Seven Signs You're Ready To Hire A Freelancer

It's time to get down to some serious business, y'all. It's time to consider your first freelance hire. How do you know when you are ready to hire a freelancer? Well, hopefully by the time you finish reading this article, you'll have a clear idea on when you should take the leap and hire some help.

The freelance hiring stage can be a comprehensive and tiresome search, but once you find a freelancer you like, you should hold on to them! Let's chat about what should be happening in your business before you decide to hire out.

Seven Signs You're Ready To Hire A Freelancer | Are you considering adding to your team with a freelancer? Check out this quick post featuring the seven signs you are ready for a freelancer! #Freelance #SmallBusiness #SmallBusinessAdvice

1. You're Bringing In A Consistent Income

The first sign that you are ready to hire a freelancer? You're bringing in some consistent income. You likely won't be hiring a full-time freelancer as your first hire, but if you want to forge a long-term relationship with your freelancer, you need to pay consistently and fairly.

Hiring a freelancer should be helpful to your brand, but that help comes because of money. If you aren't bringing in a consistent income, you can't expect the freelancer to work off of good faith. You need to be in a financial position to support a freelancer helping you.

If you are genuinely struggling, but you can't afford to hire a freelancer to take over some of your duties, take a good look at:

  1. How you are spending your money OR

  2. How you are spending your time

Chances are you may be falling into a time suck that's making every project draining or you aren't managing the money you make correctly, and you can afford a freelancer by introducing a new budget. Either way, if you fix the issues with your business, you can hire a freelancer when the time is right.

2. You've Got Clients You Want To Work With Knocking Down Your Door That You Can't Help

I want to make a distinction here.

You don't have just ANY clients knocking down your door, you have clients that you WANT TO WORK WITH knocking down your door.

This means you are actively turning away your ideal clients because you don't have enough hours in the day. That's a travesty in my opinion. You should be working with the clients that make your heart sing, not turning them away!

Hire a freelancer to take care of clients you love but have worked with for a while. Make sure you hire the best freelancer, so they are well taken care of in the long run. You don't want this transition to scare off old clients; you want those clients to feel like they are in the best hands! The goal here is to get more clients, not replace the ones you currently have.

3. You've Got More Tasks Than Hours In The Day

When the tasks are piling up, hiring a freelancer is a great way to alleviate your to-do list.

If you have a ton of random tasks that need to be run through, you may want to hire a virtual assistant to take care of some of those tasks for you. You should be able to set up a package with a VA so you can have them on retainer for a certain number of hours each month. With those hours they can help you tackle your ever-growing to-do list.

You shouldn't be continuously in the weeds with your business. Hire out some of those tedious day-to-day tasks so you can focus on strategy, getting new clients, and scaling your business.

4. You've Got Plans And Systems In Place For How To Run Your Business

Freelancers shouldn't run your business.

I know that sometimes you want to hire out a content strategist or an accountant, but I feel like those are better off hired as employees OR hired after you have a strategy or accounting practices in place.

I think that people fail when they expect a freelancer to come in and pick their entire business up by the bootstraps. A freelancer can be very helpful for your business, but they can only do so much for you. It's your business, not theirs.

So, having plans and systems in place will be crucial. You will know when you are ready to hire a freelancer because you will have a lot of your business life together beforehand.

Don't fall into the trap of hiring a freelancer before you are ready to do it. It's okay to take some time with your business, build up these best practices, and then hire the freelancer when you are in a better place. Hiring before you are ready confuses the freelancer, wastes your money, and probably gives you a bad taste in your mouth about freelancers which isn't good for anyone.

Ready To Hire A Freelancer

5. Your Best Clients Want More Time And Attention From You

As you take on more clients, you may have some standout clients. Maybe one of your clients has a big budget, or they have a massive deadline coming up. You don't have to drop the ball on other clients to respond to clients who need more of your time. You may be ready to hire a freelancer if you feel that you need to spend more time with a select few clients on your payroll.

Hiring out some tasks to some starting freelancers is a great way to get through your to-do list with your clients without turning away clients you have built a rapport with.

Most clients won't mind the fact that you hired out a task, as long as it gets done correctly. Before you hire out the job, you may want to sit down with your client and let them know about this transition. Also, you must give your freelancer a deadline that's well before the project is due to your client, this way you have time to look over what they did and make adjustments as necessary.

When hiring a freelancer to spend time with other clients, you have to be careful and screen who you are hiring. You never want to hire someone who doesn't have your clients best interest in mind.

6. You've Got A Life Transition In The Works

Life transitions take up a ton of energy. Whether you are pregnant, moving across the country, or going back to school, you may be ready to hire a freelancer if you have a significant transition happening in your life.

A freelancer would help relieve some of the stress you are feeling in your life and business around your life transition. You may not be able to spend as much time with your business while planning a wedding or getting ready for a child. Being able to offload some duties while you focus on your life is the best feeling ever.

When hiring a freelancer during a life transition, you need to make sure that you have planned enough to sustain yourself and a freelancer during the transition. You don't want your business to be on the back burner entirely, otherwise, you may not be growing enough to warrant a freelancer. Make sure that you have something for them to do throughout the transition, so you aren't just paying a freelancer for nothing or promising them hours that you can't give them.

7. You're Stuck Doing Things You Hate To Do, But They Help Your Business Thrive

Last, but not least, you may be ready to hire a freelancer if you are stuck doing things you hate to do. These things you hate to do might be helping your business thrive, but you would rather spend your time doing anything else. Examples of this:

  • Guest posting on other people's blogs

  • Scheduling podcast interviews

  • Managing your email inbox

  • Engaging with new people on social media

  • Updating blog post images

Whatever you're stuck doing, you can probably hire it out to someone else. Life is no fun when you have to do stuff all on your own, especially if you don't want to. So, hire a freelancer to take that thing over for you!

Are You Ready To Hire A Freelancer?

Did any of these situations apply to you? It may be time to search for a freelancer for your company! I have all the faith in you that you will find the perfect freelancer soon.

Do you need a freelance writer in the human resources technology niche? Check out my hire me page and contact me so we can chat about my freelance writing services.

Related Reading

Everything You Need To Know About Hiring A Freelancer by Entrepreneur

It Only Works If You Do: How To Utilize Freelance Content The Right Way by Amanda Cross Co.

10 Tips to Source and Hire The Best Freelancers Online by Upwork

10 Important Lessons I Have Learned Freelancing On Upwork

I have been on Upwork since the tail end of 2016, but I started taking it seriously around a year ago. I do love Upwork, although even I get frustrated by some of the lower paying jobs sometimes (which is why I created my freelance site–Amanda Cross Co.) Today I am going to offer my best tips for getting jobs that don't feel like a complete waste of your time and energy.

Here are ten lessons I have learned from freelancing on Upwork!

Related Reading: 10 Tasks You Can Accomplish When Freelance Business Is Slow

10 Important Lessons I Have Learned Freelancing On Upwork | Are you interested in getting jobs on Upwork? Check out this post full of lessons I have learned from freelancing on the site for around a year and earning thousands of dollars. #UpworkAdvice #FreelanceAdvice #Freelancing

1. Under Promise, Over Deliver

On Upwork, you need to create some great reviews on your profile, because it will help your profile stand out. So, to do that, I love to use the old under promise, over deliver trick.

I do this for a couple of reason. Sometimes, I genuinely need the extra time. Even though writing an article may only take me a couple of hours, I don't spend all day writing for my freelance clients. Often I am writing for this blog or The Happy Arkansan because I do make money from these blogs through sponsored content and affiliate links.

So, my days are not wholly focused on freelancing. I have come close to being late a couple of times just because of random life issues, and if I had given myself an earlier deadline, I wouldn't have been able to reach it.

I also use the under promise, over deliver trick because it creates a great connection between you and the client.

For example, in a post I did last year with Aventr I ended up offering ten tips for them to use instead of 7 they asked for in their post on employee engagement statistics. I love how this article turned out, and so did the client. Now obviously you can't do this for every single freelance thing you do, but don't skimp. Produce great content, and you will get consistent work.

2. Create a Great Client Experience

Second, you need to create a great client experience.

Be prompt with responding to messages.

Create great content in alignment with what the client needs.

Be open to feedback and changing things as necessary.

Be patient when it comes to getting content reviewed.

