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Tips to Hire a Freelancer for Your Business

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Last editedJan 20232 min read

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one million Australians, or 7.8% of all employed individuals, worked as independent contractors. Unofficial figures from an Elance survey show that 3.7 million Aussies report doing freelance work. It’s clear that freelancing is on the rise, driven by the trend for home working and a more flexible workplace. This means there are more talented professionals than ever out there, but there are a few tips to keep in mind before you hire a freelancer.

When should you hire a freelancer?

Is hiring a freelancer right for you? It could be if you’re finding that there’s a skills gap with your in-house team. Hiring a freelance professional might help if you have a small task or ongoing project that’s outside of the scope of your full-time employees. By bringing in outside contractors, you can avoid the commitment of hiring and training another full-time worker, instead paying an individual for their niche expertise.

How to find freelancers

Before you jump onto any job boards you’ll need to first sit down and think about your expectations. What will the project entail? Do you expect this to be an ongoing relationship, or a single, one-off project that you need assistance with? Define the skills you need, the time frame, and the level of expertise you require.

You can find freelancers through several platforms like Expert360, Freelancer and Upwork. These let you login and post an advertisement with the details we’ve just mentioned. Be as clear as possible regarding deliverables and deadlines. Freelancers are often juggling multiple clients and projects, so this helps with realistic planning.

Another area to turn to is your own professional network. If you’ve worked with freelancers in the past, ask them for availability or referrals. LinkedIn is another good platform to utilise for finding freelancers in Australia that uses your own network of clients and colleagues.

How to hire a freelancer

Once you’ve started advertising the position, either through freelance marketplaces or your own network, it’s time to narrow the field down to a shortlist of qualified candidates. At this stage, you’ll need to define your budget. Freelancers are free to set their own rates, but most are open to negotiation, so it helps to be clear about the maximum you’re willing to pay. Some charge by the hour, while others charge by the project or task. For hourly rates, you’ll need to break down the project into a realistic timeframe to get an idea of the budget.

Someone might seem like a great fit on paper, but you need to test the water by asking to see some work. Look through the candidate’s online portfolio and ask for a variety of samples to get a real feel for their skill set. You can ask for a test or trial assignment, if you pay the freelancer for their time and effort. It’s worth the cost if you’re torn between two equally qualified candidates. A short trial also gives you more details about the freelancer’s communication style, responsiveness, and ability to meet deadlines.

Tips to ensure a good freelancer fit

Here are a few final tips to help you find the perfect fit for your business:

  • Include a special instruction in your job advertisement. It should be as simple as instructing the candidate to list their full name in the email subject line. This is an easy way to test a candidate’s attention to detail.

  • Remember that it takes time to build a relationship. Don’t be afraid to give feedback if the first project or task isn’t quite what you wanted.

  • Be responsive with communication. Freelancers must be masters of multitasking, so they need to know what’s going on with a project. If you know it’s going to end shortly, give them a heads-up so that they can find another contract.

Finally, don’t forget to pay your freelancer’s invoices on time. GoCardless makes invoicing easy for freelancers who can send out automated reminders and collect payments directly from client bank accounts. This builds trust on both sides, for a fruitful working relationship no matter the duration.

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