Freelance workers can be hugely beneficial to your business. You still benefit from their skills and services, without having to hire a full-time employee. You get the help that you need, when you need it, and you don’t have to use them during slower seasons or downturns.
But as is the case with anyone in the workforce, some freelancers are better than others. And while some will give you that flexible value you’re looking for, others could potentially end up being more trouble than they’re worth.
It’s important to know how to tell the difference, so here’s a quick look at the signs of a good freelance worker, along with some red flags you should look out for before you make the hire.
Signs of a good freelance worker
Not every freelance worker is going to have years of experience under their belt, but if they have some experience, it can definitely help make your hiring decision easier. And quality of experience is just as important as quantity. Most freelancers should at least have a couple work samples to share with you; make sure you take a look at those before you make your decision.
Good communication is a must for any remote worker. Lots of things can get lost in translation when you’re not speaking in person, so it’s vital that any freelance workers you work with are good communicators. This should manifest itself both in the quality of their communication (i.e. they communicate effectively, use good grammar, etc.), and in how responsive they are when you need to get a hold of them.
They know their worth.
There are plenty of platforms out there that help companies find very inexpensive freelancing work. These can be tempting, but more often than not, “you get what you pay for” holds true in these cases. If you need a project done and aren’t too concerned about quality, then one of these sites might get you the help you need. Otherwise, be willing to pay more for an experienced freelancer who does exceptional work.
Freelance workers usually juggle multiple clients at a time, meaning they have to be able to adopt multiple styles, cultures, and brand guides, and switch seamlessly depending on which project they’re working on. Look for a freelancer that will be able to understand your company’s needs in terms of substance and style.
Red flags to look out for
Long response times.
If you reach out to a freelancer and don’t hear back for several days (and an expectation hasn’t been set beforehand), that could be a red flag. If you need someone who is quick to respond at all times, that might not be the freelancer for you.
Saying “yes” to everything.
A freelancer who says yes to every project, every deadline, and every other ask is one who doesn’t know their own limits. This is likely to result in the freelancer setting high expectations that they’re ultimately not able to meet. Respect when a freelancer tells you no, or pushes back on something in some way. That means they want to do their best work for you.
Often, freelancers choose to freelance because they love the flexibility it offers them, but if they’re too flexible or limited with their schedules, they’re going to be hard to work with. Before you start working with a freelancer, ask them what their typical work hours are. It will make your work relationship a whole lot easier if you can count on them to be available at certain times.
Whether they’re a regular part of your staff, or a backup plan for certain times, freelancers can really help your business by offering quality work without the long-term employment commitment. Follow these simple tips when hiring a freelancer, and you’ll reap the rewards without the potential downsides.
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