What do you think of when envisioning a freelancer?
You might be reminded of a hipster Californian traveling the world and working on their laptop or thinking of an offshore worker that’s willing to take any type of work for a few bucks.
First off -- it’s 2020. Off with the prejudice!
Second, you will be quite surprised by the world pool of talent available AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!
The best part?
It’s CHEAP AS … chewing gum. But the quality of work is like a pistachio ice cream eaten on top of a cruiseliner.
The gig economy provides you with the opportunity to hire experts from ALL around the world at extremely reasonable rates.
While I think the gig economy playing field is about to level down, right now you can hire a freelance expert most likely from another country for as low as $5-15 per hour.
And I’m TALKING actual experts. People who know their stuff.
On Remote Working platforms, you are able to find SEO Marketers with years of experience behind their back, logo designers who’ve created logos for hundreds of small businesses and social media gurus who know the ins and outs of ANY platform.
The problem is twofold.
First, you need to know HOW to hire the right freelancers.
Much like HR people have to deal with fake CVs and people who greatly EXAGGERATE their experience, you’ll have to be able to find JUST the RIGHT people. (and let me tell you, finding the right people CAN be quite tough)
Second, you need to know HOW to RETAIN them.
Much like you would with your team AT HOME, for a freelancer to be able to be confident and satisfied with their job for you, you need to be able to manage them properly.
But unlike a team working right beside you in a designated office building, giving TOTAL freedom to a freelancer wouldn’t always pan out.
I’ve talked with EXTREMELY experienced managers who know their stuff, but are JUST not able to properly manage a freelancer.
You have to understand managing a freelance remote team is different than managing a team at home. And the way you build your expectations, processes and systems from the ground up will have a ripple effect for the growth of your business in the future.
SO NOW that I’ve introduced you to the world of freelancing, let’s TALK HIRING BADASS freelancer to join your potentially six-figure team.
Let’s get started.
Here’s an example of an SOP.
This SOP is one that portions of my team use for Onboarding people. It has clearly defined steps, tools to use and the follow through manner in which a person should complete the tasks.
Do you get the idea?
The mistake of a lot of business owners is diving into the freelance hiring world head first, without ACTUALLY knowing what their business needs are.
As a business owner your first task would be to establish expectations.
Considering you would want to build out a fully remote team of BADASS freelance workers, you first need to be able to communicate to each individual what’s expected of them.
That’s where SOPs come in.
Initially popular in other industries, mostly in manufacturing, Standard Operating Procedures are quickly becoming a golden standard in the freelancing world.
It’s time to discuss how you’ll implement them in action to hire the most badass freelancers the world has to offer.
SOPs are basically documents you can share with your potential hires so that they understand the CORE of their responsibilities and what will be required of them.
It’s important to set a baseline with your freelancer. Today, a generic role can have such varying responsibilities that without an SOP hiring a person will be much like shooting in the dark.
A clear SOP document has a few parts.
A ----> B -----> C
I often say that you should always follow through with your SOPs, understand the task yourself and add/remove any unnecessary items.
However, this might also be done in the future, once you have the right hires for your specific roles.
Of course, in the process of building up more than a dozen SOPs for my company, I’m here to share a few things that I’ve noticed along the way.
I’ve defined them as my RULESET towards building up awesome SOPs that people love and appreciate.
Make sure to showcase JUST WHY this role and this specific task will have an impact in your company.
People love knowing that their work has an actual impact.
It’s one thing to hire someone to write 1000 words for your blog. It’s a whole another story to share that these 1000 words can make or break your SEO standing, which in turn can mean won or lost sales for your business.
Visuals make everything better. Would you be reading this if it had NO visuals at all?
Of course, you wouldn’t want to go overboard, but whenever possible, make sure that you add visuals.
At the start, people might be following your SOPs to the T, but once they get the hang of it, they often don’t refer back to it often. It’s just human nature.
That’s why adding a few checklists consisting of the most important steps in the procedures is a great way to make sure the person you’ve hired is following through with their job description.
Add the checklists whenever necessary to make sure the freelancer does their own self-review before proceeding forward with the next step.
