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How to hire a freelancer: a simple 3 step guide to hiring the expertise your business needs

Having the right expertise and capability in your team and business has never been more important. The coronavirus pandemic is changing rapidly the way we all work, but in the short term there are challenges to keep businesses operating despite team members being unable to work. One of the answers to this sudden skills gap is to bring on board freelancers for a short term work, to plug the resource gaps and keep the business operating and moving forward.

I’ve previously written about the positives of hiring a freelancer, but for many businesses this is a brand new idea and process, and I know it can seem daunting. So in this post I’m here to help, sharing a quick and simple 3 step guide on how to hire a freelancer.

1. Where to begin your search for a freelancer?

Freelancing Market Places:

A quick Google search for freelancers will lead you to a number of freelancing market places such as People Per Hour and Upwork. These market places are the equivalent of a ginormous supermarket. There’s a huge range of skills, capabilities and experience levels on offer. There’s many cheap and cheerful own brand ranges or a more select mix of more pricey deli style one off’s.

These market places can be a good place to start and can give you ideas of the types of experience and skills that are on offer. There is a note of caution here though. Whilst these big market places can often lead you to a freelancer at a low cost, partic


ularly as there are many international freelancers on the site, there are pros and cons to this. So it’s important you’re clear on the nitty gritty of what you need. For example, if you know that copywriting is one of your key priorities then whilst you can hire a freelance copywriter from pretty much anywhere globally for a relatively low cost, making sure they are native or at least fluent in the language you want them to write in is essential.

Network:

Your network is one of the best places to start because it’s likely you’ll be able to get feedback and even a recommendation which helps to build confidence and trust. Linked In is a great place to start. But, so is talking to people you already know and work with. Remember there’s six degrees of separation, so it’s likely that someone you know already knows someone who might be able to help you. As an established consultant and freelancer my network often comes straight to me.

Social Media:

Yes it’s time to get scrolling and searching. As most of us are on some form of social media this is a new standard place to start looking especially if you’re looking for a freelancer with a visual medium such as a graphic designer, film maker or photographer. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are where many freelancers go to share their work, ideas and businesses.

2. The next step, the interview

Yes, you do need to interview the freelancer, but there are some key differences to hiring a permanent member of the team.

Interviewing a freelancer is about three things:

· Finding out what work they’ve done before, and how it compares to what you need.

· Seeing whether you have rapport with them, can they fit in smoothly and quickly?

· Do you both understand what the outcome of the project / work needs to be?

Here’s a selection of questions you might ask a freelancer during your interview.

· Where are you based? And, what time zone are you based in? (Particularly important if you’re working with someone from abroad).

· How long will you need to complete the project?

· Are you able to work full-time or part-time? (Depending on your needs knowing the availability and time availability is essential. Remember you may not be the freelancers only client).

· What are your hours of work?

· Can I see your portfolio of work? And, what pieces in particular are relevant to this project?

· What are your rates and are you going to charge per project or per hour/day? (With pay it’s worth thinking about whether you would prefer to pay per project, per day or per hour).

3. Keeping it on the straight and now: Legalities are key

Contracts and statements of work (a detailed brief of what the project / work is that’ll be carried out and agreed by both parties). Are essential to keep your relationship on track and both parties protected. The Statement of Work (SOW) is what is going to set out the clear parameters for the work that’s got to be done, it can be viewed as a detailed brief.

The contract will set out the payment schedule, working practices, confidentiality needs etc. – bear in mind many freelancers will ask a new client to pay a proportion of the fee up front before work begins. This is normal and a way for the freelancer to ensure they don’t end up working for free followed by a costly and time intensive legal challenge. From my own experience I now ask for between a third or half of a project fee up front. From anecdotal evidence given to me on my freelancer groups and forums this is par for the course, so don’t be alarmed. Freelancers are often one-person bands and need to ensure cash-flow and security where possible in a pretty un-secure world.

Once you’ve done these three things you’re ready to go. The communication lines are open, the legalities and protections for you and them are in place and most importantly you’ve seen their work and spoken to them building trust and confidence they are the freelancer you need. You’re ready, so get set and go forward and keep your business moving.

Three useful websites to check out on your search:

Freelance UK: https://www.freelanceuk.com/

Freelancer Directory: https://www.freelanceuk.com/find-a-freelancer/

Pro Copywriters: https://www.procopywriters.co.uk/members-directory/

Keep your eyes peeled for more blogs and top tips from Alcea and in the meantime email Ellen with any questions on how she can help you and your business: alceaconsulting@outlook.com

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