When business isn’t going as well as you’d like, or when you’ve set yourself a new goal and aren’t sure how to hit it, it’s often a good idea to reach out to a freelancer for some help.
But how do you know who you should reach out to? And, more importantly, who you should work with?
You can start with Google
A top-ranking site shows that the freelancer has put a lot of effort into their business. They’ve done the hard yards to optimise for search and make sure they come up as number one. That’s great. It means they care about their business and want you to find them.
A Google ad can also lead you in the right direction. That means the freelancer is super keen to grow their business now – they’re looking for clients and want you knocking on their inbox’s door. I’d also suggest the fact they’re investing in ads means they’re doing well enough to fund them. It’s a good sign.
But just because a freelancer is the first in a list, doesn’t mean they’re the best for you. So let’s dig a little deeper.
Search social media
Social media is a focus for some freelancers and small businesses. For others, it’s not even a thought. It all depends on who their target market is and how much time they can or are willing to invest in building their business.
There’s two thoughts that often come up when you see someone active on social media:
- They’re obviously desperate for work.
- They’re sharing their knowledge and skills to build their profile and reputation.
And there’s ideas when you see someone NOT active on social media:
- They don’t care about their business.
- They’re so busy with clients, they don’t have time for social media.
You just can’t tell.
But if they are active, you can get a bit of insight into the kind of person and professional they are.
- Is their message consistent? Is their brand aligned with yours?
- Is it clear what they do? Do they only work with certain kinds of clients or on certain projects? Do you and your project fit in their scope?
- Do they seem to know what they’re talking about?
- Are they sharing things they’re learning and research or work done by others?
- Is their network engaged with what they have to say?
- Do they promote jobs they’ve done or clients they work with? (And if they do, does it feel comfortable or more salesy? Would you be ok having your project spoken about in this way?)
- Are they passionate about what they do?
- Do they seem like someone you want to work with?
You can also check job boards
There are loads of sites copywriters and other freelancers list themselves on, and more popping up all the time. Some of these will have profiles so you can reach out directly, others will have job boards where you can list your project and ask for freelancers to pitch to you.
A note on this: I recommend steering clear of any platform offering quick and cheap services. A $50 blog post has a $50 care factor.
Or ask for recommendations
And if you do, ask people you know and trust.
But finding a name is only half the journey.
Next up, get in touch
Reach out and share a bit about you and what you need. Ask for info. Set up a call or catch up for a coffee.
Some people seem to believe that there’s no need to interview freelancers like you would an employee. That you can just pick someone at random and run with them. Some freelancers seem to believe the same thing. Umm… what?
Your freelancer is going to be your partner for the duration of the project – and potentially ongoing if you need more support. You need to make sure you’re a fit. You both need to know:
- That the freelancer can actually do the job (and, more importantly, wants to!)
- What the freelancer can (and is welcome to) bring to the project (a strong freelancer will often work with you to push the boundaries of your project to deliver something better than you had initially planned for)
- You get on well enough to work together
- You can communicate well with each other
- You’re on the same page about what it is you want to achieve and why
- You share similar views on how projects should run and what deadlines actually mean
Bottom line: There has to be mutual respect.
If you both walk away excited, inspired, motivated – brilliant. If you’re feeling a little uncertain after this initial chat, then check in with yourself if it’s the project or the freelancer that has you feeling flat.
But what if they aren’t open to a chat, you ask?
Then you have to ask if they’re the right fit for you.
Some freelancers see these chats as missed billable time. Others will bill you for them even if you don’t decide to go ahead. That’s their call. To me, it comes across as inflexible and is a sign that we won’t mesh. And I have the same feeling when it comes to clients who aren’t keen to chat too.
And then you ask for a quote
Or a proposal. Or a pitch. Or whatever it is you need. Generally, the size of the project (and your budget) can determine the effort you ask for. But you’ll need to know and agree on the numbers before you get started. Keep in mind the project management triangle applies to all freelancers. It can be fast and good (but bloody expensive), it can be fast and cheap (but bloody awful), or it can be good and cheap (but bloody slow). That point in the middle is where Irish sloths enjoy a pint while riding unicorn zebra-cats.
So put time aside
It’ll be worth it to find your perfect match. (Naww…)