Hiring your first team member can be a daunting experience. Thankfully, startup founders can test the waters by first hiring freelancers or consultants before diving head first into full-time hires. Startups may not have the budget to hire full-timers and incur the latent associated costs of payroll taxes, vacation time, workers comp and health benefits in addition to full time salaries.
Another reason to hire freelancers as a stepping stone to hiring part-time and full-time staff members, is to dip your toes into the talent pool, have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and pivot before committing to a full-time staff member who may not work out. It’s said that incorrect hires are the most costly expense a company can incur.
New entrepreneurs can test drive the hiring process by working with freelancers to cover numerous functions with in your company. I recently hired my first crop of freelancers to cover most of the functions I needed in my ethical fashion startup.
How to pick the right freelancer
Much like hiring a permanent employee, you may want to interview your prospective freelancer before deciding whether or not to to hire them.
The interview process may be slightly different to what you’d use for a permanent employee, though – you’re more likely to be finding out whether you could work well together, and checking if the type of work that freelancer does is appropriate for your project.
You could also ask them to complete a smaller piece of work for you so you can assess the quality of what they produce and how smooth the process is. Some freelancers will do speculative work, but many won’t, and can be turned off a prospective client if asked to work for free.
Ultimately, the right person will depend on you, your project, and your budget, and it may take a bit of searching before you find someone who’s a good fit.