Category Archives for "Hiring Freelancers"
Hiring a freelance developer
If you own a company or you have some kind of web presence you will no doubt already know what a developer is. Anything web development related is best handled by the code-reading, technical thinking minded individuals who are known to the rest of us as developers.
So if you’re in the position where you need to hire one to work on some kind of development project you have going on (building a website, funnel, handling a technical hiccup) you’re going to need one of these guys or girls to get that all sorted for you.
Unless you are in the business where you require a development team to take care of a section of your operations, chances are you won’t have a need for a full-time developer and when this is the case, the best thing to do is hire a freelance developer.
If you’ve never done this before, you may have a whole bunch of questions and may be asking yourself where to start.
And that’s why you’re here.
Let's check out your guide to hiring a freelance developer!
First things first
You know you need to hire a freelancer and that’s a good start but what you should be asking at this point right in the beginning is “What am I looking for?”
Do you need someone to do some light maintenance on your website or actually build you a website from scratch? Do you have a technical issue you require fixing or are you looking to create an app?
These are the kinds of questions you need to be asking yourself so that you get an idea of exactly what you need to be done.
Answering this question will also help you establish how you are going to start looking for the right developer and ultimately will influence who you end up hiring.
So once you identify what you need done you need to then think about the scope of the work and how the freelancer ultimately fits into the entire thing. Work on this part carefully because you are outlining the work you need to be done by the freelancer to help make this as easy to execute as possible.
Do you need a new site? If so, do you have copy and graphics?
Have you purchased a theme you wish to use or do you need everything coordinated from scratch? Will you require emails to be set up and sent out? Are there systems to be set up in this process?
Outline all the work you need to be done even if it seems meticulous, trust us when we say, the more detail you give, the better it is for freelancers because you need to familiarise them with your brand, how things work and the line of business you are in so that they understand the processes involved.
Make sure that you have all this prepared BEFORE you hire anyone because the less you leave to chance and assuming the other person understands, the better.
Also, having this info prepared before you start the hiring process will help you to identify what kind of developer you are looking for.
Being organized in this way is better for you and the developer because the lines are clearly defined, everyone understands what they need to do and a schedule can be maintained as well as a deadline met.
Let’s get hiring
Now that you know what you need to be done, you can start looking for who’s going to do it.
Luckily, there are a lot of platforms you can check out when looking to hire a freelancer developer. There are also a lot of ways within these sites to find the right person for your particular job.
For instance, you can run searches on people skilled in particular things like site building or technical issues or even CSS if that is what you really need.
Remember when you formulated the scope of work before? You will see how handy that comes in when knowing exactly what skills you need the developer you hire, to have. You don’t want to be talking to people who deal strictly in CSS if all you are looking for is someone to load a theme for you and upload your content to the site.
Once you’ve been able to find the right category of people you are looking for, then you can start to investigate more. Check out their profiles, if they have previous work listed (gives you an idea of their style), what their reputation is like on the platform and what other previous clients have said about them.
Once you narrow that down some more, reach out to the person and ask a few questions. Keep in mind though, that at this point, this person is not obligated to give you all their time and effort as you have not hired anyone. It’s an exercise to see if they are the right fit and should be respected as this accordingly. After all, they are freelancers, the time they are spending talking to you about a ‘possible’ job is time they could be spending on a paid job.
If after chatting you don’t feel it’s a good fit, simply keep looking. And when you do find the right person and you’re both happy to move forward, then it’s time to agree on a deal.
This is the part of the process that you need to have documented so that everyone agrees what has been decided on, there are no misunderstandings and nothing can be disputed.
Everything that you require done needs to be included in the agreement as well as anything like time included for changes, quality control testing and the like.
The deadline will also be agreed on and should be a compromise from both ends. What you may need to be done in a week is not actually possible and may require 2 and it’s good to get all that down so that everyone understands what needs to happen.
It’s important to keep in mind at this point that you are hiring this person because of their particular skill set and that you should respect it as such. After all, if you could do this on your own you wouldn’t need to enlist their help.
You need to remember that what they are saying is in the best interest of the project and by coming this far, you are demonstrating you have placed a certain level of trust in them and their capability.
