5 tips on finding great freelancers for your business

There have never been so many people in the marketplace who consider themselves ‘freelancers’ – and the vast majority of those people work in the digital field such as SEO consultants. Whether you’re looking for a programmer, designer, translator, writer, marketing guru or salesperson – if you use the right resources, you’ll have one awaiting your instructions in a matter of minutes…

However, convenience does not mean that all freelancers are good! When you deal with a company you’ll have some kind of service level agreement in place – even if that is only casually assumed from their marketing info or reputation. Finding a good freelancer is a different task altogether – but following these 5 tips will help you avoid any pitfalls – and find great hired help…

  1. Plan your project

The majority of people who are looking for a freelancer do so because they have a specific project in mind. Understanding what this project is going to entail is the key to finding the right people first time around. Thrash out some details and break things down into individual tasks.

We’re yet to hear about a psychic freelancer who can read your mind and fully understand what you need after a brief outline – so being very clear about individual tasks is really important! If you use a project management tool – why not invite that person to collaborate? You might need to pay them for a little additional time for doing so, but that’s infinitely preferable to them returning work that’s missed the point entirely…

  1. Create a budget

While it’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to freelancer price, there’s likely to be a figure you have in mind – and sticking to that can be useful.

Firstly, no matter how impressive their claims might be, using a freelancer that’s out of your price range could drag you over budget for work that could be adequately delivered by someone less experienced or qualified.

But it works the other way around too – you might find that you enter the marketplace and see people offering the same work for a fraction of the price – but you have to ask yourself if going in cheap is the best plan. Will you be able to communicate your needs to this person as efficiently as someone at your original price point? Are you going to end up regretting your decision for the sake of a 10% saving? 

  1. Look everywhere

You probably know some of the big freelance sites – People Per Hour, Upwork and so forth – while these places are usually chock full of people that could help – they’re not the only places to find great freelancers.

If you’re part of any professional networks, whether that’s on social media or in the real world, there are often freelancers on that are part of those groups because of the field you or they work in. Big freelance sites have payment gateways, reviews and other tools that protect both parties, but that doesn’t mean the people working outside of these sites aren’t reputable and top level.

Ask around, look in your networks and; moving neatly on to our next tip…

  1. Take recommendations

You probably know other people who work in your industry, failing that, you probably know other people who have their own small businesses, whether that’s clients, business partners, suppliers or anyone else you cross paths with.

As a rule of thumb, if you get along with them then you’re likely to get along with the freelancers they use. Ask who they are, people love dishing out recommendations – and if they don’t, they might be able to tell you who to avoid!

  1. Establish a good working relationship

The early days of working with a freelancer can be formative and are arguably some of the most important. If you invest some time in making sure they understand you, your business and what you’re looking for, then it’s going to save you feeling like you’re repeating yourself further down the line.

This works both ways too – you might want to talk to them about what they can do, the path to becoming a freelancer could have included a mass of skills, talents and knowledge that you could tap into.

If you imagine the freelancer you’re working with is a part of the team – rather than someone you just bark instructions to via Skype or email – then you won’t go far wrong!

  1. Pay them!

Whether the freelancer you’re working with is a sole trader or an established limited company, paying them swiftly and accurately is always going to keep the working relationship on the right path! Although it depends on who you’re working with, freelancers often require full or part payment before they commence work – just be sure that if this is the case you’re confident in their ability to amend or adjust any work they produce for you.

You’re unlikely to be the only client your freelancer is working with – so when you and another of their clients have got a chunk of important work that you need turning around quickly, the person who’s the most reliable with payment is probably going to go to the front of the queue.

Money talks, make it talk in your favour! 

  1. Offer proper feedback

It’s often not in people’s nature to be direct and frank with feedback – but when you’re working with freelancers it’s in everyone’s best interest if you develop this habit.

Ultimately, you’re paying for a service – and assuming you’ve following our first tip correctly and planned both the bigger picture and what’s going to be needed from the freelancer, then you’ve set some good guidelines out. The result needs to be to your liking.

Now, there’s no need to be brutal – freelancers have feelings too! But you shouldn’t lead anyone into believing the work is good if you’re not 100% happy. Discussions about what you’d like to be changed will often be met with full understanding and quick amendments – as well as the fact that you’ve developing a person’s understanding for working with you and other people moving forward.

Ultimately…

Not happy with the service despite good planning and clear feedback? Find someone else. It might sound cold, but there are plenty of excellent freelancers out there – you owe it to your business to find someone who’s on the same wavelength as you and meets your expectations…

If you are only going to have one tool in the digital toolbox, let it be LinkedIn.

The concept of social networking isn’t a hard one. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube allow people to share content and connect with like-minded individuals over the internet. These sites have exploded in popularity over the past 10 years as they are easy to use and give ordinary people a platform to express themselves to a large audience. With the amount of people using social media set to increase to 2.95 billion by the year 2020, it wouldn’t be so wrong to call social media the greatest thing to effect anthropology since, well, forever?

