How to Find Talented Freelancers (Who Aren’t Just Mucking about on the Internet)


The rise of the gig economy and the introduction of “side-hustle” culture has made finding expert freelancers a tricky task. 

Nowadays, you can search through thousands of profiles — similar to how you might use a dating application like Tinder — and be completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people there are to choose from. Needless to say, services like writing, designing, and even voice acting are all heavily saturated markets.

This is great news for millennials, as they get to ditch their jobs and work flexibly, but it’s ultimately bad news for firms looking for qualified professionals to outsource work to. 

So how can you separate the truly talented freelancers from the amateurs who are just mucking about on the internet? In this article, we’ll show you a few strategies that will help you hire legitimate freelancers who will benefit your business. We’ll show you why you need to quit scrolling endlessly and teach you how to get straight to the point in your search for self-employed workers. 

Pick People Who Show Personal Commitment

It doesn’t take much commitment to set up a profile on an online platform. In fact, the process can take less than ten minutes once you fill in the required forms and upload a decent-quality picture. What does take commitment is building a website, crafting advertisements and investing in services to make a freelance business legitimate. Look for all these trust signals that indicate the individual is dedicated to their business. How about finding a freelancer who pays for virtual assistant services? This way, you know you’re on to an individual with solid social proof — their work is already so in demand that they’ve had to hire help to stay on top of their administrative tasks. 

Avoid Sites with Cheap Fees like Fiverr and UpWork

With freelance work, as with most things, you really do get what you pay for. That’s why it’s not a good idea to look for legitimate prospects on sites like Fiverr, where jobs are supposed to be advertised for five dollars. Sites like this — and UpWork, which has started to reject applications from potential freelancers as the platform has too many active freelancers within a specialism — also encourage a culture of producing rushed and low-quality work. Besides, freelancers also don’t have great experiences with sites like these, with some platforms taking around twenty percent of the final cut. Case closed — it’s better for both parties to remove the shady middleman. 

Find Engaged Individuals in Facebook Groups

If you can’t find freelancers through freelance platforms, where else should you look? Facebook, of course. Rather than trawl through endless online profiles, you can find qualified freelancers in minutes by joining niche Facebook groups. Once you’ve been approved as a member, you’ll be able to see people who are actively engaged in the conversation. These people will often offer advice to other members and show examples of their work when prompted. This acts as a way for you to see their undercover portfolio and assess their level of professionalism. Be warned, though, if you feel as though you’ve found an individual who could be suitable for a project, you should chat with them about this in private. Many groups have strict guidelines about posting about jobs in such groups, so at the very least, you should ask for the moderator’s permission first. 

Step Back and Allow Freelancers to Make the First Move

In some cases, taking an understated approach is beneficial. Instead of seeking out individuals you like the sound of and offering them a job, you should start with the job posting first. Sites like Kolabtree allow individuals with job opportunities to post their projects, which highly qualified freelancers can “bid” on for the chance to secure the project. This reverse strategy gives you the power to have the pick of the bunch, so to speak. You’ll be able to weigh up different bids, taking into account quoted fees and personal specialisms to make the best decision for your business. Note that most freelancers on Kolabtree have superior qualifications, such as PhDs, making the site more trustworthy than your average freelance platform. 

Try to Meet People in a “Natural” Way

Remember how we said finding freelancers was like modern dating, with most online platforms resembling Tinder? Just as we’d tell people to meet their match in the “real world” if we were love doctors, we advise the same for business leaders looking for potential freelancers. In other words, it’s sometimes better to find the right person offline. As a business owner, you’re likely to already attend plenty of social meetups and networking conferences — these may be perfect places to make some key connections. Next time you’re at a physical event, you should have outsourcing on your mind and force yourself to speak to others outside of your industry — you might just find the ideal candidate for that project you’re working on now or down the line.

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