Does your small business need a little extra expertise or just a few new hands on deck? Luckily, it's easy to find great freelancers and independent contractors who can help you bring your brand to the next level. But where do you find freelance talent, and how do you hire freelancers who can help you produce great work on your ideal timescale? Read on to learn more about how you can find and hire the best freelancers for your startup or small business.
Determine what you want from your freelancer
Before you start posting on job boards or scouring the web for available talent, take a second to think about what you actually need. Are you looking for a full-time employee or virtual assistant to help you with your workload? Or do you need someone with a specific skill set, like a web developer or graphic designer? Once you've answered those questions, start getting even more specific. How long will you need your freelancer to stay on board? What can you pay them with your current budget? What do you imagine them doing every day, and how often do you anticipate checking in with them? The more details you can nail down early on in your search for the perfect freelancer, the more likely you are to find someone who will work well with you.
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Write a great job post to attract freelancers
Once you know exactly what you're looking for in a freelancer, it's time to communicate your needs in order to find the most qualified person for the job. Think about what you'd look for in a great job post, such as a clear job title, a detailed description of your startup and/or specific project, and a detailed account of what the job actually entails. Try to capture as many details as you can by describing what a typical day of work might look like, so your freelancer knows exactly what to expect.
It's certainly important to include what requirements you're looking for, but don't get too bogged down in unnecessary, overly stringent requirements — they can make skilled applicants feel unqualified, which may keep them from applying. Although your applicants may need certain academic or technical requirements in order to perform their role adequately, including requirements such as "good at time management" or "skilled at communication" will also give potential freelancers an idea of what to expect in the position. Creating a thoughtful, detailed job post is a great way to start attracting skilled candidates to your startup.
Reach out to potential freelance candidates
Before you can start speaking to interested candidates, you actually need to get your job post out there! There are a few ways to do this. For example, you can reach out to peers and colleagues in person or ask other freelancers for recommendations. Leveraging the connections in your network is a great way to build on your relationships while receiving recommendations you know you can trust. Another easy way to attract qualified candidates is to post on a job site, such as Upwork, Fiverr, or PeoplePerHour. These sites allow you to post detailed job descriptions for either long-term employment or on a project-by-project basis. Many of them allow potential freelancers to submit bids on your project that you can then sort through to find someone who seems like a good fit.
Since you'll be getting tons of responses, you can also consider adding a specific question or two to your job post, such as "What is your nickname?" or "What made you interested in your current field?". Asking these questions not only allows you to get to know your applicants even better, but it will also help you weed out the candidates who didn't read your job posting thoroughly enough. By reaching out to peers and colleagues, or posting a detailed job posting on a good job board, you can increase your odds of finding skilled, qualified candidates.
Dig deeper in an interview
Once you've narrowed down your list of candidates, ask to take a look at their past work. Many freelancers in creative fields have portfolios, which contain examples of their past work and give you a good sense of what their style is. If you're looking for designers, writers, or artists, examining their portfolios is a crucial step in determining whether they're capable of generating work that is similar to your aesthetic. If they don't have a portfolio, ask them for their resumes, case studies or previous accomplishments. Anything that gives you a better sense of the work they've done can be valuable in helping you find a freelance hire!
If you like their work, it's time to speak to them in a one-on-one interview. Whether you have questions about their previous work or you want to see if you can assess their creativity by asking them to come up with a logo design on short notice, an interview is the perfect way to answer all your questions. Be sure to assess how you seem to get along with the applicant. If you two communicate well and enjoy talking to each other, it's likely that you'll enjoy a great working relationship. Use the interview to learn as much as you can about each applicant, but don't forget to trust your gut when it comes to making a decision!
Don't forget your freelancer’s training
You've waded through a long list of great freelancers and finally found one who'd be perfect for your startup. Don't mess up now! Remember that you know your brand better than anyone else, and your new hire may need some time to adjust. Give them all the information they need to capture your brand's voice, style and tone, and provide consistent and respectful feedback as they continue working with you. Set your new freelancer up for success by giving them all the tools they need to succeed, and they'll be far more likely to generate the work you're hoping they will produce.
Hiring a great freelancer is as easy as defining your open position, writing and posting a detailed job description, and conducting an open and honest job interview. Once you've hired your dream freelancer, give them plenty of training and support to ensure that they're set up for success. If you're looking to spend less time doing administrative tasks and more time training your new freelancer, try using a freelance platform such as Indy. Indy allows freelancers to connect with clients, generate forms and contracts, and track your time spent working from one central platform, allowing you to spend more time doing the work you're passionate about doing. Try Indy today for free — no credit card required.