However, much like with the visuals, DON’T GO OVERBOARD. It’s good to make sure the freelancer is doing a self-check, but requiring them to spend precious time to double-check everything might not be the best strategy for each and every task on the SOP list.
A trap that you might fall in (even I did a couple of times) when building up SOPs is starting to think that you are building procedures for a machine.
YES, you should be specific.
YES, you should incorporate exact instructions in your SOP.
But don’t forget that a HUMAN will be reading them and that a HUMAN will be following through with them.
Having the SOPs ready prior to hiring helps ensure that you know what you are looking for in a person.
It will help open up your eyes to the specificity and time it would take to complete a specific task.
THIS will help you estimate the human hours needed for each specific role, but it will also help you evaluate the freelancers for the position far better.
In addition, the SOPs will help you leave no stone unturned and will allow you to avoid responsibility questions further down the line.
Who’s responsible for uploading your featured blog image? The graphic designer? The writer? The editor?
Questions like this might seem trivial, but in building up your six-figure business you’ll realize that a lot more problems arise from the lack of proper procedures for your business, especially if you are after quick and prompt growth.
Now that you have your SOPs in place and know why it’s important to have SOPs in the first place, let’s get down to the management and assessment process of hiring your freelancers.
Want a cheat sheet? Here’s my very own SOP starting point.
Feel free to use it for your business, as a starting point or as you see fit.
You have your SOPs in place, you think you are ready to jump both feet in and hire your first freelancer.
However, I have another important task you should finish prior to hiring and it’s just as important as the other tasks on the list.
To have BADASS freelancers, you need to have ASSessments.
It’s time to get down to business and make sure you have all the basics set in place.
Prior to hiring a freelancer, you need to have a budget set in place, be aware of your management style and know how to properly assess the candidates for your job to avoid the hassle and time.
Everything starts with the budget. Zero is a nice sum, but if you are going to be hiring awesome freelancers, you need to make sure that you have your budget expectations in the right order.
The task is relatively simple. All you need to do is establish your running budget for the next six months or a year, break down the expected expense on each specific role and calculate the total amount of MONEY you will be willing to spend on your NEW team of freelancers.
If you have done your house budget or taxes you shouldn’t have an issue building up a quick spreadsheet with expenses.
To build a proper budget, you need two things - what will your cost be, will there be any applicable discounts that you will use as a lead magnet and for promotion and how much your own costs would be to complete those services.
Once you have your budget, feel free to break down your costs so that you know what type of freelancers you can hire.
Once you have your budget, make sure that you KNOW YOURSELF and have a clear awareness of your management style.
Even though your management style will evolve and improve in the future, you should be aware of your setbacks and strengths in team management.
Considering you will be working with OTHER PEOPLE and they will be reliant on you for their own well-being, you should.
You can’t LEAD a team to victory, if you aren’t able to LEAD.
Of course, don’t read all the bull---- about what makes a great leader.
Leaders come in various forms, shapes and sizes.
Just be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and make sure you minimize the downsides and maximize the upside s for your business.
… or WHY assessment Questionnaires with Vervoe are the BETTER alternative (when hiring a freelancer).
Of course, prior to hiring, you also need to have your interview process in place.
Most people prefer sitting down with the candidate for a short call to evaluate whether they fit their vision.
However, you might have caught the problem here even before I mention it.
That’s right -- how do you know who’s the right candidate from the pile of hundreds?
You might think you will have the ability to check every single one by hand, but let me tell you, it will be a tough task if done manually.
When posting on a freelance job board, you will find your inbox filled to the top and you’ll just be unable to properly sweep through dozens, if not hundreds of job applicants and evaluate their experience.
That’s why there are tools like Vervoe.
Vervoe is a questionnaire-based assessment tool that allows you to easily automate your hiring process.
With Vervoe you will be able to build skill-based questionnaire assessments to send out to your job candidates.
Once the candidates fill the questionnaires out, you will have an actual assessment of their skillset and how applicable it is to your job, rather than a subjective assessment of their experience.
Vervoe has auto-grading for all of your assessment questionnaires and utilizes AI-powered ranking algorithms to ensure that you are able to hire only the best candidates for a job.
The process of setting up an assessment questionnaire with Vervoe is actually relatively simple.