The way we act as a society is changing, social media and social networking sites are now and will forever be a part of our social construct. For better or worse, Social media is here and it is no longer a ‘Should you use it?’ question, it’s ‘How will you use it?’, so tell Granny it’s time to get online.

All jokes aside, the biggest thing that people still seem to miss is the use of social media in business. There are still business professionals out there that share 5 memes, tag 2 friends and like 16 posts a day on their personal account, but never wonder how they can use the social media to help in their business life. That number is slowly decreasing, thankfully, but it still begs the question, what should I be doing, as a professional, to help my business or the business I work for, grow?

To make things super simple, let’s pretend you are a very busy person and you don’t have time to be updating, creating and connecting on 6 different social networking sites. Let’s say you have just enough time and brain effort to add one social networking site to your schedule, which do you choose? Easy, LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is by far the best place for professionals to interact and connect with other business professionals. Remember the days where there seemed to be loads of networking events? Ever wonder where they all disappeared to? They moved to LinkedIn. With over 433 million users, 40% of which are active on the platform every day, LinkedIn is a platform you and your business can’t really afford to not be on and that’s why, if you only have time for one professional social networking account, it has to be LinkedIn.

  • Get on LinkedIn

Sign up for an account and update your profile with as much detail as possible. Treat your LinkedIn account as a digital CV but show some personality as if you were updating an online dating profile. People who come across your profile will want to not only know what you’ve done professionally, but also who you are, what kind of person you would be over a cup of coffee. Don’t be afraid to express your personal brand. Your profile should be the content that people enjoy reading.

  • Upload a sexy photo.

By sexy I don’t mean Saturday night sexy, I mean boardroom sexy. Think James Bond with a splash of Michelle Obama. Your photo will most likely be the first thing people see when they stumble upon you profile, so think real hard about what you want that photo to say about you. I would suggest staying away from group photos or photos from a night out but that may go without saying. Before uploading a profile picture, have a look at what other people in your industry use as theirs. Follow these photo guidelines and you can’t really go to wrong.

  • Connect with people.

LinkedIn will try and tell you to only connect with people you know, if you see this message, ignore it. Obviously start with people you know, but don’t stop there. Connect with people who you think will add value to your LinkedIn wall, people who you think will have information or content that you could benefit from. Often these people will share a lot of information through posts and LinkedIn blogs which you can then share, interact with or even just use to help your own ideas flourish. Connect with people who you also think could also help you in your business goals. Whether this be potential customers or stainless steel banding suppliers, connect with them and build relationships with them. The people you need are right there with you on LinkedIn.

  • Engage, share and create.

While working away in your everyday life there will be bits of information that you find interesting. Whether it’s a news article that relates to your industry or a manufacturing video that you haven’t seen before, share it with your peers on LinkedIn. If you have connected with the right people, they will find the content just as interesting as you did and they will be grateful that you shared it. They will show you their interest by either liking your post or sharing it themselves. The content you posted will then gain more exposure and maybe even gain you more connections. You should do the same with the content that you see from your connections. This will show your appreciation and helps you nurture mutually beneficial relationships, especially with connections that you may not officially ‘know’. Don’t be afraid to be active on LinkedIn. Your activity will only help you increase your popularity and showcase your position within the industry in which you work.

  • Create and update Company pages.

Now this one may not be for everyone as a company LinkedIn page is usually managed by the marketing team but if you have access or the authority to create a company page, it’s a rather useful tool. Company pages are simple to set up as all LinkedIn needs is a brief summary of business details like address and contact information. The most important part of the company page is the summary. This section allows you to write a description that sells your business, so be as detailed as you can. Once the page is set up, you can then post content as the business itself. People who come across the content can then follow the company page if they want to be updated when new content is published or for any news or special offers. You can also use your personal account to share company page content to your connections. This means that you and your company attributes will be showcased together which could attract potential stakeholders.

  • Paid Advertising

Like many social networks, LinkedIn has the ability to target consumers via paid advertising. If you feel that your personal and/or company pages have been performing well but may benefit from a little exposure boost, why not try a little paid promotion. It’s very simple to set up through the post settings, the only thing you really need to pay attention to is your target audience. You will want to decide what you want to promote and who you want to promote it to, specifically. The more specific you are, the more chance your content will end up in front of the right people. Being too general in your targeting will be costly with little return, so choose your segment wisely.

 

These 6 simple actions can help you grow your professional network through LinkedIn. It really is worth your effort over other platforms and can be fun if you let it be. So go on, set 10 minutes away each day for your LinkedIn endeavour. Watch your efforts pay off in ways you never thought possible from 6 simple steps.

