Hiring a Freelancer: Your How-To Guide

6 Min Read

You’ve reached a point where your small business is growing and you need help. Hiring a freelancer is one of the best ways to lighten your workload. Freelancers can help you with simple tasks like data-entry to highly skilled projects like graphic design or translation services. Freelancers are ideal for one-time or short-term projects, but can also be valuable for the long-term without the costs associated with hiring a new full-time employee.

What Do You Need Done?

The first thing you need to do is to determine what exactly you need help with. Take into consideration

  • any time constraints you have,
  • your budget, and
  • your end goal.

Next, you’ll need to get all of that down on paper (so to speak) in a job description so you can attract the right kinds of freelancers with the appropriate skill level who also fall within your set budget. The more detailed and specific you are in the job description, the better. Include things such as:

  • A detailed summary of the project.
  • Clear list of duties and responsibilities.
  • Specific milestones/deliverables and deadlines.
  • Preferred or required skill level and experience.
  • Length of contract (are you looking for a one-timer or someone to work with long-term?).
  • Your budget.

Where to Find ‘The One’

Now that you have a pretty good idea what you’re looking for in a freelancer, you need to know where to post your advertisement. There are many websites for hiring freelance talent, but Upwork, LinkedIn ProFinder, and Fiverr are 3 marketplaces where hiring a freelancer is simple and easy.


Upwork is a fantastic resource for finding freelancers for a number of reasons. It’s one of the largest freelance websites in the world with millions of jobs posted each year. On Upwork, you post your job ad and freelancers apply. With such a big operation, Upwork is able to verify freelancers and keeps track of job success and feedback on past projects and they offer online skill tests so you can see how qualified a freelancer is in a certain area. But, it’s ultimately up to you to interview the candidates and choose someone who you think is the right fit for your project.

Upwork provides an online workspace where you can chat, video call, and share files. They also offer a comprehensive mobile app so you can keep up with your freelancers even if you’re away from your computer.

The site offers the capability to pay your freelancer how you choose: by fixed-price milestone, for the entire project, or hourly. You can choose to pay your freelancers using most major credit cards or PayPal.

Upwork offers payment protection which means you only pay for work that you authorize. The cost to use Upwork is free. The only cost you will incur is paying your freelancers for which the site charges a 2.75% processing fee.

Also, if you hate paperwork, Upwork may be for you. You can kiss those 1099s goodbye. According to Upwork’s website,

One of the benefits of paying your freelancer through Upwork is that, in general, if your freelancer is correctly classified as an independent contractor you should not be responsible for reporting payments on Form 1099-MISC. The reason is that our escrow service is a “third-party payment network.”


If you’re looking for help with short-term, low-cost projects, meet Fivver. Fivver rates start as low as $5 for things like graphics and design, digital marketing, music and audio, and writing and translation. Fiverr is setup more like a marketplace where you can browse for freelancers in certain categories. If you don’t have time to look through yourself, you can set it up so you will receive custom offers. Freelancers are called ‘sellers’, you’re referred to as the ‘buyer,’ and you hire them for ‘gigs.’ Fiverr also lists sellers’ performance ratings.

You can pay by credit or debit card, PayPal, or Apple Pay (if you are using the mobile app). Using Fiverr is free and they charge a service fee of $2 for purchases up to $40 and %5 on purchases over $40.

LinkedIn ProFinder

Launched in 2016 by LinkedIn, ProFinder is one of the newer platforms for hiring a freelancer. If you’re searching for a freelancer, you create a proposal request, known as an RFP on the site, fill out the ProFinder questionnaire and ProFinder then combs through its database and notifies qualified candidates of your ad and those candidates submit a proposal. ProFinder then sends you the 5 most qualified candidates’’ proposals. At this point, unlike Upwork and Fiverr, it’s up to you to communicate with the freelancer and arrange payment directly.

    • ProFinder is currently only available to clients and freelancers in the U.S.
    • ProFinder is free to use for those looking to hire a freelance professional.
    • If you hate being inundated by messages, there is a 5 proposal limit per job description and your freelance options won’t have you contact information. Talk about worry-free.
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Katherine Mines is a content writer and regular contributor to smallbiztechnology.com. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran who leverages her personnel, manpower, and professional writing experience to help small businesses owners succeed. Her passion for helping businesses informed on the latest tech and trends shines through in the expert industry coverage she provides.