Written by Adam Roy for Gaebler Ventures
Hiring freelancers is a great option for small business owners who are short on certain skills or are simply short on time. When you hire a freelancer, you pay for their services but you don't have to worry about benefits or payroll taxes. Once the freelancing jobs are complete, you can either part ways or give them additional work.
Hiring freelancers is becoming a popular business tool for entrepreneurs, and for good reason.
When it comes time to write an ad copy, research a trend, or design a software system, more and more companies today are eschewing the stability and reliability of in-house writers and programmers in favor of the flexibility and low cost of freelancers.
The past fifteen years have seen two revolutionary changes in the way freelancers market themselves, changes that enterprising business owners can turn to their advantage.
Unlike the contractors of yesteryear, who mostly turned to the connections of an agency to secure work, freelancers today generally look for jobs in online marketplaces and help-wanted sites on the Internet.
Because today's writers and programmers are increasingly self-employed, entrepreneurs who wish to secure their services can negotiate better rates than they might otherwise have been able to. In addition, small-business owners can now place projects up for bids by workers around the world, not just in their own geographic areas.
The first step to find a competent and affordable freelancer is to know where to look.
Which site you use depends primarily on what type of service and what level of professionalism you are looking for.
For quick jobs, you might be best using a free, no-bid site such as Online-Writing-Jobs.com. This site allows users to advertise for jobs after a fast, free registration. In addition, it maintains a list of writers advertising their services, so finding a writer can be as easy as searching out an ad that matches your needs.
For a higher level of professionalism, business proprietors may be best off using a bid-driven site such as GetAFreelancer.com or ScriptLance.com. Entrepreneurs who wish to hire a writer, programmer, researcher, or creative professional simply post a description of the job, their price range, and the time at which bidding will end, and freelancers on the site will bid for the project.
Navigating the bidding process can be a slightly confusing endeavor for a business owner with little experience in the field. After bidding has finished, your job is to evaluate each bid, looking for the freelancer who fulfills the following criteria:
- Low price
- Fast delivery date
- Good reliability rating from previous employers
- Good quality of portfolio
- Passes plagiarism check on writing samples
After choosing your freelancer, the first thing that you should do is to get them to sign a work-for-hire contract. This contract confirms that you have hired them to do work and assigns the copyrights of the finished product to you.
It is essential that you have your contractor sign this. United States' law only specifies that employees' work shall automatically be considered work-for-hire. Since freelancers are technically contractors, not employees, they retain the copyrights to their work unless you obtain such a contract.
While the idea of outsourcing your creative needs may be imposing at first, small business owners who brave the sometimes-confusing bidding process will quickly find a high level of efficiency and professional conduct at an affordable price.
Adam Roy is an accomplished writer specializing in business writing and topics of interest to entrepreneurs and small business owners. His own fast-growing small business, Roy Writing, is based in Northbrook, Illinois.
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