All you need to do is set up your free profile and get started.
You set up your job posting and once you do you can choose the SIMULATION based assessment option.
Once you do, you will be able to use one of the MANY public questionnaires based on your specific job. Or of course, you can create your own questionnaire.
Once you select the questionnaire, you will be able to review and edit out the questions based on your specifications.
After you are done, you can further automate your process by adding another stage to your hiring process.
It’s as easy and as simple as that. In fact, I’ve used this tool many times.
And this is a tool I actually use on a day-to-day basis for my hiring needs.
There’s another great thing about Verove and yes, I do use the tool for my hiring needs.
The best thing is that you can keep track of the performance of each person who has submitted an application for your job.
You’d be surprised at how many people think they can make it, but actually fail by a margin on the tests.
With the automatic assessment process of VERVOE, I’ve managed to build out a fully-remote team that supports and grows my six-figure business.
And I didn’t have to worry about resumes, case studies, previous experience or portfolios. And I’m certain I’ve hired the right people.
Posting on Job Boards, Using assessment tools to evaluate applicants and sending automatic notification emails.
I’m here to talk to you about AUTOMATION.
The reason I’m so adamant about the use of Vervoe is because it’s one of the easiest tools to use for completely automating the assessment portion of the hiring process.
We are humans and while we might think we are GOOD in evaluating people, it’s best to allow PERFORMANCE to paint the whole picture.
As mentioned in the very beginning of this (chapter/blog), there’s no REAL way to tell that a freelancer has the experience they’ve outlined in their profile, CV or resume.
And even if they do have that experience, there’s no actual way to tell that they’ll be able to do the exact jobs you require of them.
UNLESS, you have an assessment questionnaire process that helps you hire based on PERFORMANCE, rather than experience.
Now that you know all the secrets of hiring the most BADASS of freelancers, it’s time to tell you WHERE to find those awesome bastards.
I’ve used copious amounts of freelance platforms (yes, there are more than a few out there) and most of them aren’t worth a cent.
Here are the TOP 3 freelance platforms, their pros and cons and the specific scenarios in which you should use them.
Perfect for long-term hires, hiring VAs, hiring Team Members
FreeUp is a relatively new freelance platform that is perfect for kickstarting your all-remote team.
They have a dedicated vetting process and allow only the top 0.1% of freelancers to join their ranks.
Built from the ground up for long-term hiring, the platform ensures that the freelancers are pre-vetted and have the required skillset to complete your job.
They further have interview processes to ensure that even if rather inexperienced the freelancers are not only able to complete the job, but are able to do it in a positive manner.
Tests for professionalism and regular checks of the freelancer pool are a certainty with FreeUp.
I’ve personally hired on the platform multiple times and I can HANDS DOWN say that it’s an amazing experience.
Plus, the platform has budget categories for their freelancers, allowing only those who would be comfortable with your budgets to apply to your projects.
Perfect for a highly specific and generic task done on the side
I also want to recommend Fiverr.
While not necessarily the perfect platform, Fiverr is an amazing freelancer marketplace for specific gig-tasks that you might need to be completed on a shoestring budget.
Logo designers, social media posts and videos or a quick article or two can easily be done for just a few bucks by people with thousands of projects behind their backs.
The only real downside is that people on Fiverr are often highly specialized in one specific task and you often won’t be able to find people for an SOP based project.
Freelancers on Fiverr have specific processes for the projects they offer so you will be out of luck, if you would want to build your team exclusively on Fiverr.
However, who knows, you might just be lucky and grab a couple of people to join your team.
Perfect for specific tasks on a to-do list, for hiring short-term interim or temp gig-worker
Last, but not least, another platform I love is UpWork. One of the most infamous platforms for hiring freelancers, UpWork is a place where you can find pretty much ANY type of expert.
Plus, the reviews freelancers have can further help you ensure that you are hiring people who know what they are doing.
UpWork is not as perfect for full-time team members, though, as most freelancers on the platform have multiple clients at a time and might not be as invested in your project as you would want your hires to be.
Now that you know how to hire the most badass freelancers, it’s time to dive deep into the discussion of project management.
Are you ready? Let’s dive into it.