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Freelancing is definitely one of the hot trends of recent years. From coders and web developers to designers, illustrators and marketing experts… the web now provides plenty of outsourcing opportunities to hire freelancers around the world. But where to start when you actually need to hire someone to get a job done? This article gives you an overview of what to do and where to look when you need to outsource a project.
Let’s say you want a brand new logo for your website. You have chosen a domain name built your website and you now need a flashy, catchy logo to go with it. What should you to do when you don’t have the skills for an in-house solution and perhaps don’t have that much money to spend? In this case, you should consider outsourcing. Today, there is plenty of places where you can find talented freelancers, who can deliver high quality work to you, very quickly. Below are some of the most popular platforms you should look at when planning to outsource a project.
Where to start: Some of the most popular platforms for outsourcing
Launched in 2009 and headquartered in Sydney, Freelancer.com is one of the big names for both freelancers and those in need of a freelance. Its pool of over 10 million users makes it a place you want to have a look at when you need someone to carry out a project for you. While signing up is free, Freelancer gives people the opportunity to choose among five different plans:
- The Fixed Price Project Fee is the fee that you, as employer, have to pay Freelancer.com when your fixed price project has been accepted by a freelancer (to be worked on)
- The Hourly Project Fee is what you pay Freelancer.com on each payment as it is made to the freelancer
- With Free Priority Project you can post you project instantly, skipping the customer support review process
- Free Design Studio lets you upgrade your project to an integrated project management platform
- Free Project Extension lets you extend the time your project can receive bids
- Free Sealed Project means that all bids are sealed, so that freelancers cannot see what others are bidding. This leads to more accurate, higher-quality proposals
- With the Free NDA Project freelancers have to digitally sign a non-disclosure agreement before placing a bid
- The Milestone Payment let you transfer money in advance to Freelancer.com. This sum is transferred to the freelancer once milestones have been met
After you have chosen the plan that suits you the most and signed in, you can start posting a project. You can tell freelancers what kind of project you are posting, what kind of work and skills you require, the type of project you have in mind and the budget you have available (starting from 10$ – yes just ten dollars!). You can also add special features (you have to pay for these) such as featured project, urgent and NDA (non-disclosure agreement).
The next step for hiring a freelancer is looking at the profiles of candidates and feedbacks they might have got. If you like, Freelancer.com even gives you the opportunity to chat with them. Once you have chosen a freelancer, you will only pay 3% of the project budget – as a deposit – and will proceed with the complete payment once the project is finished.
Elance has been around for quite a while. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Mountain View (California), it provides an international pool of talent and projects – like Freelancer.com – available for both employers and freelancers. Over 800,000 businesses (even several Fortune 500 companies, according to elance.com) use Elance to find talent to carry out their projects. Same as for Freelancer, signing up for Elance is free, but you can also choose a different plan:
In many ways, Elance is very similar to Freelancer.com. However, Elance has a couple of additional services that you might find useful. The Elance University, for instance, is an online repository with tips on how to hire or work on Elance, as well as a wide variety of online courses (that you have to pay for) on topics like programming, marketing and social media provided by services such as Treehouse, Lynda.com and HubSpot. In addition, Elance also allows you to look for freelancer by name, job or country.
Guru.com is another service that was launched at the end of the 1990s. This freelance marketplace gives employers (you) the opportunity to find a freelancer among a network of about 900,000 members. Just like Elance and Freelancer.com, also Guru offers a free-of-charge sign up and different plans:
This article could keep on listing other platforms for hiring a freelancer (you might want to have a look at oDesk, which has about 5 million freelancers available, and Twago – available for Europe only). Before getting into the tips for hiring a freelancer there is one more service you should consider: Fiverr
Fiverr: The low-cost solution
The online marketplace Fiverr revolves around the concept of “gigs”, with a starting price of 5$. The platform offers a more than 1.3 million services, ranging from logo design to promotional video making. Once you have signed up (this one’s free too), you can start looking for the gig or micro-job you need. In many cases, freelancers have a series of special features, in addition to the standard 5$ service. A logo designer, for example, might have the starting price of 5$ and have a “fast delivery” feature that can be obtained by paying an additional 5 bucks.
Checklist: What to Do Before Hiring a Freelancer
- Browser through different platforms like Freelancer, Elance and Fiverr and pick one
- Do a quick search to see if the kind of work you need to be outsourced (e.g. logo design) is available
- Have a look at the projects freelancers are showcasing and start selecting those that impress you the most
- Before you start worrying about the price, focus on the reviews/comments freelancers have received
- Once you have found a few freelancers with impressive work and good reviews, compare prices between freelancers
- Compare delivery time and check for extra features (tip: on Fiverr you might find that for the same price as others, a developer offer fast delivery or additional work…why not to take advantage of this?)
- Choose a freelancer/post your project (with deadline, budget, required skills, etc.)
Have you ever outsourced a project online? If so, what additional advice would you give to someone who is planning to hire a freelancer?