Freelancing, or the gig economy as it’s known, has changed and has morphed into a major part of the American workforce. The millennials currently make up the biggest part of the workforce, and an estimated 50% of millennials are already part of the gig economy.
Unlike after the 2008 crash, the gig economy hasn’t grown because there are no jobs. In another study 63% of freelancers said they worked that way because they wanted to not because they had to.
So, with freelancers being a real factor in the world of work, I have decided to explain what businesses need to be asking themselves before they hire a freelancer.
This is the number one question you need to ask yourself. Many freelancers have multiple skills or could take a course to learn how to do something, but you still need someone with specific experience in job position you’re hiring for. For example, you wouldn’t hire a content marketer to develop your website.
Always ask for specific experience. This is the first requirement any prospective hire should have to pass.
It would be nice if we lived in an honest world, but we don’t and you can’t take any potential hire at their word. Always ask for proof of their experience.
This can come in a number of ways. Your freelancer may have a website you can look up with a portfolio of past work. They should also have other places where you can find their work outside of their portfolio.
They may have past clients who you can contact to confirm their expertise. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for this since it’s the perfect place to look into their recommendations.
This is often not a consideration for businesses. They are so focused on getting the job done that they don’t insert their hire into the big picture. A freelancer shouldn’t only be charging you the market value of the job. Their work should be earning you double what you’re paying them.
It’s often difficult to put a value on how much a freelancer’s work is worth. But try to come up with an estimate.
This is also reflecting on your own planning. Do you really need to hire a freelancer to get the job done? Is the end product really of value to your business?
For example, let’s say you want to hire a web developer to build a website from scratch. They might charge you $20,000 to $30,000. Is that website, and its ongoing costs, going to repay that and double your money?
It should. Investing in that website may come with a large upfront cost yet over the years your business will bring in thousands more. Sure, you could pay someone $1000 to do the same job, but will it give off a professional look, be optimized properly, etc.?
It’s this sort of thinking that really matters when you’re choosing whether to hire a freelancer or not.
You’re going to have to work closely with your freelancer and the goal should be that you will work with them for a long period of time. Don’t make life difficult for yourself by hiring someone who doesn’t work well with you.
This is not necessarily either party’s fault. Some personalities just don’t go together.
If you have a dominant personality and your freelancer has a dominant personality, it’s going to be a constant battle to get anything done.
Before hiring a freelancer, book a 15-minute consultation with them. Within this time frame, you will have an idea as to whether they are the person for the job as well as some insights into their personality.
When hiring a freelancer, the goal is to have them take over a task, so you can spend time on other aspects of your business. You’re not paying them to have to micromanage everything that they do. If you’re going to spend your time hand holding them you could have just did the job yourself.
The good news is, most freelancers prefer to work independently. It allows them to maximize their time and get the work completed by the deadline.
You need to determine how you would like to manage your freelancer and how your freelancer wants to be managed.
This varies based on the project and how you want to manage your freelancer. But as an average, you should ask that freelancers respond to your communication requests within 24 hours. An exception would be if the freelancer is working an hourly position and is expected to work specific hours. In that case, they should be able to respond within a couple of minutes.
Keep in mind, that the communication rules will apply for you as well. If your freelancer is expecting something from you to complete the job you should get it over to them promptly to avoid holding the job up.
This is important because some freelancers might be looking for long term positions. You need to be prepared to be open about what you expect to get from a potential hire.
Be honest about the scope of any future work so your freelancer can make a decision as to whether they still want the job.
Therefore, advance planning is so important on your part. Don’t hire a freelancer without these expectations in mind or it could lead to conflict and a bad reputation later.
Finding the right person for the job is not necessarily going to be a quick and easy process.
However, in general, the best piece of advice is to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right the chances are it isn’t. Listen to your gut and ask yourself these questions before making a final decision.