In other words, let them do what you are paying them to do and when they make suggestions, take them into consideration as what is best for the outcome of this project.
Next comes another important part of the deal. The money.
Freelancers can work in two ways, that is, per hour or per project.
This will all depend on the freelancer and the kind of project you have to complete so no two situations are ever the same.
However, a general guide is that the longer the project is, the better it is to include an overall budget opposed to an hourly rate.
Again, this will depend on you and the developer.
There are two things, though, that you really should keep in mind when negotiating this part of the deal.
1. What you pay for is what you’re getting.
Understand this concept well. If you are not prepared to pay a lot, do not be prepared for the level of work you may be expecting.
This is not the time or place to skimp on something because the quality of the work being done will depend on that. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand that they too have their worth. You trying to save some money on something like this does not only send out the wrong message but also lowers the expectation you should have on the final product. Just like you expect to be paid fairly for your services, the freelancer is no different.
2. Be upfront about your budget
Be honest and open about what your budget is for this project. The freelancer may or may not be able to work around it. Perhaps the scope of work will need to change or you will have to continue the search for someone that fee does work for, but be honest from the start and do not create any false expectations.
Also, if the freelancer is unable to make this fee work, respect them and move on - the last thing they or you need is for it to get ugly because they cannot accept the amount you are willing to pay.
Let’s get working
Now that you’ve done all the prep work, negotiating and have come to an agreement, it’s time to get working.
If you think that once all that has been done, you can now send emails/texts around the clock looking for updates, think again.
This type of work is something that takes concentration and time therefore when you have both agreed on delivery time and review dates, let the person work in peace and trust the process.
If you really don’t trust the process, perhaps you should not have come this far in hiring the person. Because, after all, you both should be clear about what the outcomes are at this stage in the process.
Nothing at this point should be changed either unless both of you agree it is in the best interest of the project and the change in scope is documented. And keep in mind this is also not the time to ask them to do just ‘one small thing’ for you either.
Let the magic happen and concentrate on completing the project.
And once you have received your completed project, everyone is happy and the project is wrapped, please don’t delay in paying the freelancer their due.
Remember that the person took on the job in good faith just as much as you took them on as such and so it’s important to hold up your end of the bargain too, on time.
Creating and building a business from scratch is a different kind of challenge. Apart from the satisfaction that can come from achieving success from an idea brought to life, it is the chance to turn that idea into your living and career.
Starting the business is the part where you need to learn to juggle both input and your cost of input. What we mean by input, is the amount of human capital you will ideally be making use of to grow this business. Having people help you in different areas of the business is one of the many ideal ways you can look at growing your business while ensuring you yourself concentrate on doing things which you are strong in.
But this is the tricky part. How much money you spend on that help and it’s tricky because you’re just starting out and want to be saving each cent you have to ensure the survival of the business but not spending money on critical input is just as crippling for the business.
Enter the idea of freelancing services. You could say this is the best of both worlds. The chance for you to get the required input you may need without having to commit to the responsibility of paying full-time staff.
Plus you get to have the benefit of people skilled in different areas of the business so that your business has that fighting chance to grow and position itself to make its way past that period of uncertainty every startup goes through.
So if you’re thinking why you should consider hiring some freelance staff, let’s go through some other reasons why its not only a good idea but a great one to help make your business a successful one.
1. There are freelancers out there for every industry
You’ve likely chosen a particular niche to operate within and as such you will be pleased to know that there are likely to be freelancers who operate by selling their services for this industry.
When you’re looking for a freelancer, don’t just look for someone who you think can do the job you need to be done. Look for people who have a record of working in your specific field and can show you their experience. You don’t want to hire people unless they can address the challenges your business may encounter being a startup, you want their input to be of benefit.
Also, keep in mind you want to be hiring people who are passionate about their field because that passion drives their motivation and this is something of extreme importance with something like getting a startup going. NOt everyone is cut out for startup roles and it's important to get the right people on your side when getting started. Remember every cent counts for you as a startup.
2. Be sure to hire people who understand the role of marketing
This is a non-negotiable point we think because no matter what business you are starting, you are going to need to embark on marketing it to bring in sales. You’ll, therefore, be wanting to work with someone who understands the importance of that but also understands how to market the business.
