Outsourcing can be a great way for a business to get highly specialized skills for a given job without having to spend a ton of money because contractors can work on a per-job basis, as and when required.
No wonder then that there is a huge surge in demand for freelancers especially after the financial crisis. In fact, as employment in most sectors either decreased or remained steady, freelancing is one area of the job market that has steadily risen through the recession.
A lot of small businesses find great value in freelance marketplaces such as Upwork. It has a host of qualified freelancers from all over the world who bid on your projects.
You can choose the one who has all the required skills, can provide you with value and quality work and who doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. It is an attractive proposition. However, here are some common mistakes employers make that you need to be aware of and avoid in your dealings at freelance marketplaces.
- Newbies Welcome: This is a common mistake small businesses make while hiring freelancers to cut costs further. Although it is true that freelancers might be willing to work for less for their first assignment in order to gather some positive feedback, any freelancer worth his salt will avoid this trap. The only candidates you end up with are the ones who lack the skills and want to make a buck or two whether they know how to do the job or not. Vet them more carefully if there’s no previous feedback.
- Lowest Bidder Syndrome: Many businesses fall in the trap of awarding the job to the lowest bidder, which is usually a terrible idea. In the long end, you are more likely to get sub-standard and poor quality work that will need even more time to work on and better. Instead, hire freelancers who have a proven track record and can be relied upon to deliver quality work in a timely fashion.
- Skills Mismatch: Some jobs require a specialized set of skills that are unavoidable to get the job completed. However, in most online freelance marketplaces, you’ll find freelancers bidding on projects even if they don’t meet all the qualifications. They could otherwise be great workers with great feedback but it doesn’t matter. Don’t hire someone who isn’t specialized to do what you want.
- Generic Cover Letters: Just avoid them. If a freelancer cannot take the time to read your job description and convince you he’s the best candidate for the job, it isn’t worth spending more time on that application. There are tons of generic cover letters from “superstar” workers who are “looking to apply their skills” to the “required job that you want”.
- Looking in the Wrong Places: Many times employers look in the wrong places for the right set of skills. Not all freelancing assignments are easy or low-skill work. Sometimes, the very reason you want to hire a freelancer and not do the work in-house is because you want highly specialized skills that you don’t want to spend money developing for yourself or your team. In these cases, it is usually better to find specialized job boards to post your assignment instead of generic ones like Upwork or Freelancer.com or even Craigslist. If for instance you are looking for a highly experienced copywriter, posting on ProBlogger jobs boards might be a better idea than posting on Upwork. This in-fact could be the future of work as we know it, where employees have specialized skills and they sell them on a per-project basis instead of being tied down to one employer and they are free to choose as many assignments as they want to work on, thus keeping their income potential highly flexible – if they need more money in a month, they will just work more hours and be paid more. Employers have the freedom to get the best people for the job and not have to hire for that, because the requirement is only for a specific project and not going to remain in the future.