What to Look For in a Freelancer

It’s 2020 and nearly everyone is a freelancer. This could be a freelance writer, videographer, cement worker, the list goes on and on. COVID-19 has changed how a lot of working people make ends meet. Millions of people are unemployed and in an effort to utilize their skills on a somewhat part-time basis, they’ve taken to freelancing.

If you’ve taken on being a freelance writer, you’ve found that jobs pay next to nothing for hours of work. Some writers have made a living off of freelancing jobs but they are few and far between. Everyone talks about how easy it was to get started. They got one job and that job turned into three. Those three turned into 30 hours a week of writing and they’re making over six figures each year. The truth is that they’re either a liar who wants you to follow them, or they’re one of the few who actually turned a dream into reality.

Being a Freelancer

Backstory

I’ve been a freelance writer for three years now and if I got paid for all of the jobs that I couldn’t take, I’d be a very rich man. I’ve got a Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of Pennsylvania. I have a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Oswego. I have a good education. The issue with being a freelancer is being forced to take extremely low paying jobs in order to say you’re always busy.

One of the most popular freelance writing sites to use is Upwork. Upwork is essentially Indeed but for companies to find freelancers. Freelancers find a job, submit a proposal to the job posting, and wait to hear back if they’ve been awarded the contract or not. On Upwork, they take a small percentage to help cover their costs which ultimately handcuffs freelancers even more than they already are.

Is Price Everything?

More often than not there are job opportunities that explicitly say they’re looking for the cheapest proposal submitted. Just because a freelancer is cheaper doesn’t mean that should be the deciding factor. It’s interesting how we all know that you get what you pay for. If you pay for a cheap writer, you’ll often get a piece of content that shows. Price isn’t everything in the world of marketing and sales.

While I wouldn’t expect a company or person to pay hundreds of dollars for simple copy, one would expect them to pay a decent wage for the time it takes to research a topic, write up the content, proof-read, re-write, re-read, and make any final tweaks. Every great writer knows that there is always room for improvement on a piece of content. That’s the beauty of language. Words have so much meaning there are so many different choices to use. Different styles to write in. Different ways to tell a story. There is no formula to write a great piece of content. It takes practice and determination to do so.

If being a freelancer means that you need to work four hours to get paid $25, something needs to change. And it isn’t on the side of the person doing the work.

What to Look For in a Freelancer

The Pitch

If you’re looking for a freelancer, take the cover letter or pitch seriously. That will tell you everything you need to know about the person who applied. It should clearly layout the value they can provide you. How they can help you achieve the goal and solve the problem you’re having. It should also show what they’re capable of.

The cover letter or pitch shouldn’t focus on what they’ve done or what they think they know. You know what you’re looking for and if you don’t find it in one person, there’s bound to be someone else available who can meet and exceed your needs.

Price

When it comes to price, don’t let the lowest price be your deciding factor. Look at what the person is capable of doing. If they have glowing reviews and testimonials from other clients they’ve worked with, clearly this individual is an exceptional person to work with. If they charge $5 more an hour than someone else, that $5 could result in you making an additional thousand dollars down the line.

Just because someone says they may charge a few dollars more doesn’t mean they won’t work with you. While price is an important factor, many freelancers can be flexible to adjust their rate to meet both of your needs.

Flexibility

Is the person flexible and willing to work with you? Is the person able to digest what you want them to do and turn it into something that is unique and extraordinary or are they going to essentially provide the bare minimum of what you want? This person doesn’t need to add their own flair but they can add something that someone in your company or you couldn’t add on your own.

Is this person going to be open to suggestions and feedback? Are they going to collaborate with you to turn an idea into something great?

Being a freelancer and working with clients isn’t easy. There are many times when the freelancer has to pull information from the job poster just to get started. The purpose of freelancers is so companies don’t need to hire additional staff members full-time for short projects. These situations call for someone who can provide a few hours of work, exceed expectations, and move on to the next company or person in need. The best freelancers are contacted by the same company time and time again because they’re a pleasure to work with and provide excellent results.

If you’re looking for a freelance job, don’t just accept it because you want to get paid. You’re worth more than you think. If you’re looking to hire a freelancer, keep in mind the work you’re asking them to perform. Does $50 for four hours of work sound reasonable? Freelancing is about give and take. We can all work together to create something great.

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