What an Entrepreneur Should Know Before Hiring a Freelancer
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For a start-up, as the work load grows, it’s not always possible to hire new employees to get the job done. A growing option for entrepreneurs has been to hire freelancers, who come on board and are able to understand the vision of the company to work accordingly.
With more and more millennials getting tired of the 9-5 corporate job and wanting more flexible work timing, freelancing becomes a great way out for them. For employers too, freelancers get work done at a lesser amount than they would have otherwise spent on hiring a full-time employee.
But while hiring freelancers is a great trend, there are also things one should keep in mind before hiring them for the company. Entrepreneur India spoke to the start-up community about how they go about hiring freelancers and they shared tips on what others should know before working with freelancers.
Most start-ups hire freelancers when they are working on a strict deadline but do not have enough resources to achieve the targets. But considering that they are working on a deadline, it becomes very important for the freelancer to understand the timing and importance of the project.
While working with freelancers, establishing trust is crucial, believes Naren Raparthi, COO, Raasta Studios. “Timely delivery is the biggest problem with freelancers as they never stay connected with us. They multi-task and therefore, focus and quality issues often come up. You need to understand and assess their technical acumen before hiring them,” he said. Another point founders need to focus is to ensure that the freelancers become an integral part of the team at least during the execution of the project.
For any new hire, it is important to get a background verification done. The same goes for freelancers too. Vivek Modi, CEO, Yellowbulbs, advises entrepreneurs to check the previous work and portfolio of the freelancer to understand what was his/her role in that project or was he/she just a small part in that larger project. "The entrepreneur needs to check whether the freelancer is just a fresher making some pocket money or has decent experience in the domain. Most often they lack the business perspective that founders need for the start up," said Modi.
Ensuring Brand Credibility
For every entrepreneur, their brand image is of utmost importance. So, while working with freelancers, entrepreneurs need to pass on the vision of the company and ensure that the former understand them. Sri Charan Lakkaraju, founder and CEO of Stumagz (which also has a platform for employers to hire student freelancers), believes that in the initial days of the start-up it works out well to hire freelancers to cut costs. “However, avoid having freelancers for job profiles that have to handle or deal with customers. It’s great to hire them mainly for technical profiles,” he said.
The brand credibility stands endangered if you just go on a hiring spree without thinking twice, believes Lakkaraju. “Sign a non-disclosure agreement with them and go over all the legal issues to ensure there is no problem for the brand later on. You have to make sure that the freelancers, especially when hired on the sales side, do not spoil the brand image in the market,” he said.
When you are working with a freelancer, don’t always expect them to report to you at periodic intervals. Speaking from experience, Raparthi said that they would assign someone in-house to follow up with freelancer in a timely manner. On a different note, he added, “Since they work with a number of companies, new and innovative ideas are expected from them. However, most of the times, freelancers can’t add the same value as that of an in-house team member,” he said.