The benefits of freelance work for short-term projects
As the VP of Marketing at Biteable, I have over 18 years of experience in marketing. For over 12 years, I’ve hired and managed dozens of people. I’m a big believer in developing and retaining in-house talent.
However, it’s unrealistic to think that you’ll never have a short-term project that requires specific expertise your team doesn’t have. Additionally, it’s unlikely that you have an unlimited budget to hire full-time equivalent roles for every need your team has.
In those cases, hiring a freelancer for short-term or spot projects is perfect. Even at Biteable where we develop the leading solution for people to create concise, engaging, on-brand videos that bring their messages to life, we sometimes need advanced and highly technical video editing skills for some projects. In those times, and others, we’ve relied on Upwork to help fill the gaps.
If you’ve ever hired a FTE for your team, you know that it can take months to find the right person. According to a LinkedIn survey, 50% of respondents said it took 1-2 months, and 17% said the time to hire was 3-4 months.
Those lucky enough to have a recruiter to help are spared the time it takes to review dozens, or even hundreds, of resumes. For those of us who don’t have a recruiter to help, you know that you can spend days sorting through each applicant’s resume to find the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Find subject matter experts
With Upwork, I’m able to easily find subject-matter experts by entering a few keywords into a search query. Upwork makes it even easier by prompting you with suggested keywords and job titles to make your search results even better.
The nature of jobs on Upwork lends to the freelancers not only developing their skills but becoming exposed to a wide range of companies and industries. That experience can be invaluable when they’re helping you avoid a pitfall they’ve seen before.
What to expect when hiring on Upwork
Get ready for a lot of bids from candidates right away
I’ve posted dozens of jobs on Upwork from several different companies. At first, I was surprised at how quickly I received responses to my job posting and the volume of responses I received.
Not all of them will be qualified candidates, but the majority of them will be. In fact, I don’t mind seeing some of the unqualified candidates’ responses because it proves to me that the qualified candidates I end up screening really are the best.
Bid prices for your project will vary
You may have a set price in mind for your project, but no matter where you price it, be prepared to get bids that are even lower, and in many cases, higher, than what you’re willing to pay.
There are many freelancers out there who are trying to get started, so they will bid a lower price to get your attention (and hopefully the gig). There are also just as many seasoned experts who know more about the work it takes to do the job you’re looking for and know that the cost should be higher.
Don’t immediately discount either type of bid. Be sure to read the bidder’s profile to gain some additional insight into why they bid the way they did. Keep in mind that the problem may lie in the project description you posted.
3 tips for hiring on Upwork
Start with a small project
If this is your first time using Upwork, I recommend starting with a small project. This will give you an idea of what it is actually like to go through the process of posting a job, screening candidates, hiring someone, and collaborating with them on the Upwork platform until your project is complete.
Be very clear in your requirements
One of the most important aspects of hiring successfully on Upwork is to be very clear in your project description on what your requirements are. In my experience, putting more detail in the description of your project will end up with you getting a better pool of candidates to choose from.
Spending more time upfront to be clear about what you need and expect will save you twice as much time on the back end. You’ll avoid going back and forth to clarify a requirement or worse, having to do the work all over again.
Don’t rush to hire the first person who responds to your listing
The first time I posted a job on Upwork, I received a response and a bid to do the job within minutes. I was blown away by the speed that the first bid came in. I almost accepted it in order to get going, but I waited, and I’m glad I did.
Over the course of the next few hours, more bids came in from other candidates who were more qualified. Keep in mind that Upwork is a network of freelancers around the world. Depending what time you post your job, the best candidate could be sleeping and miss the notification. By waiting a few hours or even a day, you’ll increase your chances of getting the perfect candidate.
Hiring freelancers for short-term projects through Upwork has helped me achieve my goals and get projects done faster than if I tried to source them internally. Whenever I have competing priorities and limited resources, I know that I can find the right talent on Upwork for the job.
About the author
Mike is the VP of Marketing for Biteable, a wonderfully simple platform that empowers millions of people – from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies – to bring their message to life with video. In his role, he leads a global team of marketers focused on product marketing, social media strategy, go-to-market programs, content strategy, and marketing automation.
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