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Using Freelancers in your small business

Hi there Crusaders.

My apologies for skipping the normal weekly mail last week. I was busy promoting the launch of the BYDB program and figured you were already receiving enough mails from me for one week.
 
In my last article, I started sharing my views on outsourcing tasks to allow you to focus your valuable time on the important tasks in your business.
 
If you read it, I trust you’ve compiled the three lists of activities you can and ideally should outsource:
  1. Things you hate doing.
  2. Things you can’t do yourself, and
  3. Things you shouldn’t be doing.
If you missed it, you can catch it here.
 
So, this week I’ll cover the use of ‘Freelancers” to outsource professional and specialised tasks to. One of the key steps in building your ‘virtual team’.
 So . . . when do you consider using a freelancer?
 
You use them to outsource speciality tasks that are not part of your core competencies. These may be once-off tasks like building your website or creating your logo, or ongoing functions like accounting or marketing campaign management.
 
My only real recommendation, when it comes to hiring a freelancer, is that you must go through a reputable hosting service. These marketplaces show you all customer ratings and testimonials linked to each freelancer. References are crucial to guide you in your selection process. The barriers to entry in this market are very low, and not everyone is particularly competent, trustworthy, or reliable.
 
Focus on people who have an average rating from their clients of at least 4 out of 5 (80%). Also, limit your choices to those who have at least several hundred jobs credited to them.
 
 
How do you find the right freelancer for you?
 
Well, first you have to know enough about the task or function you’re outsourcing, to be able to put together a specification for the work. A job description that documents your expectations and the details of the job required.
 
Then you jump onto one of the many online marketplaces, register a free account, and post your project.
 
A project is basically an RFQ (request for quotation), and this is where you will need to type in your prepared job specification. You will also be able to upload any pictures or documents that the freelancer will need to be able to do the job. Some sites also have an option to put in a deadline for the submission of enquiries, as well as a deadline for the project.
 

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Then, once you’ve posted it, the pool of freelancers who specialise in your requirements will be notified of the new project, and get access to it. They will then ‘bid’ on your project, and highlight why they believe they are the best for the job. If you’re using a reputable marketplace, you’re going to get dozens (sometimes hundreds) of competing bids from all over the world. 
I currently use a graphic designer from Brazil, a copywriter from Singapore, and a researcher from Mumbai.
All you have to do now is select the winning bid, based on price, content, relevance and quality, and the reputation and experience of the freelancer.
 
Once you’ve made your selection, you pay the agreed fee to the hosting platform, and they then manage the process to completion.
 
Payment is only made to the freelancer after your sign-off and approval; once the job has been completed.
 
And that’s it in a nutshell.
The more popular online marketplaces at the moment are:
 Upwork | Freelancer | Guru | Fiverr
 
Freelancer.com is my current favourite, but there are quite a few to choose from if you google your requirements.
 
Their service offerings are usually very diverse, but here are some of the more common services that they specialise in:
 
  • Website development
  • Mobile app creation
  • Graphic design
  • Logo design
  • Marketing Campaigns
  • Social media management
  • Industry research
  • Article or Technical Writing
  • Copywriting and proofreading
  • Finance and accounting
  • Video and banner design
So, that’s my take on using freelance professionals, and I recommend using them to every entrepreneur I deal with. 
You don’t use your champion prizefighter (that’s you) to build the boxing ring. You find other experts to do that so you can focus on your speciality.
So, in my opinion, start outsourcing as soon as you can cover the operating expenses in the business – even before you start paying yourself.
 
That’s it for this week. Have a great lead-up to the festive season, and I’ll catch up again next week where I’ll cover virtual assistants.
 
Have a great week & take care out there.

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