Best resource for finding and managing freelance workers?


As a solo-preneur one really needs outside support. Consultants, freelancers, etc. Challenge is finding them, qualifying their experience, and tracking their work; as efficiently as possible as you are trying to grow a business, not hire people.

What are the best online resources to help find such support? Think beyond the obvious like 99designs for designers. One needs editorial/copy writers, business development, ad sales, perhaps engineering or at least web development.

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asked Oct 28 '09 at 09:31
Paul O'brien
521 points

5 Answers


I'm going to go out a limb here and say there are no reliable online resources for finding high-quality, talented B2B professionals who will play an integral part of your team. I'm not talking about the art student in Kerblecistan who is happy to do spec work for 99 projects on 99designs just to get $99, but more the folks who will give you expert advice and do top-notch work in the areas you need without charging the price of a full-service firm.

The reason is simple: they don't need to. There are only so many hours in the night, and these freelancers aren't going to spend those hours filling out a profile on some website, getting their clients to submit 5-star reviews, and so on. If they're looking for work, they may consider craigslist or another place where people are advertising freelance gigs. Or, if they're any good, they'll just ask their network of people for some contacts.

The advice for finding freelancers is basically the same as finding good professional help :

I always ask around - whether it's family, friends, or even the business next door. I also go to networking events to try to find contacts.

Once I find a name or two, then I'll schedule an appointment and, if we seem to click, I'll open up with a small project. Maybe a contract review. Or my personal tax returns. Or a logo that's already been designed.

It's simply a trial to show how well they work or don't work. And if they don't, then I repeat the process. Usually, the professional will do an acceptable job (otherwise, I won't pay) so, at the very least, you're only out time.

answered Oct 28 '09 at 12:19
Alex Papadimoulis
5,901 points


My girlfriend is a freelance graphic designer so she needs to work with printers, copywriters, web developers, marketers and PR people. The way she builds up her list is by going to local networking events and meeting them face to face.

Whilst most business is ultimately conducted via email, phone etc nothing beats a real world encounter for initially determining whether you can work with people. It is time consuming but it pays dividends over time.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 01:15
61 points


You are expecting to need more than you actually need. You are thinking like a larger business, it appears.

You basically need
Development team

Basically the organizer is someone to help ensure that everyone is on the right track, as it is easy to start going off on a tangent, at times, and losing sight of the immediate goal.

Once you develop a product and start your beta testing then your developers can start to do some documenting, since users won't read anyway.

A good article about that is: Business development in the beginning is pretty simple. Go to production, sell.

Later, as you get larger then business development may be more needed.

Marketing will do ad sales, but, unless you have lots of funding, you will probably do little in ads, and try to be more creative in how you get the word out.

Your best bet may be to develop a relationship with an independent recruiter, as you can then develop a bond, so as you get larger, you will go to him for your needs, so that he can benefit from helping you, as he could be part of your team.

answered Oct 28 '09 at 10:07
James Black
2,642 points


If you're looking for technical people, you could do worse than poking around a bit in the areas of your technology interest on stackoverflow. At least some users there indicate that they are available for consulting in their profiles, and a high rep, while not ultimately indicative, will at least weed out the worst of the bunch.

Otherwise, I agree with the others - work the real-life social network to find people.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 01:47
Paul Mc Millan
601 points


If you are (or was) a software developer yourself, you can try freelancers from We use them for smaller jobs like creating a simple Web site, performing some linux admin work and the like. It works for us because we know what we want and how long such work should take.

For more serious/long term projects you'll be better off finding a company that not only offers software developers, but also manages them. I'm sure you can find such a team at odesk too, but it's better if you'll ask your friends/colleaugues for references first.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 02:25
Yakov Fain
221 points

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