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7 Important Steps to Follow When Hiring a Freelance Writer

by on December 23, 2014


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You usually get what you pay for.

freelance writer

The day may come when you need to hire a Freelance writer. Maybe you have a report due next week on the Mating Habits of Giant Squid, and you have no idea how to get started. Or you have come up with a great new line of clothing, but you need some catchy product descriptions. You might need a ghostwriter, someone to add content to your website, or want a resume re-written…the possibilities are limitless. 

So, where do you start? How can you find someone who can help you with your project? Where will you find a knowledgeable, experienced, professional Freelancer or specifically a good Freelance writer?

A good place to start to look for a freelance writer would be with any of the Freelance websites. Freelancer.com, oDesk.com, Elance.com, Outsource.com, and Guru.com are just a few of the many freelance websites.

There are many others, but these tend to be the best. Some charge a fee for posting the project, whether you find a writer or not. Some charge a percentage of the fee paid. Many restrict contact with the contractor outside of the site.

Be aware of the terms before you decide which site to use.

Most sites work on a bid/accept basis. Your project is posted, and writers bid on the work. If you like the Freelancer and the price is right, you accept the bid. When the work is completed, the contract is paid by the employer (you).

Payments are usually made by credit card or through PayPal via the website. Of course, there will be additional fees for using the credit card or PayPal.

Be aware of these extra costs when you are deciding how much you wish to pay for the project.

Step 1: Deciding on the price.

Remember- you get what you pay for. You are looking for a professional writer to work for you. Sometimes, you are even looking for a long-term relationship (i.e.; a daily blogger). If you hire someone who will “work fer $1 hour, U kin count on Me” then you are probably not going to get a professional writer.

Look at similar postings for similar projects to determine the going rate for your task.

A good writer is not going to work for one cent a word.

Step 2: Read the freelancer’s profile.

Make sure they have the skills you need. If their background is in editing and proofreading, they might not be a good fit for your report on Giant Squids.

On the other hand, if they have a long history of scientific article publishing, then you have found your writer.

Step 3: Before you hire, read the reviews.

Every reputable site has a review section for each writer. Feedback is a Freelancer’s currency. Reputation is everything. If they have a poor completion rate (less than 80%) then they are most likely not reliable. If they have a history of disputes or poor feedback, give them a pass. If the bidder has no reviews, they may be new to the process. You might be taking a chance with this writer.

On the other hand, even if they have only done a few projects, but have delivered them on time with good reviews, then they are probably fine. If the reviewer indicates that they would hire this person again, snatch them up quickly.

Step 4: Review the bids and make your choice.

Remember that the lowest bid is not always the best one. It’s no use hiring someone who is really just a sub-contractor for a sweat-shop operation who will not deliver what you need. Pick the person who best meets your needs and offers them the job.

Step 5: Be clear about your expectations.

Try to be as specific about your project as possible:

“I need a 500 word blog post on the benefits of eating peanuts in two days.”

If you need a native speaker, make that a specification. If you want Swedish writers only, make that a requirement of the project. Specificity will save you time and headaches.

Step 6: Be open to communication.

Welcome questions and requests for clarification. With open communication, you will all be happier with the process and the end results. And, as an added bonus, you may be able to establish a long-term working relationship with a really great Freelancer.

Step 7: Be aware of time differences.

Because of the global nature of freelancing, you may be dealing with someone in Canada, or Australia or the UK. Try to be understanding if your bidder doesn’t answer your e-mail immediately. He or she may be asleep.

“Conversely, be wary of contractors who seldom or never reply. They are not professional, and you don’t need that.”

There you have it. You may want to try different sites to find the Freelance writer one that works best for you and your projects. Some are industry or task-specific (only IT or employee services, for example) but, when you find the right fit, it can be a great and profitable experience.

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