A Guide to Hiring Freelancers & How to Find the Best

Hiring freelancers is a smart and affordable way to keep your small business running smoothly.

Image of small business owner thinking about hiring a freelancer
September 21, 2022
Chloe Mulliner
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Reading time about 6 min

When you own a small business, it’s easy to feel like you want to manage, oversee, and contribute to every aspect of your business, but having your hands in everything at once can sometimes do more harm than good. There comes a time in every company’s timeline when a business owner needs to take a step back and begin delegating work to others.

For you, that might mean outsourcing your blogs and social media content to a writer. For another business owner, it could involve hiring an accountant to crunch numbers or a web developer to redesign or update their website. Needing additional talent to help grow and shape your business does not mean you need to hire full-time employees. Afterall, you may not need the full-time help or a long-term commitment. That’s where freelancers come into play.

Whether you’re looking for help on a one-off project or recurring assignment, a freelancer might be the answer. If you’re ready to find out more about how to hire a freelancer for your small business, check out our guide below!

What Is a Freelancer?

A freelancer is a self-employed person who takes on contract work, often from multiple companies at once. Freelancers are often associated with creative fields, such as journalism or website design, but just about anyone can be a freelancer, from writers to accountants.

Flexibility is one of the perks that freelancers enjoy, as they can pick and choose which clients and assignments they’d like to take on to maintain a stable income. Some freelancers will choose to take on smaller projects with various clients, while others prefer longer-term commitments with just one or two clients at a time. It all depends on the individual freelancer and their availability and interest.

What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Freelancer?

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of hiring freelancers is that it can be more cost-effective than committing to hiring full-time employees. So, when does it make sense to contract work out to a freelancer? We will discuss some of the advantages of hiring a freelancer to consider before you actively seek out freelance support.

As an employer, you’re not responsible for covering worker benefits for freelancers, such as health insurance, worker’s compensation, social security, or unemployment. Also, you generally don’t need to fork out money for training, equipment, tools, or office space, as most freelancers come equipped to do the job. Furthermore, depending on your agreed-upon payment terms, you may wind up paying your freelancer on an hourly, monthly, or per-project basis. This gives you more financial flexibility, which is especially nice if you are unsure of how much work you will need done, how quickly it can be achieved, and how long-term you will need it to be done.

Another reason employers like going the freelancer route is that they can capture a talented pool of workers (from around the world!) with specialized skills who are committed to producing quality work. Because many freelancers bounce from one gig to the next, the onus is on them to uphold a good reputation (and strong portfolio) to secure new work.

Person in modern office setting celebrating

What Are the Disadvantages of Hiring a Freelancer?

While there are many advantages to hiring freelancers, there are some drawbacks you should be aware of.

For one, freelancers create their own schedules, and often do not work fixed or traditional hours — unless otherwise noted in your contract agreement. This means a freelancer may not be available during your business hours, which can be frustrating if the project requires collaboration with other employees. And, if you’re used to overseeing and supervising your employees, working with a freelancer can feel like you’ve lost some of that control. That said, hiring a trustworthy freelancer and establishing your expectations can help eliminate your need to micromanage their work. Additionally, you may be able to work out a schedule that works for both you and your freelance hire, and work that into the terms of their contract.

Another potential downside to hiring a freelancer is that if you find someone who does work that is critical to the growth of your business, it may be hard to secure them as a resource long-term. Although you may find it worthwhile to extend a full-time staff position to that person to retain their talent, keep in mind many freelancers are not interested in the commitment of a staff position - despite the health benefits and other compensation you may offer your direct employees.

As with hiring any kind of employee, hiring freelancers does come with a certain level of unpredictability. Essentially, you have to put your trust in the fact that they’ll deliver quality work on time that aligns with your expectations. Aside from conducting a thorough assessment of their resume and portfolio, one way to avoid investing too much time and energy into a subpar freelancer is to start with a small test assignment to see if they’re up for the task. This allows them to get paid for their time and effort and you to review their work before assigning a larger, more critical project.

How Do I Prepare for Hiring a Freelancer?

When hiring a freelancer, it’s pertinent that you’re clear, concise, and upfront about your goals. The following are just a few tips to follow to help you connect with the right freelancer for your business.

