7 Lessons on Hiring Freelancers From Stas Borukhoff of MobiLine
Hello everyone, I am Stas Borukhoff Founder and CEO of MobiLine app. In my journey from development to pre-launch of our video based communications and social networking app I have traveled the windy road of hiring and having to fire a handful of freelancers. Today I will share some valuable lessons for any app developer, founder, or entrepreneur to learn from.
Know What You Know, and What You Don’t Know
Once you start your journey in bringing your great idea to reality, you are going to have to assemble a team of experts or freelancers to help you create and manage everything needed to build your business. Many entrepreneurs turn to sites like Upwork, Craigslist, Linkedin, Fiverr, or others. These can be great places to find people but they also come with some issues.
Do Your Research
Everyone’s profile says they are experts! The problem is, when hiring for a position that is not your area of expertise, you often won’t know what a real expert looks like. Nobody’s profile says, “I’m just OK” so founders find themselves falling victim to scammers, over exaggerated credentials, and even blindness to the real experts who you might want to hire. Just because my Stas Borukhoff profile on Linkedin says I have a BS in computer science doesn’t mean you can’t verify that or ask me questions that can verify if I actually know my stuff.
Tip: Talk to experts in the field who you aren’t looking to hire. Ask for a few moments of their time to help you know what to look for. This information will be invaluable during the screening process. Google articles on what to look for in a particular field like social media manager. People will be happy to offer pointers on Facebook and other places of what to avoid and how to spot a fake or low quality people for the task.
Don’t Stop at Their Profile
People can buy fake followers, claim credentials that aren’t real, and even steal people’s profile picture or qualifications. Don’t assume what you see is what you are going to get especially in the online world and remote work environment. Remember, they created the profile or website, so don’t assume it is real. Take the extra time to see who is recommending them, Google their projects they worked on and their name and see what shows up. You have to put in due diligence to vet the information provided. Quality people can handle scrutiny.
For example, if you Google my name Stas Borukhoff, you will see my social profiles, business profiles, and even a negative post written about me. This goes to the point. You have to actually read things to see if they are valid or not. There was a post written about me from a person who I actually never even hired. A person I didn’t know reached out to me on Linkedin and then recommended another person for marketing. I talked with him multiple times on the phone but then felt uneasy when some red flags went up.
Tip: There is a big difference between you reaching out to hire someone and someone reaching out to you. Many scammers will email you, or message you on Linkedin offering services. This can be part of a setup and scam. It is better if you found them, vs they found you.
Pay Attention to Red Flags
At first everything seemed fine, but then when the person wanted me to wire them the money before starting I felt uneasy about it because I realized I didn’t actually know this person. When I asked about using Paypal they insisted I wire them the money. Wiring money and scams go hand in hand so I backed up. They kept asking about how much money I had and asked a high price for their services. At the time I felt it was too high and was just going to pass and look for someone in my budget, but then they offered to go lower, and lower, and lower. When they were offering aggressively to go to 1/3 of their first price another red flag went up. If they were legit would they really lower their price so much?
Listen to Your Gut
I decided to still pass and the person kept calling me. When they realized I was not going to hire them I noticed a post showed up saying I scammed them. I felt this was some weird way of extorting me to hire them to avoid negative sentiment attached to my name. I simply ignored it an consulted my attorney. There are all kinds of scams on Linkedin and your gut should tell you when you should slow down and do your research.
Tip: If you feel something is not right, don’t be tricked back into a bad situation. Threats or negative statements should not be a reason to continue working or communicating with someone. Legitimate freelancers will not leave negative reviews or comments about you if you never even hired them.
The Cream Rises to the Top
Let’s say you make it through the gauntlet of avoiding being scammed and you hire some people for your team. Then you still have to make sure they are the right fit. It is unlikely you will find gold your first attempt and sometimes you have nothing to compare people with if they are your first hire. I realized this when it wasn’t until I found the right person that it was obvious the other people were not nearly as proficient. Talking is one thing, many people talk the talk, especially in marketing, but delivering value is another story completely. Don’t be afraid to give them a trial basis, or even hire more than one person for a job. In the end you want quality and you can’t always tell the difference of work until you see more than one.
What if They Don’t Work Out?
So when looking for the right fit, you are going to have to let some people go. I have always been professional and made sure even the people who wasted my time and delivered little or nothing of value were paid for all the time they spent. Keep your reputation intact. Avoid getting in arguments even if they don’t deliver what they said they could. So many freelancers overpromise and underdeliver, that is why you will know who has the skills when they actually start executing.
In the example above one of the people I hired and then had to end the contract based on it not being a fit went and shared the false negative post about me and even called me a scammer in the comments. I reached out to them and explained they had been paid 100% for the time they worked and that just because I didn’t move forward with them on my project they should not leave negative comments like calling me a scammer.
Take the High Ground
If you check my Stas borukhoff profile on Upwork, you will see I have 31 hires and an average 4.5 star rating and over 200k spent on freelancers, the numbers speak for themselves. Still, you will come across people who may not work out for you that will leave you negative comments or reviews. If all of the reviews are bad pay attention, but if a few are, you have to consider why they were left. Google recently started enforcing no ex-employee negative reviews for Google Business for this same reason.
There is a great post on how to spot fake or negative reviews from ex-employees here, and what you can do about it.
Want to hear from other experts on mistakes to avoid. check out this post from 26 experts on mistakes to avoid when hiring freelancers.
Lesson and Purpose
The lesson is you can’t just trust what a person puts in their profile. MobiLine is designed on the same premise. I wanted a communication and social networking app that was video based so you can find out quickly exactly what kind of person you are meeting or even hiring. No more fake profiles, no more fake photos. Relationships and business are better when people are being honest and real.
Check out MobiLine.com and sign up to be the first to get notified when the app is available and keep being real.