Courtney Rosenfield - Oct 15, 2019
Freelancing has exploded in the past few years, and it shows no signs of slowing. As millions of people turn to self-employment for a fulfilling career, companies are taking note and embracing the freelancer as a regular member of the team. However, just because you want to integrate freelancers into your business doesn’t mean you necessarily know how. These steps will make sure you hire the right people and make the most of their talents within your organization.
One of the easiest ways to find freelancers is by using one of the many freelancing platforms available. Write up a description of the work, post it onto the platform (sometimes for a fee), and watch the bids roll in. You can then make your choice based on cost, portfolio, reviews, and more.
However, it is important to understand that not all freelancing platforms are created equal. Some, like Upstack and Gratify, screen their freelancers to offer a streamlined selection of the top-rated talent in the industry. Similarly, Upwork offers a quick snapshot of each service provider that clarifies the percentage of successful jobs they’ve completed. Others, including Fiverr and Freelancer, are easy for anyone to immediately sign up for. They tend to be better for companies on a tight budget since beginner freelancers will command lower rates. You can find great freelancers in any of these, but it is worth bearing in mind how each platform works before choosing to pay for one.
A 2016 survey showed that 85 percent of jobs are filled via networking. Finding freelancers is no different. Reach out to your contacts and ask whether they have worked with any great freelancers recently that they can recommend. This is especially useful if you have not worked with freelancers before and you want to make sure you can trust who you are working with.
Freelance employment law varies by state, so look up what your rights and responsibilities are as an employer before starting. Bear in mind, however, that your freelancers could become employees one day, and find out how this will affect their contracts. A few important laws you should remind yourself of include the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Occupational Health & Safety Act.
When interviewing a freelancer, you will want to ask different questions than you would to a prospective employee. You will want to focus on areas like time management, their portfolio and past work, and their expected approach to the specific project in question.
Don’t be afraid to consider remote freelancers. While it may take time getting used to working with someone entirely through digital channels, working with remote freelancers has some astounding benefits. These include round-the-clock productivity (if they work in different timezones), a more diverse workforce, and a much wider pool of talent to choose from.
Freelancers also make a good testing ground for remote work as a whole. Eventually, you may also want to consider offering remote work to your existing employees. Indeed, a two-year Stanford study showed that remote working actually boosted productivity by a full workday compared to a traditional office scenario.
Blended teams of employees and freelancers can be exceptionally powerful, but some tensions can arise between the two groups. Smooth this over by building trust and integrating both kinds of workers. Look for people who share the same values and with the right soft skills (such as communication and cooperation), make your vision clear for how the team will work, and give freelancers solid onboarding so they can blend right in.
All signs point to freelancing being a huge part of the workforce in the coming years. By embracing and learning how you can make freelancers work within your business, you are making your business flexible and future-proof. However, on a more practical, immediate level, you will also get the freedom to choose the perfect person for every project, big or small.