You’ve just started your new business, you’re making money, and everything is going smooth. There is just one problem, you can’t do it all yourself.
This is the #1 mistake many new business owners make in the beginning; doing too much, too fast, and burning out. What is worse is many solopreneurs like bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters think that they can sustainably do it all themselves until they get to a breaking point where it can severely affect their health.
It isn’t worth it. Give up some of that control and hire a freelancer or two.
Hire Your First Freelancer with this Step-By-Step Guide
Hiring freelancers can be a huge help in your business, but figuring out how to hire and train them can be tricky. Especially when you have little experience hiring freelancers.
Fifty percent of small businesses fail in the first five years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and one of the reasons that they fail is they can’t attract the right talent. Employees are a company’s most important resource. Attracting the right talent is crucial when starting and growing a business, especially when you need that help to scale.
Let’s dive into how you can hire your first freelancer and set your relationship up for success.
1. Determine the Tasks that you Need to Hire a Freelancer For
Before you hire your first freelancer, you have to determine the exact job you want them to do.
The best way to determine this is to think about any tasks that are repetitive and any that you don’t enjoy doing or want to do.
Open up a Google Docs new document and name it “Freelancer Job Posting”. Start writing down these tasks in this document and then move on to step two.
You can also do this over time. Anytime you find yourself doing a task someone else could do make note.
2. List the Top Skills that the Freelancer will Need
In the same Google Docs file, start listing the skills that this freelancer will need in order to complete these tasks. Also, list tools that you use for these tasks to see if the freelancer has experience with these tools or similar tools.
Start with the top three to five skills and list those first as being the most important skills. Then list any “recommended” skills – these aren’t absolutely required but would be nice to have.
For example: If you are looking for a freelance writer to write articles that you are aiming to be ranked for certain competitive keywords on Google, you need a freelancer writer with SEO experience.
3. Find your Freelancer
Alright, so you have your Google Doc with what you need your freelancer to do and what they need to do it. Next, you need to determine exactly how much you can afford to pay your new freelancer and include that in your job posting.
Now it’s time to go out, post that information, and find that perfect match for the gig.
There are three ways to find freelancers:
- Look at your own network first.
- Post the gig on freelance job boards.
- Use Facebook groups.
Start with your own network first. If you have friends who are small business owners reach out to them and ask if they have any recommendations. Or think of any freelancers you know that can fulfill your job requirements, reach out to them to see if they are available or if they know anyone who needs a job.
If you have an online following on a blog, vlog, podcast, or social media, communicate to that following via post, email blast, announcement, or similar way to let them know you are hiring and what you are looking for in a freelancer.
You can also post your job on freelancer job posting sites like the below:
And lastly, you can look to Facebook groups that often post freelance jobs and where other freelancers go to view what new freelance positions are posted. To start with this route, go to Facebook.com, search “Freelance Jobs” or “Freelancer Jobs” or similar like “Freelance Writing”, and filter on “Groups”.
Then from there you can browse the different groups and post the job you are looking for freelancers for. Be sure to include your contact information or a link for them to use to submit to the job (maybe that is a Google Form or an email directly to you with their portfolio).
4. Hire Your First Freelancer
After you’ve posted your job and have a few prospects, it is time to set up interviews to see who would be the best fit.
If you don’t have any experience conducting interviews with freelancers, this guide with some question examples will be a huge help.
I recommend using something like Zoom to set up an interview time and meet with your potential new freelancer. Ask them about their past experience, their past clients, their comfort level with the tasks you need them to do, their availability, their rates, and anything else that is important to you and the position.
You also want to see how you energetically connect with the person to see if you would be a good fit to work together.
After you’ve interviewed each freelancer, you will have to do the hardest part which is making your decision. Whatever decision you make, be courteous to let each freelancer know if they were chosen or not. Don’t leave the ones you didn’t decide to hire completely in the dark, they deserve to know if they were not chosen so they aren’t left hanging.
5. Create an Onboarding Guide
Congratulations! You’ve hired your first-ever freelancer and are ready to hit the ground running.
Not so fast though, you need to create some expectations in your new business relationship. The best way to do this is with a simple onboarding guide that after you create, you can review with your new hire for what is expected, a regular cadence for meetings and check-ins, work submission processes, and more.
Your onboarding guide should include the following:
- Your business objectives: what you sell, your audience, goals, and how you plan to reach those goals
- Operating procedures: tasks that need completing and expectations for each
- Tools and logins
- Any other specific processes you have
- Communication procedures: like project management software if you have it and the logins and procedures that go with that project management process
- Payment amount, schedule, and procedures
- Necessary tax forms
- Any needed contractual documents that need signatures from both parties
Some freelancers also have their own onboarding guides for new clients they work with. You can certainly use the processes they have in place and supplement with your own for any gaps, use only their processes, or use yours.
The way you both work together is entirely up to you and the freelancer’s agreements that you make, and could potentially change over time as you see how you best work together and who you end up liking and not liking working with.
Your first freelancer certainly won’t be your last.
Be very open and flexible during this experience of hiring your first freelancer so you can learn and tweak as you grow your team and hire more help.