. The reason being, you are hiring a freelancer, so you don’t have to worry about them being suitable for your company culture. Let me explain here what I mean. If I am looking for a copywriter for my product, I will always prefer someone based in the United States. It doesn’t mean that I can’t find talent outside the US. It just means that a copywriter who lives here would be familiar with our culture, norms and how people communicate with each other. That’s why he will be able to write better copy for the product and the project will be more likely to succeed.
Price Shouldn’t be the Criteria
Most of the companies want to hire a freelancer just because they are super cheap. This way they can get the same work done for pennies on the dollar. I am not saying that you should consider the price while hiring a freelancer. I am just trying to say that price shouldn’t be the only factor you need to consider. To figure out which kind of person to hire, ask yourself about the outcome you want from this project. If you are looking for a web developer to build your company website just because every one of your competitors has one, you can find freelancers who can do it for you in $250. It will serve the purpose, but it might not be a quality website with lots of issues. But, if you want to make a website to represent your company and to better serve your clients, you need to hire a developer who can implement your vision. And he is not going to be cheap for sure. One of my clients once told me that he hired a developer from India who charged him less than $200 for making his company website. However, as soon as the project was finished, that same developer got into his website and hacked it. I know it doesn’t happen to everyone, but you have to make sure that you are working with someone you can trust.
Hire One Instead of Two
Hiring and managing a freelancer is very different from managing your full-time employees. There are several departments in a company where each and every department have its functions. So, if you assign a project to a team of 5 people, everyone will carry out his own duties and the finished project will be close to your original vision. It’s not going to be the same when you hire freelancers. You know why? Because, in your office, you can make every team member sit in a single room and explain the whole project, answer their questions and even follow up on each other when need be. That’s not going to happen if you hire multiple freelancers for a single project. Your work required to manage and coordinate with them will be increased and the outcome of the project might not be what you wanted. To make it simple for you, let’s assume that you want to make your company website and you decided to hire two developers. One front end developer and the other back end developer.
What I am saying is to hire one Full Stack developer instead of hiring two. It will not only save time and money but the chances of turning your vision into reality will be increased by several folds.
Divide payments in Milestones
At this point, you will have finalized a freelancer for your project. Now it’s your turn to decide how you are going to pay your freelancer once you hire him. There are two ways you can pay for the freelancer. You can hire him on hourly wages, or you can fix a certain amount for the whole project. I found fixed price projects better as you agree upon a price and you will get the work on time. To make this system more efficient and time-saving, you can divide the fixed price into milestones. Once the freelancer has finished a certain task, he will show you the work done and get paid for the milestone. The reason it’s more efficient than a one-time payment is that you set certain milestones when you can review the work. If something is not right, you can change it promptly. If you found any big mistakes at the end, it is going to take more time to correct the mistakes. There is a condition when you can hire a freelancer on hourly wages. If you are going to hire a freelancer for a long time and the tasks may vary from time to time, you can’t negotiate a price for each small task. You can never do that. In such a situation you can hire him on hourly wages.
Done is better than perfect
By this point, you will have hired a perfect freelancer for your project. If you are already running a business for some time, you might know it already. But if you are just starting out as an entrepreneur and outsourcing some of your responsibilities to freelancers, you need to understand this point. No matter if you hired a freelancer to make your company logo or website, you have to understand that you need to get things done as an entrepreneur. You can’t achieve perfection. In fact, no one can.
I have seen a lot of young entrepreneurs fail just because they were perfectionists. They drained their energy and resources trying to make their logo, their website, and their business idea perfect. So, I would suggest you avoid this pitfall and don’t obsess over making things perfect. You can always change things as soon as you are making progress. But if you get stuck for months perfecting your website, you won’t focus on the important things.