One of the most pressing concerns for a small business owner is staffing and wages. This is especially true if you occupy a niche market or are generally a one man or woman band. Instead of a full-time or part-time member of staff you may be looking for someone more flexible. This could help you to cope with meeting demand in busier times, or simply to help with a creative task such as generating business leads. If so, you will want to consider freelancers.

Freelancers are a boon for the micropreneur. You only pay them for the time they work or a sum for the specific services they offer. And, although you can’t guarantee they will be as reliable and professional as a full-time member of staff; the following advice will help you select the best for your needs.

Focus on what it is you need

There is little point in hiring an IT freelancer when you need someone to help you do a stock check! The best place to start is by compiling a list of the skills you are looking for. These may be the jobs you don’t want to or possess the know-how to do.

Consider your budget carefully

The old saying if you pay peanuts you get monkeys is invariably true. So, it’s wise to focus on finding a balance between paying what is considered reasonable for a professional result. Freelancers that come in above your budget can be asked to complete a test piece. If you’re really pleased with the results then even as a small business it may be worth considering paying just that little bit more.

Use your network

Don’t forget to check your contacts before you post a freelancer ad. You may find that people you know are already “in the know” and happy to make recommendations. If you already employ freelancers then they will likely have their own connections too.

Social media is also a great place to put the word out – simply post what you are looking for with a brief job description and wait for the flurry of messages!

Advertise online

Posting on freelance job boards is a little more niche than using a big employment site like Monster or Indeed so do your homework first otherwise you will only attract a trickle of freelancers. It can help to list your payment rate as this will help weed out those who charge more than you want to pay but it can help to up your budget a little in the hope of negotiating. Don’t forget to include any specific skills or expertise you are looking for.

Select the best freelancers for the job

You can interview face to face or virtually – either way – it’s important to set a precedent for separating the wheat from the chaff! Punctuality and professionalism are always standard markers but don’t be in too much of a hurry – hiring the right freelancer can take time but it’s definitely worth the wait.