Just be a general pleasure to work with. Don't be rude or obnoxious to clients. Follow instructions.

It's not rocket science to create a great client experience. Follow the golden rule and treat your clients like you would want to be treated.

3. Try To Branch Out When You Can

When I first created pieces for Aventr, I didn't think human resources content would be in my wheelhouse. I create content about college, blogging, marketing, social media, and stuff like that.

Aventr wanted a piece about how the desire for open offices extended beyond desks and floor layouts. I didn't have a ton of super relevant pieces for them to look at, but I had some of my writing, and I had an idea for how to execute the post. Luckily, Aventr said yes, and I was able to write this piece. It turns out it was what they were looking for.

Now, I can proudly say that I love writing content for companies who talk about employee engagement, employee perks, and just general human resources topics. I have worked with various clients outside of Aventr on the same types of content, and they love my writing too.

So, if you can branch out from your usual niche every blue moon, you can create some great content. I feel that Upwork is excellent for breaking out of your niche because there are so many different types of jobs. You can explore jobs in all the genres and then pick ones that you love to focus on when you build your freelance website.

4. Understand The Pricing Structure On Upwork

Upwork has a few different pricing structures you can go for as a freelancer. These different structures have varying payout schedules. It does depend on what you need and the structure your client feels more comfortable using. I prefer fixed-price jobs because you get paid faster, but you need to know your worth when going fixed-priced. Let's break it down:

Hourly Versus Fixed-Price On Upwork

Okay, just going to be honest, I HATE doing hourly work on Upwork. I am a fixed price girl all the way.

Upwork's hourly system is clunky, uninformed about the variety of work that freelancers do, and also distracting. When I did hourly work on Upwork, it took screenshots of me every 10 or so minutes. Not only that, it logged all my keystrokes, mouse clicks, etc. The worst part? If I wasn't what it deemed active enough, it wouldn't count my hours at all.

Depending on the work you are doing, you may not move much. I know that when I was editing, I didn't move much because I was reading over a piece. I might have a few mouse clicks in a 20 minute time span because I am just reading, not writing. Or when I am researching to write a piece, my mouse may not click much, because I am doing research.

With fixed price work I am free to type as much or as little as I want and to get the article or whatever I am working on done at my own pace as long as it is finished before the deadline. This helps me focus, and it helps me because I can take breaks when I want to while creating content.

Upwork Fees

Upwork fees are somewhat ridiculous, not going to lie. Upwork takes 20% of your money, which sucks.

Upwork fees do go down the more money you make with a company though, which is nice, but you have to create some long-term working relationships with companies for that to happen.

The first milestone is at $500 made with one company. At that point, Upwork fees go down to 10%. Then the second milestone is $10,000 made with a single company which makes the fees go down to 5%.

There are other places to get freelance work that won't take those fees from you, but I don't mind Upwork fees in a way. The fees are a safety net of sorts. When you are working with a company individually, you aren't sure if they will pay.

With Upwork there are a lot of protections in place to make sure that if you do the work, you get paid for that work which is nice. Upwork wants to get paid as much as you do, and they have a system in place to make sure they can protect you.

5. Know Your Worth, Then Add Tax

Okay, Upwork is notorious for people who try to undercut your worth. A lot of Upworkers are looking for the cheapest way to get things done, but a lot of them are also looking for the best way to get things done.

I have had experience with people trying to undercut my worth, and initially, I fell for it, hard. Don't let the sight of a potential job undermine the value that you bring to the position. Know your worth then add some tax on top of that, y'all.

You need to stick firmly with your pay because if they are willing to undercut you on that, who knows what they would be willing to undercut you on.

10 Important Lessons I Have Learned Freelancing On Upwork | Are you interested in getting jobs on Upwork? Check out this post full of lessons I have learned from freelancing on the site for around a year and earning thousands of dollars. #UpworkAdvice #FreelanceAdvice #Freelancing

6. Fill Your Profile Out As Much As Possible

Your profile should be as complete as you can make it. The better your profile, the more invitations you will receive to apply for jobs, and the more you will stand out as a potential candidate.

Things to include in your profile:

  • A lovely picture of your face

  • An overview that talks about your experience and what you can offer

  • Portfolio items that people can look at

  • Test results from the tests section of the site

  • Employment, education, and any certificates you have

Work History & Feedback

Your work history and feedback can be beneficial to you getting more work and clients.

