Freelancing is a wonderful activity and many people are simply happy with the statute of freelancer. The most intriguing aspect of this “job” (I consider a freelancer as a full time employee) is the fact that the beginning is extremely difficult but once the first project is taken and finished a large pool of possibilities are at your hand. More exactly, once you enter the market by accomplishing barely a project, it is hard not to find a future client.
Working as a full or even part time freelancer for some years will make from your name a “small brand” and people will email you to take their projects. I am a part time freelancer and at the beginning of the carrier, I didn’t dare to believe that someday a client will ask me to make him a freelance job. Fortunately, it’s happening and it gives me magical powers to keep up the work. It won’t be a surprise to have so many commands and clients in queue to make you think at setting the basis of a future agency or hiring a freelancer to help with the projects. People don’t hire someone just because they like the work of the respective one. Nobody has time and usually people will hire because of the fame or because of the good testimonials, therefore never ignore creating a good image amongst others.
The main idea of this article is to highlight some steps from the evolution of a freelancer, especially the one when he can’t accept all the jobs offered. Personally, I see the evolution of a freelancer as having three major steps:
- The infancy, when the freelancer asks for work but it seems that no one cares about him or take him seriously. In this period, he is doing a lot of pro bono work, personal projects and many of them give up after few months considering this attempt a waste of time.
- The maturity, now the freelancer has projects in queue, spends a lot of time working, the clients are content with his job, and overall everything is OK. The freelancer is gushy and every progress makes him happy but he still has much to work until reaching the level of expert.
- The apogee, in this stage the freelancer is a very good specialist and the number of projects to do is overwhelming. Willing or not, somehow the pressure of deadlines makes, sooner or later, difficult to enjoy other aspects of life. Under this context, every freelancer must think further for hiring other freelancer/freelancers and takes into consideration the launching of a small business, usually an agency.
Amongst freelancers there is a controversial issue, is it fair to hire other freelancers? It’s pretty obvious that you will obtain profit by hiring him (or at least you expect so!!!), is it moral and if it is, which is the reasonable percentage to gain from a project? How to proceed in this case? Such kind of matters can’t have a precise answer, there are opinions and opinions and everyone makes a personal decision. Here is presented a complete personal point of view over this important issue; you may or may not agree with it, the best approach is to listen carefully to each perspective and finally judge the pros and cons.
From the start, I am an active advocate of treating freelancing as a business and hiring other people is not only agreed, it’s something mandatory in order to evolve. Much more, it’s both side advantageous to hire a freelancer, usually a beginner one because an experienced one has enough projects to do. I present here my entire conception about hiring other people and I will highly appreciate any contribution of the readers about this:
1. It really doesn’t matter for a freelancer if the projects are from another freelancer or from an unknown client
Few years ago, when I started the long trip of freelancing I expected the first client for months. Gaining the first client was something awesome, a dream came true and I wasn’t interested in what profit will I gain, the client and even the statute of him. As a beginner freelancer you don’t expect high income, you need clients and a positive feedback…the problem of the income is a matter of future (definitely very important but it may be ignored in this phase).
The conclusion is simple and every freelancer must admit it: at the beginning of the career, it has little importance who is your clients or even the payment (yeah, everyone wants great clients but is better to be realistic). In spite of a client that has no or little acknowledge about what supposes the accomplishing of a project it is much better to be hired by a freelancer that knows perfectly what to ask, he may help and provide the best practices to apply. It’s clear now why being hired by a freelancer may be more advantageous, isn’t it?
2. It’s normal to hire other people, everyone must evolve
Let’s suppose that it is unfair or illegal to hire other freelancers…this is equivalent with the fact that no one should evolve, as long as you are freelancer you should do only what you can work during a day and nothing more. I don’t want to consider this as being a viable alternative…The nature, the economical system, everything in this world reveals us that evolving is written in our subconscious and it stimulates quality, so no one must brake the progress.
Anyway, there is huge difference realized by a fine detail: hiring other freelancers means to collaborate with him and not to exploit. A normal evolution is based on collaboration, the exploitation is a term from the past (I prefer to think so but I am afraid it won’t totally disappear).
3. As long as the payment and treatment is OK there is no problem
Any reader will ask himself where is the frontier between fair collaboration and exploitation… well freelancing isn’t something from Mars and here good and bad is the same as in real life. Personally, I consider that once you are decently paying a freelancer and talk with him in a friendly manner, everything is OK.
It’ normal to pay less money to a hired freelancer than the amount received from the client, the major dilemma is the profit obtained. It is a sensible point and of course, all the answers will begin with the expression “it depends on.” First of all, it depends on the quality of the services provided by the respective freelancer. If he offers only high quality services, it is better to pay him better. Secondly, the seriousness and reliability of the employee plays a major role; usually not having experience is a capital disadvantage but there are lots of young people that really want to work and learn fast. Besides that, the eagerness of turning into specialists must be well paid and wisely “exploited.”
4. It is advantageous also for the employee
A beginner in every domain, even if he is talented and very motivated has no experience and it is capital in everything www related. Being hired by a more experienced one is benefic, therefore it is a great advantage. Thinking from this perspective, it is great to be partner with someone from which you may learn from. I am one of those people who learned a lot about blogging being in the team of a great blogger, he helped me a lot and I am grateful to him.
