Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Freelancers play an important role in the modern office, and for some new business owners and entrepreneurs, these gig workers tend to carry a wealth of knowledge and skill that can help build a business from the ground up.
Despite the ongoing economic uncertainty, workplace trends have seen employees quit their jobs in droves, with some looking to start their ventures and others hoping to do something more fulfilling as the gig economy now offers them endless opportunities for simple tasks and jobs while getting paid to do it.
The gig economy is massive, and the workers fueling this industry represent roughly 36% of the US labor force — that’s more than 57 million workers. More so, the gig economy is growing three times faster and more aggressively than the US labor workforce, making it one of the busiest and most thriving segments to be working in right now.
Recently, Freelancer.com, one of the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplaces, revealed that job postings have surged for high-in-demand skilled jobs, seeing more than 296,000 jobs posted between July and September 2022.
Fueling the new way of work, freelancers and gig workers are giving business owners and entrepreneurs a chance to take advantage of the skills and knowledge they have to offer. While the gig economy offers full-time employees growing work opportunities, for employers, it means that choosing the right freelancer or part-time gig worker is a bit more challenging than it used to be.
Hiring your first freelancer is a daunting task, as there are several things you will need to consider beforehand. From the cost to their experience to their professionalism and what they can contribute to the business framework.
Starting is always the most intimidating part, but as an entrepreneur and business owner, you want to have the right person in the right position. To help you with this, here’s a look at five things you can consider before hiring your first freelancer.
Related: When Is Hiring Freelancers a Good Idea?
Understand what is needed
Before starting a freelancer search online, consider the work or project you need to complete. This will help determine the type of person you will need to hire and the type of experience they need to have to complete the project.
At the same time, if you are a small business owner, or have some contacts within your operations, consider if it’s possible to get an in-house creative to complete the project before hiring someone else.
When looking for a freelancer, write down the job description as this will give you a better indication of the type of person you are looking to hire. The project and business requirements are vital at this stage, as this will help your search for the right freelancer.
Set up a budget for the project
As with most things in business these days, the budget will determine the length and width of the project and how successful it may be by the time of completion. Working with a smaller budget means that a lot less will need to get done without financial means while having a bigger budget gives you a bit more legroom to make ongoing changes.
Part of the project should be allocated a set budget or price aside for labor costs. The more funds allocated to labor costs, the better chances you have of striking it lucky with a professional, high-end freelancer. Smaller budgets tend to limit your potential freelancer pool a bit and require a bit of negotiation.
At the same time, it’s important to know that paying a lot for labor won’t always give you top-shelf freelancers, so be picky in your search. Ultimately, your budget will give you a clear indication of the type of people you can hire and be working with.
Related: 6 Must-Dos When Hiring a Freelancer
Create a job description
Right from the get-go, create a job description that will clearly outline what will be expected and required from potential freelancers. The job description should include the nitty gritty parts as well as a broad overview of the business and what they can expect in return.
Additionally, you can also include duties and tasks, the skills they need and how many hours per week they will be expected to work. There should also be a small description of the company, or if you’re an independent worker a small biography would work.
The job description is the best place to indicate the type of person you’re looking for, and who they need to be considered.
Sourcing and screening applicants
The quality of freelancers you can choose from all depends on your source or marketplace. Sourcing freelancers can be tedious, as there are nearly countless different online platforms available for you to search through. Make sure to do a bit of research on the different marketplaces that exist and choose those that align with your values and business.
On top of this, while sourcing for freelancers, you can start screening each applicant as they apply, making the workload a bit lighter. Keep the applicants aside that you feel are the best fit with the job description, the project and your business values.
You can create a shortlist of a few possible candidates, and hold a short interview or screening with them to determine whether or not they are the right fit for your business. The best is to read a couple of customer reviews to get a better idea of the freelancer and the type of professional they are.
Related: The Business of Freelance: An Increasingly Popular and Very Viable Career Choice
Understand labor laws
Freelancers tend to follow different labor laws than full-time employees that have been permanently hired by the business or company.
In some cases, as an employer, even if you’re hiring a contract worker, you might be required to set up a legal contract for them to sign. It sounds like a lot, but it helps to protect you and your business in case of any disagreement.
Knowing the law not only helps protect your business against any discrepancy, but also ensures that you are up to standard on what you can expect from a freelancer in terms of working hours, location setup, tools and resources, and payment.
Be sure to double-check your state and county’s local labor laws while searching for a potential freelancer.
To finish off
Finding the right freelancer can take a bit of time, and it might require you as an entrepreneur and business owner to consider several factors that can influence the final results.
If you have limited means and require a lot of work, make sure to communicate this with the successful candidate. The best is to look for someone that is flexible, versatile and can get the work done without needing someone to constantly lead them.
Finally, the best freelancer is the one that fits in with your business values and seeks to deliver high-quality work within budget and within the right delivery time. Make time to look for the perfect freelancer, and most of the hard work is already done.