Freelancing is more common than most people seem to believe—about 35% of the global workforce is estimated to be independent contractors. This is a staggering number, and it keeps growing by the year. At least one-third of Fortune 100 companies already use freelance talent.
Employers appreciate working with independent contractors because it’s a great way to access talent with the skills they overwise can’t find. And it’s also an effective cost-reduction strategy. But hiring and managing freelancers can be challenging, so here are a few tips that can help any employer succeed.
Make the Most Of Freelancing Platforms
The number of freelancing platforms is growing by the day. It’s not difficult to find and hire a freelancer now, but the challenge is ensuring they’re good at what they do. The number one thing you need to do to avoid disappointment is stick to trusted platforms instead of chasing the cheapest ones.
Which Platforms to Use
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and struggle with a choice overload when choosing a platform to hire freelancers or independent contractors from. So it’s better to limit your choice to those that are already well-established and known in the market, such as:
- People Per Hour.
There are obviously countless more, but these six are a good place to start.
How to Choose the Best Specialists
But finding a decent platform to hire independent contractors is only the first step. Next, you’ll need to ensure you aren’t hiring a rookie who has just had a career change and has little experience, thus entrusting the wrong person with an important project.
To minimize the risk, ask around for recommendations. Seeing how many employers use independent contractors these days, you won’t have any shortage. Also, read the candidates’ reviews thoroughly and closely examine their skillset. Most importantly, spend enough time studying their portfolios.
When Headhunting, Go Beyond the Obvious
Global marketplaces akin to Upwork may be convenient, but they aren’t the only place to find exceptional talent for your project. If you’re after an expert with a very specific skill set, it’s better to look for them in different places, such as LinkedIn and industry-specific platforms.
LinkedIn might not be the first place people think of when looking for independent contractors, but it’s a great option. In particular, LinkedIn’s ProFinder focuses on freelance work, and some contractors there have impressive accomplishments and portfolios. Also, LinkedIn Groups can help you notice and contact an expert you’s like to work on your project.
Search for websites dedicated to a specific type of work. For example, if you’re after a graphic designer, find the largest online communities of graphic designers. Some of the top independent contractors are regulars there. And you’ll be able to get to know them before hiring, which is always a plus.
Finally, networking is beneficial when it comes to finding skilled freelancers. If you’ve already worked with some and were satisfied with the results, ask them for recommendations. Don’t hesitate to contact the people you’re interested in on LinkedIn, even if they aren’t actively taking orders on freelancing platforms.
Invest in Relationships
The most important advice when managing freelancers and independent contractors are building relationships with them. The better you understand one another, the more likely they will meet your expectations.
Initiate Zoom calls or in-person meetings, ask them questions about their previous projects, and try to make them feel part of the team (even though, technically, they aren’t). An excellent human connection goes a long way.
Maximize the Clarity of Expectations
Another essential part of managing freelancers is ensuring that you know exactly what you want and that the independent contractor you hired clearly understands your vision. Misunderstandings are very common in the contractor-employer relationship. Do your best to avoid them.
Always Organize Discovery Sessions
David Nuff, an experienced freelancer and one of Toronto’s top designers, advises companies that want to work successfully with independent contractors. He recommends organizing the so-called “discovery sessions” to get to know the contractor you’ve hired (or are about to hire).
This is a great chance to ensure they understand your technical task correctly and share your vision. And it’s also an opportunity to discuss and negotiate freelance pricing, so everyone’s happy and motivated. Most importantly, you can get to know the person better during a discovery session, thus strengthening your relationship.
Nothing is challenging about finding and hiring freelancers. It’s hiring and managing only the good ones where things get more tricky. But if you choose decent freelancing platforms and try to find the most skilled contractors without trying to be cheap, you should be fine. Also, never underestimate the importance of a good relationship, even in freelance work.
And if you need professional help with your resume—google Skillhub. We are always there for you.
- Is it risky to work with freelancers?
It’s only risky if your number one goal is to pay for the work as little as possible. Sketchy freelancing websites and inexperienced freelancers rarely lead to positive results. Otherwise, the risk isn’t any higher than in traditional staffing.
- What are the main arguments for hiring freelancers instead of sticking to conventional staffing?
First, freelancing gives companies access to the global talent pool. You can find a top-notch expert you couldn’t hire otherwise. Also, it’s an excellent cost-reduction strategy—independent contractors don’t have employee benefits, and employers don’t need to spend money on recruitment and onboarding.
- Are freelance contracts necessary?
They are. It guarantees you’ll get the job done when and how you expect it while the contractor gets paid. Neglecting contracts is reckless, and it’s not worth it.
Amon, Romj. “32 Stunning Freelance Statistics You Need to Know in 2023.” Techjury, 2 Feb. 2023
Gallo, Amy. “7 Tips for Managing Freelancers and Independent Contractors.” Harvard Business Review, 17 Aug. 2015
Gerber, Scott. “12 Ways to Find Freelancers.” Business.com, 6 Mar. 2023
Gilbert, Nestor. “405 Freelance Statistics for 2023: Market Size, Profile Data & Salary Rates.” Financesonline.com, 16 Feb. 2023
Philips, Miklos. “Living His Best Life: David Nuff’s Inspiring Freelance Success Story.” Toptal, 28 May 2020