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Nearly every one of your small business projects can be outsourced. Outsourcing work to experienced freelancers can help you diversify the skills on your team and free up a lot of your time for big-picture issues. Even those essential tasks that drive revenue for your business, like sales and marketing projects, can be completed more efficiently by outsourcing to people with specialized skills and expertise. Plus, hiring freelancers is cheaper than full-time staff since you only have to pay for the services you need.
Here are some tips to help you find and hire the right freelancers for your business.
Determining Your Needs
Before you can start looking for outside workers, you’ll have to figure out exactly what skills you need. Start by identifying some projects you could use some help with. These may be areas where you lack expertise—perhaps web design or email marketing—or tedious tasks that are taking up a lot of your time, such as customer service and social media engagement. By outsourcing these time sinks, you can grow your business much faster than if you were to handle all of these tasks on your own.
Web development, for example, is one area where hiring freelancers can be a worthwhile investment. Unless you’re familiar with code, trying to build or update your website on your own can be a frustrating and arduous task—and may result in a site that repels potential customers. For projects like these, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches by hiring a professional.
Finding Great Candidates
Know where to look to find hard-working freelance candidates that will help your business grow. Start by leveraging your network to find talent. Post on your company website and social media accounts about the freelance roles you want to fill. You’re bound to receive several applications this way. According to The Balance Careers, LinkedIn can be particularly useful for finding talent.
Don’t forget to talk to your employees and ask them for recommendations as well. Chances are, someone on your team knows an independent contractor who might be a good fit for your business. You can also discover great workers by talking to friends and family!
Once you’ve exhausted your personal and professional networks, post your job on as many job boards as possible. There are countless job posting sites out there, some of which may give you better results than others.
For example, some job sites may be better for finding local professionals, which is ideal if you want to meet and work with your contractors in person, while other sites can help you connect with workers from all over the world, which can give you a much larger selection of talent to choose from.
Certain websites also cater to freelancers working in specific industries, like writing or web development. You may even be able to find remote freelance candidates on classified advertisement sites like Craigslist.
Writing Good Job Posts
Take the time to write really good job descriptions that will sell the position and attract the best talent to your company. Besides good spelling and grammar, your post should also include a descriptive title, an overview of your project, and a list of the required skills you’re looking for. Avoid going overboard by listing a lot of traits and skill requirements that very few people are likely to have. If candidates think they have no chance of getting hired, they will quickly move onto the next posting.
Paint a picture of what it would be like for your candidate to work with your company, but be careful to keep it simple and straightforward. You want your job post to be engaging and welcoming without throwing professionality out the window. Trying too hard to portray your company culture as cool and unique can make you appear unprofessional and bog your job post down with trendy language and irrelevant information.
Picking Out the Best Applicants for Small Business
If all goes well, you’ll soon have several applications from eager freelancers who are excited to join your team. Now you just have to weed out your best applicants. Keep in mind that you may have to hire more than one freelancer to cover all of the skills you’re looking for. The beauty of outsourcing work is that you can pick and choose the skills you need without paying for several different full-time employees.
Many business owners like to conduct phone or video chat interviews with their freelancers to learn about their work habits and experience. However, Business 2 Community recommends giving your top candidates paid test assignments so you can see exactly what it would be like to work with them. A test assignment is a win-win for both parties since you'll get help with something that you need completed and they will get a chance to show off what they can do.
Set up your test project so that it’s similar to the work your freelancer will be doing. For example, you could have them work on a small portion of your larger project or solve a series of problems that you’ve been grappling with.
As you look for the right freelancers to help take your business to the next level, be picky. Don’t settle for a freelancer that turned their test assignment in late or had a hard time communicating during the interview. Over time, these issues can become a real problem, costing you time and possibly even hurting your bottom line. Put time and care into your search until you find the perfect fit.