Over time, it has become obvious that the freelance and gig economy is here to stay, and local and regional freelancers perform more tasks than ever before. More companies are hiring freelance talent to fulfill company needs instead of creating a department and adding employees.
It is saving them thousands. Freelancers work remotely and have their own computers, desks, and equipment. The employer pays them on a 1099, saving money on taxes, and they do not have to provide benefits like health insurance and paid time off.
The freelancer provides those for themselves, since they are self-employed and essentially their own small business.
Freelancers can help your business with marketing, writing, graphic design, software applications, and any number of other tasks. They can fill your blog with content, design your website, and create logos and promotional materials.
Any marketing person has heard that content is king in the marketing game, and your business needs to hire writers. Using freelancers for other things is just a smart idea. Just like employees, though, you need to find the right person for the project you are hiring for. You already have a great tool for doing so using LinkedIn
This seems really simple, but if you have LinkedIn Premium or LinkedIn Business, you can narrow your search to freelancers in a specific area and by type. If a freelancer is a professional, they will have a LinkedIn profile. On that profile, you will find recommendations, endorsements, skills, accomplishments including publications, and more.
If the profile simply says that a person freelances in a certain area, but does not list the things above, you can contact them and request samples of their work, but it will be much easier to narrow down your search if you ignore these for complete profiles.
Linkedin has a job board, called LinkedIn ProFinder. If you are looking for a freelancer, you can post your project there, and it will be shared with freelancers who are signed up for ProFinder and are a fit for your job. Then they have the option of sending you a proposal.
The clearer you are about exactly what you need, the better responses you will get. The freelancers who are on ProFinder pay a minimum of $59.99 a month to be there: they are professionals and a vague project description is as useless to them as a vague proposal response.
More than once, freelancers have to respond with an hourly rate, and put in the notes: “A rate for the entire project can be determined once you have provided more specific details.” The more you can provide from the asset, the more specific and useful the responses you get will be.
However, if you have a specific short term need, this is probably the best way to find qualified freelancers on LinkedIn. In fact, you will probably have several worthy candidates to choose from.
Whether your need is for a short-term project or something ongoing, you can post it on the LinkedIn job board. You will get more responses going this route, but the responses are not as vetted and may not be the same quality of candidates you would going through ProFinder.
Still, using the right keywords helps, and you can sort applicants by those who show up as a “best fit.” LinkedIn is (mostly) a professional social networking site, so you will get better responses than on Craigslist or broader job boards.
There are both pros and cons to using freelancers, but no matter what size your business is, at some point you will be able to use freelancers to accomplish your goals and save you money in the long run. Finding the right freelancer can be challenging, but using LinkedIn and the tools there, you are more likely to be successful.
Also published on Medium.