When it comes to growing your small business, there comes a time when you’ll need to outsource. There’s no need to hire a full-time employee, especially if you’re not sure how much work there needs to be done. That, or you’re unsure whether your business income can sustain more than one full-time person (the other full-time person is you). It might be time to hire a freelancer!
You can hire freelancers or contract workers for specific tasks in your daily operations. Whether you need someone a few hours a week or for a one-off project, here are some steps to take to hire your next freelancer.
Conduct an Assessment of Your Needs
Understanding exactly what you need ensures you’re more efficient. In other words, you’ll save both time and money by being clear about what skills you want to hire out for. The hiring and onboarding process will take up a decent chunk of your time, so you want to get it right.
Start off by listing all the skills needed to run your business — breaking it down into specific ones will be helpful. Then, take a look at what skills you don’t have that you want to hire out. For example, are you great at writing blog posts, but aren’t so great at writing marketing emails?
Other things you can consider are skills you’re great at, but don’t have time to do anymore (or you don’t want to). Perhaps, you’re great at customer service, but don’t have time to sift through emails all day? Or you’d rather have someone else design the graphics for your business social media accounts even though you can do them yourself.
Once you have all the skills you need, it becomes easier to determine the type of job you’re hiring for.
Hiring freelancers costs money, so look at how much you can reasonably afford to spend. Yes, it’s worth the investment, but you want to be able to pay existing expenses and yourself as well.
Take a look at your current profits from the past few months to see what you can afford to spend each month. If needed, scrutinize your existing business to see if you can cut back or eliminate some to free up some wiggle room.
Once you have a dollar amount figured out, you may realize you may not be able to hire out for every single skill you want. Sure, you can hire freelancers for low prices, but it can come at the cost of quality. Instead, prioritize the types of jobs you want to outsource first and build your budget around that. The others can be put on hold until you can afford to hire more people.
Write a Job Description
Writing a clear and concise job description will save both you and the freelancer’s time because it’ll ensure you’re not sifting through as many unqualified applicants. When you are clear in what you want, the freelancer you ultimately hire will know what to expect from you and the job.
To write a job description, start by outlining the exact types of skills needed and what the freelancer will be doing. Going back to the graphic designer example above, you could list skills such as knowledge of Photoshop, how to work with a company’s brand, and how often you’ll need deliverables completed.
You’ll also want to include in a job description what you want from the applicant. For instance, you want to be able to determine whether a graphic designer is a good fit by asking them to include samples of their work.
As a business owner, you’re also trying to convince the best freelancer to apply for your job. Describe what your company is about, why they should work there, and include your budget so that applicants are excited about potentially working for you.
Tap Into Your Professional Network
Asking trusted business owners and others in your professional network (like freelancers you already work with) for recommendations is one of the best ways to have a successful hire. These people tend to know who you are, what your business is about, and even your working style. Plus, they may also know of freelancers who are the perfect fit, especially if anyone in your professional network has hired that person themselves.
Asking your professional network is as simple as sending out a few emails and including the job description you wrote. Be upfront about your budget and when you’d like to hire this person. You can also post on social media about what you’re looking for and how freelancers can apply for the gig.
Post Your Job Description on Job Boards
There are plenty of job boards out there you can post your job description — Freelancer.com, UpWork, and Indeed are some of them. Since these websites are seen by tens of thousands of people, you may have an onslaught of applicants within hours of your job posting.
Take what you wrote in step three to use that as your job posting. Before submitting, check to see if you can be more clear about the types of applicants you’re looking for, and what freelancers need to move to the next step of the hiring process.
A tip that may be useful is to include some simple directions to show an applicant read through the entire description and can follow directions. For example, you can ask applicants to write a short paragraph about their favorite project or even something off the wall like asking them to answer a simple math problem. That way, you can quickly weed out any applicants who don’t answer your questions.
Conduct Interviews to Hire a Freelancer
Assessing the right fit means you’ll want to get to know potential hires outside of their resume or portfolio. How you want to make your final pick is up to you — some business owners conduct video or phone interviews, whereas others prefer to do all communication via email. To help you make a faster decision, have a list of ideal traits you want a freelancer to have. Use this list to figure out who you believe will be the best fit.
Once you’ve picked someone, let all applicants know that you’ve hired someone — it’s only fair.
Implement an Onboarding and Trial Process
Having a streamlined onboarding process will help ensure a smooth start to your working relationship with your new freelancer. That means having contracts in place and setting expectations, such as how work needs to be submitted.
Also, just because you’ve hired a freelancer, doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be the perfect fit. You may want to consider hiring your new freelancer on a trial basis (be upfront) to see how you and this person work together. If all goes well, great! If not, then it’s back to the drawing board.
Hiring a freelancer for your small business may feel overwhelming, but with the right steps in place, the process can go smoothly. Once you hire one person, you’ll know exactly what to do when it comes time to grow your business even further.