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How to Hire a Freelancer (6 Tips for Finding the Best Specialist)

Business woman interviewing a freelancer through a video call

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You want to hire a freelancer, but you don’t want to hire just the average specialist to help you with your business needs—you want to hire the best.

So what is typically an easy hiring process may turn out to be a challenging, costly, and time-consuming process to find the right person.

And you’re not alone. A lot of companies find it difficult too, especially when it comes to hiring top marketing freelancers. 

Although there are around 57 million freelancers in the US alone, the demand for these high-quality freelancers continues to grow. As a result, the challenge of finding the best freelancer for your needs naturally becomes bigger. 

So how do you hire a freelancer? 

Read on for some tips for every stage of the hiring process.

6 Tips For Hiring A Freelancer

It’s easy to make a mistake in hiring a freelancer and regret the decision a few months later. Here are 6 tips to ensure you’re following the correct approach when hiring:

1. Evaluate The Positions You Need To Fill

man holding the missing piece that completes a team

Learning how to hire a freelancer isn’t too different from figuring out how to onboard the right employee. Just like expanding your team by hiring new employees, your search for the ideal freelancer will begin with pinpointing which positions to fill. 

Start by looking at the problems you’re facing in your company. Perhaps you have an outdated website, or no website at all, and you need to improve your online presence. This could mean working with a graphic designer or a website developer. Design experts are some of the most popular freelancers in the digital landscape. 

If you’re struggling to attract customers to your business, you may need help improving your search engine rankings or ad campaigns. This would require you to hire a freelancer with specialist know-how on PPC, SEO, or social media marketing. 

When evaluating the positions you want to fill, remember to ask yourself whether a freelancer or full-time employee is the best option. Freelance professionals are generally best suited to short-term or recurring projects, where you may not need a specialist on hand every day. 

2. Determine The Scope Of Work

Computer keyword with magnifying glass on top showing "scope of work"

Next, you’ll need to determine what the project will entail. This step serves two purposes when you’re figuring out how to hire a freelancer. First, it allows you to outline the goals of your project so you know what kind of specific skills you need to look for. 

For instance, if you’re trying to build a deeper relationship with your target audience through social media, you don’t just need a generalist digital marketer. You need someone with background in creating social media personas and the specific social platforms you’re going to be using. 

Secondly, determining the scope of the work will help you to avoid any potential miscommunications when you’re searching for the right freelancer. You’ll need to be able to outline your expectations up-front with the professional, so they can provide you with the right quote (price) for their services and a good insight into how long the project will take. 

Adding extra requirements to a job later in the process can mean you end up struggling to stick to your budget. You may also find the freelancer you hire isn’t equipped to handle additional tasks if you didn’t make them clear during the initial stages. 

When defining your scope, make sure you know:

  • Your deliverables: What exactly do you want the freelancer to provide?
  • Your time scale: Do you have any deadlines you need to meet?
  • Your expectations: How do you want the freelancer to communicate with you, deliver work, and even edit or adapt the work provided?

3. Establish Your Budget

Business owner calculating his budget for hiring a freelancer

This is often the toughest step in hiring a freelancer for a lot of companies. Knowing how much you should pay for the specialist skills you’re going to be accessing is complicated. Sometimes, the lowest price for a service isn’t the best option as it can mean you get a lower quality of work.

Remember, hiring freelancers may be more affordable than hiring in-house employees, but these professionals still have to make a living wage. As such, you should expect to pay a reasonable fee based on the services you’re asking for. You can research online to find the average price most freelancers charge for things like SEO audits or managing email marketing campaigns. 

It’s also worth noting that freelance hiring can come with a lot of different types of payment processes. Some professionals will charge a flat fee for their services. For instance, you may hire a freelance graphic designer who always charges $100 for a logo and $150 for a video. Other professionals will stick to an hourly rate.

If you’re going to be working with your freelancer on a more long-term basis, you might want to consider a professional with flexibility. Some experts will allow you to acquire their services on a retainer basis. This often means you pay a certain price on a monthly basis, and this pays for all of the services your freelancer agrees to perform. 

4. Choose The Best Freelancer Platform

Growth Collective website screenshot

Part of learning how to hire a freelancer is figuring out where to look for the right specialists. As freelance work continues to grow in popularity, freelance platforms on the web evolves with it. Today, companies have a range of options, from simple solutions like Fiverr and Upwork for basic jobs, to specialist environments for experts with unique skills. 

There are a number of steps involved in choosing a freelancer platform you can trust. First, it’s best to look for a solution that focuses specifically on the talent you need. For instance, a site like GrowthCollective.com will provide you with access to experts specially trained in marketing. All of the marketing freelancers in its network are the top leaders in their field—from growth marketing to PPC to content marketing.

