By Tina Martin
If you’re a “solopreneur,” you probably appreciate the simplicity of working independently without a team to manage. However, there may be times when you could use help with certain tasks. Instead of ditching your solopreneur status and hiring a team, consider turning to freelancers. Independent contractors can help you on a temporary or long-term basis, assisting with everything from technology to finance. Here’s how to find the right people.
Recognize the benefits of hiring freelance support
Relying on freelancers instead of an in-house team offers many benefits. First, you’ll be able to maintain streamlined operations. You don’t have to stress about managing a big team and can stick to your “solopreneur” status without a big headache. Second, freelancers are generally more affordable than in-house staff. You won’t have to worry about paying benefits or covering things like health insurance.
Finally, freelancers give you great expertise. You can consult professionals who specialize in niche fields, hiring them for highly specific jobs. For example, say you need someone to help with accounting and general administrative tasks like appointment scheduling. If you were hiring in-house, you might be tempted to hire a single admin assistant to cover both duties. By going freelance, you can get a professional accountant and a dedicated virtual assistant.
Do a needs assessment to see what kind of professionals you could benefit from
Before you can start building a freelance team, it’s important to consider exactly what tasks you need help with. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers a roundup of frequently outsourced business tasks that may inspire you. Possibilities include accounting, IT, customer service, logistics planning, admin, and HR. You might also hire external support for tasks related to marketing and advertising.
For example, branding is an important step for every business to take, especially when they’re just getting started. By defining your brand, you ensure that you stand out from competitors who offer the same goods and services as you. You can hire a consultant to help develop your brand. Note that rates vary according to the freelancer’s experience, so do your research. Check a person’s rates, portfolio, and reviews from other clients.
Write clear job descriptions and implement a cohesive candidate vetting process
Once you know what tasks you want help with, it’s time to find the right expert. Writing out a job description in advance can help you finetune your objectives. Make a list of the skills, educational credentials, and other assets you’re looking for in an individual. Additionally, clarify exactly what compensation you will offer. Remember, to attract the top talent, you’ll need to offer more than the market average.
Once you start reviewing actual candidates for the role, do your due diligence. Check people’s CVs and peruse their portfolios if they have them. For example, a graphic designer will likely have a portfolio of past work. Before bringing someone on board, it’s usually best to have a quick interview. Since freelancers may be working remotely, a video chat should suffice and be enough to make sure they’re legitimate.
Implement the tools you need to help freelancers thrive
You can’t just throw your freelancers into the deep end and expect them to float. Make sure that you’re solopreneurial venture is equipped to collaborate with freelancers. For example, you may want to consider implementing chat apps, project management software, or similar collaboration tools. These technologies make it easier to track deadlines and deliverables, ensuring you’re staying in touch with your independent workers.
Video meeting tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts are also helpful. Being able to touch base regularly “face to face” can help you align more closely with your freelancers, ensuring everyone is on the same page. This can help avoid miscommunication, ensuring a streamlined work process. Other possible technologies worth implementing range from cloud-based document sharing tech to joint scheduling tools.
Take steps to onboard your freelancers
Since you aren’t hiring in-house employees but simply working with freelancers, you might assume that onboarding isn’t necessary. In fact, taking the time to introduce your freelancers to how you work as a solopreneur is essential. You want to make sure that they’re comfortable with the work tools and processes you use. Clarifying this upfront will help save time and stress later.
Prepare a comprehensive onboarding package that your freelancers can use to get acquainted with your business. It could include details like your company brand and values, the type of work you do, and what technologies you use to get the job done. You should also clarify how your freelancers will collaborate with you. For example, specify what media they should use to contact you, such as email, chat apps, or video calls.
As a solopreneur, you likely value the simplicity of your working life. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone 24/7. Hiring freelancers can help with key tasks, making your work life easier. The above guide explains how it’s done.
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Tina Martin stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance. She is also working on her first book, Ideaspired: Put Your Ideas, Your Inspiration, and Yourself First to Make Your Dreams Come True. She also started ideaspired.com as a side project to reach as many people as possible, and encourage them to put their dreams first.