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Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business

Lesson 11 of 22

How To Shop For Your Freelancers

Stacey Trock

Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business

Stacey Trock

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Lesson Info

11. How To Shop For Your Freelancers

Lesson Info

How To Shop For Your Freelancers

So, now we're going to talk about how to shop for normal, other kind of people freelancers, now that we've gotten the virtual assistants off the table. Okay, best hiring practices. So, I always encourage you to think about your non-negotiables when hiring someone. People are never gonna be perfect, but some people are better at different things than other people. So, for my hiring non-negotiable, is honesty and timeliness. So, if you're gonna be late with something, I mean, I care a little, but I kind of don't care that much, but I need to know in advance, right? So, I'll give you an example. I have sample makers who make some pieces for me and I have deadlines that I have to meet and so I hired a group and I said, "It has to be shipped on, let's call it, July 1st." Drop dead date has to be shipped July 1st. I got an e-mail for one of them that, on July 2nd it said, "Oh, "I'm really sorry. "I'll ship it tomorrow." And, well, you could've told me on July 1st, and quite frankly, you prob...

ably could've told me on June 30th that it wasn't going to make it on time. Right, cause I have to scramble to make my deadline and if I don't know in a timely fashion, that's it. So, cut off. Other people may not have time-dependent businesses, but they may need an aesthetic that's super sharp. So, you define for you what are the non-negotiables and that's going to drive a lot of what you're doing. So, Gale, who's the photographer who requires lots of different kinds of people, she's learned, so "Giving clear explanations about my priorities "and expectations," I started off that sentence wrong, "of what my priorities and expectations "are to freelancers that I hire. "I used to assume that an experienced freelancer "would recognize the same aspects I did as important. "Or, I'd assume that I was being nice "by not being too demanding upfront. "Wrong again. "It makes everyone happier and more comfortable "to know what's expected and know what's important." So, for example when she hires a model, models who work with lots of different photographers, may have different expectations about what's important. So, maybe one photographer thinks, "The most important thing "is to bring 10 sets of clothes so that we can change." Or maybe, "The most important thing is to come "without any makeup so we can do you up however you want." Just because someone's experienced as a freelancer, doesn't know that they know how it's best to work with you. So, it's your job to set out your expectations at the start and give someone the help, basically, they need to say, "What do you need to do to be successful "in working with me?" So, communication is really the foundation of working well. It's gonna take a little bit of time, or at least explanation to learn what you expect. So the more you can do to be super clear about your requirements and expectations upfront is help. You know, that's just gonna help people along. If you're hiring someone on an ongoing basis, know that people are gonna be a little slower than you at first. So, if I'm hiring someone to put stickers on bags, if I just pull someone off the street, they're gonna be a little slower than me at putting stickers on bags than me cause I've been doing it for years. If you're hiring someone to sew, even if they're a sewer, they're gonna take longer to learn how to sew your bag than you used to take at first. You'll definitely want to give feedback to people throughout the whole process. And create a regular check in schedule. You don't want to just say, "Oh, go do that for six months and get back to me." You really want to check in on almost a weekly basis to make sure the project is going the way you expect it to go and the easiest thing to do, like, the lesson in life, is aim to retain. If you have a web person and you can work with them on an ongoing basis, it's so much easier to keep the same person than it is to scrap that person and hire a new one and train a new person all over again. So, anything you can do to keep the working relationship, you know, working well is gonna be such a time saver over getting a fresh person. Just a couple of tools for working together. A lot of people use Google documents when you're working with another person to share and make sure everything's on the same page and updated. WorkFlowy is another one that people use to keep their tasks organized. Asana, is another one that people use to make sure all the teams are on the same page with sharing documents and stuff and Widen is another one for proofing and workflow. So, how much you want to invest in the technology to keep everyone on the same page, of course, is up to you and what kind of business you're running. So, I'm just gonna spend the next few minutes going through different websites that are really popular places to find freelancers. Talk to you a bit about what kinds of freelancers they have and kind of, some really great features of different ones. So, Fiverr began as a place to get things for $5.00, Fiverr, but it's really grown a lot beyond that, so there's lots of options for different things