Key points to consider include:

  • Vetting and screening processes: Working with a company that pre-vets and examines freelancers can give you peace of mind. Pre-vetted freelancers have already been assessed by the platform to ensure they have the right skills, experience, and work ethic to support your company.
  • Matching Process: A good freelancer platform will help you sort through the available options to find the freelancer best suited to your needs. Growth Collective, for example, follows a customized matching process that identifies 2-3 freelancers that match your specific requirements. On the Growth Collective website, you can answer a few questions about your goals and the services you need and the platform will do the work of searching for the right specialist. 
  • Fee Structure & Contract Flexibility: Not all platforms charge the same. Some charge 40-50% on contract while others, like Growth Collective, only charge 20%. It’s also important to consider the contract flexibility being offered by these platforms. The best ones offer week-to-week, flat fee, and retainer options.

5. Create Your List Of Freelancer Candidates

Business person picking up a figure of a person demonstrate the idea of a hiring/freelancer selection processd

Next, it’s time to start building your list of possible freelance candidates. The chances are, you’ll start with a handful of options to choose from, selected with a focus on skills, deliverability, and background. Make sure you only add freelancers to your list if they match all of your requirements. Generally, you won’t have the time or budget to invest in training when you’re bringing a freelancer on board. 

Go through applications one by one and make a list of any issues you might have with the freelancer in question. Do they match your budget? How do they approach service delivery? 

As you’re sorting through your freelancers, take the time to learn more about them through the internet. Most freelancer platforms will include profiles or “bios” for professionals where you can examine their work portfolio and read reviews from previous clients. This can be useful for determining whether an expert has the right experience in your area. 

You can also enter a specialist’s name into Google to see whether they have any additional online presence. A LinkedIn profile can be an ideal resource to examine as it often lists endorsements from other brands. You might even be able to find a freelancer’s portfolio with case studies and insights into outcomes from previous projects. 

6. Interview Your Freelancers

Business woman doing an interview through a video call

Finally, it’s time to get to know your potential candidates. Arrange a time to connect with your freelancer via a phone call or video interview and create a list of questions you’re going to ask. 

While the exact points your interview might cover will depend on a number of factors, some of the most important ideas to cover include:

  • Experience: What makes this freelancer qualified for the task at hand? Do they have any background working on similar projects with similar companies?
  • Expectations: What do you need your freelancer to accomplish, and what exactly do they need from you to achieve their goals? Expectations go both ways. 
  • Communication: How are you going to connect with your freelancer during the project, and how will they keep you up-to-date on progress? 
  • Personality: Your ability to work comfortably with a freelancer will depend heavily on their attitude. What are their values and characteristics, and do they meld well with your company?
  • Timetables: How does your freelancer feel about their ability to adhere to your deadlines? Are they comfortable with your project scope, or do they have any questions?

You can also discuss things like previous projects, whether your freelancer has any concerns about the work, and how they expect to be paid. 

How to Hire a Freelancer: FAQs

Is it cheaper to hire a freelancer?

The costs of hiring a freelancer can be somewhat variable. While a freelancer might charge more “per hour” than an in-house employee, they generally cost a lot less in the long term. You don’t have to worry about things like paying office overheads or taxes. What’s more, you only pay for the services and support you need. 

How much should I pay a freelancer?

The price you pay for your freelancer will depend on the project you need to complete and the freelancer’s experience or level of expertise. A freelancer in the content marketing landscape will have very different rates from someone who configures Shopify websites. The location of a freelancer is also a factor. An SEO freelancer from New York, for example, will charge higher than somebody from Southeast Asia. Usually, freelancers who have worked with large, well-known brands and have successfully handled projects far longer will charge higher than others. You need to do your research on average prices and make a decision based on what makes sense to your business.

What are the main risks when hiring a freelancer?

Generally, hiring a freelancer comes with few risks when you use the right freelancer platform. The correct platform will vet the freelancer for you to make sure they’re able to deliver a high quality of work. However, if you’re not careful in your search or use the wrong platform, you could end up with a freelancer who doesn’t deliver exactly what you need. This means you risk wasting time, money, and other resources. 

The Best Way To Hire A Freelancer

Figuring out how to hire the best freelancer can seem like a complicated process. However, the reality is it’s often much simpler than most people realize. Freelancers are becoming increasingly common in today’s digital world, and there are countless great platforms out there to help you find the right professional to help you achieve your business goals.

Do you need help hiring the best marketing freelancer? Growth Collective has pre-vetted marketing experts on every marketing channel and specialists for Hubspot, Google Ads, Klaviyo, and all other popular marketing tools. Find the marketing freelancer you need HERE.

Rebekah Carter
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Rebekah Carter
Former company
About Author
Rebekah is a dedicated writer with years of experience producing exceptional content for brands around the globe. Her commitment to producing the best possible content means she’s constantly developing new skills and experience.
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