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Did you know that according to statistics, freelancers will soon become the majority of the US workforce? Not only does the number of people who want to work as freelancers keep increasing, but also, more and more business owners prefer hiring freelancers to on site employees. And no wonder!
A team of skilled freelancers benefits every business. After all, freelancers are efficient, specialized, and easy to hire. Moreover, having flexible schedules, they are less stressed-out, less exhausted, and get more work done faster. Thus, everyone’s happy: a freelancer because they have a lot of freedom, and a business owner because the required work is done on time and their business thrives. Sounds perfect. Freelancers seem to be ideal workers.
Is that really true?
It’s hard to deny the fact that hiring freelancers has a number of benefits for your business. However, not everything is as perfect as it seems.
Hiring Freelancers: The Hidden Dangers
Let’s take a look at the top five common problems business owners face when hiring and working with freelancers:
1. Hiring the Wrong Person
It’s tough to find the best talent for a job, no matter if we’re talking about hiring an onsite employee or a freelance worker. However, when searching for a skillful freelancer, HR managers, business owners, and employers often make one fatal mistake. They interview their future freelancer in the same way they would a future onsite employee.
Here’s the problem: whereas most people can work from an office, not everybody can excel when working from home.
Remote work requires self-discipline, self-motivation, and resourcefulness. Also, freelancers need to be able to deal with various distractions as well as loneliness. Thus, people who need a lot of social interaction or an authority figure who’d motivate them to work harder are likely to fail as freelancers. As a result, instead of having a skilled, productive, and happy outsourced employee, you’ll be dealing with a depressed person who can’t finish a single project.
Advice: In order to make sure you’re hiring the right person for the job, ask your possible future outsourced employee to take a personality test during or before the interview. This way, you’ll check if your future freelancer is likely to thrive as a remote worker.
2. Communication Problems and Lack of Contact
As the name itself indicates, freelancers are free – not only in the sense of being self-employed, but also in the sense of working when and where they want. They are free to make their own schedules. Also, they can work on several projects for different companies if they choose. What does that mean for you, as a business owner? Well, a freelancer is free to work on your project when they feel inspired to work on it, not when you need them to. Thus, you won’t always receive prompt updates about their work progress.
Moreover, since freelancers work remotely, they can travel and work for you from the other side of the world. As a result, different time zones can make it hard for you to reach your freelance worker and talk to them on daily basis. The same goes with international hiring, so be mindful.
Advice: Set up rules with your freelancer. Tell them that you require them to send you reports on work progress every week.
Freelance workers are hard to supervise. The don’t work in an office, so you don’t see them every day, can’t ask for immediate updates on a project’s progress, train them, or provide feedback. All of the communication is done online, so it’s slow and can result in misunderstandings.
Thus, when your instructions are not clear or detailed enough, a freelancer might complete the given project in a different way than you expect. That can be a disaster and a huge loss of time as well as resources.
Advice: Be specific about your expectations and give meticulous instructions. Also, in order to make sure your freelance worker understands everything, have a video chat with them and discuss the project “face-to-face.”
4. Missed Deadlines
Since freelancers don’t sign long-term contracts with their employers, they can be working for multiple companies. Therefore, it’s normal for them to juggle several projects in addition to yours. That means they have a lot of freedom in choosing which projects to complete now and which can wait a week or two. The question is, do they care about deadlines? Yes and no.
It all depends. Some projects can be more interesting, exciting, or profitable than others. As a result, a freelancer is likely to choose to complete them first and put away those that are boring or worth less monetarily. That means deadlines might not be the only or the most important criteria they’ll consider.
Also, what often stops a freelancer with completing a project before a deadline is life. Even if they are perfect remote workers, (i.e., they can stick to their schedule, have a home office that is out of bounds for their families, and find it easy to maintain work-home-life balance), things still happen. Birthdays, unexpected family visits, or sick children can keep a freelancer from finishing a project before the deadline.
Advice: Make sure you pay a respectable sum of money for finishing your project. This way, you increase the chances that your freelancer will make it a priority to finish your project on time and before other projects they might have. Quick tip: If you’re outsourcing your work to unified freelance platforms, make sure to google their reviews and policies they use for handling deadline issues.
5. Payment Issues
When you decide to hire an outsourced employee, you need to take into consideration payment possibilities. Since freelance workers cannot be treated like onsite employees, you can’t pay them in the same way. They won’t be on your company’s payroll. Also, if they work from abroad, you might have to make international bank transfers. That can cost you additional money.
Thus, in order to pay an outsourced employee you’ll have to use the financial services of companies like Payoneer, Skrill, or PayPal.
Advice: Before choosing to use the financial services of any company, check if their offer is profitable enough for you as well as for your future freelance worker.
Wrapping It Up
There are a few drawbacks to hiring and managing freelance workers that can be problematic. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a team of skillful and productive outsourced employees.
Be mindful of the issues connected to hiring freelancers and use that knowledge to your advantage. Remember, it’s always better to prevent things from happening than to deal with the consequences.