As you grow your freelancing business, learning how to hire freelancers can add capacity and serve a growing client list. In this article, we dig into how you can find and hire rockstar freelancers so you can expand your empire, serve more clients, and enjoy the personal and financial freedom that got you freelancing in the first place.
Why Learning How to Hire Freelancers is a Skill You NEED
Let me share a story . . .
In 2013 I started freelance copywriting. With very little experience, it was difficult for me to find paying clients. To overcome the hurdle, I did a lot of my own projects to prove to potential clients that (1) I had practical experience and was willing to put skin in the game, and (2) that my work could generate revenue.
As I gained traction and one client turned into many, I was accepting almost all the business I could get my hands on.
My bank account appreciated those efforts. But my body and family did not.
I realized a few things:
- It was time to raise my prices.
- I don’t need to accept all clients.
- I needed help if I wanted to grow my income without burning myself out.
It was after finding other freelancers that my income began to increase without me working more.
In fact, I was making more and working less. More on that in another article.
The point is, when you’re trading hours for dollars, you’re limited to 24-hours in a day.
Yes, you can raise your rates. But you can’t expand time . . . unless you stack other people’s hours.
Even if you gave half your fee (or more) to the freelancer, you’re making money on someone else’s time. That is infinitely scalable.
20% of something is better than 100% of nothing.
And hiring additional freelancers to augment your capacity gives you that leverage.
So once you’ve decided to find help, where do you look?
Where to Find Other Freelancers You Can Hire
I’ve hired freelancers from job boards, sites like Upwork, via LinkedIn searches, and through my personal network.
By far, the most reliable method is through your own network.
It’s easier to see who they’ve worked for, you can talk to their past clients . . . it’s hard to fake results when everybody knows each other.
Beyond that, it depends on the area of expertise you’re looking for.
However, what I’ve found is that the site where you find candidates is less important than your method for screening them, which leads us to . . .
Sifting “Freelance Dirt” to Find Freelancing Gold
If your network doesn’t have any freelancers with the skills and experience you need, you still have options. And if you’re frightened at the thought of using a freelancer job site, let me assure you that even on sites with a reputation for low-quality workers, you can find the people you need.
I’ve done it for years.
And when you follow a particular system, it’s easy to spot quality applicants and drill-down to the person you’re looking for.
I can’t get into all the details of the system, or this would be a 4,000 word article. But here is a high-level look at how I’ve hired incredible freelancers.
- Write an Attractive Job Listing
- Review the Applicants and Make a First Cut
- Interview and Hold a Test Run
- Review the Results and Make a Second Cut
- Hire your person(s) (and consider hiring more than one freelancer for each opening . . . trust me)
How to Set Up Your New Team For Success
As a freelancer, there’s nothing more frustrating than starting a project with no clear vision from the client.
“What do you want this to look like?” I’ll ask.
“I don’t know,” says the client. “I’ll know it when I see it.”
If you’ve been a freelancer longer than a few months, I know you’ve heard that chestnut before.
What sucks is that you’re not set up to win, and the project is almost certain to fail.
The same is true for the freelancers you hire for your own projects.
Don’t be that guy 🙂
Set up your freelancers to win.
Think of what you’d need for the project if you were doing the work. And then give it to your new team member.
Here are three things you can do to set your freelancer up for success:
- Document Your Processes. Video yourself, type them out, whatever it takes. This is how you ensure your new team member has what they need to win. Bonus: if they can’t follow your process, you know you haven’t found the right fit. That’s valuable too.
- Create a System (Loom is free . . . and makes it brain-dead simple).
- Provide Clear Objectives. “I’ll know it when I see it” isn’t an objective. Describe the exact outcome and deliverables you want for the project to be a success.
Not only do you give your team member a fighting chance, the odds of the project turning out how you like it will skyrocket. A true win/win.
Why Your New Business System is the Perfect Springboard for Your Company’s Success
At this point you’re in a good spot.
- You know where to find good help.
- You know how to identify and hire them.
- You have a clear process your team can follow to ensure they do quality work that your clients love.
Add it all up and what do you have?
A business system.
You’ve now stepped out of the world of solopreneurs . . . you have a team, and a defined and repeatable way to serve clients.
You have the foundation for a real business.
So where do you go from here?
It depends on what you want. But if you want to grow your business to the point where your main role is steering the ship and not pulling the oars, you have the foundation to make that happen.
Now, scaling your company is beyond the scope of this article. But this is a good start. You’ll also want some good SEO built in, maybe Youtube (the world’s second biggest search engine), and when you’re ready, paid ads.
But it depends on what your vision is.
So my advice is to grab a cup of coffee . . .
Grab a comfy chair and your favorite pen and paper . . .
And write out your vision for what life would look like with the business you want.
Is it a big agency that does award-winning work for Fortune 500 clients?
Is it a studio that does work for local businesses?
Is it a business that supports your passion?
It’s up to you. But don’t make big decisions before detailing your vision in writing.
Pro Tip: Reverse Engineer This System to Make Your Offer More Appealing
I go deeper on the topic elsewhere, but here’s the gist: as you learn to find and hire rockstar freelancers, you’ll get a sense for what’s appealing in a candidate and what pushes you away.
Use this insight in your own offers and public-facing profiles to make your services more attractive to potential clients.
Getting trapped in the marketing/selling/fulfilling loop is terrible when you’re a one-person show. It’s a recipe for roller coaster revenue and high stress.
This is why learning how to hire freelancers could be the most valuable skill you learn in your business — unless, of course, you prefer trading your hours for dollars.
So to recap . . .
- Find reliable freelancers. Your network is a great place to start.
- Create a test project to (you guessed it) test them out. The only way to find out if your candidates are gold or coal.
- Set Your Rockstars Up to Win. Clarity, goals and a system is the name of the game.
- Build a Business System . . . and Use it to Springboard Your Success. Now that your company is humming along, it’s time to grow.
A few years back I built a team of 30 freelancers that cost around $50,000 per month — all from sites like Upwork. If you’re interested in the system I created that made that team run smoothly, let me know in the comments.