Finding a Freelancer for Your Small Business Jonathan Herrick If you thought the only real reason to hire a freelancer was to do things you don’t know how to do, you’re limiting yourself. Many valuable – but time-consuming – tasks can be outsourced, and it’s often a great way for startups and small companies to save money and scale their business. It’s no surprise then that 90% of Elance customers are small businesses. After all, why pay a full time employee to do things that can be compensated on-demand? Most small businesses hire freelance workers for projects like web and mobile app development, content production, and online marketing, but you can find freelance workers to do all sorts of tasks, ranging from creating spreadsheets to putting together a video to acting as a virtual assistant. So where are these secret resources hiding? There isn’t just one place to hire temporary or remote workers. Some sites cater to just about every talent or specialty, but there are some specialized freelancing sites that might be better for specific projects. While some choices are better for highly skilled workers, others are great for simple and repetitive tasks. These sites often offer reviews of past work and let workers showcase their experience and talent. They usually also make it pretty easy to figure out how much the work will cost, if there are any guarantees that the job will get done correctly, and how to make payments. 10 Places to Find Freelancers for Your Small Business These are some of the general and specialized freelancing websites to help you find the right worker for your small business: Upwork: Created from the merger of Elance and Odesk, this site has people who are eager to do just about any task and plenty of competition to keep bids modest. The sheer size of the site may mean that you will have to spend a lot of time trying to sort through all of the offers. Other similar large sites include Freelancer.com and Guru.com Freelancer.com: Like Upwork, Freelancer.com is a large site dedicated to finding freelance professionals. This is a good place to start if you’re looking for help with web-based projects. Typical projects Freelancer.com can help with are website development, website design, mobile app design and SEO marketing. Guru.com: As the name implies, Guru.com is geared towards finding the right specialist for your project, rather than simple grunt work that does not require any special skills or training. You can post a job to find a freelancer, or search their database of thousands of freelancers to find the right fit for your project. Fiverr: You might think it’s impossible to get quality work for $5, and you might be partly right. However, there are professionals in fields like graphic design or proofreading who are making a living by adding in extras that can increase the bill. Typically, $5 jobs are more like a work sample. While some Fiverr sellers have learned to offer quality work on a budget, others might remind business owners that sometimes, they get what they pay for. 99 Designs: If you need help with branding, 99 Designs is a great place to start for tasks like creating a logo, designing a website, creating a car wrap for your company vehicle, or even designing your company tee shirt. 99 Designs is unique in that instead of choosing freelancers a la carte, you can run a contest to source several designs at once, and choose a winner. Mechanical Turk: This site is not so much for professionals as it is for people who perform micro-tasks. For example, this would be a good place to go to get people to gather small chunks of information from many places on the Internet or write short and simple descriptions. WriterAccess: This website is specifically for all types of writers, from bloggers to journalists to legal writers who hold a J.D. The writers here are well vetted and come with both writing and industry experience. Customer service is also very good. Customers can choose writers of different levels in order to get the right mix of quality and affordability. TopTal: Like WriterAccess, Toptal is selective about the freelancers they allow into the website. TopTal only caters to software, mobile, and Internet developers and designers. This is a place to go for high-quality tech and graphics talent. Craigslist: These local classified websites aren’t just a place to sell old bikes. Professionals do look for work there, and plenty of small businesses post freelancing jobs. If it’s important to find somebody local, this might actually be one of the better resources. However, all negotiation and payment has to get worked out between the business and the freelancer. TaskRabbit: Time is money, and if you’re running a small business, your time is extremely valuable. TaskRabbit helps you find people to help you at home, from picking up your dry cleaning to walking your dogs. When your home is taken care of, you can stay focused on your business. Could Freelancers Help Your Business Grow? Outsourcing work gives small businesses leverage to get projects done without adding to payroll. Because freelancers aren’t permanent employees, you can be agile in shifting spend around to complete the most pressing projects, scaling up in one area while scaling back spend in another. However, remember that you get what you pay for. At the end of the day, a freelancer’s work is going to be another representation of your business. Hiring the right freelancer is just as important as hiring the right employee if you want to get good results that can help your business scale.