By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
For a self-employed entrepreneur, only having 24 hours in a day is a big limitation on growth. At some point, you’re bound to reach a limit. To take on bigger projects, you might consider hiring independent contractors or freelancers. But where can you find trustworthy freelancers, and how can you ensure the relationship will run smoothly?
Tip 1: Ask around
Word-of-mouth is a good way to find freelancers with the skills you need. Start by putting the word out among your social media contacts and real-life connections. You never know who might know a freelancer with the skills you need.
Tip 2: Search the web
Marketplaces generally handle all the financial transactions too, so the freelancer doesn’t have to worry you won’t pay and you don’t have to worry they’ll take your money without finishing a job. Be sure to review a site’s terms and conditions before hiring a freelancer through a marketplace.
Tip 3: Write detailed contracts
You should use a written contract anytime you work with a freelancer. You can find sample contracts and templates online and modify them to fit your needs. And it’s a good idea to have an attorney review your contract before you actually use it. Your attorney can fine-tune a contract to protect you from any mistakes.
If you frequently use the same types of freelancers (graphic designers, copywriters, web designers, etc.), create a contract for each type of work and modify it for each particular job.
Tip 4: Consider the scope of work
Your contract should spell out all the details of a project: what materials you will provide, the contractor’s responsibilities, the payment amount, the scope of work, your criteria for accepting the work, the time frame, and how collaborative you will be throughout the process.
For example, how will you give feedback on a project? Will the contractor have opportunities to redo the work? All this should be determined ahead of time.
Tip 5: Manage your resources
Once you’ve hired a contractor, be careful how you manage them. The IRS can penalize you if your contractor’s scope of work or how you manage it is similar to a regular employee’s, which would entitle the contractor to certain pay and benefits. How you classify your employees must be handled with care, so read up on common classification pitfalls and how the IRS defines independent contractors.
To provide guidance and stay in contact without micromanaging, use project management apps like Basecamp, Asana, or Zoho that let you assign projects, share documents, collaborate, and communicate deadlines to all your contractors in one place.
Tip 6: Track time every time
If you pay freelancers by the hour, you’ll also want to recommend they use an online time tracker or a mobile time tracking app that’s compatible with both Android and iOS platforms. Time tracking systems that are easy to use and accessible means your freelancers can clock in wherever they are. Plus, if they’re submitting invoices from an accurate system, you’ll know you’re paying exactly what you owe and they’re not guessing their hours.
By following these tips for hiring and working with freelancers, you can help ensure a smoother working relationship. And once you’ve gotten the hang of hiring freelancers, the sky’s the limit for your business!
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.