Again, remember every cent counts so the level of marketing you make use of will depend on your budget restrictions. But it’s worth mentioning that whether your budget is tight or not, it is important to make provision to embark on marketing because this is what is going to help grow your business as well as bring you the leads to build a client following.
Try to concentrate on finding freelancers that understand the strategic importance of exploring leads for your business versus simply making people aware of your brand on the market.
Good freelancers will understand this point and will be able to work around it by ensuring that all marketing prompts people to do something instead of simply acknowledging your brand exists.
3. Get the finances right
This is a non-negotiable point. Whether you are starting from scratch or you have the capital to play with when you start your business, you need to be able to plan your finances well. Having this part of the business secured and dealt with adequately can be what helps sustain your business in the long run.
Planning around the financials is therefore essential and you should bring in a professional to help you make a financial plan and stick to it.
4. Respect the role freelancers can play
From being like minded people to having passion and commitment for something like startups are only two of the many reasons freelancers are ideal for when you need help but cannot afford to hire a full complement of staff.
Start small if your budget does not provide for more than one hire. Find the most crucial point in the business where you require assistance and work from there. Think about it, if paying for the services of one freelancer helps you to secure enough money to keep operating for the next 6 months isn’t it worthwhile to direct some resources towards that instead of not hiring them and battling for another 10 to 12 months on your own?
5. Location is not an issue
The name of the game with freelancers is that they can operate from anywhere around the world. You don’t have to have them sitting in the office in front of you for them to do what they need to do for your business to benefit. You can essentially create an entire virtual team of freelancers from all areas of the world if you wanted to that can communicate and work together to achieve the same result as a team sitting in one office can do.
It’s all about having the right perspective and ensuring communication channels are strong and always open.
Plus, think about your budget. If you were to hire these services from around the world, you may even find cheaper rates opposed to if you were hiring a local. So while you can find people at a lower cost, you should always remember that they need to show you they can provide the results you need instead of simply going with the cheapest freelancer out there.
6. Freelancers can become your second eyes, ears, and hands
When you use the services of freelancers properly, you can essentially save yourself a lot of time because you can rely on them. So if you’re not an admin person and you find yourself wasting a lot of time battling with it, hiring someone to do that for you will allow you to spend more time on the things you ARE good at which can help you grow your business.
A lot of people think “I’ll save money by doing it myself”, however, this can have its downfalls especially when it comes to what it can do to us mentally. You can defeat yourself by thinking this way because you will eventually be so busy with so many things that you land up getting nothing done and going nowhere.
Having someone to help you with things you can outsource will not only help to keep your mind sane but can help you to actually get things done, a step which is crucial for taking a business from startup to ongoing.
7. Think about your startup costs
Some may think that keeping your startup costs in mind goes against hiring freelancers to do work for you but in fact, this could not be more wrong.
Think about it. You are investing in the right person to do something for you which means that you are paying them to get it the right first time. Because they are experienced, you will not have to train them to have the skills you need them to have so it’s like hitting the ground running for your business.
The mistake some startups tend to make is thinking their business needs to grow a bit before hiring people to help but this is totally wrong. If you are investing in the right human capital to help and investing in them the right way, the payoff will be a success. Plus it works out WAY MORE cost-effective, in the long run, to pay someone to help you get off the ground instead of wasting time and money trying to get there on your own before paying someone to help you.
8. You have a vast pool of freelancers to choose from
Gone are the days when freelancing was a small network of people. The digital age has helped to bring momentum to this industry and helped to create a very wide pool of choices when it comes to looking and finding a freelancer.
And because the field is so large, freelancers know that they need to be results-driven in order to make the cut against their colleagues in the field. It is in their best interest to be the best choice when it comes to hiring staff.
Think about it also from this perspective. Freelancers are not pushing 9-5 jobs that can leave them feeling mentally drained and operating like robots. They are constantly changing up their environment as well as what they are working on so their challenges are always changing.
This can help in terms of how fresh they are when approaching a job and also has a lot to do with how passionate they can be. Each project they embark on is exciting and has the potential to be great and this attitude they have can have an incredible effect on the outcome of the project.
