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A Comprehensive Guide to Finding Excellent Freelancers

When you run a business, your time is always at a premium. Hiring freelancers can be a fantastic way to get some of the work off your plate and still keep your website and marketing going strong. Copywriting, graphic design, web design, and social media marketing are some of the most time-consuming tasks you’re faced with in ecommerce. Done right, they can also be the easiest tasks for a business owner to outsource.

Hours spent banging your head to learn new tech or perfect a blog post or new web page may be hours wasted. By going the freelance route, you can save a great deal of time without adding staff salaries to the budget. A professional writer or designer can complete projects more efficiently than a busy business owner and often with better results.

Is It Really Worth It?

The thought of diving into the world of freelance can be daunting, and a few minutes googling “where to find freelancers” can be enough to send some business owners into a tailspin. How do you find the right people for the job? Where do you begin with so many options out there? Will outsourcing end up taking more time than doing it yourself? And is quality work affordable?

Not to worry. In this guide for small business owners, we’ll take a quick look at the best options when it comes to hiring freelance help and determine what’s right for you.

But first, here are 5 important reasons it can be much better in the long run to pare down your workload and hire a professional freelancer for the job:

It's a great idea to expand your team by finding reliable freelancers you'll be able to depend on.

  1. You’ll save time on paperwork and repetitive tasks. You may not be ready to take on the extra burden of hiring employees, but you’re ready to do some delegating. The right freelance pool can give you access to experts in the field and free up your time to do the important work of running your business. Hiring freelancers is a terrific way to keep things relatively simple but still get the help you need. Keeping your website and blog up to date, writing, and handling SEO are some of the continuous tasks that freelancers can take care of in the background.
  2. You’ll give your website and marketing materials the professional edge you need to stay competitive. There comes a time when DIY will no longer cut it. To nail that critical first impression for your business and consistently project the right image, high quality content is a must, especially considering the crowded digital landscape in which a business operates. Luckily, freelance platforms are full of professionals who are highly trained in their field and have the best tools at their fingertips. Expand your team by forming mutually beneficial relationships with one or two designers or writers who you can depend on when you need them.
  3. You’ll save money over hiring staff. It’s true that you get what you pay for, but paying for the work you need only when you need it is key. Especially in the early days of your business when it’s too soon for hiring employees and taking on all the overhead that comes with them. Freelancers allow you to streamline operations, which is always essential.
  4. You’ll cut back on your weekly to-do list. A seemingly simple blog post can take hours to create and publish, and keeping your social media fresh can seem like a full-time job. Again, this is where a reliable freelancer can come to your rescue. Most business owners come to the same realization sooner or later – you can’t do it all. And it’s been proven time and again that overwork is counter-productive. Freeing up a few hours here and there is not impossible. A bit of rest and rejuvenation always pays off and ultimately allows you to stay on top of your game.
  5. You’ll get better results. Letting the experts take over the work that they’ve been trained to do will pay off in other ways as well. People who do SEO full-time, for instance, most likely do it well, and that means better lead generation. Our final and one of the most compelling reasons to delegate work to professionals is it works. Impactful copy and eye-catching images crafted by professionals get more attention and bring more customers.

Content Marketplaces like Writer Access are one of your options for finding quality writers.

Where Do You Find Quality Freelancers?

You have two major options for finding and hiring the help you need to produce marketing materials and other content for your business:

  • Content marketplaces – Marketplaces such as Writer Access and Textbroker provide an agency-like environment for outsourcing projects. These sites streamline the process for you and deliver the work according to your specifications. You’ll likely submit your order for work through a template, the final product will be delivered, and you’ll pay when and if you’re satisfied with the work done. The fee structure is uniform.

  • Freelance platforms – These sites allow freelancers to set up profiles showing their work and set their own rates. Most require you to create an account and then post a job listing for the work you need as well as your budget for the job. On platforms like Upwork or DesignCrowd, you’re able to invite qualified writers or designers to apply for your listing. Once you agree on the scope of the work and the rate, work will be submitted and payment made through the platform. Upwork (the joining of oDesk and Elance) is one of the most popular platforms available and can be a suitable place to find quality professionals. Other options include Freelancer and Hubstaff Talent.

Both of the above are viable options for getting high quality work done affordably. And each one presents its own challenges and disadvantages. Let’s look at the benefits of each, as well as the pitfalls to avoid.

Textbroker is a content marketplace for freelance writing.

Content Marketplaces

The pros:

  • These sites often provide a more targeted work pool that won’t require you to wade through thousands of profiles.
  • Profiles are often more detailed than the ones you’ll run across on sites like Upwork.
  • It can be easier to recruit qualified people here, as freelancers have already been through the vetting process.
  • Marketplaces normally have thorough reviews and ranking systems in place that give you that extra sense of assurance.

The cons:

  • Marketplace sites can be more expensive in the long run with their more rigid fee structures.
  • Going this route often limits the scope of work available as well, so you can expect less flexibility.
  • These sites are also more restrictive with number of revisions than the individuals on a freelance platform are likely to be.

DesignCrowd is a helpful resource for finding qualified freelance designers.

Freelance Platforms

The pros:

  • Freelance platforms also give you the opportunity to invite specific professionals to apply for your jobs.
  • They offer job ratings on freelancers and individually designed portfolios.
  • With over 12 million freelancers on one site alone, you’ll have a vast pool to choose from with some very qualified professionals available.
  • Expect more flexibility as you will work one-on-one.
  • You’ll have more opportunity to form lasting relationships and more direct contact with the writers or designers who do the work.

The cons:

  • That same flexibility will come with less uniformity when it comes to performance.
  • While finding your way on these large platforms, there is likely to be some hit or miss.
  • Freelancers here set their own rates, and the wide variety of rates alone can be confusing when you’re starting out.
  • Determining a fair rate can be a challenge when your faced with some workers in developing countries who will do the work for a fraction of what US freelancers charge.
  • Freelancers can be anywhere in the world, so consider the possibility of a language barrier and the challenge that comes with confusing time-zone differences.

Upwork is one of the most popular (and crowded) platforms.

Clearly, finding qualified freelancers to take on time-consuming and skilled work can be very beneficial to the small business owner. With the right professionals on your team, your marketing efforts will get better results and your online presence will be stronger and more effective. The time it will take you to navigate the hiring process and find the right people upfront will likely pay off in the end, and most business owners find the ROI to be worth the effort.

If you’re a business owner who finds it hard to delegate, forming solid working relationship with a few freelance professionals will go a long way toward making your life easier.

Final Tips

Here are a few final tips to keep in mind when hiring freelancers:

  • Try more than one platform to find the one that’s the best fit for you.
  • Be as thorough and specific in describing the work needed as you can.
  • Do your homework when it comes to screening individual applicants and make full use of the platform reviews and portfolios.
  • Start small with a freelancer who looks like a good fit and work your way up to bigger projects if they prove reliable.
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