Freelancing has never been this big.
With the internet allowing people to defy distance and location, more people are switching to freelancing. Where else can you find work that gives you command of your time? That allows you to work from home and not experience the daily traffic?
This “revolution” has also been beneficial for business owners. It has allowed them to not only delegate some of their tasks, but also gives them an alternative option for getting help. On top of that, they can save more money while still getting things done.
If you’re a business owner who’s looking to outsource for the first time, you definitely have a lot to learn about freelancers. Working with them is nowhere near working with a regular who’s with you in the office. They have a different culture and a different setup altogether. Working with them may become difficult for you without understanding how freelancers work.
Here are some quick tips about freelancers that you have to know before you start hiring and working with them.
1. They range in price
The first and probably one of the most important tips about freelancers you need to know is that freelancers have different price ranges. With the bevy of talents available in the freelance market, there are definitely different levels of expertise available too.
Similar to how it is when hiring in the normal office setup, you’ve got candidates who are seasoned that are considered experts in their line of work. You’ll also meet freelancers who are mid-level in terms of talent as well as those who are total newbies.
As expected seasoned ones will have higher hourly rates compared to those in the mid-level and beginners. Though they may all be writers, for example, each one of them will have different rates because of the talent level and years of experience.
Before you hire a freelancer, make sure to check their rates against their talent and experience. Hire someone that fits your needs and budget.
2. They are from anywhere in the world
One of the amazing things about working with freelancers is that you could be sitting in your office chair in Manhattan while they are busy helping you from any country in Asia. That’s something you would have considered a joke a few years ago.
Technology has really come a long way to let us experience this way of working. The only major consideration you have to remember is that being on the other side of the world would mean different time zones for both of you.
If you require them to work alongside you then they might have to work at night. If you’re more of a results-oriented manager, then the time zone difference will be less of an issue.
3. They are independent contractors
One of the more important tips about freelancers is that unlike regular workers, freelancers are not required to have health cards or any of the government-mandated benefits you would normally give to a regular worker.
They’re also not required to have fixed salaries and instead earn on an hourly basis, depending on your agreement. There are freelancers who take on fixed-price projects too.
As independent contractors, freelancers do not have taxes withheld, which saves you a lot of paperwork and other additional tasks and costs. Once their contracts have lapsed, there’s no need for offboarding procedures that can take up so much of your time. You either extend their contracts or they walk away and look for other clients.
4. They work with many clients at one time
This is definitely one of the most important things for you to remember. As freelancers, they do not work exclusively for you. This means they work with other clients too and they just divide their time among these clients.
If you have a huge project you want them to handle, let them know in advance. If they have other projects with other clients on-going, you can’t expect them to give you 8 full hours each day.
Another thing to consider is the continuity of work. If your project has ended but you would still want them to continue to work for you, let them know because they work on a first-come-first-served basis.
If you haven’t worked with them for six months and all of a sudden you have work for them, you can’t expect them to immediately accept. You have to check their availability. If they have taken on more hours with another client meantime, they might not have free hours for you.
5. They use a variety of channels to find new clients
Among the tips about freelancers we have given, this one is one of the most exciting. While some freelancers do it as a part-time gig, many of them do it full-time. It’s where they get their monthly income to put food on the table and pay the bills.
A full-time freelancer cannot afford to be idle. This is why they are expected to be on more than one freelance marketplace. Even if you met them via FreeeUp, for example, they could also be accepting work through Upwork, Freelancer, or any other freelancer marketplace.
Freelancers need projects all the time which is why they have to use several other channels to look for new clients. Most of the time, projects are on a short-term basis. If you want a good freelancer that you like to work more hours, make sure that you communicate that so you can lock that in.
6. There is a huge outsourcing industry in the Philippines
The Philippines is considered the central hub of the freelancing industry for several reasons. English is the Philippines’ second language. When you have freelancers you can communicate with clearly and effectively, the language barrier disappears.
Money also plays a big factor because the cost of living in the Philippines is relatively low compared to that of Western countries. With the dollar being equivalent to 45 to 50 Philippine pesos, you’ll be spending a lot less on salaries compared to workers from the West.
Filipinos are hardworking and diligent as well. Apart from the wealth of skills they possess, they are also dependable and professional. You may look at the time difference as a cause for concern, but the truth is, this works to your advantage. By the time you wake up, everything you need for the day will have already be done.
7. They want to help clients’ companies grow
Another good thing about working with freelancers is that they don’t just work for the money. They’re not just doing their tasks for the sake of completing them. They tend to treat your company as if it was theirs too. This is one of the top tips about freelancers you should know.
Freelancers are independent contractors – they don’t work FOR you, they work WITH you. That is one of the glaring difference between working with freelancers and regulars. They’re your partners in making the business grow and reach new heights. Freelancers are the experts you hire to help you and your company achieve its goals.
8. They can be extremely hard workers
With no pressure from traffic and work schedules, freelancers can become extremely hardworking. Since they work their own hours and work mostly at home, they can work longer hours when they need to.
They also work and get paid by the hour. Just like everybody else, they have bills to pay and families to support. Since they work on a project basis, more projects mean greater income. You can count on them to take more projects as long as they have the bandwidth.
9. Their numbers are increasing
This is one of the tips about freelancers you will find interesting. Freelancing wasn’t as popular a few years back. In fact, many people found it risky jumping from one project to another, making them stick to the more stable 9 to 5 offers.
The dynamics have totally changed though. Freelancing is now more accepted and with the freedom and flexibility it offers, people are starting to make the shift. This, plus the increasing amount of online businesses and online work has made freelancing a more viable option.
10. They take fewer days off
Freelancers don’t get the same benefits as regular workers do. One of those benefits is paid vacation. Not having this privilege makes freelancers take less time off. This is one of the tips about freelancers you’ll definitely appreciate.
It is also worth noting that they work on a project basis so the more work you have for them, the better. Despite not having paid vacations, freelancers remain satisfied and happy with the time off they get. The flexibility and freedom more than make up for the lack of paid vacations.
Perhaps more importantly, freelancers are more in control when it comes to taking time off. If they need to go on a weekend getaway, they can always work double on Thursday to make up for Friday.
Unlike regular workers, freelancers don’t get paid if they don’t come to work. You can count on them to always show up unless they really can’t.
Working with freelancers presents an unconventional yet effective way of getting things done. Though you may be oceans apart, technology has come a long way to making those barriers non-factors.
If you’re looking to outsource, these tips about freelancers should help you understand and transition smoothly. They should also help erase any doubts you may have about outsourcing and make you more confident about it.
All in all, working with freelancers is a complete win-win. Freelancers will get a new client and have fresh projects to work on. As the business owner, you will get competent and responsible people to work with.
More importantly, by working with freelancers you are getting value for every dollar you shell out. In the end, it’s not really about the money anyway but about value and getting things done.
If you’re outsourcing for the first time, we’d like you to do the following:
Based on the tips about freelancers we provided, write on a sheet of paper which tip stood out and why. After that we want you to write down your biggest doubt about outsourcing. Try to compare the two. Does your doubt outweigh the tip you have selected?
If the answer is yes, you may need to do a bit more thinking before you decide. If it’s no, then you are ready to outsource. We encourage you to sign up as one of our clients so you can begin the process of hiring freelancers.
Noel Rosos is a personal development writer, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and founder of Life’s How You Live It, a personal development blog dedicated to helping people live the life they’ve always dreamed of. He is also a writer/contributor for Arianna Huffington’s wellness site, Thrive Global. He is an affiliate marketer, a full-time husband and father, and a self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST.