Are you trying to do too much? Does it feel like growing your business is taking every last ounce of your energy and attention? Do you find yourself having your hands in every little part of your business? What if someone could help you out along the way?

I’m not talking about hiring more employees

I used to own a small service business, so I personally know your frustration. You know you’re trying to do too much. You know that you can’t really grow past the level that you’re at because you just can’t take on any more work without dropping a ball somewhere else in your personal or professional life. And, when you try to figure out what to do about it, you constantly get hit with the same advice—hire an employee.

And, you know in your head that it makes logical sense. You can’t do more work on your own, so you need someone else to help. But, you also know that the business budget just doesn’t have room for another employee right now. It doesn’t matter if you already have a large staff or are working on your own at the moment. The budget is the budget, right?

The freelancer advantage

That’s where freelancers can come in and save the day. You can hire them for one single little task. Or, you can work up a contract with a freelancer for them to assist you with some tasks on an on-going basis. Here are some of the reasons why working with a freelancer makes more sense than hiring an employee:

  • You can hire on a project-by-project basis. There is no long term commitment.
  • You don’t have the overhead that an employee brings. Freelancers work from their own workplaces, they use their own equipment, and you don’t have to worry about all the employee taxes.
  • It becomes more affordable to work with an expert. You can find the right person for the exact project that you have, even if there isn’t a single other job they can help you with for your business.
  • For many tasks, your pool is going to be bigger. If they don’t need to be present each day in your office you can choose someone on the other side of the world if they’re the best fit.
  • It can be a lot faster than hiring an employee. There aren’t all the background checks and hoops to jump through.

What’s the drawback?

While there are a lot of advantages that come with hiring freelancers for your projects or tasks, there are a few things that can be more complicated about it.

  • It’s hard to get the same level of buy-in. When you hire an employee, for the most part, they’re more invested in the work that your business is doing. Someone that’s only completing a single project for you might not be as concerned about the long term success of the project.
  • Might not be as loyal. When you work with a freelancer you are usually only one of their clients. When you hire an employee then you know that they are focused on your business for the hours that they are at work. That’s not true with a freelancer. You have to trust that they are going to prioritize your work and get it completed by the deadline that you agreed on.
  • You might not ever really know the person. If you like to develop a close team feel with everyone that’s working within your business, it might be difficult to do with a freelancer.

Tips when working with a freelancer

For the most part, freelancers want to put their best foot forward and do a good job because it’s their livelihood. If their work is bad and people don’t hire them, then they don’t make money. However, there are some things that you should know when hiring a freelancer to help you have the best experience possible.

  • Know how to communicate what you’re looking for. You can’t expect a freelancer to read your mind. This is the same as delegating with employees. If you’re going to hire a freelancer, you need to know what you’re looking for. Saying something like, “I’ll know it when I see it.” is a freelancer’s worst nightmare.
  • Get face-to-face. There are so many options for video calls available. Meeting face-to-face, even if it’s virtually, can help you and your freelancer to get on the same page. It allows you to get a better feel for who they are and if you think the two of you could work well together.
  • Be clear about deadlines and expectations. This goes along with the first tip. Not only do you need to be able to know what you want the final outcome to look like, but you have to clearly communicate how you want the process to go. Do you need to have check-in points along the way? Do you want them to provide a draft of their work first? Make sure all of these things are clearly detailed out in a contract.
  • Share your brand values, messaging, and purpose. You want to find a freelancer that will think like part of your team when working on your project. That means you need to clearly communicate about your business so they know how to make their work fit in with what you’re already doing.

Areas to hire a freelancer

Most people will instantly think of website designers and graphic designers when they think about working with a freelancer. However, you can find someone to handle just about any part of your business. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Brand expert
  • Writer or blogger
  • Graphic designer
  • Bookkeeper or accountant
  • Virtual assistant (personal or professional)
  • Customer service
  • Replying to emails
  • Answering phones
  • Data entry
  • Market research
  • Sales or lead generation
  • Social media
  • Human resources

And, this list is just to get you started. If there’s something that you’re looking to have done, I would almost guarantee that you can find a freelancer that has experience or at least the right skills to help you out.

Where to find freelancers

There are several freelance websites that you can use to work with freelancers. A few of the most popular are:

However, you can also do a simple online search to find freelancers that offer the services that you’re looking for. Or, hit up LinkedIn to see what you can find.

Here are a few last things to keep in mind when looking for freelancers:

  • The saying “you get what you pay for” is usually true. Don’t just go with the freelancer that has the lowest price. Make sure you do your due diligence and look into the person before you hire them.
  • The advantage of using a site like those listed above is that the money you pay goes to a third party first and then they release it to the freelancer when the job is completed and you’re satisfied with it. If you’re giving money upfront, make sure you have a solid contract in place and that the freelancer has good reviews. Which brings us to the next tip…
  • Check for reviews, recommendations, and past work. You want to see proof that they know how to do what they say they’re going to do and that they have happy customers that have worked with them in the past.
  • Don’t be afraid to start with a small project to test their skills before jumping into something big.
  • Keep it legal. Have contracts in place and avoid doing anything “under the table”. You are running a legitimate business so you need to do things the right way.

If you want to see real growth within your business, you might need more than just to hire a freelancer. Business coaching can help you identify the steps you need to take within your business to reach your growth goals. Contact a SPEARity coach today to discuss your options. We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee business coaching firm that specializes in executive coaching and leadership development training.

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