The freelance economy is as strong as it’s ever been and it’s growing.
Freelancers now represent 35% of U.S. workers and collectively earned $1 trillion in the past year, according to the “Freelancing in America: 2016” survey
Never before has it been so easy to find very specialized talent to deliver all kinds of specialized work.
In this post, I’m going to explain how to find, hire and work collaboratively with Rockstar Freelancers so you can get more done.
I’ll provide you with the whole resource list on a bunch of different websites where you can find people to do all kinds of jobs from setting up a WordPress website to tweaking your server or writing blog content for you.
It’s still a huge untapped resource and my goal of this post is to show you what you need to do to make working with freelancers a success.
What is a Rockstar Freelancer anyway?
A rockstar freelancer is a self-employed person with a specialized set of skills that gets stuff done and often for multiple clients at a time.
Freelancers are specialists focused primarily around knowledge work such as; graphic design, copy writing, editing, web design, web development, app development, server management, product design, marketing, project management and many other business related skills.
Not all freelancers are the same and when you find a good rockstar, you’ll want to hang on and nurture these relationships.
- 71% of freelancers are female
- 61% are between 25 and 44 years old
- More than one-third of Millennials are independent workers.
With demographics that are predominantly Millennial and GenX, you need to understand the core values and the communication style that define them.
To communicate with this group of people, you need to understand what makes them tick.
Here are some key points to keep in mind from Tim Eisenhauer on working with Millennial & GenX freelancers.
- They Appreciate Honesty.
- They Want to Be Heard.
- They Like Feedback and Constructive Criticism.
- They Want Success for Everyone Involved.
- They Appreciate Quick Wit.
- Millennials Equate Newer with Better
- They Prefer Optimism.
- They Thrive on Passion and Excitement.
- They’re Short and to the Point.
- They’re Mobile and Highly Connected.
As you can see, this demographic has a style all their own, and their communications reflect that unique voice. Of course, not all freelancers are Millennials and GenXers but these points are still relevant regardless of the age or gender. Keep these points in mind as you start building relationships with your freelancers.
Where to find Rockstar Freelancers?
There are several websites out there that you can find great talent for a variety of different skills.
Here’s a list of my favorites and the ones that I have found to be the most useful.
Upwork is my go-to freelancer marketplace. If you need a logo or any kind of graphic design work or a web developer or a server admin, Upwork is a great Marketplace for finding an amazing talent.
I’ve built a team of 10 freelancers that I use for by business for all kinds of tasks.
2) LinkedIn Profinder
LinkedIn Profinder is one of the best professional networks out there they just recently launched to not too long ago their talent offering.
All you need to do is answer a couple of questions about the services you’re looking for and Linkedin Profinder will introduce you to the best local professionals from their curated list. They have professionals in all types of categories including, software development, graphic design, accounting and much more.
You’ll then receive up to 5 offers from professionals ready to help. Each offer will include a message from the freelancer, a price quote for the work, and access to the pro’s profile on Linkedin.
This is more of a “white glove” service from Linkedin. If you need any help, their ProFinder concierge team will be there to help.
Fiverr is a global freelancer marketplace similar to Upwork. They offer tasks and services, beginning at a cost of $5 per job performed. This is also where it got its name from.
Fiverr calls their tasks gigs and the most popular categories are:
- Graphics & Design
- Digital Marketing & Advertising
- Writing & Translation
- Video & Animation
- Music & Audio
- Programming & Tech
- Lifestyle, Gifts, Fun & Bizarre
Freelancer is another one of those marketplaces that has been around for awhile.
They have experts representing every technical, professional and creative field, providing a full range of solutions from small jobs, to large jobs and anything in-between.
On Guru.com, you can search for services being offered by freelancers that match your needs. They have a global network of over 1.5 million freelancers to help with any technical, creative or business projects.
You can explore each freelancer’s profile and browse their previous work so you can hire the right person with confidence.
Guru also gives you all of the professional tools you need to define milestones, set tasks, communicate with employers, share files, and agree upon payment schedules.
99designs is a platform focused on freelance designers. You can create design contests and have designers submit designs that you then get to pick from.
It’s a great way for talented designers to prove their talents and in return, you get choices when it comes to designs.
Peopleperhour is focused on freelancing for web projects. You can find designers, web developers, SEO specialists and more.
iFreelance is focused on some of the usual suspects of the freelancing world (writers, editors, coders, etc.) but also features freelance marketers as well.
With hundreds of project categories, Project4hire makes it easy to post jobs that suit the skills you need. It’s great for finding coders, consultants, designers and more.
Choose a marketplace
I would suggest you have a look at the above marketplaces and suggest you find one marketplace you like and focus on learning how to use it well so you can find people fast when you need them. I use Upwork for most of my freelancers but these other sites are great as well. You never know where you wil find the rockstar freelancer you are looking for.
Posting a Project
Once you have found the site you want to post your project on, you will want to consider your goals and the details of the project you need help with. The more details you can provide to the freelancer the better.
One thing to keep in mind is that Rockstar Freelancers are also interviewing you. These freelancers generally have more than enough work and if you want to get them working for you, you will need to make it easy for them.
How to ask for what you need
Depending on the complexity of the task you’re trying to do, you want to make sure you’re organized and ready to deal with what you want the freelancer(s) to do for you.
Each freelancer marketplace is a little different but the concepts are similar. You need to create a project description, set the terms and then get to work.
You’re going to want to create a great project description that asks in clear language what you want the freelancer to do for you.
The better your description, the better the freelancer can respond and provide you with a detailed estimate.
Your work description will form the basis for the requirements of your project. More on that further down.