that you can from Fiverr. And these are all places where freelancers would post products, kind of like products for sale and you'll see examples as we go on. So you can hire someone for graphics and design, digital marketing, writing and translation, video and animation. So, if you want to hire someone to make a little video for your Facebook page, you could find someone. Music and audio, programming and technology, business, fun and lifestyle. They have someone who will send you treats from their native country (laughs). We don't need the fun one, but. So, just taking a look at going to the graphics and design page. Let's say you needed a logo. This is a place where you could go to find someone who does logo design. So, there's all these different ones with listings, all doing unique logo, premium logo, different price points, whatever you need and you would look through a sample of the work, what they're offering, and also be able to communicate some of your needs and expectations. You know, "I want this kind of one, can you do that?" So, digging into one of these listings, you'll see every person has a rating. So this person has a five star rating and they have 1,263 reviews. That's a lot, so they're probably not gonna run away with your money. (laughs) That's what you were asking earlier, right? They offer a basic and a standard, so these are different levels of product that you would get. And they also list, kind of like, point to point, "Oh, with the standard one you would also get "the high resolution logo, you would get the source file, "image transparency," whatever that is. So, this is just giving you more information about the product and this is a super great place to go for lots of different small things. You're not, I want to make sure everyone understands, you're not always having to do the biggest, most expensive thing to do what's best for your business. You know, you can start with a smaller logo. And these logo, well, I had to blur them out, but these logos look great. You know, they're wonderful things to get. Or like, a video, if you need a video. There's lots of services that you can get for a really reasonable price. So, I encourage you to click around on all of these sites. See what kinds of things you can get. Because, "Oh, I don't have video editing experience "and I can get someone to do that for $15.00. "Wow, that might be really worth it." Legal Zoom is a place that has legal advice. It's hiring a freelance lawyer. Business form, and super common things. Business formation, getting trademarks, patents, wills and trusts, intellectual property, advice. They have a special little thing for a prepaid legal plan, so this could work out really well for business owners. Small little consults. Depending on the business you run, you might run into, sort of, tiny little legal questions and you don't want to find your own lawyer cause that seems overwhelming, you can get small doses of advice in a freelancer kind of situation. So, that's a great option that's available. Upwork is a really great site for finding freelancers and it's probably, like, when I ask people, "Where do you find freelancers?" Probably the most popular place to go. This one, different from Fiverr, you're shopping for a freelancer, you're not shopping for a product. So, you saw, "I will create a logo for you," on Fiverr, and this one you're looking for the person and talking about what you can do with them. So you can search local or world wide. The categories are designers and creatives, programmers and developers, administrative support specialists, writers, translators, finance professionals, sales and marketing professionals. I'm trying to find an ads person right now, so (laughs). You can look for someone local to you if that's relevant to your business. Finance professionals, holy for holies. Who even knew these categories existed? Maybe you need a recruiting assistant or a statistics analyst, I don't know. So you can click on whatever category you feel like you need, like an e-mail handler, and people come up. You can search by, for sure I think you want to search by the success rating they have for their business. It's the ratings thing, it's showing that they've done completed jobs. And then you get a profile of a person. How many total hours they've worked, their skills, the languages they speak, whatever. So, you're actually searching to hire the freelancer here, not just a smaller task, so that's why it can be really great. I'm looking for a pay-per-click specialist right now. So the way it works is you post a job. You know, "I need help developing a PowerPoint presentation "for a family reunion," Don't we all? And you can invite freelancers to apply or freelancers will apply to the job. And I just encourage you to obviously, read the applications you get because when you post a job sometimes it's like. Like, I posted one for a pay-per-click Google Ads specialist and someone was like a brand person who could help me with video formatting. And I'm like, "Yeah, okay, so close, "but not what I asked for at all, right?" There's people who will apply to just everything. But working through here and then reading the reviews and things like that should help you feel really confident finding the kind of person you need. And it's important to note, all of the communication and payment also happens through the website. So you're not paying the person offline. You pay them and communicate within the system. So these slides