Business Freelancing

Tips for Hiring Freelancers for Your Online Business

Tips for Hiring Freelancers for Your Online Business 8 Comments

My name is Matt. I'm the co-owner of Plug Things In, a site that provides information about internet connections and service providers. Thank you for reading my guest post, and please leave me feedback and any questions in the comments. I look forward to reading them.

Hiring freelancers for your online business can be a catch 22.

On one hand, outsourcing work allows you to focus on doing the tasks that you enjoy the most, that have the most impact on the money you make or on starting new ventures altogether. You also want to outsource work that you don’t know how to do, and would take you hours or days to figure out, such as programming.

On the other hand, hiring freelancers can be a difficult process. You have to deal with finding freelancers capable of the work you need done, freelancers who turn in low quality work or consistently miss deadlines.

5 Tips for Hiring Freelancers Successfully

So as great as outsourcing can be, it can be just as hard to get started. To help make it easier, I’ve provided 5 tips below to get you started based on my own experiences.

1. Be Aware of the Countries You Hire From

My first tip is to be aware of the countries you hire from.

For example, if you need writing done for your website, and you’re based in the USA or UK, I would not hire freelancers from India to do the work. There is just too much of a language barrier. In many cases the content that you get back will be in broken English and won’t make any sense. You’ll either have to fix the content or scrap it altogether.

What you should do instead is hire from countries that are similar in culture/language. The Philippines, for example, would be a much better country to hire from for writers.

[box type=”note”]Here is an old post that will help you find great freelance writers for your business, check it out here[/box]

I should stress that I’m not saying you don’t hire from countries such as India, just that you should be selective where you hire from based on the tasks you need completed. You can (and will) find excellent coders and designers to work with in India.

2. Ask for Examples & References

Before you hire anyone you should ask for examples of their work and references. This gives you a chance to see what they’re capable of without having to pay them.

Depending on where you hire them from, I would put more weight into the references than the examples. The reason for this is that anyone could do a good job if they spend hours or days on it (for their portfolio). They could even fake their portfolio.

But past clients won’t lie. So read their reviews if you’re using a job site like oDesk or Elance. Otherwise, contact previous employers and references and ask how the work was, if it was done on time and if they’d use the freelancer again. This will take some time on your part, but it will be well worth the effort in the long run when you find someone that does excellent work consistently.

3. Have Candidates to a Test Job

Before you toss a bunch of work and money at someone, I would first setup a test job. I recommend doing a test job so that you can get a feel for the candidate’s communication, quality and timeliness.

If the original task you need done is small enough, use that. Otherwise I would come up with a similar, but smaller task for the candidate to complete. Whether or not you pay for the test job is up to you. I would, only because you’ll attract higher quality candidates. As a freelancer myself, I would not do free work for a “test,” just because I know that I do good work. But if I wanted a job bad enough, I would do a test job if it paid, even if it was slightly less than what I would charge.

4. Be Very Clear About What You Want

Often times when you get work back that isn’t exactly how you want it, it’s not because the freelancer didn’t do a good job, but because you didn’t do a good job explaining what you wanted.

Freelancers aren’t mind readers. All that they’re going to do is take the information and instructions that they’re given and go do the work. If a major component is missing you can expect them to ask questions. Otherwise they’ll just complete the task.

If you want an article written using a certain format, a design to have a specific color scheme or a web template to use PHP includes, you have to say so. In fact, if you have examples of what you want the final product to look like, than that’s even better.

Don’t leave the freelancer in the dark. This will ensure that the final product is closer to what you want, and will reduce the amount of revisions that need to be done.

5. Pay for Work After Completion

Paying for work upfront is a big mistake. It’s just too much risk.

I have friends that have paid for work upfront, only to have the freelancers take off, disappear for a couple of weeks or turn in low quality work. So you’ll either be ripped off, have a huge delay in getting your work done, or will have to deal with getting a refund.

None of these options are easy to deal with.

However, not paying upfront fixes all of these problems for you. You can’t get ripped off or have to deal with refunds if you don’t pay them upfront, and there won’t be many delays in getting the work done if the freelancer needs the money bad enough.

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My name is Matt. I'm the co-owner of Plug Things In, a site that provides information about internet connections and service providers. Thank you for reading my guest post, and please leave me feedback and any questions in the comments. I look forward to reading them.


  1. I think point 5 is the most important. Don’t ever pay for work upfront, because you’ll lose at some point. I did…

  2. Be aware that writers from India and other Asian countries may change their name to Ben or Alex. So, trust websites where freelancers real IP is visible.

  3. Hi Matt,
    I agree with your post here, especially on the part about being very clear about what you want. Many freelancers mostly read the instructions thoroughly and if there is something amiss, they will only ask you for that and proceed on doing the task you want to be done. Giving them guidelines and even a step-by-step instruction via text or video can be very helpful for the freelancer and it would make it faster for them to understand what you really want to be done. Also, the last part “pay for work after completion” is a very crucial matter. You can actually pay upfront if that certain freelancer is someone who have already done some tasks for you in the past. If it’s a new freelancer you’ve just hired, then create a deal that both of you would be happy before, during, or after the job is complete. After all, keep in mind that if there is no upfront payment, the freelancer is also taking a risk on doing the job for you.

  4. Hey Matt
    When I first started hiring people on Freelancer, I always payed people before the work was done and this ended up coming back to bite me more than once. It is not that they do not do the work but rather lack the need to maintain quality. Definitely agree with paying a freelancer after the job.

  5. Nice tips here. Point #4 for me is the most important of all. Setting clear expectations about what you want to get should be the first thing that should be voiced out during a conversation with a freelancer.

  6. This article is very innovative. It is helpful for new freelancer. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Big companies can afford to hire the best applicants to be part of their workforce. They also have the budget to train these individuals so they can further earn skills that will eventually benefit the company.

  8. I would recommend for both hirer and freelancer should know about these key factors…

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