  • Define the scope of work. What exactly are you looking for? Create a description of your project with all the necessary details.
  • Decide on the kind of freelancer you need. Who exactly are you looking for? What skills, qualifications, and experience are required for your project?
  • Establish your budget. Assess your finances to decide how much you can realistically afford to spend.
  • Outline expectations. The more you communicate what you want and need, the more likely you’ll receive what you have in mind.
  • Determine deliverables. Do you want to receive portions of the assignment along the way or one final product all at once?
  • Set deadlines. Whether you want multiple deliverables each week or one hard due date once it’s all completed, it’s important to create and communicate deadlines.
  • Open the lines of communication. Encourage your freelancer to come to you with questions or concerns and provide them with the appropriate resources for assistance.
  • Draft a contract. It’s crucial to include as much of the above details in writing as part of a contract agreement, so both you and your freelancers are protected.

Where Can I Hire Freelancers?

When searching for the ideal freelancer, we always suggest first asking your friends, family, and business associates for recommendations. Even if they don’t work in the same field as you, they may have hired freelancers who would be a good fit for your company. After all, many freelancers, such as writers and designers, are experienced working across different industries and may be able to offer valuable insights as a result.

However, if working off a lead you’ve gained from a word-of-mouth recommendation isn’t an option for you, consider turning to the many websites dedicated to freelance work. These online platforms feature databases that round up skilled freelancers looking for assignments. Depending on the platform, you can either browse through available gigs, post listings that freelancers can bid on, or hire a professional to help you find your match.

 

Upwork

Upwork logo

Pros:

  • Because clients tend to pay higher fees for jobs on this site compared to more budget-friendly platforms, you can expect some of the best talent.
  • With a selection of more than 12 million freelancers, it’s one of the largest freelance hiring platforms, meaning you’re more likely to find your perfect match.
  • Freelancers must submit a proposal to apply to your specific job, so this can help you weed out applicants.

Cons:

  • Upwork does take a percentage of what you pay your freelancers, so you’re paying more, and your freelancers are receiving less.
  • Due to the sheer number of freelancers on the site, you may have to sift through unqualified or spam applications before arriving at a solid lead.

Screenshot of Upwork platform

Fiverr

Fiverr logo

Pros:

  • You don’t need to spend a fortune to hire a freelancer because the majority of the projects are affordably priced.
  • This platform is great for finding freelancers to cover simple, one-off projects.
  • For more skilled, qualified, and experienced freelancers, you can hire Fiverr Pros at a higher rate.

Cons:

  • Instead of posting your own project and having freelancers apply to it, you have to sort through listings where freelancers post their offerings, which can be time-consuming.
  • It’s considered a more budget-friendly platform for businesses, so it doesn’t always attract the highest quality of work.
  • Since gigs are available at such low rates, you won’t always have opportunities to request edits or reworks—basically, you pay for what you get.

Screenshot of Fiverr platform

1840 & Company

1840 & Company logo

Pros:

  • This platform pairs you with a manager who will help you scout the talent you’re looking for, so you don’t have to browse through listings or proposals.
  • You can hire one freelancer at a time or scale up and hire a fully remote team at once.
  • This is a great option if you don’t have the time or energy to devote to finding freelancers.

Cons:

  • This platform is designed to help you hire freelancers for longer commitments, so it’s not the best avenue for one-off projects.
  • The interface doesn’t have an option that allows you to communicate directly with freelancers.
  • Because you’re getting quality, vetted freelancers available for long-term assignments, you may wind up paying more for work than you would for one-off tasks on other platforms.

Screenshot of 1840 & Company platform

Interested in checking out even more freelance platforms? The options seem endless. Check out other sites like Guru, Truelancer, and Freelancer, to dive even deeper into the freelance platform world.

How SMS Texts Can Expand Your Freelance Pool

By now, you’re probably familiar with the many ways SMS marketing can boost your small business marketing efforts and help you to draw in new customers. But what if you used business text messaging to attract freelancers to your company?

With a platform like EZ Texting, you can now use SMS texts to reach out to your pool of freelancers, notifying them when you have available work. Your real-time messages will directly go to your freelancers’ cell phones, making it easier (and faster!) than ever for you to secure talent for your next big project. Contact us today to learn more about how EZ Texting can help you hire freelancers.

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