Have you ever considered hiring freelancers to help you out but do not know whether it’s worth it? Consider no longer and take the plunge! Many entrepreneurs when first starting out look into the possibility to hire freelancers to support the workload, rather than full-time employees. It is more affordable, straightforward and requires less paperwork. At first, we hesitated to work with freelancers in our , , as we believed that we could handle doing all of the work. However, we started to notice that it wasn’t easy and needed to have specialized support from freelancers to help us out. startup Heek (Note: we help SMBs build their websites thanks to a chatbot). Making our first step by working with freelancers allowed us a number of great advantages. Here are a few considerations to think about when going down this path. Take small steps It comes as no surprise that one of the main reasons why small businesses hire freelancers is that they are more affordable. In the long term, you will have eliminated quite a bit of overhead costs, such as salary, benefits and training. With these advantages in mind, it may be tempting to go all out and hire a lot of freelancers for various tasks. But that will be challenging to manage and can also make it more difficult for you to divide up tasks between your freelancers and your current full-time employees. Break down your projects. Taking it slow by working with a few freelancers for specific subjects and by providing smaller tasks in the beginning will help you have a smoother experience. Keeping things simple and breaking down projects will go a long way. At Heek, we started to work with two freelance graphic designers at the beginning. Each of them had a specific task to do for the “bigger picture”: making a beautiful website that provides a number of templates to choose from. We then decided that we needed help with content writing, essentially on the website. We therefore started to work with two content writers where we would divide missions between them. In the long run, we may look at increasing the number of content writers as well as developers to help support our website builder. Provide clear guidelines and expectations Along with taking small steps at the beginning with freelancers to not be overwhelmed, it is important to provide clear guidelines and expectations. It is in the best interest of freelancers to be reliable and give their maximum effort to deliver a great job and on time. Why? Because word can go out fast when a freelancer doesn’t do their job properly. Freelancers rely on clients to get more contracts and tasks done. In order to receive great work and have a good relationship with your freelancers in the long run, make sure that you give them specific goals and guidelines. If you don’t communicate on what exactly you want from them, your freelancer may feel frustrated and give you a poor job. Providing clear intentions such as a complete brief, specific deadlines and examples for them to work with will be very helpful to get the job done. For example, when working with content writers, we specifically share a folder in Google Drive where the writers can find detailed briefs of content that we are looking for, an excel sheet where they can let us know when they have finished and where they can insert a link to their completed task. That way there are no miscommunications and you just need to relax. Communicate on a regular basis At the beginning, it can feel awkward to give out certain tasks to an ‘outsider’ and hope for the best. It can be tempting to follow up every day to see how the person is doing. However, that can be oppressing to your freelancer. It is best to communicate on a regular basis and to ask your freelancer clearly how they work. Should you contact them by phone or by email? Do they like working on such as or Excel to show when they have advanced in a project? tools Trello Communication is important. When you communicate clearly with your freelancers, you minimize room for frustration and misinterpretations. You can also provide them further guidance if you see that they aren’t going in the right direction. Just like when you provide concrete guidelines and briefs to your freelancers, when you exchange by phone or by email, clearly state your questions and comments along the way. For example, when we work with our graphic designer, we try to make sure that after a first proposal of a design, that they clearly know whether they understood what we were looking for or whether they need to try again. Not only should you communicate clearly and regularly, make sure that you can be approachable and are available if they need more clarity. If your freelancer still doesn’t understand your point of view, try to take a few moments to go through it with them. Whether that’s through Skype, inviting them over or sending out concrete examples, if you do not take a few moments to explain things through, your freelancer won’t be able to give you want you want. Understand their value and expertise Even though working with freelancers is relatively a more affordable option than hiring full-time employees, don’t underestimate their value. Freelancers often have solid experiences in multiple types of businesses and subjects. When they give out their prices, oftentimes it is the correct price to pay for their service. If they are specialists in a particular domain that isn’t very common, more often than not the service will be more expensive. But if you keep on looking for cheaper ones, you are most likely going to get basic work done. Remember, you generally have to pay for what you get. This doesn’t mean that you should only look for “expensive” freelancers — it means that you should do your research on what is the correct price to pay in the industry that you are searching in. Luckily, thanks to a number of freelancer platforms out there (think Upwork ) you will be able to browse through a number of profiles and seek out those that have the specific skills and expertise that you are looking for. You can also compare their pricing with other people that are in the similar skill group. Before we hire freelancers, we make sure that we do the research of the true value of a specific freelancer we will hire. For instance, a content writer will differ in value than a translator.