Freelancers — Who, What and Why?

Freelancers are a relatively new concept, or access to them is. Contractors have been around for a long time, but the recent explosion of their use can be put down to the easy access via the internet, mainly through channels like Upwork and Fiverr.

So, why use a freelancer. Well, there are many reasons. Flexibility is a good one — you choose who, how long and for how much rather than having to employ someone under a fixed contract. You get to select from a database of freelancers around the world so the choice and experience is immense. They all set different hourly rates so you can shop for a bargain.

The beauty of these websites like Fiverr and Upwork is that they allow a huge range of filtering so you can really fine tune your search for the perfect freelancer. You can filter by country, experience, hourly rate, user rating etc.

You can either search by job type; like software developer or post a job for freelancers to reply their interest to.

When posting a job be sure to be as descriptive as possible, stating the role, hourly rate, hours needed, the goal of the job, the key performance indicators etc. This should mean that not only will you get a better set of job applicants, but also the end result in terms of the performance of the freelancer should be also better.

A key aspect when reviewing freelancers and trying to determine the right one for you, is to look at their reviews and ratings from previous jobs they have completed. These give a good insight into how the freelancer performed and should highlight any issues to be wary of. This review system is a good way of keeping the freelancers working to a high level because bad reviews will see them not get any further work on the platform.

If you’re looking for an ongoing role for the freelancer, it may be prudent to get the contact details of a previous employer and see if they would be able to provide a in-person reference. This will serve as a double check on the freelancers work.

When looking for a freelancer, ensure to review at least 3 applicants and compare them against one another. If you’re still unsure, have all 3 do a small task related to the job role and see who does the best.

Most of the time the role is covered by the internal contract which is standard for Upwork etc. These terms ensure that if the freelancer doesn't perform then you have recourse to have the work rectified to an acceptable standard or you won’t have to pay for the work.

Freelancers are a great asset to any growing business as they allow you to turn on labour as and when you need it as well as being able to shop around a huge database of talent.

Use them carefully and follow a sound process of selection and you should have a good experience with freelancers.

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