The following is an excerpt from the free eBook From No-Tech to High-Tech Entrepreneur. To get your full copy go here or add your details in the right hand side.
We’re all busy people. What happens when you can’t keep up with the amount of work you need to produce for your business, website, blog, etc? Try outsourcing by hiring freelance writers. There are five steps to follow to make outsourcing an easy task instead of a stressful chore.
- Advertise The Job. First, evaluated your needs. Get a clear picture in mind of the type of freelancer you want to hire. Make sure you write a clear and detailed project description. Ask your facebook contacts and offline collegues for recommendations of who they have used in the past. Next, browse the top freelancing websites such as elance.com, odesk.com, rentacoder.com, guru.com, and freelancer.com. Decide which one (or more) fit your needs and post the project on the site (or sites).
- Evaluate the Freelancer. Once you decide on the freelancer you wish to hire, check their feedback rating, portfolio and references. Some questions to ask yourself once you contact them are:
- (1) Did the freelancer send a personal reply that shows they understand the project?
- (2) Are their rates within your budget?
- (3) Have they done similar projects to what you’re proposing?
- (4) How long have they been in business?
- (5) Are there any serious complaints against them?
- (6) What is the freelancer’s average turn around time on projects?
- Hire the Freelancer. Now that you’ve hired your freelancer, it’s time to get to work. Don’t give a new freelancer one of your bigger or more important projects until you’re sure the two of you will work well together. It is best to create an agreement or contract that outlines the following:
- (1) the scope of the project,
- (2) the project milestones and goals,
- (3) payment terms and
- (4) deadlines. Make sure you effectively communicate your expectations to your freelancer and ask what their expectations are in return. Answer any questions they have about your company’s mission, vision, and business philosophy. If you’ve evaluated the freelancer thoroughly and work well together, you can have a wonderful business partnership for many years to come.
- Create Project Briefs. Be sure to create a clear and detailed project brief for your freelancer. The project brief should show specifics, such as colors and imagery for a graphic or word count and topic for an article. It’s best to provide samples, links and examples to give your freelancer a clear idea of what you want them to create for you. Tell them how the project will be used. If you hired a ghostwriter, it’s important for them to know your intended audience, the topic, and that the finished product is a lead-generating report meant to pre-sell a product. Provide written directions on how you want them to complete the process including flow charts and decision maps. If possible, provide guides and resources to make the freelancer’s job easier such as a FAQ they can copy and paste when replying to common customer questions, video instructions, and access to a “mentor” to answer any other questions.
- Project Management. Part of creating a good product is being a good leader. Make sure to provide contact information to your freelancers such as your email address, phone number and skype username. Give your freelancer access to the other relevant members of your team such as the copywriter and website designer. Set up weekly meetings with the entire team and have your freelancers check in with you on specific days. If you must offer constructive criticism, make sure to do so in a polite and professional manner. Offer incentives for outstanding work such as paid days off, or gift cards to popular stores and restaurants. Always strive to make your work environment pleasant and “keep” freelancers by providing steady work and client referrals. It’s important in Project Management to treat everyone who freelances for you with kindness and respect. They will appreciate and remember your efforts. The next time you need this freelancer’s services, they will accommodate you if at all possible.
Further Things To Think About
When you’re evaluating which freelancer to hire, remember to check if there are any serious complaints about them. If so, is there a pattern to the complaints? Do they turn work in late? Do they take too long to answer or acknowledge email communication? Sometimes freelancers who are just getting into the business have complaints from clients. On the flip side, take note that a freelancer who’s just starting out – even if he has a perfect feedback rating now – may experience growing pains down the road. If someone has been in business for only a month or two, he’s probably not yet experienced enough to know how to handle a full project load. Thus he could easily take on too much work, which will create delays. If you are working with an established freelancer, check to make sure any complaints are long in the past.
Once you hire your freelancer, remember to check if they have any potential connectivity issues such as an ISP (internet service provider) that goes down often, a satellite connection that goes out during inclement weather, or an electrical system that falls prey to frequent brownouts and outages. While most freelancers are thankfully free of such hassles, these issues are more common than you think in in developing countries and rural areas. While this may not be an issue if your freelancer is writing an ebook for you, it becomes a huge issue if they’re doing customer service for you and need to log in to your website every day.
If you are working with a team of freelancers, a great way to increase morale and productivity is by offering incentives when the entire team reaches a milestone, goal, or benchmark. This is a powerfully effective tool because an individual freelancer isn’t just working for himself but must work together with others as a team. If one person fails to meet expectations or deadline on his end of the project, no one gets a reward. This promotes good, quality teamwork because no one wants to be blamed for the team failing to reach a goal. Being kind to your freelance employees will build loyalty and help maintain a low turn over rate. Use common sense for all steps of outsourcing.