Curious about hiring a freelancer to help with your marketing? If this is your first time making that decision, it is very normal to feel uncertain. You're probably thinking "How do I know if this is worth it, how do I figure out my budget, and what should I know before signing a contract!?" These are all great questions, and I've shared my thoughts on those and a few other FAQs below. Don't feel like reading the whole thing? Click below to go straight to the freelance client questionnaire and find out what services you'd want from your ideal freelancer.
How do I know if hiring a freelancer is worth it?
Hiring a freelancer is worth it if you consider that time is money. If you are spending 2 hours on a project that could be completed in 30 minutes, then it is worth it to consider outsourcing that project to someone who specializes in it. Not only will they do it faster, but they will also do it better. So you can be working on something else AND see improved results for your business.
How do I know if they are good at what they do?
Make sure to review the freelancer's portfolio. This will likely be in the form of a personal website or a portfolio platform like Behance. If they don't have some kind of digital display of their services, that is an indication that they have not completed many projects, are new to the game, or haven't taken the effort to properly display their work. When you visit a freelancer's website you can see whether they have experience in your project. For example, if you want someone to build you a website, there should be evidence that they have built a website before. Additionally, many freelancers include a testimonial page like this one so you can see what past clients have said about working with them.
How do I know if what they are charging is fair?
As the client, you are in charge. You have every right to do your own research and see if other freelancers will do the same project for less. Maybe your freelancer will match a lower bid, but if not, they should be able to explain why they are charging you what they are. Often, it is an hourly rate and they estimate how many hours a project will require. Some freelancers, myself included, will reduce the total if after a project is completed, it required fewer hours than predicted. Some freelancers, alternatively, may offer a flat rate and you can ask them to break that down. They should be able to explain where the numbers are coming from regardless.
How do I figure out my budget?
This is tricky, and really depends on you and your business. You may not want to share these numbers with your freelancer, but the rule of thumb I go by says young businesses only 1-2 years old should reinvest between 12% and 20% of their total revenue back into their marketing budget. So a hairdresser making $4000 per month could choose to spend $480-$800 per month on marketing.
What should I know before signing a contract?
Make sure the freelancer has outlined the payment schedule. Will they send an invoice at the end of the month, or is there a deposit required before getting started? Additionally, you'll want to have an idea of the project timeline. It is good to set deadlines such as one website page completed every week by Friday, or quantify the task e.g. 500 word blog post every other week. Make sure the freelancer has included a protocol for late payments or late deliverables. Finally, review the confidentiality and decide if the freelancer should sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
What other questions should I ask my freelance candidate?
If I were hiring a freelancer, I would want to know what their communication style is like. Will we have a once weekly phone call, will I receive monthly reports, or will we text every other day. This will depend on the scope of the project, and your own preferences as much as the freelancer's. On that note, you'll want to know how they handle revisions. Revisions include any piece of work that you look at before it is completed. It is important you sign off before a video is posted or a newsletter gets sent, because you may have small changes to make. The freelancer may designate a certain number of revisions which will help you stay focused and not continually make small changes often. Additionally, you'll want to know your freelancer's availability. Do they want a short term project of a few months like helping you launch a new product, or will they take on long-term work such as managing your entire marketing strategy.
Any other advice?
Don't worry too much, your freelancer may have more experience communicating with clients, than you do with freelancers. The early stage of working with a freelancer is kind of like a first date...except none of the nerves about looking good, saying the right things, or impressing anyone. I mean, the freelancer may feel that, but you -- the client -- don't have to! The best thing you can do, much like that first date, is be yourself, be honest, and see if there is chemistry.
Still not sure if hiring a freelancer is the right thing for you? Fill out my Client Questionnaire and see how many questions you can answer about your own marketing needs.