My coach and many of my peers frequently talk about the importance of building a team for one’s business. Today, it’s easier than ever to build a virtual team, sometimes referred to as a distributed workforce.
You may start out as I have, creating a virtual team on a contract basis and for specific sets of tasks. While I may be hiring for a specific set of tasks, I’m primarily hiring for a specific set of skills. A common way to find people for specific sets of tasks or projects are through services like Virtual Staff Finder and Upwork.
I’ve found myself building a virtual team in order to move the proverbial needle. The more I want to accomplish, the more I need a team. My intent with this story is to share with you, how I’ve used services like Upwork and 99Designs for graphic design and audio editing services.
Sometimes it makes sense to hire locally
Sometimes it makes sense to hire locally, and I’ve done this too. Other times, hiring a virtual team member or running a contest is the way to go. Your reasons can vary, but it’s flexibility that technology and today’s economy offer to growing businesses and brand builders.
My latest hire has been through Upwork, a marketplace for both freelancers and businesses looking to hire. Within Upwork, you can either find and hire freelancers or you can become a freelancer. You can also do both, but this would require two separate accounts.
To hire freelancers, you simply create a client account, post a job, and Upwork will provide you with a short list of freelancer recommendations. I recall having to tweak my job posting, but it didn’t take long for me to find qualified candidates and to ultimately hone in on the right one.
Upwork does screen its freelancers, but you’ll have to screen for the one that meets your requirements. The nice thing is that you can see freelancer ratings and their Upwork job history. Candidates are required to submit a proposal to you, and you have the ability to schedule a call with them.
Now I’ve heard several horror stories, and I’ve heard success stories. My impression is that some people are not good at setting expectations for their hires, which of course leads to problems. Setting expectations requires thoughtful communication. In the end, if you make a bad hire, you make a quick fire.
Hiring well is a learned skill
Hiring well is a learned skill, and one that I’m still learning. Upwork offers lots of great tips, and you might check out articles and books on hiring. I love this Harvard Business Review article on the hiring practices of Automattic.
You can arguably find the best tips for hiring, be it for employees or freelancers, by speaking with someone who has a track record for hiring great people. Don’t know anyone with this track record? Ask your network.