A guide for startups: How to manage freelancers

Freelancers can be an incredible asset for startups. Learn how to manage them for maximum effectiveness
stephenyfeedfond @stephenyfeedfond
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Freelancers can be an invaluable resource for cash-strapped startups

Every booming company has started from somewhere small and has faced an endless number of obstacles, such as covering costs, small budgets, and unpredictable markets. Many startups hire freelance workers as both their skills and payment flexibility fit the needs of smaller businesses.

However, recruiting the perfect team of freelancers can be a difficult process, especially if you are new to the market.

So, we have prepared a guide to help you find the perfect freelancer for the job with the least amount of hassle.

1. Why Do You Need a Freelancer?

Most of the time, freelancers are more productive and are relatively more affordable than traditional employees. They might be taking money per task, but you will not have to pay for the time they take breaks in the middle of work or for any other extra benefits.

Furthermore, they are productive as their incentive to work is very different from full-time employees. Their income relies on their credibility and quality of work.

So, if they do not do a good job, it could risk their future opportunities.

2. How to Find Freelancers

The process of finding freelance workers is a bit more complex as there are a lot of factors to consider, including the required skills, the basis of payment, and flexibility.

Nevertheless, there are still ways to find skilled freelance workers.

Ask Around

An excellent way to find a trustworthy freelancer is to ask someone you know, such as a colleague, for recommendations and also for contact information. It is most likely that you will come across someone who is good at their job through recommendations if they are vouched for by trustworthy people.

Utilize the Internet

You could also use the internet to search for people online. There are generally two primary ways of meeting freelancers through the internet.

First, you can use freelance recruitment websites to find someone right for your job. These websites use various techniques to help you narrow down and find the best candidates for the job, such as bidding for tasks or giving you suggestions.

Overall, these sites protect the interest of both parties for the occasional small fee.

Second, you can look for freelance workers on social media platforms as some freelancers advertise their services on popular social media sites.

Furthermore, the quality of freelance work largely depends on the worker’s compatibility with the project itself and also the employer. So, you can also do background checks on potential candidates you find, which will help you even more during the recruitment process.

 

3. Avoid Scammers

However, there are a fair share of scammers among freelance workers. They may sell you plagiarized work, submit incomplete projects to you, and use illegal means to complete your project without your knowledge.

Make sure to always look for freelancers from credible sites (like this one) and always check their previous work and reviews. Also, if your project is a sensitive one with a lot of risks, you should consider adding a non-disclosure agreement, or even hiring a recruiter to help you find a trustworthy freelancer.

4. How to Recruit a Freelancer

The process of recruiting freelancers is a meticulous one as it needs to attract the right people for the job. This part of the process requires the most amount of care. Otherwise, you might lose money on poor-quality work.

Making a Job Description

The job description is basically your way to ask for everything you need from your employees to get the job done. However, making a job description is not as simple as that.

As previously stated, the freelancer’s skills must be compatible with the project. Therefore, you cannot simply list the requirements of the work. You should not merely state the aims of the job, but you should list the tasks that are expected to be fulfilled such as, “Typing accurately while recording”, etc.

Requirements of the Project

The person you hire should be someone credible. If you work with someone who is not as experienced as they claim to be, you might lose more than money, such as time and resources.

Furthermore, wasting resources on poorly skilled workers could jeopardize the chances of the success of your startup.

So, when looking for workers, you should have a list of requirements, such as educational background and work experience. If you have any non-negotiable terms, such as punctuality, then you should add it to the list.

This is important as, sometimes, even if a worker’s skills match a project’s requirements, they still might not be fit for the job. An example would be if you have strict deadlines for work, and they are not punctual.

Going Through the Portfolio

A portfolio is a way for freelancers to sell their services to employers. It should have a list of qualifications and samples of their previous work. Be sure to go through the portfolio front to back and assess whether their skill level meets the requirement of the job and also if it's worth the investment.

Interview the Candidate

If the portfolio is attractive enough, why should you interview the candidate? You should not skip out on the interview process because even though a portfolio is attractive, it doesn't mean that the candidate will be able to perform optimally in practical situations.

For example, you could ask them to create a tagline or draw a logo for your company on the spot. This will help you get a grasp of their creativity, and you can choose the candidate who fits your vision the best.

The objective of an interview is to learn more about the candidate through indirect questions and to assess their practical skills in person or via a real-time conversation. This will reflect their actual potential.

Train the Freelancers

One of the largest advantages of working with freelancers is that they have a very good understanding of their work and usually have a lot of experience. However, no two projects are exactly the same, so you should never skip or neglect training.

For a worker to completely understand the nature of the job, you will have to train them and put them in practical situations so that they will be able to handle the official work you give them.

This will also help them understand the guidelines, the culture of the company, and the nature of the work better.

5. Track Their Work

Different jobs measure work in various ways. Many freelancers ask for payment based on the time taken, while others may have a set quoted price for the task.

Usually, tracking work based on time is beneficial for both sides as it helps freelancers understand the workload better, and it also helps employers get the work on time.

6. How to Work With Freelancers

Working with freelancers is different from working with part-time or full-time employees as they do not share the same work environment, they are more flexible, and their skills are also more diverse due to their extensive experience.

Give Them Guidelines

Even though freelancers normally have a lot of experience, you should still give them guidelines so that they can understand the format of the work and the conditions that need to be met.

Start Small

As the freelancer will be new to the team, you will be unfamiliar with their ability to handle the pressure of performing your tasks. Be sure to keep the workload small when they start and then, gradually offer them more projects once you understand them better.

If a worker feels too much pressure from the workload at the very beginning, they will end up submitting work of poor quality and may even miss deadlines.

Monitor Their Work

Once you recruit someone to the team, you should set a probationary period and monitor their performance during that time. This will help you understand if they are truly capable of the work.

Communicate With Them

Communication is a crucial component of freelancing. Workers and employers should constantly be communicating to avoid major errors during the process, help the worker understand the task better, and to help them understand the expectations and vision of the employer.

Do Your Own Research

You should research or at least have some basic knowledge of the tasks you assign to freelancers. Otherwise, you will not be able to understand if the quality of the work is up to par.

Final Thoughts

Managing freelance workers is extremely complex due to the different nature of the relationship between the worker and the employer. It consists of a lot of close communication, monitoring, and trial and error.

However, it is one of the best options for startups due to its relatively low cost. Furthermore, working with experienced workers may even give your business a competitive edge along the way. As you follow this guide, you will be able to manage freelance workers efficiently.

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