Welcome to the wonderful world of the distributed work force. You don’t need to be a huge multinational company to take advantage of this strategy. If done properly it can provide you with a huge cost savings, a reliable pool of talent and an easily scalable work force
A friend of mine told me “To make a reliable living out of freelance work, you need to consistently over-deliver. If they ask for a 500 word article, you give them 600. If they ask for 1 sale a day, you give them 2. An Independent Contractor needs to provide higher value than similar firms that offer the same service.” He was of course a freelancer and quite a successful one too. If you think about it, this same observation is also true with small businesses and start ups. A freelancer can be considered a “one man enterprise” and this gives them a unique insight to small business operations.
What are SEO Free lancers?
A freelancer or independent contractor are individuals who provide work outside of traditional companies or organizations. A freelancer can be an expert in a specific field like SEO. You can find a lot them online in the large freelancing sites like Upwork, Elance or Freelancer.com. A few put ads on Craigslist, although if you’re going to hire a freelancer for the first time I would strongly recommend getting one from the established sites. It’s easier to choose and less risky to get a freelancer that has feedback and ratings. You also have to be wary of scam artists that offer a low rate but produce work that is unusable. With independent contractors “you get what you pay for” usually holds true. There are good bargains but it will take time to sort them out from the chaff.
Why would you hire a freelancer?
If you have a few small but tedious projects related to SEO (or any other type of work that can be done on a computer) then you might want to consider outsourcing it. It takes time to optimize your site and most of the tasks are time consuming and repetitive. You can probably earn more with your time if you focus on your business and let an SEO freelancer take care of the online legwork for you.
Things to remember:
• There are a few caveats. If it’s your first time hiring a freelancer, make sure you zero in on one that has the skill you need and can prove it. Ask for a portfolio if you’re looking for a graphic artist and a blog or a sample article if you’re looking for writers. For other SEO tasks, you’ll need to ask specific questions via email. Review the feedback and ratings on their profile then double check some more when you interview them. You don’t want to waste your time and money on mediocre work.
• Another thing you’ll have to consider is the payment method you want to use. Paypal is the most commonly used but you’ll need to enroll and setup first. The larger freelancing portals have their own payment system but they charge you a small fee to use them. If you’re hiring direct, make sure you and your freelancer have agreed on the payment method.
• Security and confidentiality also have to be sorted out. You might need to give access to your tools, websites and email. Prepare the new credentials beforehand. It’s always good practice not to share login information.
• Setting deadlines, work schedule and tasks. Depending on the type you want of work you want to be done, you might need to set a fixed schedule or deadlines. Freelance workers are usually results oriented and work well without supervision. Just make sure you’ve trained or give them an orientation about that their assigned tasks. Training doesn’t just happen at the start of the task, if your need evolve don’t let your freelancer grope his way with new task. If you have chosen prudently, you’ll have a worker who can pick up quickly on what you need him to do.
• Keep regular contact. You are very likely hundreds or thousands of miles away from the guy you hired, so keeping in touch regularly is important. They need to be able to contact you to ask a few questions about the job. You’ll need to have email contact at the minimum. For some projects, you might need to do screen sharing and full on conferencing. These communication channels are all readily available and you shouldn’t scrimp on them.
Do they fit your long term plan?
You will want to have a more established team helping you run your business. It’s obviously easier to deal with people you are already familiar with, but a few independent contractors might be needed from time to time. Most of them are also on the lookout for more long term gigs and if you don’t hire them for the long term you will probably go back to them often to have them do work they’ve done for you before.
The working world is moving into a era where more people will be working remotely and independently. The technology to enable this trend has been around for quite some time now, but it is only just now that the larger players are considering this as a part of their overall strategy. There are too many advantages compared to drawbacks for both the worker and the employer. A lot of small firms have already taken advantage of this and it has played a key role in their success. For those who want to stay competitive, it’s no longer something they can ignore.