Australia’s workforce is continually changing and with the growth of technology, more and more businesses are turning to freelancers to fulfil roles.
A study by Upwork found that 4.1 million Aussies — or one third of the workforce — are now freelancers. Another 746,000 are freelancing on the side whilst earning a salary.
But the freelance economy isn’t just booming here. Internationally, it’s taking off too. In fact, the Freelancing in America report found that by 2027 the majority of workers in the U.S. will be freelancers, and although income predictability is a common challenge, 63 per cent freelance by choice. The research discovered that people are gravitating towards freelancing because it gives them flexibility and autonomy over their work. Yet, the freelancer economy has many positives for business owners and founders of start-ups too. Choosing to hire freelancers over full-time or part-time staff allows owners to collaborate with a variety of workers with unique skillsets on different projects, while keeping their businesses lean. Better yet, they can avoid paying staff entitlements such as annual leave and superannuation.
So how do you go about finding and hiring a freelancer? We have some tips to help you find the best person for the job:
1. Define the skills you need
First and foremost, it’s important to establish exactly what you need from a freelancer. What does the scope of work look like? How long will the project run for? What kind of qualifications do they need to successfully complete the job and what are the deliverables? Without this information, it will be difficult to outsource the work to a freelancer. Remember, the more details, the better.
2. Determine what you can pay
Many business owners turn to freelancers because they think it’s a cost-saving strategy, but hiring the cheapest freelancer that you can find, could cost you in the long-run. It’s important to determine a budget for the work, but remember that freelancers are paying for their own entitlements so often their hourly rate is higher than a full-time employee with similar experience. Be prepared to negotiate — a freelancer may be willing to lower their fees if there’s ongoing work.
3. Post an advertisement on platforms
Thanks to platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, Expert360 and Airtasker, it’s easier for you to find and hire workers for contract or freelance gigs. Posting an advertisement with a clear description of the work, the experience required, payment, deadlines and deliverables will all help you find the right person for the job in a timely fashion. It’s always a good idea to ask to see previous work once you have shortlisted a couple of candidates.
4. Utilise your professional network
When you’re searching for a freelancer, always leverage your professional network and existing contacts. Seeking recommendations through your network can often be the best way to find and hire a professional freelancer for your business. Start by asking at business networking groups for referrals and looking through your contacts on LinkedIn. You can even ask clients for suggestions to help you make an informed decision.
Sheree Mutton is a freelance journalist and the Founder and Managing Director of media agency, Reeton Media, which specialises in content creation, communications; and copywriting. She has written for The Australian Women’s Weekly, The Sydney Morning Herald, news.com.au and more.