Let’s face it! We want to hire freelancers in order to keep costs down. We all want to hire people that we pay less to do work. There are even times when we have to hire someone to gain time, even if we pay a lot for the services. No matter what our business is, it is obvious that we need to consider allocating a part of the budget towards expanding and towards hiring people that can help us.
The problem is really simple to understand:
Most freelancers are pretty bad!
Some might tell me that I am racist and that is far from the truth but whenever I had to deal with freelancers that were from India, I had a really bad experience. I know for a fact that there are some pretty good freelancers there but the simple fact that the country now receives a huge income through freelancing made it really hard to find the true professionals. There are schools that allow them to become “experts” and classes are a couple of weeks. The problem with most of the “experts” and “specialists” is that they are not actually good at the work they say they do.
Before you hire…
Have patience and make sure that the freelancer you hire is really good. The ratings that you see on websites like Elance or Odesk are never enough to assess the true quality of a considered freelancer. This is particularly true when referring to important projects where true skill is necessary.
Examples of problems you can meet
Let’s mention a couple of problems I recently saw. First, a friend of mine wanted to hire a WordPress specialist in order to set up a theme. My friend did know exactly what had to be done but he did not have the time. A rough estimate showed that the time needed to do the work was of around 5 hours. He hired a top freelancer from Odesk with spotless records. After 4 hours passed and were tracked, the “specialist” did not do anything. In fact, that specialist asked for 5 more hours since “it would be needed” to finish the job. Obviously, he was fired. My friend did the work afterwards in 3. He was willing to pay for 5, even more, but the person hired was not on par with the ratings he had.
Another example is something that happened with me. I needed someone to do a really simple content writing job. Nothing special was needed and we did have a proofreader. The initial samples sent in were great. Only minor mistakes. After the batch of necessary articles was sent in, the quality was incredibly low. My proofreader practically told me “F@#$ this! I am not editing this rubbish!” I took a look and I couldn’t blame him. The work was horrible. It seems that the work was then offered to other people, other freelancers. From that moment, I always ask for a test article to be written by the person that will write.
The Bottom Line
If you find a really good freelancer, make sure that you keep him happy. We are looking at a rare breed. So many started working online as freelancers as they believe it is easy money. At the same time, many believe that they are really good at what they do when that is definitely not the case. Make sure that you do not hire someone without an initial test task. That is the highest quality you will receive!
If you are a freelancer, you need to be completely honest with yourself. There is a pretty good chance that you are not as good as you think. Keep learning and improving. Also, many clients already realized what I said above. They will want you to do a small test before you are hired. Gain kudos by offering that directly in your cover letter. Offer it for free. Most clients will actually pay you, even if you do it for free.