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Dec 28, 2013
5 Hiring Tips For Employing Freelancers
By Ted Coombs

Freelancing is here to stay. In the near future the number of freelance workers is expected to surpass traditional employees. Whether this happens or not, it's important to know the best way to make use of freelancers.

Yes, I help run a freelancing marketplace and that gives me a certain perspective, but more importantly over the years I've hired hundreds of freelancers and honed my skills at successful freelancer hiring.

1. You get what you pay for. We all want the great bargain and hope that we can find the diamond in the rough. It's true that workers living in a different economy than our own can often work for less than someone locally. But, there is a limit to this bargain. Generally, the less someone asks for their work the less likely they will be able to work completely unattended. One suggestion when hiring people at the bottom-end of the pay scale is to hire agency workers. Agencies normally maintain a higher level of quality control over the work they manage.

2. Keep your eye on the ball. Giving someone or a group of someones a task and expecting them to give you exactly what is swimming around in your brain with very little guidance or supervision is less likely to happen than you might imagine. Even if you don't have the technical skill to know how to accomplish your task, you have a pretty good idea of what the end product should look like. This is true for almost every kind of task. Make sure reports look correct, 3D Rendering looks like the real deal, the data entry has all the right data going into all the right places, programs work properly or that sales quotas are being met. It takes only a few moments of your time. If done correctly you can drastically reduce your work load and still end up with what you'd hoped for.

My first experience at hiring freelancers was to hire an agency to build a promotional application for me. It was a sweepstakes application. When it was all "done" they showed me the truly wonderful administrative interface and all the cool features. Then I asked the obvious question, "how does someone enter the sweepstakes?" The answer, "You never told us you needed that." Point made.

3. Keep your expectations real. It is easy to get caught in the trap of hiring people online and never feeling they are human. They can become more like a computer program, and we expect computer programs to work 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Set realistic expectations for your workers, and treat them with respect and dignity and they will love working with you and continue on. Keep hiring people who do a good job and they will get even better. Bouncing from freelancer to freelancer can have unpredictable results.

4. Have patience. There have been many times I've been quick to pull the trigger and ready to move on to someone who might be quicker on the uptake. Over time I've calmed my trigger finger and taken more time to make sure that I am communicating my desires well. I have to remember that some of the people I hire don't speak English as a first language. Who knows what Google Translate is telling them to do! Write down your goal and the steps to reach it in simple, short and understandable terms. Creating a complex design document may seem detailed enough for you, but may be completely overwhelming and foreign to the person who has to follow the design, plan or directions.

5. Be awesome. When someone works hard for you, pay them, reward them, and be a great employer. Most freelancers work long hours and work very hard to make you happy. Let them know you appreciate them and treat them fairly and they will continue to provide excellent service.

Freelance often and freelance smart. We are all learning to create an entirely new way to work.

Ted Coombs is the co-founder of Workers On Call www.workersoncall.com. He is also the author of Setting Up an Internet Site for Dummies, Google Power Tool Bible and many other books.
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