The question of how to outsource work is one that plagues every business owner. When is the right time to get help? Who should I be looking for? Where do you go to find good people? How do you know they’re as good in real life as they are on paper? What can you do to make the hiring process easier? How do you manage freelancers working remotely?
When you’ve simply got too much on your plate, the answers to these questions get a little bit more complex. But don’t worry – below is a simple process that you can apply today to free up some much needed time and regain your spent energy.
(1) Identify One Task
Being overwhelmed, you definitely don’t have the time to start the whole new task of finding, vetting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding someone. This is why you need to pick just one task that you need to get off your plate. Choose one task that falls into at least one of these categories:
- Takes too much time
- Doesn’t need my expertise
- Needs expertise that I don’t have
- I hate doing
If you have a task in mind that is all four, that’s definitely the one you need to outsource now.
Since you’re hiring for just one task, hiring a freelancer is definitely the best choice. You pay only for hours worked and don’t have to worry about how they fill up the rest of their time.
(2) Write Down Your Process
It’s important to get the details of that task down on paper. You might be looking for an expert who will already know exactly what to do, but you still need to set the tone. Here’s why:
By detailing the task, you are showing potential hires that you know what you’re doing. This dissuades people who don’t have the right skills from applying. That leaves you with only the best-suited candidates, cutting down the time you’ll have to spend sorting through them.
By detailing how you want the task done, you are sharing vital information about your unique personal and business processes. Not even an expert will know these things unless you tell them. When they see how things work at your company, they will first think about whether they are a good match for the task before they apply.
Note that since you’re hiring for just one task, hiring a freelancer is definitely the best choice. You pay only for hours worked and don’t have to worry about how they fill up the rest of their time. In addition, freelancers freelance primarily because they love the freedom that it gives them to do the work that they want to do. Knowing more about a task allows them to confidently choose only the work – and the company – that they know they will enjoy being involved with.
(3) Recruit and Interview the Best Fit
The first step in recruiting is deciding where you’re going to field your task description.
There are a ton of freelance websites out there, and it seems like another one pops out every day. This is why there’s also a ton of content on this blog about them. You could look at them all, but that’s not where you want or need to be spending what little time you have at this point. The logical choice is to go straight to the best option for your needs.
I recommend FreeeUp, because the marketplace offers pre-vetted freelancers and a fast-hire experience. First, the pre-vetting ensures that you are picking from a pool of freelancers who have experience in different tasks. This saves a lot of time and headache. Second, you are already overwhelmed and need to find a good freelancer really quickly.
I’m not saying this because I’m writing this post for the FreeeUp blog, but because I’m a freelancer who has worked through more than a few different platforms and found this to be the best one. As a freelancer, I’m running my own business, too. I want to be on a platform that’s serious about networking with only the best. I’m serious about providing excellent service, and as my business grows, I want to be where I know I can find like-minded people to work alongside me.
The second step here is to upload your task description with additional details on freelancer qualifications, rate range, and the like.
If you’re not recruiting on FreeeUp, you’ll need to wait at least a few days for freelancers to respond to your ad, or in some cases, you can search for them yourself and invite them to apply. Then you’ll need to sort through at least a few proposals. While you may be tempted to interview them all, just pick one. Again, you need to save your time and energy, so start with just one. You can always go back and select another if you don’t like them after you interview.
If you’ve joined FreeeUp – which is completely free to do, by the way – then you skip this vetting process and get introduced to the best fit based on your freelancer request. And this happens within 24 hours, and sometimes even within a few hours. Then you do an optional 15-minute interview to see what they’re like in person and ask and answer any additional questions around the task and your company. If you’re not satisfied, just let a FreeeUp assistant know and you’ll be introduced to another candidate.
The third step is to make the hire.
Trust the time and effort you put into writing out a detailed description of what you want done, and trust your instincts about the person you interviewed. Then pull the trigger and make the hire. You won’t know anything for sure until you try it, so you need to actually start working with this freelancer to get the confirmation you need.
(4) Onboard and Test
Before you tell a freelancer to get to it, make sure that you spend some time going over the details. Yes, you wrote them down and the freelancer has access to them. However, nothing is better than doing it together. It’s the best opportunity that you’ll have to build the necessary rapport between you that will set the tone for your professional relationship moving forward. It shows the freelancer that you really care about what happens in your business, and allows you to get a feel for how much they care.
The most important part of onboarding is sharing the details that are unique to you and your business.
As you go through the task, focus on how you prefer things are done. If you have no preference, say so. Any new hire needs to know where you stand either way. It removes doubt so they can focus on getting things done. Here are a few of the things that you should be sure you are very clear about with a new hire:
Your company mission and vision and how this task ties in with that
What the immediate and end goals are for the task and how they tie in with your larger business goals
Start with a small “test” project to confirm if this person is the best fit.
Ask the freelancer to start working on something small, a sub-task that can be completed ideally within a few hours and that you can use to evaluate their performance. If that goes well, assign a slightly bigger sub-task and so on.
You should know for sure if you’ve hired the right person within a week or two. Then you can give them the go signal to dive deeper into the entire task. If the first hire you make doesn’t work out, move on to your second choice and start over. Make any necessary tweaks to your description or onboarding process from what you learned the first time around so it goes more smoothly.
(5) Manage Effectively
Remote freelancer management is a little different from managing people who work in the same office as you do. There’s a whole culture around remote work that you need to understand. If you are a location-independent business owner, however, then you will know how it works for the most part. Here are a few tips for managing freelancers:
- Manage your own expectations, especially if you’ve decided to hire a basic-level freelancer instead of an expert.
- Communicate your expectations clearly from the outset and always give feedback on performance.
- Use a tool to organize you both, keep information accessible, and facilitate communication and collaboration.
Once this freelancer is working full force, you can pick another task to unload and repeat the process. If it’s a similar task, you might even be able to simply pass it on to the person you already hired. In that case, just start from the onboarding process so you can both stay on the same page about the new task.
If any issues arise down the road, don’t immediately give up on your investment. Try to find out what went wrong and sort it out before you start looking for a replacement. Most issues in a remote work environment boil down to communication and do not point to a lack of either skills or professionalism.
Get to it!
Are you in that place right now – or feeling very near to it – when there’s just always too much to do? Running a business, no matter what kind, can get really overwhelming. Whether you’re doing consultancy or have an eCommerce store or even freelancing, there will come a point when you can no longer manage all the different tasks by yourself.
But, hey, take this as a good sign – it means your business is doing well!
All you have to do to get back on even ground is to get some expert help at FreeeUp so you can unload some of those repetitive and mundane yet still vitally important tasks. Once you’ve taken the edge off, you can de-stress and refocus your attention on bigger picture goals and on doing what you do best.