Freelance writers find plenty of work for a variety of reasons. Certainly, many people – business people in particular – are just too busy to be able to do it themselves, and some writing such as white papers and academic reports are highly specialised, but one of the major ones is that not everyone is good at everything, and good writing is a skill that is difficult for just anyone to pick up. You wouldn’t try and change your own car tyres, or install a new gas boiler yourself as they are jobs that, any legalities aside, require a certain level of skill which most people don’t have. This means that in order to get a good job done, you need to hire a professional.
Luckily, the growth of specialist websites can help you find a freelance writer with increasing ease, but that ease has, in turn, bred a huge surge in potential freelancers that you can hire, so the question becomes not one of how to find on, but rather how to find the right one for your job. That can become a tricky task as there are now just so many freelancers available around the world, each one vying for your business, making the right choice is going to be in a task itself, but if you follow our guide, you should end up with the freelancer you need.
First, Where Do You Find Them?
Freelance writers, along with developers, artists, programmers, teachers and tutors, mobile app developers, and graphic designers, occupy many different on-line sites aimed specifically at matching freelancers with clients. A recent report has found that the so-called ‘gig economy’ – defined as the pool of workers who take on work on an ad-hoc basis – is growing at an astonishing rate. The report shows that since 2010, those working in this sector has risen from 38,000 to over 65,000, a growth of 72%. Working from home, or even the coffee shop, is starting to become the preferred modern way of working and it is fuelled by the proliferation of sites that are joining workers with work. If you are looking to hire a freelance writer, you could start at some of the better-known sites, such as:
American-based but with clients from all around the world, this is a great place to find some excellent talent. Beware though, many of the freelancers on here are American based so are likely to stick to American-English, so that is worth bearing in mind if that is going to be a problem.
This UK-based site that is fast becoming one of the big players. PPH, as it is known to those of us who love and use it, is a truly international site with many clients from Middle Europe, the middle East and the Far East as well as the UK and the US.
Another American site but with a growing international clientele looking for freelance solutions, and around one and a half million freelancers looking to do your work.
If you are looking to find a freelance writer specifically rather than a site with freelancers of all persuasions, there are a growing number of specialist sites aimed at linking freelance writers to clients who need their writing done by a professional. The best of these includes:
Aiming itself at business writing, it still has a good pool of talent for article and creative writing. This is a good place to start if you are looking for specific writing abilities, but only has writers from the US.
Another US-based site that specialises in freelancers who can create the best writing for you for a price.
Once you’ve Found Them
Having located a rich vein of freelance writers, you need to sift through them to find someone who is excellent at the job you have in mind and can deliver exactly what you want. But that can be a task in its self as, once you have removed the obvious no hopers, you will still be left with a substantial list of potential freelancers and whittling those down further is going to become increasingly hard. Luckily there are a few means that you can employ to help decide on who is right for your job.
What’s Their Rating?
Most freelance sites use some kind of rating system for the freelancers to progress along, thus showing their worth. Whether it’s a star rating system or simply previous client comments, there should be some way for you to assess how the freelance writer has worked with others. Stars are good but comments give you a better feel for whether the freelancer has delivered to timescales and the actual quality of their work. You will also get a feel for how well the particular freelance writer communicates – something that’s very important if you are working remotely – and how quickly they respond to queries and updates. You should also try and determine how many clients have employed them more than once, giving a further clue as to their employability.
Any freelance writer worth the name will have at least some of their former work on display, giving you some idea of what they consider their best work. You do have to bear in mind though that they may have done a lot of ghost-writing work, or have worked under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and are not actually able to exhibit all the really good stuff under pain of being dragged through the courts. However, have a good peruse of what is there and look out for grammar use, spelling and the extent of their vocabulary; a diminutive vocabulary usually equals a poor writer. Is their style of writing aligned with what you require or are they more suited to something else, such as blog or children’s story writing? The samples on their profile will give you a good idea of their writing skills.
Ask a Few Questions
If, having reviewed their rating and portfolio, you still cannot make a decision on who to employ, then it’s time to start asking a few questions and mulling over the answers. You can be really blunt here and ask them for detailed responses on content, delivery, and their availability. You need to assess what other work your freelance writer has so that you can estimate their ability to get your work completed. You can also ask about other work that they might have, and whether that are likely to be having any planned time off – such as holidays – during the forthcoming weeks and whether it might impact on your delivery. You can also use this opportunity to ask about price breaks for bulk work and whether they can source royalty-free images too.
Putting it All Together
When you are trying to find a freelance writer, there are so many available people of such a huge range of talents that you have to do some research in order to ensure that you get exactly what you want. While the freelancer that you finally select is essentially an unknown known quantity until they have delivered the first piece of work, you should have enough confidence in them to be able to deliver through the research that you have carried out ahead of the hire.
The term “proper planning prevents poor performance” certainly applies here as much as anywhere and by hiring through an accredited freelancer site and doing your homework you have a might higher possibly of getting what you want and within your timescales.
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