Published 03 October 2018 Category: Compass Tips, Freelancers, Startups, SMEs

When to Use a Freelancer

In today’s dynamic and bustling economy, people are preferring more than ever to be self-employed and become, ‘freelancers,’ where they have the liberty to work on multiple projects and utilize the maximum of their skills. With top freelance marketplace sites like UpWork, Fiverr etc on the rise, freelancing is the next big shift in work cultures. The advantages of hiring freelancers are plenty - from reduced overhead cost to time flexibility, from hiring talent across borders to having an expert on-board (without all the added costs), freelancing has helped thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses to hire the right people for the right job. So how do you know when to hire freelancers and whether you really need one? Here’s a brief guide.

You Need Niche Expertise for a Certain Project

You may have a certain project rolling your way that needs expertise in a certain programming language or a marketing field. This is the right time for you to go looking for a freelancer. However, before you set out to look for one, make sure you have an accurate job description, have the right expectations and specifications for the role. Most clients end up hiring the wrong type of freelancers for the jobs or they hire with unclear job specifications resulting in a negative experience for both parties involved.

You Don’t Have the Space, Budget or Opportunity to Hire Full-time Yet

One of the most common reasons for small businesses to hire freelancers is because they don’t have the space, the budget or the opportunity to hire a full-time resource yet. Freelancers make for a good option when you’re just starting out and don’t have the resources to afford full-time employees.

You Have an Over-booked Staff

What if you really wanted to roll out a much needed project or you just have to get some things done but your staff are already too busy or too exhausted? High time you need a freelancer. This is a common practice even in large organizations where there is simply no bandwidth for existing staff to get the job done. So the next time you have more work on your plate, don’t feel hesitant to hire a freelancer.

How to Manage Freelancers

For any or all of the reasons above, you’ve finally decided to hire a freelancer. The crucial point now is, how to manage them? Although hiring freelancers may seem like an easy process, it may become complicated if you don’t have your processes, specifications and requirements defined. Here are a few tips on managing freelancers.

Decide on Whether You Want to Hire Via Professional Networking or Via a Marketplace?

There are plenty of online websites and platforms out there with thousands of freelancers offering all kinds of services. If you want to sort through different profiles, don’t have a problem with geographically diversified expertise, and have the eye to pick out the best candidates, then freelance marketplaces are the best option. On the other hand, if you have a good professional network, you can ask for references. The slight difference between the two could be the cost of getting the job done. For example, someone you hire from an Asian country may charge lower than someone from the US. Your budget, requirements, business needs etc may determine the type of freelancer you need.

Decide on Whether You Want to Use a Freelancer Management System

Sites like UpWork don’t just offer hiring of freelancers, but also offer plenty of other things as time-tracking, escrow, dispute resolution etc. If you don’t have the resources, time or system in place to manage freelancers, a platform like UpWork is much easier to use.

Have Contracts in Place

One of the most common disputes between freelancers and clients is the lack of a clear contract. Everything should be put down in your contract in crystal clear terms. The kind of job you want the freelancer to do, the hours they need to put in, the KPIs their success will be measured against, their hourly or weekly income etc. One mistake or unclear requirement could lead to lots of legal trouble and that’s something you want to avoid at all costs.

Freelancers are important to the current economic and working landscape. If you want your business to succeed without having to bear excessive overhead costs, freelancing the way to go.