are courtesy of Mei, who will be joining us this afternoon. This is her person who does some Facebook ads, posting and whatever and the website gives you the option to take screenshots of what the person is working on. So if you were wondering, "How do I know "they're really doing the work they said they're doing?" You can get, so these are screenshots from the freelancer's work. So you can look through and be like, "Wow, she was doing my work the whole time." Which gives you a bit of a comfort level. Codeable is a place to find wordpress developers cause you might need one of those. Creative market is where, it's kind of like a place for, well, these things. Photos, graphics, templates, themes, kind of more visually oriented design things, fonts, logos. So you would go, and you can buy a font. It's where I bought, drumroll, the cute little icons. So, it's a place you can, these are great place to get stock photos for blog posts. So you can get a unique look because you bought an interesting font that's maybe not, you know, that everyone has. But giving you an opportunity to do something unique for your business that's not hiring someone to make you a custom font. You can also get logos here as well. Thumbtack is mostly for people local to you, but can also work out in a business way. So events, home, lessons, wellness, business, crafts, a lot of these things are more homey things. But it's a place where you would post that you need something done, like I had my door fixed, and someone will come and do it. So if you need someone who's a seamstress, or crocheting, custom jewelry, if you're looking for a person. It's hard to find someone local, right? If you're looking for a person to do production work, this could be a good place to start with you. And again, you post a project and people reply. Craigslist, we all know craigslist, you know. Also an option first to finding someone local to you. Also where people go to find used furniture. So, I think the hardest part of hiring is finding a production person local to your area. And it does just take some interviewing, you know. Old school advice, it's so good though. "When I need freelance help, I call others "in my profession to ask for referrals. "I find better help through word of mouth "than directories or listings, cause I ask what's best "about the referred help and also what their downside is." Right, so this is the old school way. If you're not in a way of networking with other people in your industry, that's something really to think about. Cause these are the sort of offline questions that's really good to have some peers, like, "Hey, who does your web design? "Who's your, you know, whoever?" Especially in crafting. There's a lot of private Facebook groups for, "Hey, who?" It's a place to ask someone for an opinion. Because crowdsourcing isn't always the best way to find out what's best for your business. And Gale also says, "I've learned not to box freelancers in. "If I like working with a freelancer, "I make note of their strengths, skills and interests. "And see how else I might be able to use them. "In a one person business, it's important to find help "that gets what you do and how you do it." So, like I was saying earlier, it's easier to just keep a person you feel really comfortable working with. So, Gale told me about the example. There was a woman who came to do photo shoots with her, and she was just so organized that she ended up hiring her to do some office organization tasks as well. Cause if there's a person you like, use 'em, they're good people, right? Like I said before, people aren't always the answer. So think about how much it cost to hire someone and just in the back of your mind thinking if there's a technological solution to the problem. So, Neat is a thing that scans your receipts and puts them in some sort of, I don't know, thing for you so you can. It tallies them up. Quickbooks is accounting software. There's Follow Grower and Bood Borster which are things for like, Instagram, social media sharing. Yeah, so always think about technology in the back of your mind. So, I want to share with you a couple case studies about going big. And this is something we brought up earlier, "How do you know if you just want to hire someone "to do a little task, like, "here, can you just do this one thing, "or whether you need to bring on a higher level of expertise "and kind of put in a real investment in your business?" So, I'm gonna talk about a few cases where people hired a top level expert, to kind of like, do this big thing for them. So, one example is Abby Glassenberg. She's taught a newsletters class here. Her newsletter is super popular. Also an income driver. So she paid someone to redo her newsletter. This is a thing people do, right? So this is the new look. Totally redesigned. So like what we talked about before, you want to leverage what's successful. She knew her newsletter was really a pla- I mean it has like 20,000 subscribers. It was really a place where people were coming to and she wanted to make it better and also make a bit more money from it, right? So, the change if you'll notice, well, I mean, you didn't know what it looked like before. But, the new one, there's places to sponsor a podcast, book an hour of consulting, it looks super nice and super sleek so it took her newsletter, which was already super popular, made it look nicer, and put in a couple more ways to bring in income. So she says, "The newsletter was really