As the freelance economy continues to boom and the contingent workforce fights on, you may be finding yourself more and more inclined to hiring an expert to tackle a specific project. Any quick search on the internet will lead you to major freelancing network platforms, but on your journey to find the perfect fit for your project, you just might stall upon realizing the real scope of the freelance ecosystem. You’ll undoubtedly end up asking, where do I begin?
Just remember, there are plenty of fish in the sea.
The first thing you’re going see when you land at major online marketplaces is that these platforms boast of having literally millions of available freelancers. The numbers are, of course, promising. And yes, the market is swarming with talent. But how does one begin navigating the ocean that is today’s vast network of freelancers? From local to global opportunities, rock bottom rates and glittering reviews, it almost seems too good to be true.
And it is. There are tons of freelancers, but they don’t all have the same scales.
Your first priority when it comes to hiring a freelancer for the first time should be defining crystal clear parameters for your project. The first part to this is being able to define what skills sets you need to onboard versus what will actually be available in the cloud. As you skim potential hires, you’ll find out quickly that everyone comes complete with a laundry list of skills and a paragraph of superlatives. Your surefire way to land in the right pool candidates is to have narrow scope of skills in mind. Virtually everything you see online will read positive, but your first step in the right direction is looking for the right skill set.
As you narrow down basic preliminary parameters, you’ll pare down the prospects substantially. However, you’ll also run into freelancers who charge anywhere between $1 and $1000 an hour for their services and figure out rather quickly the option of outsourcing.
So, do you want Atlantic salmon or something more tropical?
You’ve posted a job at this point, and now you’re beginning to sift through bids as well as the outlying network of freelancers available to you. Outsourcing internationally to rising talent will stand out immediately because of the significantly lower rates charged for equally competitive services. It’s a huge budgeting advantage and its hugely tempting. But if you’re thinking of outsourcing a project, return to square one and define stricter parameters. Think about what metrics need to be absolutely clear and what certifications are required before handing over your project into international waters. If you’re unsure about whether outsourcing is a real, viable option, ask yourself if there is a threshold for what you’re willing to outsource and what you’re not.
Either way, make sure you’re getting premium steak and not just fishsticks.
Once your narrow down your bids or selections, make sure you do your homework. You might find that it is difficult to scrape together references on a freelancer, but you wouldn’t be giving your due diligence if you stopped there. Linkedin, Twitter, portfolios, and personal blogs are great places to start. A basic search on any of the aforementioned handles are where you should go to get to know your freelancer before you get to know your freelancer.
Oh! You’ve got a bite on the line, but don’t reel the first one in!
Statistics are a funny thing–due the fact that the freelance market operates primarily in the cloud, posting a job on site advertising to millions means you’re going to be swarmed with a number of bids, both good and not so good. What they say is true–freelancers are capable of great things, but not all are going to be exactly what you’re looking for. Remind yourself mid-search not to get discourage or careless. Quality works awaits the one who wants it most.
So when you finally do hook a good one, don’t throw it back.
There is no Moby Dick of freelancing, and there is no point in traveling the several seas of freelancing scoping out an enormous white whale. After such a long process, finding a freelancer that actually fits your bill of needs might seem to be good to true. Or, your expectations may have warped over the scouting process and now you’ve got a freelancer and you can’t remember if this was who you were looking for all along. Recall your crystal clear parameters, and rewrite them in tandem with your freelancer. Fight your skepticism with transparent goals, clear expectations, a sturdy work timeline, and a realistic budget. Your freelancer isn’t some schmuck from the land of Internet, and well, he or she is not a fish either. Your freelancer is a real time working professional and an expert with ample tools for your project.
And that’s it. Yes, really, that is it. All that’s left is to bring your haul in and chase the sunrise. Good work, Captain!