How To Find Freelancers To Boost Your Startup
Vera Gavizon

As a former McKinsey and private equity consultant, I spent years providing direction to multi-million dollar corporations on their growth and development. The traveling and long hours may seem glamorous to some, but eventually it became difficult for me to manage it all with a young family. This struggle of work life balance, felt by myself as well as my co-founder, was the catalyst to our own startup; Workhoppers. Workhoppers is a matching site that connects vetted companies with the right skilled local professionals for contract, freelance and gig opportunities without the need for an expensive recruiting agency.

As a startup with limited resources, you will find out that in order to get your product or service to market, you will have to become an expert in many fields. You'll be learning about programming, hosting sites, cyber security, social media, marketing, recruiting, financing and so much more. This may work for a short time, but since you cannot possibly have every skill required or the time to do it all, eventually you will need to find yourself a little help.

Hiring freelancers has many advantages that will help boost your startup and thwart the need to do everything yourself. Hiring on-demand, allows you to keep your overhead as low as possible while acquiring the best talent to get the job done. Flexibility is key when you are starting a new company.

So where do you go to quickly find the right help or expertise to boost your startup? We break down the options:

1- Word of mouth

Cost: Free

Pros: Reaching out to your friends and asking around for help is definitely the cheapest option you have. It also gives you quick feedback on the person they are referring to you. It is true that we often feel most comfortable working or relating with people from our own circle. Word of mouth is the first option to tackle when looking to hire someone.

Cons: Asking your friends has a limited reach and you will not always find the level of talent or the skill you are looking for in your own network. Also, it is ok to ask for the help of others, but asking too many times can become a burden.

Options: Facebook, Linkedin

2- Classifieds

Cost: From Free to 50$ per posting

Pros: Classifieds are an easy source of candidates. It takes no time to post your needs and wait to see who will answer the ad.

Cons: If you have any experience posting ads on classifieds, you would know that this requires some considerable time in order to re-post every day so that you don’t end up at the bottom of the list. Online classifieds were really created to sell products and were not built for the purpose of hiring. Filtering through all of the unqualified resumes is very time consuming. Classifieds can also sometime be a bit scary or sketchy to use. Good candidates are often apprehensive to share their resumes as they are unsure of who is on the receiving end. You may get lots of responses, but it takes time to sift through the ones that are actually the right fit.

Options: Craigslist, Kijiji

3- Job boards

Cost: Free to one thousand dollars per posting

Pros: Job boards have a great reach with millions of candidates in their database. Some of them are quite easy to use and it takes just a few minutes to post your needs.

Cons: Job boards are a one-way communication. You post and wait to receive applications. It can be quite time consuming to read through all the resumes and to select the right candidate. You also often get responses from those who are completely the wrong fit. Furthermore it can be quite expensive, especially if you were just looking for someone to help out on a short term project.

Options: Indeed, Monster, Workopolis

4- Freelance marketplaces

Cost: Varies from Free, flat fee to commission based

Pros: Freelance marketplaces, unlike job boards, are designed specifically for those looking to fill short term projects saving you time by narrowing down the pool of candidates. Freelance marketplaces allow you to find skills from anywhere in the world and can be cost effective. On these types of marketplaces you have more information about the candidates including reviews from other companies. Since these sites encourage working with those in foreign countries, they also control the transaction limiting your risk. Some freelance marketplaces, like, have a unique algorithm that matches the job with the right local freelancer, saving you precious time in the selection process and allowing you to meet face to face with your new hire.

Cons: Some of the marketplaces that are open to foreign workers, as mentioned above, control the transaction for a percentage of the project. If you are in need of a long-term project, this might result in a high cost for the company. Other barriers include language, time zone differences and accountability issues. I personally strongly recommend hiring freelancers close to you on a flat fee to give you the freedom to develop long-term relationships.

Options: Upwork, Workhoppers, Toptal, Odesk, Crew

5- Staffing agencies

Cost: Thousands of dollars

Pros: If you really have no time to spend on recruiting, you might want to consider a staffing agency that will search, select and interview the candidates for you.

Cons: The cost is the most significant disadvantage of this option. Staffing agencies are a very good option when you are hiring a top executive on a long-term basis and you want to make sure you get the best of the best. But if you are looking for an expert for a part-time or short-term project, this option is very costly. Also, staffing agencies control the relationship between you and your contract worker. If you decide the hire is a great fit, and want to work long term or permanent, the cost can be prohibitive.

Options: Kelly services, Adecco, Allegis Group, Robert Half

As reported by Freelancers Union, 54 million Americans are now freelancing. Jobs range from online jobs such as web developers, programmers, graphic designers and writers to book keepers, paralegals, nursing and business consultants. In today’s economy, using the services of a freelancer to get your business growing is a great tool.