More and more people are leaving conventional, full-time traditional employment and becoming freelance workers and independent contractors. This offers a ton of benefits for businesses of all sizes; you’re able to pay talented, trained experts to complete work or projects based on your need. You don’t need to hire them as an employee and pay taxes or have a set amount of work a week, and—best of all in the eyes of many—you don’t have to train them.
Finding truly talented and exceptional freelance workers, however, can be a major challenge. People have been lying on their resumes for decades, and it’s all too easy to hire someone who looks good online and pay way too much money for work that doesn’t even come close to meeting the mark. One of the best ways to find a high-quality writer is to find one with real history, customer feedback, author profiles and especially if they have a website or blog of their own.
With so many resources online for how to start a blog, it would be rare these days to find a professional freelance writer that doesn’t have a site of their own. However, don’t let that be the determining case on whether you are going to hire someone or not. To help with this complicated decision process, we are going to highlight five of the best ways to find a high-quality freelance writer for your site. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look, and what to look for.
Amazing, hardworking freelancers are out there; you just have to find them and do your best to keep them once you do.
1. Know What You Need
If you’re going to hire someone, the best thing you can do is determine what exactly you’ll need them to do. If you’re looking to hire a freelance writer, for example, are you going to want them to write ebooks, blog posts, or email marketing campaigns? Some can do all three, but some can’t; each has separate skills required. Good blog post writers have an understanding of SEO and keywords; email copywriters should know about that particular branch of marketing.
Understanding, to the best of your ability, what your needs are and how it will impact your business (are you creating a blog to increase traffic, or to drive sales, or both?) will help you find someone with the necessary skill set to complete the job, and do it well.
2. Be Willing to Pay More
The top talent in any field will almost certainly get paid more; their work offers more value, and they’re in more demand. While you can find a large number of freelancers online who will do the work for very cheap (particularly in the digital marketing/design field), you’ll often get much better results if you’re willing to pay more for someone with more experience. By being willing to pay more, you’ll automatically have an easier time finding the best freelancers.
You might be lucky and stumble onto a worker who is new to the industry and isn’t charging a lot for their services yet while they build a resume; that’s great at first. Keep in mind though that if they’re really good, other businesses will see it, too, and you’ll likely have to pay more to keep them on board.
3. Ask People You Trust for Referrals
A big fear of a lot of businesses or business people when it comes to hiring freelancers is that they can be unpredictable and unreliable. They don’t want to pay that upfront deposit in case the freelancer takes off without doing the work, or they don’t want to pay a hefty hourly fee to someone who may waste their time. A good solution to this is to ask the people you trust for referrals.
Asking a friend, colleague, or industry peer if they have a freelancer they use and recommend can be a great way to connect with a worker who you already know has produced solid work at least once.
You can even ask the freelancers or contractors that you’re already working with if they have recommendations. A blogger or copywriter, for example, may have a great relationship with other types of writers, a website designer, or a graphic designer that they’ve worked with in the past. Because they know their reputation can be impacted by their recommendation, they’re a lot less likely to make one rashly.
4. Pay for a Short “Test” Project
Plenty of employers will ask prospective employees to demonstrate their abilities before offering them a job; hiring a freelancer doesn’t have to be any different. Especially for large (and expensive) projects, asking freelancers to complete a short, paid test project can help you decide if they’re right for your business. Even the best freelancers out there won’t be the right fit for every business.
Test projects give you the opportunity to determine not only that the quality of their work is high and that it’s what you need, but several other factors, too, including:
- Whether or not they meet their deadlines. If they don’t meet their deadline on the test project, where they’re supposed to be strutting their stuff, they probably won’t meet the deadlines later on, either.
- How they communicate. Communication is so important, especially when you’re looking to have the work done right. Are they clear about what they need from you? Do they ask for help or clarification when they need it?
- How often they communicate. If the person you’re looking to hire as a freelance worker doesn’t check their email or their phone as often as they might need them to, the working relationship won’t work. Some projects need constant communication, and if you need someone who will be open to that, it’s good to find out early.
Keep in mind that even the best freelancers out there won’t be the right fit for every business; if you find a seemingly amazing freelancer that doesn’t have a communication or work style that meshes with yours, they’re probably not right for you, even if they come highly recommended. That’s the point of the test project—to see who will and won’t work.
5. See How They Respond to Feedback
No matter what business you’re in, we’ve all experienced a coworker, boss, or even a friend who is incapable of accepting feedback of constructive criticism. When they receive it, they point fingers at everyone else and get angry. This is the very last thing you want when hiring a freelance worker or independent contractor.
If at all possible, keep an eye on how a freelance worker responds to feedback and criticism. A good way to do this is by asking them to complete that test project discussed above, and then asking them to edit it with your notes. If they’re willing to do so, that’s a good sign. If they’re not and have no good reason as to why, cut your losses and run.
This is someone you’re paying for a service or a product; if they are unwilling or unable to give you exactly what you want, it’s just not going to work.