It’s been said that 90% of US businesses hire independent contractors, or freelancers, to complete work for them, particularly creative work. The internet has given businesses of all sizes the opportunity to search and connect with thousands upon thousands of professionals in pretty much any field of expertise. However, if you’re a young and growing business it can be hard a times to know where to look for these freelancers everyone is talking about.
I’d like to talk about a few places you can find and contract with independent professionals and get the most bang for your buck. While this post focuses specifically on finding freelancers for creative work in advertising, graphic design, and public relations, keep in mind that you can go to any of these resources for pretty much anything you may need.
WHERE TO LOOK
Local Colleges: This one may not seem all too obvious, but it works great! Especially if you’re on a smaller budget. Call up the communication and art departments and ask if there are any students who would be interested in doing some work for a local business. You can also ask the communication department if any of their advertising or public relations classes would like to take on a real client(yourself) for a semester project. While I was in school I put together numerous advertising and public relations campaigns for class projects and a lot of them were for local businesses. Usually they’d divide the class into several teams and we’d have the client come in and explain what they needed then we’d go to work on our campaigns and pitch them to the client at the end of the semester. The client could then take and use whatever they wanted from the presentations.
outsource.com: Outsource is site where you can reach a lot of professional freelancers for a wide variety of services. Like most other freelancing sites you can see examples of a potential hire’s work and you receive bids from them on your project. It’s ultimately up to you to select which person to hire.
odesk.com: Odesk is a lot like Outsource in that there are a wide variety of professionals you can contact with varying skills. One thing that’s great about Odesk is that all the registered freelancers have to pass proficiency tests in their respective areas of expertise. You can see their qualifications on their profile and examples of their work right there. This way you can get a pretty good idea of what their competency level is before you hire them. There are also reviews from past employers you can read which can be very helpful.
UPDATE: Odesk recently rebranded themselves as upwork.com. They operate essentially the same way. You post job listings and receive bids from qualified freelancers.
Finally, if you walk into an office or business and see something you like, ask them who did the work. You’ll get the inside scoop on that professional and what it was like to work with them.
PLACES TO AVOID
I would recommend straying away from sites like craigslist. For one, you probably wont find much and who you do find probably won’t be the best if they’re on craigslist.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or shoot me an email. I’d love to hear about your experience working with freelancers and answer any questions you may have.