As your small business expands, you'll probably find yourself in need of a larger team to tackle your growing to-do list. Since hiring a full-time employee may not be in the budget for your startup, bringing on a freelancer to accomplish small projects and tasks is a more affordable way to get the talent you need. But hiring a freelancer isn't always an easy task, and many startups find themselves unsure of where to start.
Elance is a full-service online work and payment platform for freelancers and companies looking to hire them. Rich Pearson, the company's chief marketing officer, understands the trouble small businesses can face when considering freelance candidates.
"It's difficult hiring someone cold, without knowing their history," Pearson told BusinessNewsDaily. "There's also the concern of managing them. [Business owners] think, 'If I need to hire three people, do I have time to manage and sort through them?'" [Read related article: Contract vs. Employees: What You Need to Know]
Despite these hesitations, most companies that use freelancers find that they provide the best talent to complete jobs quickly and successfully.
"We've asked our business clients what they think of their freelancers, and 87 percent consider them a secret weapon to fill really specific skill gaps," Pearson said.
Pearson offered a few tips for companies that want to add freelancers to their team:
- Ask for samples. There is always risk involved in hiring someone new, especially for a longer-term project. Be sure to look at examples of a potential freelancer's work before making a decision. Elance has tried to make this easier by showing candidates' profiles that display their past work.
- Start small. If there are two candidates who look promising, give each one a small project. Once they prove themselves, you can give them more work. It's a good way to manage your time and see which person you work best with.
- Communicate. Make sure your communication with freelancers is clear so you can ensure your expectations are met. Just because they're remote workers doesn't mean you can't talk to them about what you want.
Earlier this week, Elance announced the launch of its new platform, the Elance Private Talent Cloud, which is designed to make it easier for businesses to hire and manage freelancers. To learn more, visit Elance.com.