5. This model is based on the capitalism concept
The capitalism has its own limitations and each day that passes it proves us that there is a lot to change in order to reach perfection. Unfortunately, there aren’t still widespread models to guide our society. Anyway, what is really important is the fact that hiring other people is welcomed by the capitalism principles. More pragmatically, this model is perfectly suited to our society guide.
Once again, it is only my personal opinion and nothing more. Surely, there are people that adhere to these principles and in order to help them I created a small, but precise plan of selecting the best freelancer. Usually, there are two major modalities of hiring a freelancer:
- The word of mouth by asking other friends about someone available for hiring. It has the advantage of saving time and resources, you may contact him and present your offer. But it also has the major disadvantage -the selection limitations- you can’t find so many options.
- Posting a job offer on various job boards- 100% you will have many opportunities but the majority of them won’t be qualitative.
Hiring a freelancer, in fact choosing a future partner isn’t an easy task to accomplish and it is highly recommended to spend as much time as needed to select the best one. A precise recipe, a clear algorithm isn’t created but across time by gaining experience, the community settled some tips to follow. You are free to do whatever you want but read these before. They won’t affect you negatively, that’s certain.
- Avoid spam or automatic messages
I perfectly understand that time is priceless and sometimes the projects in progress are a real pressure but it’s not an acceptable excuse to send automatic messages (don’t confuse with the ones when you inform anyone who contacted you that you are on vacation). Usually these are more frequent on job boards when a part of bidders uses various templates and send these to everyone posting a job. I avoid these by asking to add at the beginning in their message a special word as a password; you will be amazed that very few competitors are adding it. Why?… because very few read the message. Maybe I lose some precious potential collaborators but once they don’t add the word I asked, I don’t consider their bidding.
- Don’t accept sycophancy
Unfortunately some people prefer to spend their time cheating other people instead of learning a job. The job boards are a wonderful concept but many individuals simply bring to nothing this idea. To convince yourself, post a job on a famous marketplace and you will be amazed by how many messages you will receive. It is perfect but many of them are fakes. Usually all of these start with amazing introductory formulas “Greeting sir” or “Sir, sir I am your best solution” which isn’t necessarily wrong. The bad news is that you pay attention to these and sometimes it happens to hire them just because the messages are very flattering and convincing. It’s probable to hire such a person and everything to be super until he must provide the first project…if you receive it (the happy case), you will have an amateurish project. Much more, you will be assaulted with other messages –“the next one will be without mistakes”, “let me correct it” and in the end you will discover that it would have been much better if you hadn’t hired the respective “specialist” and realized the project by yourself.
It’s a mistake for amateurs, I tried some weeks ago to hire a designer and I preferred (very bad idea) to hire the one that was the most insistent (he replied instantly, gave me tons of messages, websites created etc. and of course, I believed him). The same scenario, everything I asked him to do was a real mess; I spent a lot of time to reply to all his adulatory emails but nothing too qualitative. Conclusion: try to be objective as much as you can, or else your time and money will be easily wasted.
Note: my idea is that not all the people competing for a job using no matter what marketplace use the same strategy but some of them have nothing to do with what they pretend to be able to do.
- Set up a clear offer- requirements and payment
Everyone wants a higher profit. It’s normal and this mentality is the base of progress. In spite of it, the morality and honesty are top priority and a dishonest advantage shouldn’t motivate someone. To avoid any issue, it is preferable to set up from the start some important aspects as: the price offered, the type of work, the specific requirements of the project, the deadlines, the manner of payment etc. It shouldn’t be a secret for you but when selecting and hiring a collaborator it is mandatory to be a fine negotiator. Much more, by being precise and transparent, the people interested in your services will have more details about and from the start, the one that are not prepared won’t apply for it.
- Don’t hurry- read all the messages, pick up only the best alternatives
This piece of advice was deduced from my personal example but its importance makes me treat this separately. Yes, hurrying is the worst case because you lose your judgment capacity. If you want to increase the productivity of your small business, then think ahead and don’t make decisions based on the first impression. The best modality is to study carefully all the messages, check previous work (but assure that these are created by the respective freelancers) and finally be very objective when making the final decision.
- Select the best freelancer but keep the contacts of others
Now it’s time to select your next partner, be polite with him but in the same time warn him that you won’t accept bad projects and you hired him to do some tasks and not to teach him how to do them. Once again, I don’t think that rudeness is a solution but to express your clear perspective it is very important.
I don’t think it is a stratagem or an unfair decision but I consider, if you have the possibility, that keeping the contacts of other freelancers is a good measure for the future. You, the employer, have no warranty that the person you just hired is the proper one for your needs and instead of setting another project competition, you just get in touch with other previous competitors. Is it immoral? I am still thinking, perhaps you, the reader, have some fresh ideas about this topic…
The previous tips were mostly for the case when the new partner is searched via job boards, but what to do when a friend recommends an expert. Well… the same treatment.
No matter if he is from your country or from other continent, the clear terms and the transparency are a must and they make easier any finality. It’s a tough task but it is the base of evolution as a freelancer so don’t be afraid to do it even if, you will say, it will take more time to find a good solution.
Do you agree with me or do you have a different opinion? Please share with us your ideas, I am eager to see what you think and why not, to find out new tips related to the modalities of selecting a new work partner.