If you own a software company, chances are you are privy to just how rapidly the industry has grown in the last decade and is continuing to grow. It goes without saying that gaining traction is an exciting time for any business. This is fantastic chance to make more innovative things happen and to push the boundaries of what your company can provide to your customers.
But as many business owners know, a company poised for growth needs a little extra help to propel its vision into reality. And sometimes in-house talent just can’t cover the work that needs to be done.
But did you know that a lot of companies these days do not follow the traditional route of hiring full-timers to fill existing skill and talent gaps? Instead, more and more businesses are turning to either freelancers or agencies to fulfill projects or tasks that would otherwise be difficult to pull off.
Getting access to specialized talent. Freelancers and agencies these days have developed a wide range of skillsets that you can easily leverage.
Lower costs. Generally speaking, the services of a freelancer or even agencies can be cheaper than having a full-timer on board. More often than not, they are also more flexible in terms of payment schemes. You can pay by the hour, pay a fixed project cost, or agree on a retainer.
Flexibility in terms of time. Freelancers and agencies are often more flexible in terms of working hours than full-time in-house talent.
If you’re considering the freelance option, then you’re in the right place! We’ve prepared a simple guide that can help you find qualified people who can help your company grow. We’ll be going through five simple steps today, so let’s get started!
STEP 1: Determine Whether You Need Individual Freelancers or Agencies for the Project
Generally speaking, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to determining whether it’s better to hire individual freelancers or agencies for your software company. At the end of the day, it all boils down to your unique needs and preferences. However, you can ask yourself these questions to make the decision much easier to make:
Is the project big? Complex projects may require a group of people and one person may not be able to complete all the tasks needed on time. But for small and specific tasks, you can never go wrong with a niched freelancer.
Do you need to use various technologies for your project? If you need a wide range of features for your project then you’re probably better off with an agency than an individual freelancer. While there are freelancers out there who have a wide range of skills, you’d be hard-pressed to find one person who can, for instance, build a website from start to finish by himself that’s 100% ready to launch.
Can the task or project be completed by one specialist? If yes then, by all means, go for an individual freelancer. But if you need back-end, front-end, and design services, then you will need more than one person, possibly including a project manager, which agencies can easily provide for you.
What sort of budget do you have? Agencies are more likely to charge higher than individual freelancers so your budget should be able to match this accordingly. If you choose to hire the individual freelancers on your own, consider as well the value of your time.
Do you need post-launch support? Part of the deal with agencies often includes providing support even after the project is launched. However, there is nothing that stops you from requesting for post-launch support from a freelancer.
How much time do you have? Freelancers can often provide a faster turnaround time for tasks and projects. This is since they work individually. On the opposite end of the scale, tasks are often divided among multiple people in an agency. This can potentially slow down their turnaround time.
STEP 2: Identify What Aspects You Need Help With
Before you can find qualified people who can help realize your vision, you first need to determine the skills you’ll be needing from a freelancer or agency. These days, independent contractors offer a wide range of skills and can help you with the following:
Custom Software Projects. Freelance developers can help with custom software development projects. All you need to do is to explain exactly what you want and freelancers or agencies can create and execute a unique game plan for you.
Build Project Requirements. Freelancers can create specific requirements for your project. You can also ask them to fulfill them or find an agency or another individual to work with to complete it.
Automate Operations. Freelancers and agencies niched in software development can also help you automate certain aspects of your operation. This can help improve the level of efficiency in your organization.
Improve Customer Experience. Software developers can create customer-facing programs that improve the customer experience.
Build Mobile Apps. Freelance and agency developers often understand your needs as a company. With this level of understanding, they can propose a full game plan and build a custom mobile app to answer them.
Maintain or Make Changes to Current Mobile Apps. Freelancers or agencies can manage and maintain the mobile application that you already have. They can also make improvements and look for new opportunities.
Sync To Your Website. If you need to match up the user experience on your app and on your website then a freelancer or an agency can help you out. Either one can help with the design process so that your customers have similar experiences whether they are on your app or their browser.
STEP 3: Define the Scope of the Project and Develop a Clear Project Description
A crucial thing to remember when outsourcing projects to freelancers or agencies is you need a well-defined and clear-cut project scope and delimitation. You need to approach independent contractors with a clear set of expectations. This includes the type of work that needs to be done, how long it should take, and how much it will cost, among others.
