Is your small business in need of someone to write marketing copy or blog posts, create some marketing materials cards or do graphic design? If, like many entrepreneurs, you don’t have the budget or space to commit to hiring full-time employees, freelance writers and graphic designers can be the perfect solution. In fact, these days you can even find freelance engineers, paralegals, office managers and more.
So how and where can you find qualified, reliable freelancers? Just as you would if hiring a full-time employee, start by assessing your needs and creating a description of exactly what you want the person to do.
How Much Time Will I Expect This Person to Work?
Do you need someone to work on an hourly basis to handle ongoing projects? Or are your needs one-time or sporadic, in which case it would be more efficient to pay on a per-project basis? For example, you might want an office manager for 20 hours a week but hire a graphic designer on a per-project basis to create business cards or a logo.
What Level of Experience Am I Seeking?
A novice freelancer may work for a simple project, but for something more complex or ongoing, you will likely want someone with experience and some sort of track record.
How Will I Need to Interact With This Person?
Will I ever need to meet with the freelancer in person, or can our interaction be virtual? If you want to work with someone local, that will limit your options a bit—but sometimes, there’s no substitute for in-person interaction.
What is my budget?
Figure out what you can afford and what is the going rate for the services you’re seeking.
If you’re seeking local freelancers, start by asking your networks of business contacts, friends and family for recommendations. If you want to cast a wider net or need specialized skills you can’t find within your network, there are many websites where you can post job openings or projects for freelancers. Among the most popular and best-known are Elance, Guru and oDesk, all of which offer a wide range of freelancers, from writers and designers to virtual assistants, software developers and more.
When using a freelancer job site, find out what type of protections it offers. For instance, what happens if a freelancer fails to complete a project or if you’re not satisfied with their work? At what point are you required to pay, and how is payment handled? Reputable sites will provide safeguards so both you and your freelancers are treated fairly.
Illustration Credit: Anatoliy Babiy/iStock/Thinkstock