It’s the end of the month! What does that mean for us as entrepreneurs? It means our business needs our attention – invoices to send, sales calls to make, a blog to update – and how are you going to get it all done?
Well, you will, but likely not as well as you’d like to and definitely not as quickly.
You knew going in that owning your own business is a lot of work, so hard work is not something that entrepreneurs, like yourself, mind doing. The problem with owning your own business, however, is that you can’t be great at absolutely every part of business, no matter your degree equivalent. You may be an excellent graphic artist, but you may know nothing about how to balance your books.
To compete with other small businesses in your same niche or market, you’re going to have to get help at some point. Learning to delegate effectively and hire freelancers to help with your projects will help your business now and in the future.
Here are my 4 best ways to delegate more efficiently as an entrepreneur:
Figure Out Your Needs. What’s been holding your small business back? Are there areas that need the most attention: marketing, computer work, social media, something else? If you have a mentor or coach, ask her for their advice in how to grow in these particular areas of your business. They will be able to point you in the right direction to find the best freelancers to help your business as well.
If you don’t already have an experienced entrepreneur or businessperson helping you, you should find one. A great reference is SCORE. SCORE is a nonprofit that gives small business counseling. Also, be sure to take time to define the project and its scope distinctly, then schedule the project before you look for someone to help with completing it.
Appraise your business’ and professional strengths. The amount and type of assistance you’ll need depends on your abilities, weaknesses, and areas that you want to strengthen further in your business or professional life. There are freelancers available in many different areas from blog writing to tax preparation and public relations.The type of assistance you need depends on your abilities, your weaknesses and areas you want to strengthen in your business. Using a freelancer (or many freelancers) will allow you to focus on what you personally do best in your business, whether it’s writing blogs, selling, or coaching.
Start Your Freelancer Search. Where can you find good freelancers? There are huge freelancing companies, such as Elance, Guru and oDesk have tens of thousands of freelancers from across the world. Moving through these huge websites of freelancers seems like more work; they are complicated and only add to work that you already have to do. Depending on the site, you have to pay an escrow, there are bidding wars, it can be difficult to find a freelancer with the skills you’re looking for in the country you’d like, and you have to find one within your price range. Plus, the number of resumes to read can be overwhelming.
Take your time and find the one freelancer you’re looking for. If it doesn’t work with one, move on to the next. There are hundreds that are looking for jobs; no need to waste time with a freelancer that makes mistakes again and again.
Depending on the type of freelancer you’re looking for, look for niche companies that screen their candidates and require them to invest some time into the screening process. The niche sites have far fewer members. You’ll only have to review 10 resumes instead of over 100 applicants. This may lower your possibilities of success of finding the perfect freelancer by very little, but it will also cut your time invested as well.
To find the right niche freelancer website, just search for the specific work you need followed by the word freelancer. For example, you need graphics done for your Facebook page, so search for “graphic design freelancer”.
The worst mistake that first time employers make is to hire based on the freelancer price alone. The most inexpensive freelancer is likely to have zero experience in your niche or field. This isn’t a bargain price if you’re spending hours of our time training them to do work that isn’t up to par o should have been done in a quarter of the time by someone that charges only double the amount.
Review freelancer samples and portfolios (if available) before offering a contract. Be sure to ask for all references that were done during freelancing (not during out-of-the-home work time). Ask questions and have a phone or Skype interview to schedules and invite the freelancer’s input on the project at hand.
Get Started. Any good relationship begins with respect, and this is especially true of a client/freelancer relationship. If your freelancer promised projects with a 48-hour turnaround time, be sure that you communicate these expectations and they reciprocate with the project on time or beforehand. If your freelancer is an especially long distance be sure to review her work in 2-3 stages throughout the project so you’re up to date on the progress on your project. If your freelancer does a particularly great job or completes the project ahead of schedule, be prepared to pay an extra bonus to keep her around. Once you find the right freelancer, you’ll want to make more projects for her to save yourself time for other business priorities and do what YOU do best.
What have you found have been the best ways to use your freelancer? How many hours do you think you’ve saved in your business?