4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Cloud Technology


Cloud technology, otherwise known as laaS technology, is a growing trend that can benefit businesses both big in small. The cloud adoption grown has as much as 51% of companies as many are using laaS as the primary environment in the workplace. So, what’s the big deal of cloud technology?

Here are 4 Reasons why your business needs cloud technology.

Added Flexibility

Companies across the nation are becoming more remote and will continue this trend for years to come. In fact, as many 50% of American companies are predicted to work outside of the office by the year 2020. Cloud technology will accommodate work from home or outside the office. When files and other work-related items are placed in the cloud, everyone who has gained access can view them, no matter where their location may be.

Boost in Security

As a major concern for businesses all over the world e-commerce businesses opts for third-party processors that are used in the cloud with SSL certificates to keep customer information safe and secure. However online security is not just for e-commerce but for businesses in all industries. Most companies contain confidential information and require a secure cloud system to protect them.

Restorable Data

What happens when your in-house system fails? In this case, the system will crash and lose all your customer data. With cloud technology, you can keep your backup data in the cloud and restore any data that is lost.

Enhanced Task Management

Cloud allows members to stay on the same page at all times. The Cloud tech allows them to set up responsibilities monitor progress and communicate as a group.  Teams can stay on track with the entire project no matter where they are. This allows businesses to gain built-in permission and determine who can gain access throughout the entire process.

Does your business use cloud technology? If not, do you plan to use it? Comment below and share your thoughts with us!

5 Reasons Tech and Business Goes Hand in Hand


Technology has a language all on its own. When combined with business, this can help foster the growth and improvement that a business needs. In this article, we will discuss exactly why.

Here are 5 reasons tech and business go hand in hand.

Drive Innovation in Business

Tech professionals understand how technology can help businesses meet online goals as technology can be used to reduce the complex issues in the business and provide better business decisions. When you combine business and tech the objective is to do more than thinking outside the box but rather solve the challenges from within first.

Clear Communication

While explaining for technology works with specifications isn’t what business owners need, it is how technology will help them grow their business. Owners are looking for answers as to how to reach new capabilities, increase profit, open the market and improve productivity.

Gain Benefits by Spending on IT

While IT expenses may be costly, spending on quality IT can provide huge returns such as an increase in business savings on cost and gain in productivity. However, to achieve such results IT support specialists must understand the concepts of business investments and benefits.

Better Design in Products and Services

IT professionals who learn to understand the aspects of business will deliver exactly what their clients want, improve solutions, and ultimately enhance their reputation. Quality results will help businesses improve their design and adjust accordingly to their buyer’s needs.

Influence decisions in business

IT professionals and entrepreneurs can both benefit from this strategic asset. When Tech experts consider the business fundamentals, they will also consider the opportunities of new and existing technology that includes social media, data, and analytics that helps improve services, grow new markets and enhance the overall growth of the business.

Conclusion

To improve the sales and efforts in marketing, businesses must build a dashboard that understands the value acquisition, rate, ration of interest and the return for each target sale. Using this information will help managers to better evaluate the costs and keep their business competitive.

5 Ways Technology is Changing the World of Finance


As we look into the future of economics, the service industry has made some remarkable changes due to the demands and quality customer service that is needed to survive. In fact, most companies are looking forward instead of relying on past performances to help them meet the quality results for clients.

Here are 5 ways technology is changing the world of finance.

Expands Highly-Focused Services

With today’s innovators, products and services are becoming more aggressive in targeting highly matched customers with high profitability. This is a major step up to the previous methods as money transfers required high fees with poor customer experience. As a result, more companies are using innovative networks to great a user-friendly interface and make services all the faster simpler and cheaper for users.

Automate Manual Processes

Innovators are using their skills to transform manual processes to offer services at a whole new level of customers. As a result individuals of a different class are receiving the same services that were once unavailable to them.

Strategic Data

Customer data still remains as the main factor in decisions in finance. Today, customers are becoming more connected with their devices that real-time data is strongly emerging to support decision making in finance. Does your business respond immediately to comments and complaints? It is important to identify the ways data streams to help make strong decisions and encourage policyholders to make smart choices. Creditfix who are one of the UK’s leading providers of IVA’s recently used their vast amount of  internal data to build a personal debt index which is now used by many top online publications to reference debt levels across the UK.

Platform based on Capital

Platforms such as crowdfunding are becoming an important source for many start-up businesses. These platforms allow individuals to connect with just a minor investment and a variety of investment targets. This allows the clients to decide whether or not the company should be funded.

Collaboration

Smart financial investors understand how effective strategies with collaboration can be. With the number of growing partnerships between incumbents and innovators, businesses have a better understanding of their advantages through research and development.

Furthermore, there is more is just how much technology is changing the world of finance. We can safely say that with modern technology business can provide better service and strategies within the marketplace.