important to me "and my business and I wanted it to be "an outstanding product, not just content." And in terms of content, which it already was, "But in terms of readability and deliverability. "Working with a professional designer "whose specialty was newsletters was an investment, "but completely worth every penny." So she took something that was really working in her business and decided it was worth spending the money to get a professional newsletter designer to redo her newsletter. This is my brand makeover. So this was my logo. I drew it myself. I thought it looked really good. Until someone said something like, you know, "So, is he going to get freshened up?" We often overvalue things we do ourselves. I guess that's just the truth. And I'm pretty sure, quote me on this one, I said something like, "I'm not really sure "what a professional illustrator would do "that's better than what I have." I did say that. And also, logos are so hard to update cause they're really connected with your brand. You've printed them on every freaking thing you make, right like, it's really. And it's really angsty, lots of angst. And it's also hard to budget the money for cause it's not exactly tied to your sales, right? I can't say, "I updated my logo, "and my sales increased 10%." It's just kinda, your image and this other vague stuff. But I was in the middle of making some other changes which we're gonna talk about in the growth chapter and I said, "All right, I'm doing it." I did the old call a friend and get a recommendation trick. So, I hired an illustrator, and what I do want to point out is we had a really lengthy discussion about my customer base. What feel I wanted my logo to have. And that was really important for her shaping her understanding of what I needed to accomplish. And it's also to note that I hired someone to redo my logo after I had a really good understanding of my brand and you know, who my customers were. You don't necessarily want to hire something really big out of the gate cause you may not know who your customers or what your brand is about. So this is, I call these things, kind of like, mid-level business decisions, right? You've already gotten it off of the ground, you really know what it's about, now you want to invest in it.. So, I told her, let's go back to old Nelson. His name's Nelson, that was old Nelson. I don't know how it could get any better. But she, part of the contract is a certain number of revisions and this is the thing that you get up front. So, she sent some different drafts, and then I say things like, "Oh, I like 3A," I really said this, "but the pupils have to be smaller "and it has to have more asymmetry, like he's curious." I really said that. So, and how many revisions you get is part of your working arrangement. It's gonna be part of the contract, "You get three revisions for free," or what not. And then once I picked him, with slightly more curious asymmetry, it got put into different formats, so I have, kind of like, a bigger one in a house, and a simple version that I can put on photos. We worked on, not just the actual logo, but the whole thingy with the word. So, she's providing expertise about what's cool and trendy and what's in touch with customers. I'm providing advice about my company, right? So I told her, straightaway, splitting up fresh and stitches isn't gonna work because then you get searches for like, people who cut their leg open, it happens. So that was important to me. So it's a two-way street. She's providing the expertise, but I'm providing what will and what won't work. Cause that's my job is to know my customers and to know what works, so it really is a collaboration. And then holy guacamole, at the end, it's a lot of files, so it's images for the website, the horizontal logo, the words, the font, the square logo, just the head, color, black and white, and so she's, I'm pretty sure this is an economy of scale thing, I'm pretty sure she just like, has some software that exports it in color, uncolor, reverse color because she's a professional illustrator. It would have taken me 10 hours to be like, "Save as, "decrease saturation, save as." But she's able to do these things and provide all these formats cause this is what she does through a living. There he is in all of his glory. Oh, he's just, and he is cuter than he was before. I was so skeptical. But I took a risk and that's part of the, I guess, part of the, it's a risk. You don't know if it's gonna be 100 times better than it was before, but you're working on the information you have about the person's portfolio and where a sticking point in your business is, right? I was getting people who were like, "Hmmm, yeah, it does look like you drew it yourself." And that's not where my business needed to be at. And the best news of all, so I have a web designer and I actually just told the two of them, to talk amongst themselves and I just backed out. So they had these conversations, I mean, I was CCed on them, but I had no idea what was happening. Where like, they would be like, "We need the Google font for this part." And, you know, one of them would be like, "Oh, well I don't think that, it's Sans Serif," and something something, and, "I need this image to be this many pixel." And they just like, had it out between themselves because they're both professionals and knew, like I have no idea how wide that image needs to be. I have no idea. But now it's beautiful and I love it. So there's a serious