The freelance economy significantly grew in numbers over the years. Today, freelancers comprise a substantial portion the world’s workforce. If you’ve never worked with one before, chances are you will be working with them soon. Find out important hiring information and how to manage freelancers as early as now through this interview with FreeUp CMO and co-founder Connor Gillivan.
Many entrepreneurs seek the assistance of remote workers to grow their businesses. These professionals possess a variety of skills and can be found in almost all parts of the globe, but are they easy to work with? As one of the founders of one of the most successful platforms in the freelance market, Connor Gillivan of FreeUp shares with us his expertise in vetting the best freelancers for clients to hire.
Imagine working with someone as far as 9,000 miles away from you. How is it better than having a group of employees that you can meet face-to-face every day? I am thinking it is more advantageous to solo entrepreneurs but large business owners are now hiring freelancers, too.
Hiring a freelancer offers a number of advantages for business owners. (1) Access to a talent pool outside of the business owner’s local area. (2) An opportunity to decrease overall costs of staffing for a business. You can hire a freelancer for only the hours you need them to work on a given task or project. (3) You get niche expertise when hiring a freelancer. Hiring employees can lead to “do it all” type hires that aren’t as efficient for your business.
Most business owners, especially the ones who are just starting out, are very hands-on. Sometimes, they run the whole business on their own to make sure everything goes according to plan. If they do hire someone, they prefer someone close and one that they can trust. At what point can an owner say, “Hey, I think it’s time for me to hire remotely”?
There are a couple of main points in a business owner’s life when they will need to hire a freelancer. First is when the business owner is completely overrun by all of the daily operations of the business. They are answering customer calls, reaching out to new partners, fulfilling orders, interviewing new people, managing current workers, running marketing campaigns, etc. A business owner can’t do everything. When they reach a point of doing it all, they need to step back, identify the areas of the business they can delegate, and find the best person to hire.
Second is when the business owner has an area of growth or operations that they do not know about. For example, a business owner wants to start running Facebook ads, but they know absolutely nothing about it. They could spend 3-6 months learning and trying to run their own ads, but that is a big waste of time and money. The best thing to do is to find a qualified expert within their budget and hire them to set up and optimize the ad campaigns for them.
Some business owners reading this blog are probably beginners when it comes to hiring and managing freelancers. Where should they start looking? Do they ask for someone to look for them, or do they go directly online?
FreeUp of course 🙂 There are tons of channels online where you can post projects and try to find the best freelancer for them. You can also tap into your network and ask other business owners if they have anyone to recommend. I’ve done it all. FreeUp is my #1 suggestion because all of the freelancers are pre-vetted so the business owner doesn’t have to worry about trying to find the best person. And FreeUp only offers the best people.
There are many things to consider when hiring someone – hard skills, soft skills, experience, location, etc. What’s the most important hiring information that a client should look for first?
The absolute first thing that I look for is their experience and expertise. If I’m looking to hire someone to manage my social media channels and I see that they only have minimal experience with managing social media at a high level, it’s not a right fit and I need to move on. However, if I interview someone and they prove they have that top level of experience, I am interested to learn more and see if they could be the right fit. It’s not just all about skill, though.
Soft skills are equally important as experience and expertise. They measure the professionalism of a worker. With the pre-vetted freelancers from FreeUp, a client is sure to get someone with the right skills. But what else should they look for from a worker?
Communication and attitude. Communication is HUGE. If a freelancer can’t provide regular updates, be available when they say they will be, and stay in good communication with the client, they are going to fail and the business owner is not going to be happy. I look for people that value communication at as high a level as I do.
When it comes to attitude, I look for freelancers that really love the services that they’re offering. I want the people I hire to be passionate about their day to day work and bring a positive attitude to the company every single day. Positive attitudes and hard work ethics are contagious for organizations. It’s important to have encouraging people in your business.
Platforms like FreeUp that put a high value on their clients’ time pre-vet the freelancers who want to join their marketplace. The 15-minute interview is the deciding factor for business owners to hire a worker or not. What are the essential questions to ask within that given time?
The 15-minute interview should be used to find red flags with the freelancer. You want to hit on the most important aspects for you as the business owner. For example: Can the freelancer work in the time zone that you want? Can the freelancer provide the amount of hours you need? Is the freelancer in your desired budget? Does the freelancer have the specific experience you’re looking for? Can the freelancer communicate with you in the manner you’d like them to?
If any of the answers isn’t what you’re looking for, move on and interview someone else. Don’t settle until you find the best person for the project.
It’s not easy working with someone over Skype calls and email. But it doesn’t mean that it won’t work. There are numerous success stories of client-freelancer relationships, including my own. From your experience, what is the biggest challenge in working with remote freelancers?
The biggest challenge when it comes to working remotely with a freelancer is communication. I’ve been doing this for over 6 years and most of the issues boil down to poor communication. Clients and freelancers can avoid it by setting very clear expectations upfront. The business owner should take the time to explain their expectations when it comes to the project, the communication, and the future of working together. Getting on the same page upfront helps to avoid many issues down the line.
What do you think of as the most important aspect in a client-freelancer relationship to bridge the distance gap of working together remotely, and make it work?
Regular communication methods. The freelancer should provide daily check-ins as they start working so that the client knows they are on and working for them. The freelancer should provide daily summaries of their work so that the client sees their progress. And the client should hold a 1 on 1 meeting every week to give feedback, answer questions, and motivate the freelancer to keep going along the same path. These keep the freelancer and client on the same page and motivated to keep working with each other.
From your experience, please share some tips on how clients should work with freelancers towards success.
Treat freelancers as if they were someone that was sitting right next to you. Even though they may be on the other side of the country or world, they are motivated by the same things…they want to earn accomplishments, see the company grow, and feel appreciated as they perform great work. From time to time, ask them personal questions and build a strong relationship that isn’t just all about the work. It will go a long way and create more trust in the relationship.
There’s a lot of competition in the market. What makes you stand out from the rest?
FreeUp is special in that we founded the marketplace out of our own frustrations with other freelance marketplaces. We were sick of spending hours upon hours interviewing and then still running into turnover with freelancers. We knew that there was an opportunity to work with people from around the world in a freelance fashion, but the process of getting there was frustrating.
FreeUp helps business owners in the process by handling all of the recruiting, interviewing, and vetting. When a client meets someone from the FreeUp Marketplace, they can trust that the freelancer has the skill set expertise, knows how to communicate at a high level, and is passionate about the service that they’re offering. To me, that’s an absolute slam dunk.
Every business reaches a point where they need to hire talent. The competitive nature of the market has paved the way for clients to seriously consider hiring freelancers. Regardless of whether you’re a long time business owner or a startup entrepreneur, there are various benefits to choosing this option. It doesn’t have to be daunting if you are equipped with the right tools and important hiring information.
Do a quick assessment of your business operations. If you think there are aspects where a freelancer is needed or can provide valuable service, visit FreeUp or set-up a phone call directly with Connor Gillivan or Nathan Hirsch – founders of the FreeUp marketplace. They’d be more than happy to discuss with you the best way to help you in your business.
So what are you waiting for? Join the freelance revolution now!
Lailah Paredes is an engineering student, creative entrepreneur, and a self-confessed island girl. As a travel junkie, she loves experiencing different cultures and sharing them through her writing. Read about her travels across the beautiful islands of the Philippines at her blog laieatsandtravels.tumblr.com.
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