The last thing you want is to have someone working for you in ‘robot mode’ where you simply feed the tasks in and they shoot out the deliverables. You want passionate people helping you grow your business and it’s up to you also to maintain a work environment that is conducive to having people produce results.
In the end, you don’t only want someone to come in and get the job done but you want that it is both an enriching and valuable interaction. You can benefit a great deal from freelancers because of the way they tend to work and because they are skilled and have something to offer.
Make sure your business gets the best fighting chance to grow by effectively hiring freelancers to help in their relevant areas and that way you can work on what you do best to ensure that there is a business there to run at the end of the day.
Startups are tricky yes, but learning how to best work around the tricks while making sure you have the right things done at the right time can ensure your survival and help you to grow and scale your startup in no time.
So you’ve decided you are going to outsource work for some aspects of your business and now you have the task of finding the perfect person to execute your vision. In other words, you need the right person to bring to life what you have in your head.
Perhaps you’re not wanting to hire someone full-time just yet because you want to make sure that you know what you’re looking for and what to expect from the position that you are going to fill. Before you go all in, you want to make sure you understand what you need to expect from this particular role also so that by the time you find that person who can do it, the workflow will flow a lot easier.
Hiring a freelancer is great for a few reasons. Firstly, you get to hire someone with the right skillset without having to take on the full expense of having that person fulltime. If you are a recent startup, this will be ideal for the business’ cashflow situation too. Plus, freelancers work from their own locations so if you have not yet acquired your office space it’s a great way to get the work done without having to have the person come into your space to do it.
What’s also great about freelancers is that everyone is different. So if you are looking to change things up or keep things fresh then a new touch on each project can be just what you need. Just make sure you are cool with making each freelancer understand the vision of your company as well giving them as much to go on as possible.
So where do you start when wanting to hire the perfect freelancer for you?
Because let’s face it, it can sometimes feel overwhelming.
But that’s where this guide comes in and why you’re essentially here - to make sure that finding the perfect freelancer is not only easy but helps you achieve your objective or project you are working on.
So let’s get started.
1. Write down what it is you want & expect
This is an important step because it helps you bring your thoughts together. It also makes things clear from the start and helps give you an idea if you are looking for a single freelancer or a few different people with different skillsets. You can’t expect someone to be able to do it all or else you’d be defeating the purpose of making use of different skill sets of different people.
Next thing you want to write down is what you expect. This can be the job description itself, how experienced you want the person to be what education they need to have or any other prerequisites you expect from candidates. The clearer you are from the start, the less chance there is for any confusion, misunderstandings or issues down the line. If you want the person to have at least 5 years experience in a specific niche, write it down. Be as specific as you can. It might seem painful but this can be what helps you find the right people and what helps maintain a great, professional working relationship.
Then you can also describe the role that the person needs to fill as simple as possible. Think of it like this: if someone had to ask you off the cuff what you need, how would you explain it as simply as possible for the person to understand.
This is not about keeping things short but rather keeping them simple and uncomplicated. Remember, simpler is easier to understand and leaves less room for confusion.
2. Do your own HR research
One thing you never do is go in with your eyes closed because you think ‘it’s easy to hire a freelancer’. For starters, you want to make sure you are getting someone who does what they say they do, the way they say they do it.
We’re not talking about going full-on private detective on them but make sure you are asking the right questions. The reason is that there are a lot of people out there who can act dishonest and make this process a small nightmare. Does the person claim to be able to do something specific? Ask for examples of their work, client testimonials or anything that will help to show you they are ready to deliver.
What’s great about freelancing websites is that they usually have their own vetting process in place to ensure that no unscrupulous behavior takes place. But just to be sure, inquire if they do in fact pre-qualify freelancers or what their checks are.
You want to be 100% sure that you are getting what you pay for.
3. Choose where you are going to source talent from
Here’s where you need to decide how you are going to look for and find the right person or people. There are a lot of ways of doing this from using social networking sites to dedicated freelance hiring platforms. Be sure to understand how much things will cost you if you choose to go through the freelancing sites as there is usually feels involved but do keep in mind that you may be getting much better candidates than what you would get on something like a social networking site.
