If you're a solopreneur, your online business is basically a one-man show.
It's a lot of work, and you wear all kinds of hats. But, things get done.
As your business grows, you might start finding that you're running low on time to manage every single thing that needs to be created and managed.
Your workload can start getting kind of overwhelming.
Plus, you've probably had to learn some things along the way, and they're not your strong suit.
That makes things even harder.
One day, you'll reach a point where you need a little help.
That's a great thing, because it means your business is growing and thriving.
With most common varieties of online business — notably blogs, affiliate sites, and dropshipping — you probably don't need any full time employees.
Plus, the cost of hiring someone goes way beyond just their salary, making it a massive creator of overhead.
There are agencies that can provide what you need, but that gets expensive fast.
For the most part, what you should do is hire a freelancer.
They're independent contractors, and you can find people working on a freelance basis in tons of different professions.
Whether you need a graphic designer, a web developer, a content writer, or even a digital marketer, you can find someone willing to handle those tasks.
A recent post from Blog Tyrant gives a simple five-step process for finding and hiring the right freelancer.
This process helps you find the right person at the right price for what you need.
How to hire the right freelancer for your blog
If you have decided that you’d like some help, the first thing that you’ll be hit with is the overwhelming variety of options and how difficult it can be to find someone trustworthy with the right skills and work ethic.
Let’s go through it all, step by step, and in the end you’ll hopefully have a good starting place.
1. Decide what specific tasks you need help with
The first step is to think about exactly what you need some help with. This is vital because a lot of failed freelance relationships happen when the employer is too vague with what they actually want from the new team member.
This stage can actually take a little more time than you might think and it’s worth sitting down with a pen and paper and really mapping out where you need the help, and where the limits to those tasks are.
For example, I have one or two freelancers that I semi-regularly engage for writing tasks. This might sound simple but when you break it down it can get a little complicated with question like:
- Who decides on the keywords, titles, and paragraph titles?
- Do they do a draft first or just write the whole piece?
- What happens if they take way longer to complete it than expected?
- Do they write it straight in WordPress or just on a Google Doc file?
- Who should research/choose images and photos?
- How do you ensure the content is all original?
- Do you pay on a per word, per article, or per hour basis?
- And so on
All of these types of issues can have a big impact on the type of tasks that you get help with, and can really impact on the way you structure the setup and relationship over time.
2. Decide on your budget and timeline
We need to strike a balance between affordability/realism and our goals for expansion. This also entails an element of risk (all business does) because you need to weigh up how much you want to back yourself and your blog as a profit-making entity that will incur costs in the process.
There are a few things you might want to consider when working out your budget for freelancers:
- What is your blog’s current profit?
You need to have an idea of how much profit you are making, and then take a detailed look at whether you can increase your expenses for a time in order to bring about future growth.
- Do you need to pay superannuation, insurance, etc.?
Take a look at your local laws and determine whether or not you are required to pay anything other than an hourly rate for freelancers that you hire on the Internet. Every where is slightly different in this regard.
- Research the going rate for that task
Spend a bit of time looking at how much people normally charge for certain tasks. This will help you decide whether you want to hire a SEO agency (expensive) or someone to do occasional graphics (slightly less expensive).
At this point you want to sit down and try and figure out how much you want to spend over a fixed period, and then break that period down into tasks and figure out how much each of those is going to cost.
3. Create a “test task” to practice the freelancing process
The first thing we want to do is create a small test task that can help us find out how the whole process works.
This is a really valuable step because it allows you to refine your goals for the freelancer as well as helps you to learn any issues that might arise on a smaller level as opposed to finding them out after you’ve committed a lot of time or money to the project.
So what should be included in such a task?
- Summary of project
Summarize the whole project that you are carrying out, of which their freelance task might make up one small component.
- Detailed description of individual task
Describe in detail what you’d like them to do and include examples and screenshots or videos to explain it if possible.
- Budget and payment method
Describe the budget that you have for their task in particular and how you intend to pay them.
- Due date
Have a few options for the due date and encourage rewards for faster/on-time completion.
- Method of delivery
Describe how you’d like the task delivered. For example, should they create it in a WordPress format and then upload it to Google Docs, or will you give them a login?
- Method of queries/feedback
How can they ask you questions and what times are you available for Skype or email conversations?
Now, many of the websites that allow you to hire freelancers will have all of this sorted out for you and you’ll just be required to fill in a bunch of different fields. But it’s a good idea to think about it beforehand so as to get it refined.
4. Hire the right freelancer for the job
This is the stage where we actually go out into the web and look for the right freelancer for the task that we have created. There are lots of ways to do this, so let’s take a look at the best options.
So, what should you look for when trying to hire the right freelancer?
- Relevant experience
How much experience do they have in their field and can you verify this with reviews and testimonials and so on? Make sure you check out the sample work to ensure the reviews are real.
- Skill set
Do the skills closely match the task that you are getting them to carry out? For example, someone who can make a logo might not be able to make an illustration even though they’re both graphics.
- Communication style
Communication is really important and sometimes it can be a little hard if you are from different countries and speak different languages. Make sure you have a conversation or two so as to ensure you can get on the same page.
5. Figure out how to communicate, share files and review progress
The last stage is to figure out how you will communicate and how you will review each others progress. Of course, if you’re using a site like 99Designs then most of it will happen on-site.
For external projects and freelancing staff, I like to use a site like Trello that allows you to manage projects and communicate with staff and colleagues in a very methodical and clear way.
You can read more about how to hire freelance contractors over at Blog Tyrant.