If I were you, I would try to find a couple of really great clients, and specifically, I would focus on quick, fixed price work. It doesn't have to be cheap, fixed price work though. One of my first reviews is from a quick, fixed price job that paid $90 for an article.

Start building up your feedback so that other people can check it out and want to hire you because of it.

A Video

The great thing about Upwork is that you can include a short video introducing yourself and giving your potential clients a moving face to a name.

I created a quick minute long video for my Upwork profile, and I encourage you to do the same. I didn't create the video the same week I joined Upwork. I waited a while until I learned more about my freelance style and what I wanted to portray to clients.

I like that it gives my profile a little something extra though. There are many types of videos you can share, it doesn't have to be an introduction video. For example:

  • If you are a graphic designer, share a video of some of your graphic designs.

  • If you are a website developer, share a video of some of your websites or you creating a website.

  • If you do voice-overs, share a video of you creating your voice-overs.

Be aware that you CANNOT place ads on your Upwork video. You have to demonetize whatever video you decide to add to your profile.

7. Respond To Interview Requests (Even If You Say No)

One thing I did not know when I first started was the importance of responding to all the interview requests you get. Now that I have built up my profile a bit, I get quite a few interview requests every week. Many of them are not in my wheelhouse, or they are not the price I would like to be paid for my work. Even though that may be the case, I cannot just let them go.

Your response to interview requests effects your response time. You don't have a response time right away; it happens over time. The more interviews you respond to (and within 24 hours) the better your response rate will be. This can impact your future interview request if someone is looking for workers who can turn things back to them quickly.

Now, you don't have to respond to every request as soon as you get it. Having a life is okay. Some requests that I get I have to think about longer than other requests. You should strive to reply to every request promptly though.

8. Filter Your Job Searches

I filter as much as possible when I am looking for jobs. My go-to filters are:

  • Article & Blog Writing

  • Client Info: Payment Verified

  • Client Location: United States (sometimes Canada too)

  • Job Type: Fixed Price

I feel like this is the best way to stop myself from getting scammed. Once I did get out of my comfort zone, and someone tried to put a virus on my computer through an attachment.

Not everyone on Upwork is good. Like there are shady people in other areas of the internet, there are suspicious people on Upwork. So, get a virus checker. Send all attachments through that virus checker unless you trust the company you are working with.

Many Upwork clients won't use attachments like PDFs, and instead, they will use a Google Drive document or something cloud-based which is helpful for you. Overall, don't open anything with a weird file extension. If it's not a .PDF or .Doc/.Docx you probably don't need to open it if you are writing articles. If you are doing something else like editing a video or Photoshop file, you will have other file types to worry about though.

9. Be Organized With Your Content Creation

Once you start taking on multiple clients things can get rather hectic.

I keep all of my freelance work in a folder on Google Drive. Each client gets their own subfolder in my freelance folder. Within each client folder, there are subfolders for each client piece.

To remember that I have client work upcoming, I use the My Jobs tab or (more likely) the Overview tab under reports. The overview tab is mainly used for cash, but I find it perfect for keeping up with my client work.

Organization is key. Finding a way to be as organized as possible whether that means you are creating a spreadsheet, using folders, or using the layout that Upwork gives you is crucial. Find whatever float

10. Be Okay With Transparency

Transparency is a huge thing on Upwork, and it may not work for everyone. Everyone can see exactly how much you made from each post, how much you have made on Upwork in general, and all your public feedback. That's just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately.

There are different transparency options for free accounts, but they are rather one-size fits all, and they don't get at the core of what is wrong with how transparent the Upwork profiles are. There is a way to hide your earnings if you get the Plus plan which cost $10 a month. Although, if you protect your profits it can stop clients from being as willing to work with you.

Conclusion

There you have it, folks. These are the ten lessons that I have learned since I started freelancing on Upwork. There are other potential sites for freelancing success, but I do like the simplicity and protection of Upwork.

What did you learn about Upwork today?

