Moskel Consulting & Marketing

Direct Response Copywriting Solutions.

3 Laws You Must Know: How to Avoid Hiring a Bad Freelancer


Have you ever had a tight deadline and needed to hire a freelancer fast? Last year, I was in a rush…so I spent a little more, didn’t haggle on price and chose the freelancer with the most gold stars…

…only to be disappointed, yet again.

Choosing the right freelancer is tough — but you can weed out the bums and hire the best — if you take your time and follow some simple, proven rules.

Since that horrible (and expensive) experience, I’ve hired dozens of the BEST on E-lance and other sites, using reliable techniques I learned the hard way.

(By the way, if you’re hiring overseas help, all rules are out the window.)

Ed Gandia makes the great point that hiring a freelancer is like picking up a stranger to ride on your bus (and you’re the driver): they’ll be on board for a while, so you ought to pick up only people you enjoy!

>>Here are 3 Tips You Can Use Now:

1. Eliminate people who bid immediately.

Here’s the thing: unless your project is super-straightforward, there’s little chance that any freelancer should bid your job, without first learning something more.

I have found that “over-eager bidders” are typically under-qualified to do any job. Experienced freelancers will ask questions and seek to get a better handle on exactly what your job entails, before talking about money.

Be open to these types of queries:

  • Do you have a project manager?
  • Who is responsible for design/development/content?
  • What’s your timeframe?
  • Have you done this work before?

Your hire may need to know more or may just be testing the waters to see what kind of client you are: responsive? attentive? patient? directly hiring, or working for someone else? You get the idea.

2. What’s Your Day Job, Honey?

If you’re looking for a designer, but he’s a garbage collector by day…let’s hope your job doesn’t need to be free of debris. There are plenty of people who work all day doing whatever it is you want done.

Tacking your project onto a similar workload is typically an easy win for a professional. On the other hand, if your project goes overtime, do you think the the garbage man will call in sick to his day-job to finish your design, or prioritize what pays his rent?

(The best, and typically more expensive, are the real professionals who do freelancing full-time.)

3. Don’t Use the Generic Job Descriptions

So many inexperienced clients use the E-lance pre-formatted job descriptions, then wonder why they didn’t get what they wanted!

If success is at all important to you, take the time to write a serious description, and highlight whatever you think will be the most challenging part of doing the work.

Scaring off a few people who aren’t right for the job is actually a GOOD thing, so do share as many “hairy details” of your project as you are able.

Beyond that, trust your gut. Have a real conversation. I have a client who always does a video Skype chat before hiring. At the very least, talk on the phone. If they have a website, take a look: are there samples? testimonials? Long experience?

These tips are battle-tested and I’ve got the scars to prove it…

Nowadays, I have a bevy of proven, skilled freelancers I can call on for any number of client needs. And that’s the bonus tip for you: finding a “grizzled pro” that’s been around the block a number of times can cost more…

…But what they save you in time, anguish and insider tips and tactics is often worth 5X the cost!

There’s more, but we’ve both got lots of work to do. If you have a specific question not answered here, I’ll be happy to try and answer your question via email.

All the best,

Jesse “Grizzled Pro” Moskel

P.S. – If you need an expert copywriter for your project, click here.

P.S. – Since I’m a direct response copywriter, check out something on this topic from a developer: John Morris on “How Not to Hire a Freelance Developer.”

4 Replies

  1. Good tips! And thanks for the link. Hopefully, between the two articles those looking for a good developer will head down the right path. 🙂

    1. Hey John, wow you’re fast… I posted this, intending to return after my weekly Million Cups meeting and drop you a line but you’ve beat me to the punch! Obviously you know your stuff. How long have you been sifting good clients from these job boards?

      1. I’ve been doing freelance web design for 10+ years… although badly for a lot of years. Truthfully, I don’t use them a ton anymore because I got a lot of work through my own web site… and then eventually I transitioned out of doing freelance work and into online teaching and consulting… among other things.

        1. That sounds like a great transition, John. From the looks of your site, you’ve been providing a LOT of value to your clients. I like the copy on your lead magnet, too: I just signed up for my 7 Strategies… Keep it rollin…

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