4 Tips to Bootstrapping Your Startup with Freelance Work

shutterstock_262331864.jpg

Freelancers can play a vital role in developing your business, especially at the start. Here's how to find the best. By Melisa Sukman (Community Manager, Payoneer)

As an entrepreneur, you’ll likely hire a lot of freelancers to lend a hand getting your startup off the ground, including developers for your website and content writers for your marketing materials. These professionals have flexible schedules and enable you to hire talent on an as-needed or project basis.

Freelancers all over the world – including in emerging markets such as Argentina, Bangladesh and India –  open the door for your startup to hire smart, talented professionals and other small business owners from a global talent pool.

Here are four tips to get the most out of hiring freelance talent.

1. Set Competitive Pay Rates

Pay rates vary greatly depending on experience, industry and location. A freelance writer might charge by word count, whereas a developer might charge by hour or Web page.

According to the Payoneer Freelancer Income Survey 2015, the average hourly pay for freelancers is $21, which is much higher than average pay in many of the countries surveyed.

Compare industry standards against the specific skills and experience your startup requires to identify the best rates to pay your freelancers. Setting the right rates can ensure you attract and hire the best freelancers for your specific business needs.

2. Open Your Search Globally

Don’t limit your talent search to your local country or region; leveraging international marketplaces significantly expands freelance prospects.

If you’re a business owner in the U.S., there are endless opportunities to work with freelance writers, developers or designers in other parts of the world. Working across time zones with a large variation (e.g. New York to Sydney or San Francisco to Tel Aviv) can actually be a huge boost to productivity on certain projects.

Consider signing up for and posting projects on freelance marketplaces such as Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk) or PeoplePerHour, which collectively offer entrepreneurs and business owners access to several million freelancers worldwide.

3. Offer Flexible Payment Options

One of the biggest challenges international freelancers face is the logistics of getting paid. Cross-border payments can be very complex, so it’s important for you to work with a platform that offers flexible payment options.

With traditional banking – which is the only option some businesses offer for freelance payments – your payment might go through several intermediary banks with added fees before it reaches the freelancer’s bank account.

However, freelancers want flexible ways to get paid – including cash withdrawals, checks, prepaid cards and accounts. Hiring freelancers through an international marketplace offers these options and more.

4. Leverage Your Social Networks

According to the Payoneer Freelancer Income Survey, social media is a common channel for finding work as a freelancer. While nearly half (46 percent) of international freelancers find projects directly through online marketplaces, approximately 15 percent of freelancers find jobs through LinkedIn.

The survey also shows that freelancers often promote skills through social media, with Facebook being the most popular channel at 38 percent. There are a variety of ways to find and secure freelancers through social media. This might include promoting jobs on your Facebook page highlighting your work, or identifying LinkedIn groups specific to the freelancers your business is targeting.

What advice do you have for founders looking to hire freelancers?

Photo credit: GaudiLab via Shutterstock.


About the guest blogger: Melisa Sukman is a community manager at Payoneer, a company empowering global commerce by connecting businesses, professionals, countries and currencies through its cross-border payments platform. With more than 10 years of experience in building connections and educating users through social media, Melisa helps to grow the global Payoneer community, educate Payoneer customers and empower them to build a successful future.