It’s a big step to admit to yourself that you can’t do everything on your own and when it comes to finding the perfect expertise, it can be hard to know what you should be looking for.
So when it comes to freelancers, there’s a plethora of things you need to know or should be wary of before you put your trust in them, hopefully I’m going to cover some of the basics.
Largely this will depend on the type of work you need a freelancer for, hiring someone to build a website can be slightly different to commissioning a piece of artwork but I’m hoping that this points can be applied across the board, but considering we’re in a place of words, let’s use the premise of a freelance writer.
- Do they have the skills?
Okay so this might seem like the elephant in the room but I’m not joking. Hiring someone because they’re cheap is no way to go about it. Realistically price should have nothing to do with it. I’ve seen some people who charge an outrageous fee for a mediocre service and vice versa so you need to dig a little deeper than just the numbers.
You need to find out if they can create the right voice, the tone, whether they can actually produce that piece of content – web content is very different to a blog post which is again different to an article.
- Can they work within your timeframe?
So this is quite important. If you need some web content ready for a big launch but your freelancer can’t deliver until the week after, that’s going to leave you in a difficult situation. There is only time you should make an allowance and that’s if you’ve worked with them before. If you know how good they are and refuse to hire anyone else, then that’s a different story, but in the meantime don’t take a chance like that. Ensure a quick turnaround so you’ve got plenty of time for error.
- What experience do they have?
This kinda ties in with their skills, I mean if you’re looking at one you’re sure to notice the other. But this is something that needs careful consideration and if you’re willing to take a chance on someone who doesn’t have a track record then that’s fine too – we all need someone to take a chance on us in the beginning.
Let’s take a closer look at hiring someone with little experience. If you feel like they might be the right fit for your project, but don’t want to jump right in, then ask for a sample. And I don’t mean a whole blog post, that would be an unfair way for them to use their time. A couple of paragraphs on a particular topic will do. It will give you a feel for their style and how they tackle the topic.
If you’re hiring someone with experience then take a look at what others have said about them. If you can’t find any testimonials or reviews, I would calmly walk away – it’s not worth your time, effort or money being snared in that one.
- What’s their price?
Okay so I said that price shouldn’t matter. And that’s technically true, but price always matters. But this is where you can wheedle out the rubbish from the genuine talent. Too low and you should have alarm bells ringing, too high and you should perhaps investigate why they charge so much. But if you’re not sure on the whole price thing – maybe you’ve never had to purchase this type of service before – then make sure you check out the competition as well. I wouldn’t want you being ripped off because you didn’t know what you were doing.
- Where do they live?
You might wonder why this is important. Well for two reasons:
Asking someone in India to write business content for your new Brochure may not be the most effective way to getting the job. What are their language skills like? Do they speak English?
But on the other hand working with someone in the USA whilst being based in the UK brings in all sorts of problems in terms of the 5-8 hour delay. If all communication can be done via email and there’s no particular hurry with the project then this is perhaps not such a bad thing but if you do need a tight turnaround, I’d suggest staying well clear.
- Do you trust them?
This might seem like a strange thing to ask but if you’re planning on working with someone, then it’s important you trust them. The client, freelance relationship can only work on mutual trust. Trust that the freelancer will meet your deadlines and provide high quality work, trust that the client will provide a concise brief and pay the invoice on time.
If you seem a little unclear about the protocol, then ask. A true freelance will not get annoyed with you for asking how you’re money is being spent. In fact I know that I would relish the opportunity to openly discuss the process, it reassures me and my client that we both know what’s happening.
Hiring a freelancer feels like it could be a leap of faith for many people but once you get to develop a relationship and work together on a numerous projects, it’s amazing how secure that relationship can feel. I’ve worked with a number of writers on numerous projects and nothing makes me happier than a recurring client. Do you have any tips for hiring freelancers? Perhaps you’re a freelancer yourself?