How To Use Upwork For Sustainable Business Growth
34% of the U.S. workforce are currently working as freelancers. It’s a growing trend that’s not slowing down; using independent contractors is becoming more and more normal for every sized business. And there’s a good reason for it.
I love working with freelancers for a few reasons. Mostly, they’re a great way to get access to the skills I need, at the time I need them.
Who’s hiring freelancers?
It’s not just me who’s on board the ‘hire a freelancer’ train. Globally, 20% of organizations with over 1,000 employees have a workforce including at least 30% contingent workers. It works for the big guys and it’ll work for you too.
When and how to hire a freelancer
Your time is valuable. If you’re not already prioritizing your tasks to get the best ROI, you’re selling yourself short.
There are pros and cons of hiring a freelancer. But as a business leader, you’re automatically qualified to benefit from outsourcing some of your lower skill work. I’ll walk you through how to make that happen:
To figure out exactly what you should hire for, identify low-impact and low-skill tasks that you are wasting your time on. I outline the whole process in my article, How To Buy An Extra 2 Hours This Week.
Now that you know the specific tasks to outsource, you have to find someone to get them done. There are lot of places to find help, but allow me to save you the time of trying them out.
Upwork is the best place to find a freelancer.
Formerly Elance-oDesk, Upwork is a global freelancing platform, where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely. I could compare Upwork to other major sites like Freelancer.com or Fivver, but it’s already been done (here) and done again (also here).
Upwork is tried and tested. There’s even an app that makes finding help so simple, my toddler could do it.
How to make Upwork work for you
Where you find a freelancer isn’t as important as the process you use to vet these remote helpers. Similar to traditional hiring, you may have to kiss a few frogs to find a match.
Go back to your list of tasks that you want to hire for. Find a few freelancers on the platform to hire at the same time to complete a similar task. There will usually be a clear winner or two.
Give those winners the next, slightly more difficult/important task and keep this trial and error process going until you’ve found someone who you are happy to entrust your tasks to. Depending on the skills needed for the tasks on your list, you may need to go through this process with a few different groups of people.
Like this article against Upwork (written by a freelancer on the platform) points out, this is a two-way street. Once you’ve found a great match, you have to hold up your end of the bargain. That means treating them well, paying them market rates, and having excellent communication. A great thing can be quickly ruined by misaligned expectations or a lack of respect.
Using Upwork for your sustainable growth
Your expectations are key in making Upwork an asset to your business. Sites like this are ideal for the low-skill, low-impact tasks that you’re taking off your plate. When you need help on higher-skill, higher-impact jobs, I’d recommend reaching out to your network to find a well-regarded freelancer.
How valuable is your time? I love using Upwork because it allows me the time to step back and focus on what’s important in the long run, while still getting things done now. Using it has saved me hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars.
If you build this into your own budget, I believe you can see a similar great returns in your business and, more importantly, in your daily life.