10 Tasks You Can Accomplish When Freelance Business Is Slow

Unless you have built up an impenetrable force in your freelance business of amazing clients and other income streams, you will likely have some lulls in your biz. Times when you can't seem to land new clients or the clients you were working with just seem to have dried up. What do you do during that time? Well, there are a couple of things you can do when your freelance business is slow, and today I wanted to share ten things you can do.

10 Tasks You Can Accomplish When Freelance Business Is Slow | Has your freelance business hit a lull? Here are ten things you can do while you wait for your freelance business to pick up speed again. #Freelancer #FreelanceAdvice #SmallBusinessAdvice

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1. Create Stellar Content For Your Site

Creating content on your website is an excellent thing to do when your freelance business is slow. Content creation will get your name out there if you promote your content enough. Take some time today to plan out some stellar content for your website.

Don't go with cheesy articles like, "5 Reasons You Should Hire Me As A Freelancer," instead shoot for helpful.

You won't rank in search engines or be taken seriously if your web presence consists of a million articles about your process and why people should hire you.

Instead, think about who your ideal audience is and what they need help with. If you can provide some stellar content to help them tackle those issues, you can create content that will get you noticed.

If you don't currently have a website up and running, I have the perfect article for you: A Simple Step-By-Step Guide To Build Your Beautiful Freelance Website In A Week.

2. Guest Post For A Few Other Sites

When freelance business is slow, the worst thing you can do is stay in your bubble. You need to get yourself out there and share your freelance skills with the world.

Instead of holding up in your little space on the internet, reach out to a few other bloggers who talk about what you write about. For example, if you write a lot of business articles as a freelance writer, reach out to other sites to contribute business articles to their blog.

Do your research when you reach out to guest post for other sites. Don't go with the first few sites you see.

  • Look at their engagement. Who is engaging with their content? Does their content work with the audience you are trying to reach?

  • Find out their domain authority. How likely are they to get found by Google and other search engines? You can find this out by using Moz's free site explorer tool.

  • See what their most popular posts are. What is getting clicks and shares on their site? You can find this out by using BuzzSumo.

You never want to make a quick decision to submit any guest post. Take your time and make the best choice for your website and your time. When you take the time to pick the perfect site and topic, you can maximize the impact of any guest post you decide to do.

Leverage the guest posts that you publish. Find a way to get those readers on your mailing list. A great way to do that is by creating a landing page for those guest post readers. If you let them visit your website or a particular blog post on your site, they could get easily distracted. Instead, make them a specific freebie offer they can't refuse by creating a detailed checklist, ebook, or email course related to your guest post subject. This will get more readers on your email list so you can nurture them and introduce them to your services.

3. Create Sample Projects

When your freelance business is slow, one thing you can do is create your sample projects. This can be a great way to expand to a new area of your freelance business.

For example, if you want to create ebooks for other people, you need to have an example of an ebook that you have created. Take some time while business is slow to develop some simple example ebooks.

The same can be said of anything you may want to expand to such as whitepapers, case studies, short-form articles, long-form articles, infographics, web development, and anything in between.

If you want to switch to a new niche, creating sample projects is the perfect way to make the switch.

If you want to accomplish a new task as a freelancer, you may not find clients who are willing to take the leap for you, BUT if you have a few sample projects to show them, you may be able to get the new clients you seek.

4. Upgrade Your Skillset

Now that your freelance business has hit a lull, it's time to upgrade your skillset!

This doesn't necessarily mean that you find new skills, it could mean that you uplevel the skills you already claim.

For example, if one of your skills is Adobe Photoshop, you can always learn more about the software. Maybe you want to learn how to edit pictures quicker in Photoshop, or you want to learn how to use another element of Photoshop (for example, how to create patterns in Photoshop.)

Think about how you can take your skills to the next level with courses, books, and by practicing the craft. If you only have an entry-level understanding of a skill, you should be trying to upgrade your knowledge of that skill so you can charge premium prices for it.

5. Send Some Cold Pitches

Don't wait for clients to come to you! When your freelance business is slow, you can always reach out to new clients yourself.

Here is some advice on sending out cold pitches:

Do Your Research

You should never send a cold pitch without doing some research on the company. Understand the company and how you can fit into the companies goals. You want to be an asset to the company, not just some random person wanting to get paid.

