It takes a variety of skills to start and run a business. For example, most small businesses will seek out specialized assistance for key business tasks (e.g., a copywriter, web developer, graphic designer, office administrator, etc.) Maybe you need someone to take professional-quality photos, write content for your company blog, translate documents, enter data or proofread website content. Whatever the tasks require, it all adds up to a lot of work.
Startups may have few employees, while solopreneurs have none. In the beginning, every entrepreneur gets comfortable wearing a lot of hats; you do what you have to do.
Maybe you can juggle it all for awhile. But soon you realize how time-consuming it is
trying to fill every role your business requires.
At this point, you know you need skilled and specialized help. If you’re running a startup, then here’s the catch: you don’t have the budget to hire someone full-time. So, the next obvious solution is to hire a freelancer; someone who can produce the specialized work you don’t have the time or expertise to pull off. But how do you find the right balance of cost and quality?
Create a Successful Startup by Hiring Freelancers
Being unable to find a qualified, affordable freelancer is a challenge many entrepreneurs face. According to a research survey by Tower Lane, 37% feel they can’t find qualified freelancers and “that identifying appropriate talent was the strongest freelancer-related challenge they face.” Managing the work is also a common challenge. The same study reveals that “34% of companies find it hard to manage and communicate with their freelancers.”
But don’t worry. You’re not alone in your frustration to find a freelancer who can actually do a great job! Hiring and managing qualified freelancers can be tricky.
It isn’t necessarily that you’re bad at it. Instead, it’s a symptom of massive shifts in the global worker economy. According to Nik Badminton, Regional Director at Freelancer.com, “Things are already changing at a rapid pace… By various estimates, 20-33% of today’s U.S. workforce now comprises independent workers (freelancers, contractors and temps), up from six percent in 1989.”
Rapidly changing technology requires businesses to continually seek new sources of talent. Meanwhile, the unconventional career paths and flexibility expectations of millennials are leading more young workers toward freelancing. “These factors have led US enterprises to rely increasingly on contingent labor.”
As more workers join the global freelance economy, entrepreneurs who want to hire them are running into new challenges. No matter how talented you are at finding and hiring employees, working with remote employees is a totally different story!
Working with Freelancers
The companies who benefit most from working with freelancers know communication is the key to success — during the hiring phase and project itself. It takes effort to keep the lines of communication open with freelancers. Setting clear expectations during the hiring process and staying engaged is vital.
Rather than choosing freelancers based only on their portfolio, it’s critical to have a conversation to make sure they are the right company culture fit.
“Just because a freelancer isn’t in your workspace every day doesn’t mean that a mutual understanding of your business’ culture isn’t important. You need to make sure that your working styles are similar, or there may be clashes down the road over work ethic, timelines, creative direction, etc. (The Freelance Economy).”
Once you’ve found freelancers that are the right fit, keep them motivated. “By checking in often, you can not only keep your business in their thoughts, but you can describe – from your point of view – how the work is coming along. Keeping freelancers updated on what you think of their deliverables is a great way to foster a working relationship and motivate them to continue creating great work.”
Despite the challenges associated with hiring and managing freelancers, it remains a viable solution for businesses that need specialized work in today’s economy.
Studies suggest, “over 60% of companies expect to hire more freelancers in the next year.” Worldwide, companies spend an estimated $300 billion dollars a year on contingent labor (Ontraport: The Freelance Economy). And an Elance Global Business survey mirrors these findings – stating that 84% of businesses surveyed said that hiring freelance talent online gave them an advantage over their competitors.
Outsourcing? How to Get Results
Once you’ve located and hired a freelancer, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Freelancers who know exactly what they need to do to achieve success are far more likely to produce great work for you.
Strong communication with freelancers makes them feel engaged and motivated. As a result, the work you receive from them will be the best reflection of their passions and talents.
Taking time to communicate with potential freelancers before hiring them ensures that they are a good fit, so you don’t run into conflicts over work ethic or creative direction down the line.
Staying in touch during a project allows you to ensure that they are on the right track, so you don’t invest money without getting the results you need.
Setting expectations for how you expect freelancers to communicate with you prevents unpleasant surprises, so you’re never frustrated when a freelancer can’t answer your email or text immediately.
To learn more about how you can meet the challenges of finding and hiring qualified freelancers through great communication read ‘The Freelance Economy: How To Find & When To Hire The Best Freelancers.’
This article has been edited and condensed.
ONTRAPORT is an all-in-one business and marketing automation platform that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs build a better business. By organizing all of your sales, marketing, and business software systems into one place, ONTRAPORT removes the burden of technology with one simple system. Connect with @ONTRAPORT on Twitter.
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