When I was working at Agencies – to hire a freelancer was not always a pleasant experience. So many of them promised one thing and delivered another. But then there were also those freelancers who made work a breeze. They understood the brief and delivered on deadlines. Now I sit on the other side of the fence and meet clients of all types. Here is what I want to say to them when they want to hire a freelancer.
1. Write a brief before you hire a freelancer
Just yesterday, I met up with the CEO of a startup. On the phone, he told me he was looking for someone to handle his social media. But when we met and started discussions – it turned out that he had no budget and intended to handle images and posts himself. All he needed was help with understanding and managing the metrics.
So my suggestion would be that before you pick up the phone and call or send out an ad to hire a freelancer, write down your brief.
- What is my challenge/problem/concern to be addressed?
- Which skills will I need from the freelancer?
- How much is my budget for this project?
- Does my project have a deadline? If yes, what is it?
- What do I expect from my freelancer? should it be a person who can come into the office or can he or she work remotely?
- Who in your office will be the single point of contact for all coordination with the freelancer?
Clearly outlining this, in the beginning, will mean the job advertisement will be precise and you will know exactly what skill sets you are looking for.
If you are designing a website you’ll need someone with CSS experience. Or, if it’s social advertising, hiring someone with Facebook/Instagram/Linkedin/Pinterest… advertising experience is non-negotiable. Being aware of what you need for the project will mean when you hire a freelancer he/she will be more aligned with your project needs.
2. Check out their credentials and portfolio
A resume will outline what the freelancer can do and their technical experience, but knowing they can walk the talk is so important. That’s why checking out their portfolio online will reassure you about your decision.
3. Get to know your freelancer
Delivering a project becomes so much simpler and easier if you and your freelancer are on the same wavelength. It’s a good idea to have an initial phone conversation followed by a meeting in your office or at a coffee shop. As a freelancer, I prefer to meet the client in person. This makes it so much easier for you and me to decide if we are the right fit for the project.
4. Let your first project be a small one
If you have multiple projects in mind, try and make the first project a small one. It gives you a chance to assess the freelancer’s skills and minimize risk. It also helps build trust and establish a long term relationship that is mutually beneficial.
5. Finalize payment terms before you hire a freelancer
Do all you can to make the working relationship a smooth one. Check out whether the freelancer charges an hourly rate or per project. Is this aligned with your project budget? Complete transparency on this is essential to build trust and get a complete commitment when you hire a freelancer.
6. Get a time commitment from your freelancer
The uncertainty of getting projects and the need for a secure monthly income often makes freelancers over-commit. As a business owner, it’s alright to ask about their availability. Getting a definite time commitment means smooth sailing for your project.
7. Set deadlines and payment terms with your freelancer
As a freelancer, the best projects I’ve worked on have been where we created milestones and deadlines for each milestone/ We also agreed that payments were made quickly following the completion of a milestone.
I hope my list of guidelines is of some use in getting the right freelancers for your projects.