Keep in mind also that freelance sites, as mentioned before, have a way of vetting people to make sure candidates are credible. If they don’t do this, you need to ask why and if there is a client review section that proves the candidates on the site are legit and reliable.
A lot of sites also have a system in place that rates candidates so that the candidates on the sites are all current and credible. After all, you are likely hiring someone from across the world and not about to be seeing them any time soon, so you want to be sure the person you choose is reliable.
At the same time, you need to be ready to hire someone after going this length to find someone. If you are not sure this exercise is going to end with you hiring a freelancer, perhaps it’s not the right time to be looking because the people on these sites are generally making a living from it and just like you don’t want to have your time wasted, neither would the freelancer.
4. Interview your selections
The one thing you need to remember here above everything else is to be as prepared as possible. Again, this process needs to be mutually beneficial for both you and the candidate so agreeing to get onto a video call with someone only to not know what questions to ask or appear unsure, will look a bit awkward.
This process can make people nervous and that is normal. Remember point 1 where you outlined what you want from the freelancer, now’s the time to elaborate on all of that.
Note down what the position will entail, what you expect from the person, what you need done and be sure that you understand their process of working. If the project relies on you reviewing their work and approval given, be clear as to how many reviews you are entitled to the fee that will be paid. Agree on the fee structuring whether it is hourly based or not.
Above everything else, make sure both you and the candidate understands what is expected because this is the most important aspect.
Take this moment to give a bit of background on yourself and your company, where you’ve been, what you want to achieve, your objectives, whether this has the potential to turn into a longer-term thing. Ask as many questions as you want to and allow the person to do the same.
After all, this is the part of the process which is going to help you decide if you are going to hire this person or not.
Also, think about how well you and the person gets along. Are they easy to understand, do you feel anxious communicating yourself to them? This will play a big role in how well you are able to work together with them so getting a good rapport with them will matter.
5. Make your choice on the candidate and get paperwork sorted
Once you’ve chosen the right person for the job, you will no doubt let them know so that you can get started as soon as possible.
Before you jump into briefing them though, be sure to take care of the admin part of the process.
This is where you both sign a document or agreement of some kind stating what each person's expectations are and outlines the fine print of the job. If it is hourly payment, how will it be measured and what is the fee?
Is there a deadline and what happens in the event of missed deadlines.
Unfortunately gone are the days where you can simply take someone at their word and you’d rather go through the hassle and headache of getting all the finer details agreed upon from the start so that neither person has any chance to say otherwise down the line.
Make sure there is provision for any disagreements too.
6. Training the candidate & briefing
You’ll want to ensure that any work the freelancer does for your company is in line with the standard you expect so you need to give the person the chance to learn these things. If you have any company guidelines or examples of past work, you should share this with them so they can accustom themselves.
Similarly, this gives them the chance to ask any questions they have before the job gets started so that no time is wasted.
This is also the part where you are likely going to brief them on what you want to be done.
Keep in mind the following:
You need to help the person understand what it is you wish to achieve which means giving them as much information for them to work with as possible;
Give detailed briefs and avoid sending incomplete ones that you say “we’ll add it in later”;
Give the person the chance to ask as many questions pertaining to the job as they need, this eliminates any confusion and will help get the work done on time;
Supply them with everything they need to complete the work from the beginning;
Avoid going back and forth by giving too little info, this wastes time and can create false expectations;
Make sure that you and the person are on the same page from the start, confusion will be unavoidable if you fail to communicate certain project-specific details.
7. Get started
Once everything is in place and you’ve briefed them and everyone is on the same page, the work will begin.
If you want to make sure the work gets a good start, set up mini-reviews along the way to make sure they are completing the work as per your expectations. This also helps guide them to know if they need to adjust how they work or adjust themselves more to your specific project.
Think about it as a fine-tuning process so that no time is wasted if the person still has any misunderstandings. The last thing you want is someone completing the project only to find out they have done it wrong and the deadline is up.
You don’t want them to be looking to you for payment because the work was completed and you are not ready to pay because you are not happy.
Keep the lines of communication open and maintain them well.
Don’t simply assume anything because this is the start of all misunderstandings. Plus the more you communicate, the better you will understand each other and the faster work can be completed.