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Affordable hiring strategies for startups

As a small business with limited resources, you'll discover that getting your product or service to market necessitates becoming an expert in a variety of industries.

You'll learn all there is to know about programming, web hosting, cyber security, social media, marketing, recruitment, and finance, among other topics, want it or not.

This knowledge you have may work for a while, but since you can't possibly have all of the skills or the time to do everything, you'll eventually need to hire some help.

Hiring freelancers has several benefits that will help your startup grow and eliminate the need for you to handle everything yourself. And hiring on-demand allows you to keep your overhead low while yet obtaining the top personnel for the job. Flexibility is important, and freelancers offer exactly that.

The remote and gig economy is so well-developed these days, that when considering hiring freelancers for your startup, you shouldn’t think about where you’ll find them, but how you’ll manage to find the right people for the job.

There are many criteria that need to be fulfilled to make sure you’ve got good, experienced freelancers, and if your budget is limited, well, you might struggle a bit more.

In this article, we’ll tell you what to look out for on your search for a good freelancer, and where can you find good candidates for your type of project.

What to keep an eye out for

It is easy to find freelance professionals such as software developers, marketing experts, and graphic designers. Yet, maybe not all of them tick all the boxes for you. Different projects require different levels of knowledge and experience, as well as availablility from your freelancer.

Here is what your list of criteria should look like before you post a job on a freelance website.

Job success ratings

Hiring a freelancer has never been easier thanks to freelance job boards. However, keep in mind that cost isn't the most crucial consideration when hiring a freelancer.

Ratings and reviews are the most crucial thing to consider when hiring a freelancer. Prospects should be qualified based on at least 10 reviews and a 4.5-star rating or above.

Location (or time zone)

The time zone in which the freelancer works is frequently overlooked. Incompatible timezones may make collaboration a struggle and project misalignment can frequently cause a lack of effective communication.

If your project is time-sensitive and you would like to have an overview of what your freelancer does, perhaps you should look for a candidate within your time zone (or close to it).

A high number of repeating customers

If you are looking for a freelancer that will stick for a while, look into their number of repeating customers. If employers trust them enough and were content enough to come back and use their services again, they would probably be a good candidate for your project too.

Vetted and tested for the skills you require

It is important to make sure that your freelancer is indeed an expert in the skills you require. You probably don’t have a technical interviewer and an HR team to check this, but luckily, most freelance marketplaces do have tests, quizzes, and other tech checkups in place to ensure the people present on their platforms are the experts they present themselves to be.

However, scammers sometimes slip into the cracks and you might end up with a nifty person that “cheated the system”. If you want to make 100% that the technical prowess of your freelancer is checked by a human, take a look at the way Proxify manages to take care of this.

Portfolio and real examples

You should usually start with a referral before looking at a portfolio of work when employing a freelancer. This verifies not only the freelancer's work but also that they were good enough to work with that their previous company would recommend them.

As an extra step, make sure that the examples are recent, and whether or not they are implemented by the customer.

Hourly rates

This is pretty obvious, but to deduct the marketplaces that don’t fit your budget, you should check the average hourly rates on each platform.

Make sure you also check whether or not there are extra costs apart from the rates you pay your freelancers.

Where to find the best freelancers

Now, onto the real question. Which of the many platforms out there are good for both affordability and quality? It depends on what you need! Here are my suggestions.

Upwork and Fiverr: Best for limited-time projects

Upwork and Fiverr are the indisputable kings of limited-time projects. They offer a large pool of freelancers working in many different areas, from website development to voiceovers, from project management to translation.

However, suppose you are interested in a more long-term relationship with your freelancer. In that case, there are freelance marketplaces that are dedicated to one area or industry, and that cover quality assurance and vetting as part of their main services.

Proxify: Best vetted developers

Proxify is the perfect choice for any startup that cannot do the vetting and sourcing themselves.

Basically, you let recruitment professionals take care of picking the best developers out of more than 3.000 applicants monthly, and do the technical interviews and code tests for you. Then, you are matched with the ideal candidate for your project requirements and team culture. And in case you are not satisfied with the first pick, you can request another freelancer developer for free.

However, Proxify only has freelancers working in development, so for marketers, designers and other types of freelancers, you’ll have to browse on wider marketplaces.

99Designs, Behance, and Dribbble: Best for graphic design

Similar to Proxify and developers, these three platforms specialize in all things design, especially graphic design.

Whether you need a brand designer for a one-time project or someone who will periodically take care of your collateral, they have a wide network of freelance designers specializing in a plethora of different design fields.

Guru: Best for marketers

Guru is a freelancing website where you can find job openings for everything from programming and development to administrative and marketing jobs. They currently have over 500.000 freelancers available to perform marketing services, which can be compensated on a contract basis or for long-term roles.

Clients can choose "Sales and Marketing" as their main category from Guru's freelancer list. You'll be able to dive down into a variety of subcategories here, such as online and digital marketing, advertising, lead generation, content and copywriting, branding, campaign management, strategy, and more.

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