When you have a clearly laid out scope, you can streamline the hiring process and you’ll have a better chance of attracting the right people. When defining the scope, you need to determine the following:
With a well-defined scope in hand, you then need to prepare a corresponding project description. Make sure to include the following:
A clear title that explains exactly what you need to be done. For example, if you need an online dating app, use something along the lines of “Experienced Developer to Build iOS and Android Application for Online Dating”.
An overview of the project. This should include the purposed of the project, and the technology stack you need for the project.
The project details, Give information on the purpose of the project or task, the current stage it is in (if applicable), any existing project files or documents you’ll be providing, and your expected timeline. You can also include examples to help candidates understand your vision better.
The specific skills required for the project.
STEP 4: Use a Freelancing Marketplace to Find the Best Candidates
These days, there are countless ways to outsource to talent from across the globe. You can ask for referrals, you can post on social media, and advertise on other channels. But the simplest, easiest, and most convenient method is to find candidates on freelancing marketplaces like FreeUp.
Here, finding the right freelancer or agency is as simple as creating a free account, submitting a request, interviewing candidates, hiring the best fit, and paying securely every week.
With marketplaces like FreeeUp, you can take the guesswork out of hiring contractors so you can focus on the more important aspects of running your software business. Here, you can find pre-vetted freelancers and agencies who can take some of the workload off your shoulders.
STEP 5: Onboarding Freelancers or Agencies
Once you’ve found the right freelancer or agency, it’s time to onboard them. Strong onboarding practices are important if you want to build a strong relationship with a freelancer on an agency. Not only does it help keep freelancers up to speed with your company’s internal processes but it also aids in setting expectations on both sides. In addition, it also introduces freelancers to the culture and work environment your company upholds.
The goal of onboarding is to equip hires with the necessary knowledge and encourage the preferred behaviors to work best within the organization so they can become effective, engaged, and productive in performing their tasks. This process is especially important when bringing freelancers or agencies into the fold who might be on the other side of the world.
Here are some important things you need to keep in mind:
Introductions matter. One of the key things when maintaining a great working relationship with a freelancer is making them feel like they are an important part of your organization. Take the time to introduce them to everyone. You can set up a video conference call with all the people who’ll be working on the project. This way, you’ll be building a sense of connection and every member of the group, freelancer or otherwise, will be able to collaborate better
Acquaint them with your brand. When onboarding freelancers or agencies, it’s important to introduce them to your brand, what it stands for, and what its values are. To help them understand your brand better, you can provide brand guidelines as well as documents that explain your company’s core values, mission, and vision. Let them know what your expectations are and explain how their role can impact the company in the grander scheme of things.
Discuss the collaboration tools you will use. Equip freelancers with the same collaboration tools that everyone else is using. Whether you’re using Trello, GitHub, or Skype, give them access and get them connected with the people they’ll be working with so you can all coordinate with each other better.
Provide an Overview of the Project. Even if freelancers and agencies have already seen the project description, it’s still a good idea to discuss the project during the onboarding process. Reiterate matters like the scope and duration of the project, milestones, and the development methodology. It’s also important to clearly lay down the role and responsibility of the freelancer or agency in relation to the project.
Assign a mentor. If you’ve ended up hiring an individual freelancer for the project, it’s a good idea to assign a mentor to them. This person can guide the freelancer and help him or her adjust to your company’s workflow faster and easier. A culture of mentorship doesn’t always mean that earlier hires have to babysit freelancers. All it means is that someone will be there for them when they need help getting settled in and adjusting to the specific way your company does work. For agencies, a project manager can help in the same way by coordinating so that everything becomes seamless.
Let them ask questions. While freelancers can be very insightful, they are also used to working alone, often figuring things out on their own. However, if you want to prevent potential misunderstandings down the line, it’s important to encourage them to ask questions. Take this opportunity to let them clarify aspects of the project that may be vague and let them provide input on how the scope or the process can be further improved. You’ll be surprised at the additional value this can bring to the project and your business as a whole.
Maintain a system of feedback. The most important part of working with freelancers or agencies is keeping the lines of communication open at all times. This saves everybody from confusion. Provide and ask or feedback regularly so that everybody is on the same page about the direction of the project at all times.
Hiring freelancers and agencies for your software company doesn’t need to be a complicated task. With the steps and pointers above in mind, you can find the right people to help your company grow even more.
If you want to know more about how FreeUp can help you find the right freelancers or agencies for your company, you can schedule a call with one of our founders and they’ll be more than happy to share valuable insights with you.
Anby Alcomendas is a writer, proofreader, editor, and researcher. She helps business owners target and convert the right customers through content creation and refinement. When she's not busy creating content, she turns to art for solace.