Come With Some Ideas

You don't have to give them an entire 10-point presentation on why they should hire you. You also don't want to give them a million ideas they can implement without you. Instead, you want to offer a few pieces of advice within your freelance niche. Give them something to hold on to that makes them remember you and feel confident hiring you.

Maybe you noticed some typos in their blog posts, that their graphics need some serious updating, or that their page is loading slow. Only offer advice concerning what you do for a living though. So a copywriter might mention typos, a graphic designer might mention outdated graphics, and a web developer might mention slow website load times.

Be Ready To Negotiate And Teach

The company may not place a premium on specific aspects of their site right now. Maybe it's because they don't have the money, or it may be because they didn't know it was an issue to begin with.

There is a good chance that you will have to teach your potential clients about parts of their website.

Now, you MUST positively do this. Don't try to sell clients services they don't need! Come to potential clients with the help they need to succeed, not just help you want to sell them.

Freelance-Business-Is-Slow-1.png

6. Reach Out To Past Clients

Your past clients may have work for you to do, they may have just forgotten how great of a freelancer you were. Instead of waiting, ask. The worst they can say is no or not right now. Get in front of them by sending out a quick email to let them know that you are open for more work.

Remind them of who you are and what you did for them. Alert them of all the skills you offer as a freelancer. Maybe they asked you to write a short-form article for them, but you are also really talented with emails, long-form articles, white papers, etc.

Get together a nice succinct list of the niches you help and what you can do for them. They may not have any work for you, but they may love your work, and they may be able to refer you to a friend.

You should make reaching out to past clients a quarterly activity, even when you have built a steady flow of clients. Taking a few hours each quarter to review past clients and reach out to them is a great activity that will increase your likelihood of picking up long-term clients.

7. Activate Your Social (Media) Network

The next thing you should do when your freelance business is slow is activate your social network.

You likely have tons of people you can look to for guidance and referrals during this tough time in your freelance business.

Use that brief list of niches and services you created in task #6 for your social media network. When they know what you have to offer, they may be able to help you by hiring you, or they may know someone who can hire you.

Be sure that you are sharing your services on your social media feeds as well. Reaching out to people directly is a great idea, but you also want to reach out to people as a whole just in case you forget to ask someone who could end up helping you.

Lastly, you should spend some time expanding your network during this time as well. Take time daily to comment on posts, like what people are saying, and of course, following people and inviting people to follow you. Spend some more time creating amazing social media content that attracts new people to your network as well.

8. Attend Local Events & Conferences

The internet is a great place to build up your freelance business, but you should always be willing to get out of your comfort zone. If your freelance business is slow, you may need to switch things up and attend local events or conferences.

Create a business card using Vistaprint or Moo. Once you have that business card, a few copies of your resume, and your website up and running--attend some events.

If you aren't sure where to find events, I encourage you to use Facebook to find local events or use the site Meetup.

Don't forget about conferences as well. If you can afford to attend a conference, they can be a life-changing experience for your business. Conferences give you a chance to network with a ton of people and grow your experience in your niche. If you can find a relevant conference to attend, I encourage you to do just that.

9. Switch Up Your Space

When freelance business is slow, it's the perfect time to change up your space and make it more creatively inspiring.

You may want to switch up your space and rent a coworking space, or changing the layout of your home office.

Investing in the space where you create is a great way to center yourself and get back into producing freelance work.

Make sure that you make smart financial decisions when you switch up your space, though. You want an area you can afford to keep up, even when your freelance business is slow.

If you have no money, find small ways to switch your space up: a piece of decor, moving your furniture around to make it easier to access, putting in a houseplant, etc.

10. Give Yourself A Pep Talk

Last, but not least, when freelance business is slow, give yourself a pep talk.

You are a brilliant freelancer, and everyone has their season.

If things are slow for you now, it's not a personal attack against you. You should never become stagnant, work towards your dreams every day, but you should also realize that slow seasons are okay.

During these tough times, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you got this!

Conclusion: You Can Still Work Hard Even Though Freelance Business Is Slow

Having a slow time in your business is no excuse. I am confident that you can still rock as a freelancer even when clients aren't knocking down your door.

I am confident that if you work hard, hustle, and work on your freelance business that things will pick up for you.

Don't give up during these slow times, because often that means a breakthrough is right around the corner.