So your company is growing. Things are exciting. Everyone is motivated and ideas are coming in from left and right.
Then it happens.
You say something along the lines of, â€œWouldnâ€™t it be cool if we could build [revolutionary idea here]? It would cut costs/generate a ton of new leads/change the way we operate.â€�
The team is rallying around the idea, the boss is giving you the wink and the gun, everything feels right in the world — until the dread hits. Whoâ€™s going to build it?
Hiring your first freelance developer can seem difficult, but it doesnâ€™t need to be. With the right plan in place and an understanding of your companyâ€™s needs, finding the right freelancer for the job can be a largely painless process.
Iâ€™ve worked on both sides of this equation as an independent, freelance web developer and as someone whoâ€™s run a large development team. Follow these steps to make the process smoother for both you and your new freelance partner.
Before identifying a freelancer to work with, you should first know what youâ€™re asking for. This should always be step number one. Are you looking to update some images on a web page? Do you need an entirely new site? Is it a mobile app? Is something wrong with your analytics? Do you need a new tool created?
The answer to any of these questions will set the tone for how you start your search, and who you ultimately hire.
Now that youâ€™ve identified the type of project, it’s time to think about the scope, and how your freelancer will fit into the equation. When you find that special someone, youâ€™ll want to tell them exactly what you need. Is it five pages and two emails? Whatâ€™s the content of those pages? Do you have a design? Is any of the content dynamic? And most importantly, what’s the deadline?
Before you jump into the hiring process, make sure you can define everything up front. Donâ€™t leave anything to chance or assumptions — because we all know what happens when you assume, right?
Having all of this information ahead of time will help you identify the skill set youâ€™re looking for in a developer (weâ€™re not a one-size-fits-all solution), and ensure your project is completed to your expectations on schedule.
Another major benefit to scoping is that it will also help you avoid scope creep as your project progresses. Scope creep is bad. Itâ€™s bad for you and itâ€™s bad for the freelancer. Itâ€™s bad for you because it will cost extra money and will (probably) force you to miss your deadline. Itâ€™s bad for the freelancer because they were working on a specific set of criteria that now is expanded upon or blown up. It will also (probably) prevent them from starting other projects on time which costs them money.
Now that we know what exactly weâ€™re hiring someone for, letâ€™s go find your developer! Assuming you donâ€™t already have someone in mind, there are a number of places online where you can find strong developers.
Screenshot from upwork.com
Take a look at some previously completed projects. If you like what youâ€™re seeing, reach out and ask questions, but be respectful. You havenâ€™t hired this person yet, so the time theyâ€™re spending with you is time theyâ€™re not spending on another project. When youâ€™re confident youâ€™ve found your developer, itâ€™s time to make a deal.
Youâ€™ve found your developer. You know what theyâ€™re building. Now itâ€™s time to get it down on paper. Handshakes are cool, as are verbal agreements, but make sure you get it in writing. This isnâ€™t to say that youâ€™re going to get swindled. The reason you want a contract is so that you have your scope, your deliverables, and your timelines outlined. A contract will also give you the opportunity to build in check-ins,testing time, and a payment schedule (weâ€™ll get back to this).
Itâ€™s also important to remember that this isnâ€™t a one way street. Your freelancer will — and should — have a say about the timeline and scope of the project. Remember: youâ€™re hiring them because they have expertise in a field that you do not.
While I wouldnâ€™t say you should have implicit trust in someone you probably just met, you should respect their evaluation of the situation, and take it into account as you map out your project and the role they will play. If they tell you something isnâ€™t possible within a certain timeframe, or provide alternative options to accomplish your goals, you should listen and evaluate those options in relation to your goals.
Now here comes the tricky part, right? The money! Freelancers traditionally work in two ways, hourly or per project. The definitions are just how they sound. Hourly freelancers get paid for the time they work so you negotiate an hourly rate (Rate x Hours Worked = Pay). Per project freelancers work on a, you guessed it, per project basis, meaning you pay them an agreed upon fee for the project in total.
Two things to consider here:
No matter what payment structure you agree to, put together a payment schedule. This will keep things on track. Freelancers will have different expectations. For some it will be a 50/50 split between the start and finish of a project. For others theyâ€™ll split it up into three (33%) or four (25%) installments. No matter what you agree to, do not pay for your project in full before the work is completed and delivered. Once youâ€™ve made a deal, itâ€™s time to get to work.
Youâ€™ve hired your freelancer. They understand the ask. The final delivery date is agreed upon. Itâ€™s time to send emails and texts every five minutes, right? Wrong.
Development, design, video editing, writing, and others, are all highly technical skills that require time and concentration. Let your freelancer do the job you hired them for. Itâ€™s okay to reach out every once in a while if you havenâ€™t heard anything, but this is probably a good time to refer to the check-in schedule you added to your contract.
With that said, itâ€™s still important that you make yourself available in case they have any questions. And remember, this isnâ€™t the time for scope creep or assumptions. This is the part where the work gets across the finish line.
The work has been delivered. It looks and functions great. Now what? Make sure you pay your freelancer. Whether this is where you part ways or before you start the conversation about your next project, please pay your freelancer.
Source: New feed