advantage to investing in your company at a certain level. And so what I want you to feel like at the end of this is, sometimes it's right for you and sometimes it's not. There's no right answer. Sorry, who, you said the web developer? Who were the two people that hashed it out, you said? Yeah, so my web designer. She picks the template and the, like, you know, the plug-ins and things and then the illustrator provides this image but like, the web designer had to tell her how wide it was. I don't know a darn thing about it. And then, so this font has to be a Google font. So it has to match, so this is an image, but this has to be a Google font because when it's smaller or bigger, websites are so confusing, this has to be able to resize. So I thought, silly me, that this could just be some text that you Photoshop on; no, no, no. It has to be like, readable text that gets resized. So there are all these things I just didn't know about but because these were both professional people. My web designer knew to ask those questions like, "What's the best Google font to, whatever?" And my illustrator knew how to answer those questions, like, "Well, this one works and this one doesn't." Like, I wanted everything to be in this cool font and apparently you don't make the whole website in your logo's font. But that's the kind of advice, you know, that I got. So, that's finishing up this section. Oh, yep. Are you gonna get into typical budgets for logo design, web design, any of that? You know, I'm not because it's so varied. I mean and it's just so, and like, for this, my budget was not just the logo for my company, but the logo for my subscription club and these little things that drawings that matched it. And that's completely different from someone who's looking for a different kind of logo and may only want it in two, you know. So my advice about pricing is it's so hard, is to look at the range that's available, but really at the end of the day, it comes down to what you can afford, you know? So, if you look, you probably don't wan the cheapest person, and you may not want the absolute most expensive person, but knowing that range gives you an idea of what's normal. And this is a place where having a few peers in the industry, whether it's an Etsy group, or it's a Facebook group or a conference trade show or wherever where you can talk to people in person and just be like, "Hey, how much was your logo?" You know, because, there's very many things I will share with a peer in person, that I'm not willing to have typewritten on the whole internet, you know what I mean? There are many bad things that come along with being in business for a long time, but one of the good things is meeting people and that's kind of the best place to get that kind of information cause it varies so much. I mean, what's super expensive for me, is like peanuts for someone else and so it's really. Yeah, it's just a case by case thing. So, what I really want you to take from this, this whole segment is it's really approachable to find someone to hire. So, you don't have to start with a giant budget. You can find one person who works for a couple of hours a week to pick, what I call, the low hanging fruit. Get the tasks off that are really stressing you out in your business and find someone who will help you. And we're gonna talk more about growth in future chapters and this is an ever evolving process, right? So now you might have someone who starts doing your e-mail. "Oh, and that was a real relief. "Now I'm gonna have someone who "also does my community forums," right? So this is just the process and the end state is that business, that's our dream business that's letting us live the lifestyle that we want to live, so yeah.

Class Description

Most small business owners begin by doing it all. But as you grow, you’ll probably find that you need help. But what kind of help? And where do you go to get it?

In Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business Stacey Trock will show you how to navigate the options for getting the help you need for your business. From bookkeepers and accountants to graphic designers, photographers, and web designers, to virtual assistants, to production assistants, to overseas factories, to marketing agencies...there is a whole world of freelancers able to help your business run more smoothly!

In this class you will learn the following:

  • The range of freelancers that are available, and what role they can fill in your business
  • How to write a procedures manual for your business, making the delegation of work as seamless as possible
  • How to hire a virtual assistant and streamline your business into tasks that can be carried out by someone other than you
  • The difference between a contractor and an employee, and the pros and cons of each
  • How to outsource the production of physical items for your shop, including working with local artisans and navigating the process of ordering custom items from overseas factories (via Alibaba)

By the end of Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business, you’ll learn how to decide what is truly important in your business and what your time is worth.  The secret to successfully turning over portions of your business is to structure your workload into systematic and well-defined capsules, which can be handed off to a largely-independent freelancer; freeing you up to do the things that you really love!

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