Type of contract – hourly vs fixed price project
Most of the freelancer marketplaces will ask you if you’re looking for an hourly long-term engagement or a project-based engagement with a fixed fee.
If you think you’re going to need the person for more than 3 months, then an hourly engagement is probably best. If you have lots of little tasks that need to be done this works well too. When you go hourly, you can also change the scope of work as needed. I use hourly contracts for my server admin team. This way when something comes up, they are ready to work and can start billing hours quickly.
If you’re getting a logo done or a website in might make more sense to just have a fixed project and let people then bid on that project. When you know exactly what you want, a fixed price project is the way to go.
Rate, Level of Experience & Availability
You can choose varying levels of experience from Entry Level to Expert. Your costs will go up but quality usually does as well. If you need something done right, It’s best to pay the extra money.
Regardless of which type of contract, the rates, experience level and availability you choos, It’s a good idea to figure this stuff out before you start posting your project.
Post your project and wait for offers
Once you post your project most of the marketplaces will go out into their database and look for freelancers that match the work that you’re offering and they will invite them to bid on the project.
Offers will start to come in. Give it a little bit of time in order to get a good batch to review.
Review and shortlist freelancer offers
Review each of the ones that you’ve received for the quality of response Clarity of how they’re going to meet your requirement in your project description and by price. You can also interview freelancers if you want to ask more questions. I recommend this if your project has very specific requirements and you want to make sure the freelancer you choose is the right one.
Choose a freelancer and sign contract
Once you’ve chosen the one you want to fulfill the contract and finish off the paperwork to begin the work.
Start the engagement
Now that you found the right person for the job. You need to now set them up for success.
Your first message to the freelancer should set the tone for expectations and also for a friend mutually beneficial relationship. Go into this with a collaboration mind, not a boss and employee view.
Writing clear project requirements is essential to getting things done quickly efficiently and with a final product that you actually can use.
This is true across all project types or skill sets. depending on the type of project, your freelancer will have lots of questions that you will need to answer. If you as many of these answers ready before you start the project, you will reach your goal faster and with greater success.
Here are some requirements related questions you might want to answer depending on the type of project you are doing. A good freelancer will ask you many of these so knowing the answers up front will help.
General Business Questions
- If you had to describe your company/organization in one word, what would it be? why?
- What sets your company apart from others?
- What services or products does your company provide?
- Why should I choose your company over your competitors?
- How long has your company been in business?
- How big is your company? (this may be answered in number of employees or revenue)
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of your company?
- Where do you see your company in 5 years? 10 years? 50 years?
- Who is your main competitor?
- Why was your company founded?
- What motivated you to start this business/organization?
- What is the positioning or mission statement of your company?
- Does your company have a tagline or slogan?
Target Audience Questions
- Who is the main target audience?
- Who currently uses your product the most?
- Are you pleased with the range of people your company serves?
- Are you looking to expand, modify, or completely change your target audience? or will it remain the same?
- How do you plan to focus on your target audience?
- How do most customers find out about your company?
- Which gender are you targeting?
- Where do most of your customers live?
- What is the average income level of your target audience?
Graphic Design(logo, print ect) requirements questions
- What is the reason for modifying or redesigning?
- How old is your current logo?design?
- What color palettes might you prefer? why?
- Where will the logo be primarily used?
- Are there any elements you would prefer to see in the logo?
- In your opinion, what defines a well-designed logo or graphic design?
- What is your preference in reference to icons, typography, spokespeople (characters), etc.?
- What restrictions, if any, might there be on the logo?
- What words or icons must be included in the logo?
- What logos do you like or dislike and why?
- Where will this logo be used?
Mobile App or Website requirements questions
- What is the purpose of the mobile app?
- What is the current problem it will solve and for who?
- How will it streamline or improve the current process or facilitate a new process?
- What is your vision for the mobile app?
- What parts are already in place? What needs to be added? Will the app need to be started from scratch or can you leverage existing work?
- What should the app be able to do (ie. functionality)?
- What features will it need? What are the priority of the features?
- What is the business model?
- How will you monetization your mobile app?
- Are there branding and design guidelines that need to be followed?
- What platforms will the app be built for (iOS, Android, etc)?
- What should operating system versions support it?
- What are your current services, servers, databases?
- What are your maintenance needs? Do you need to support it for the future?
- How long should the app function before an overhaul is needed?
- Do you have current API/services documentation?
- Do you have current Apple, Google, or other developer accounts/credentials?
- Are there other credentials that are needed or already exist (analytics systems, platforms, etc.)?
You won’t need to answer all of this questions for every project but good freelancers will ask many questions like the ones above.
The best approach to getting the job done on time and on a budget is to have a collaborative mindset. When you work together, be respectful and work towards the goal together, things happen the way they should.
Most of the freelance platforms mentioned above have some form of Workroom where you can collaborate on the project and manage time, payments, messages, files terms, and settings.
Here is what the Workroom on Upwork looks like. You can use the built-in messaging applications to communicate and share documents.
You also can view the work diary that works a bit like a time sheet that also captures screenshots of the work being done.
Regardless of the tools you have, success always comes down to how you collaborate and communicate. This can’t be stressed enough.
Finishing the project or contract
When you’re done and satisfied with the deliverables you requested, it’s time to close the contract. Close everything off and prepare to then leave feedback.
It’s important that you give feedback that is constructive and useful to the freelancer. If they do a good job you want to give them a good rating and give them kudos for it
Maybe even say that you would work with them again in your feedback.
Finding and working with Rockstar Freelancers is very important to being successful online.
You can’t do it alone and you’re going to need specialists with different skills to help you get things done to reach your goals.
When you learn how to work with Freelancers the right way, there’s no limit on what you can be accomplished.