Courtney Rosenfeld, author, creator of Gig Spark shares some tips on using outsourcing. Especially relevant in this tight labor market, it might make sense for some of your work to be done by a non-employee.

A Cost-Effective Investment: Finding Good Freelancers

Hiring a full-time employee is a big investment when you factor in salary, benefits, training, and overhead costs. However, it doesn’t always make good financial sense, especially if you can find a talented freelancer to do the same work at a fraction of the cost. According to Forbes, it’s a lot easier to find qualified, affordable freelancers these days than it used to be — after all, they’re expected to comprise a majority of the US workforce by 2027.

Freelancers are less expensive in the long term because they’re generally paid a one-time contract fee to perform a specific job for a set period of time, which (usually) ends when the work is delivered. The trick is finding good ones. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Assess Your Need

Think through the work at hand and assess the qualities and background of the individual you’d want for that particular role. Make a list of the personal attributes and experience you’d expect, and then conduct your search based on those parameters. Spend some time on social media (LinkedIn and Facebook) and freelancer websites studying the profiles of people who’ve built solid reputations doing great work.

Outsource Your Needs

There are plenty of tasks that take up your time. Imagine how much more efficient and profitable you could be by plugging in the right freelancer to handle that work. For example, data entry is a specialization that’s ideal for an experienced, organized, and detail-oriented professional. Look for specialists such as an Upwork data entry contractor who can help you with everything from documents to databases and spreadsheets. Farming out this important and time-intensive responsibility will help you focus on other responsibilities, such as promoting and growing your business.

Check out the Reviews

Many freelance platforms allow former employers to leave comments about the quality of the work for which they contracted. These are good places to seek out qualified people because you can choose from a list of professionals with established track records. Employer reviews will tell you a lot about a freelancer’s skill and suitability (much like Angie’s List can help you find a good housing contractor or landscaper).

Ask Around

Chances are your colleagues, clients, and former co-workers can help you find quality freelancers, either from firsthand experience or through word of mouth. Do some networking at professional conferences, and put out the word via social media that you’re looking for a qualified person for a specific role. Also, include details like the assignment’s expected length and whether they’ll be working from home or in your office. 

Ask Prospects to be Specific

If you’re looking for a freelancer, chances are you don’t have a lot of time to waste going back and forth with prospects. Be direct — ask candidates to include a cover letter with their rates so you can weed out overpriced candidates right away. Always set an application deadline to see who’s reliable (and who’s paying attention).

Don’t Jump the Gun

Take your time finding the right person, even if you’re on a tight deadline. It’s better to be thorough, ask plenty of questions, and hire a reliable individual than trying to cope with the foibles and shortcomings of someone you hired in a hurry. You shouldn’t settle or compromise when choosing a freelancer anymore than you would if hiring a full-time employee.

Remember, the work your freelancer does represents your company, so take the time to find the right person for the job; if things go badly, explaining to a customer that you hired the wrong person won’t salvage the situation. Use your personal contacts and professional network, and pay careful attention to online feedback and reviews. It might require some hard work and dedication, but your diligence will pay off in the long term.

Written by Courtney Rosenfeld, author, creator of  Gig Spark

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