Author: Julie Bedas
Two of the most important things to consider when venturing on a startup business are your manpower and setting- up of your office. B. But with the advent of the internet, you can delete these two off your list with no sweat. Have you ever heard of UPwork ?
Upwork: Connecting Freelancers to Business Clients
UPwork, formerly known as Odesk, connects businesses to freelancers and let them collaborate remotely through their online work platform. This means reduced costs in hiring employees and eliminated expenses for setting up an office. Freelancers hired via UPwork can work from their own homes, use their own devices, and work at their own pace. And for business where you can outsource specific tasks to freelancers, you actually spend less compared to hiring traditional employees. You can hire freelancers on a project- basis which is a very practical move for your business.
If you have read the previous article about Crowdsourcing, you will learn more about the benefits of hiring freelancers. Crowdsourcing has become a trend in the recent years because freelancing sites like UPwork provides professional workers who can provide services such as website development, content writing and many more. In the article it was said that online task outsourcing is “an emerging industry that is a credible solution to people who wanted to do and bring more.”
It’s fairly easy to start using UPwork and finding freelancers to work for your business. There are two options in signing up for UPwork; you can either sign up as a client or as a freelancer. As a client, you can either sign up as a company or as an individual client, as shown in the images below:
Once you have created an account, you can proceed to update your profile information, and make sure to verify your payment method to assure potential clients. You can then create job postings specifying the qualifications you need for the employees you are searching.
When you are not satisfied with the freelancers who applied to your job posting, you also have the option to search for freelancers. They are classified according to categories such as Animation, Transcription, Architecture, Paralegal Services and many more to make your search easier.
How to choose the best freelancers for your business
Finding the right employees or an employee is not an easy task if you have many to choose from. Here are some tips to help you in choosing the right freelancer for the job:
- Write a detailed job description
If your job posting is very specific and provides complete information about the job, you are most likely to attract the candidates who are fit for the task at hand. This way you won’t have to scan among too many applicants because you’ve made your qualifications clear and concise. However, there is a thin line between being specific and being too overly specific. Make sure that your job description will still attract potential employees. Below are two examples of job postings in UPwork, the one in the green box is what a detailed description looks like, while the one in the red box is a job description you should avoid posting:
- Identify who’s really applying to your job
Some freelancers in UPwork want to get a job immediately, thus they send their applications to all the available job postings. This would mean an additional job for you as a client to sort through them and pick who’s really interested with YOUR job, not just with any job. To make sure that they really read through your job posting, you can ask them to write a particular word or phrase at the beginning of their cover letter. Here is an example of a job posting asking for a phrase from the job applicants:
- Review the freelancer’s profile
You should not get fooled by the sterling credentials in a freelancer’s resume, and the flowery words in his or her cover letter. You can verify a worker’s authenticity in UPwork by visiting his or her profile. You can view information such as job success, the percentage at which his or her job performances resulted satisfactory to clients, the freelancer’s overall rating, the total hours he or she has worked in UPwork, and the number of jobs the freelances have had.
There are also reviews left by past employers that will help you know more about the candidates applying to your job posting.
- Arrange an online interview
An interview for a virtual employee can mean a message exchange via UPwork or email. However, if you want to get to know a freelancer better you can talk to them through video calling software like Skype. This will help you assess their interpersonal and communication skills better. Talking to them in real-time might provide you with information you’ve missed by just reviewing their profiles and exchanging messages online. This will also provide a clearer way of briefing them about their job. Schedule an online interview that is suited to the both of you. Be mindful that UPwork is a global platform so make sure you agree on a time at a specific time zone.
- Give a test task to shortlisted freelancers
Once you have chosen a number of potential employees among the job applicants, you can test who is really fit for the position by providing a short job-related task for each of them. This will help you assess their skills and performances better. The freelancers who submit the best output within your specified deadline should be the ones you should hire.
- Provide constant communication
Your job does not end in finding the right freelancers. You should always be in constant communication with your employees to make sure that you are on the same page when it comes to the goals you want your business to achieve. If you are always available for consultation, your freelancer can have complete guidance on what to do. Being there to provide the necessary feedbacks like compliments or criticisms can push your freelancer to do his or her job even if you are not physically there with him/ her.
- Keep track of your employee/s UPwork diary
UPwork provides an UPwork diary wherein you can see your employees’ screenshots to make sure he/she is not slacking off especially because they are working from home. You can also request for your employee to turn on their camera in their time tracker so that the diary will be provided with snapshots of themselves while working. This will assure you that they are truly working in front of their computers, and not doing other things in the house. The UPwork diary can also keep track of the hours being worked by the freelancer for hourly contracts.
As a startup company, it is important to be smart in spending your limited funds. There are actually a lot of options you can take in order to save your money, and one of them includes using resources such as UPwork. It can provide you with really talented individuals who can do the job for you. You just have to be really determined in finding the right one, and don’t just settle on the first one that comes.