Posted: Mon 19th Aug 2013
There are lots of places to look for freelance help online, including Elance, where you can post project descriptions and hear back from professionals. It's also worth tapping into your own network, and asking friends and colleagues for their recommendations.
If you can, meet up with freelancers in person, or chat on the phone or over Skype. Nowadays, technology makes it possible to work together without ever having to meet up or have a conversation, but doing so adds context to your work and can be a good compatibility check.
When there's money involved, having a written agreement protects you and also the freelancer you're working with. It defines who's responsible for what and when it needs to be delivered. Remember, a copy of an email thread doesn't count, so make sure you get something written up and signed.
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When working remotely with freelancers, it's not always easy to check on their progress. So, set clear goals and objectives and deadlines along the way. Consider using project management software, like Basecamp, to track progress and discuss developments.
Working with freelancers is not like working with employees. You have to think of their work in terms of achievement rather than time. If you expect results and communicate well, freelancers will usually rise to the occasion. If they do, and meet your expectations, remember to thank them - and offer to write them a LinkedIn recommendation or a testimonial for their website.
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Have you worked with freelancers to grow your business or get things done you can't do yourself? What was your experience? And what advice would you give other small business owners outsourcing their work? Let us know in the comments. San Sharma (@sansharma) is editor of the Enterprise Nation blog Photo Credit: littlebirth via Compfight cc