Recently, I turned the tables on freelancing. I’d decided I was in need of the services of a professional photographer and a graphic designer, and was on the hunt for the perfect candidates.
One thing I hadn’t realised before I started my search was that, having been firmly on the freelancer side of the freelancer-client relationship for over a decade, it was funny to suddenly find myself playing the client role.
Looking at it from the perspective of the client was brilliant for me as a freelance professional, as it made reflect on the criteria I was using to pick the perfect service provider for my purposes.
In turn, that made me think about why my potential translation clients might pick me for a job, or end up deciding to go with someone else.
To come up with a short list of potential photographers and graphic designers for my purposes, I did what most people do. I turned to trusty Google search, and also asked my freelance network, both IRL and online, if they had any recommendations.
There was no shortage of search results and plenty of recommendations came my way, so I then used the following criteria to decide who’d be the one to get the gig.
- How quickly they responded
The nature of freelancing means that we’re pretty much constantly online, so I interpreted prompt replies to my enquiries as a sign of enthusiasm for the project. It also showed me that they’d respond quickly should I have any questions once I’d made my selection.
I wasn’t expecting instant responses, as we’re all busy with projects, but anyone that took more than a day or two to respond was scratched off the list.
- The kind of questions they asked me
Before I got started, I hadn’t realised just how important this would be.
The freelancers that asked the most relevant questions, clearly a result of plenty of experience in responding to enquiries just like mine, were the ones I leaned towards.
- Website/social media presence/testimonials
I’d already quickly checked out the online presence of all the candidates before getting in touch, but when I received responses I took a deeper dive into their online profiles.
A professional-looking website with well-written content and testimonials from previous clients was essential, and I also looked for someone who had a strong, professional presence on social media.
The visuals were especially important for me in this case as I was hiring a photographer and graphic designer, arguably more than they would be for someone on the search for a translator.
- A structured offer
The strongest candidates were those that gave me examples of other projects they’d worked on that were just like mine and how they went about doing that job.
I was particularly interested in freelancers that detailed exactly what the service would include, complete with revisions and time frames, and explained precisely what the process would be and what they’d need from me, so we’d both know where we stood should I choose to proceed.
- Enthusiasm about the project, friendly approach
A friendly tone made a huge difference to my interest in hiring someone, and I enjoyed hearing back from freelancers who expressed an enthusiasm in my specific project.
Generic, unenthused responses that didn’t reference my specific project didn’t make the cut.
Of course, as wonderful as some of the freelancers seemed, they just weren’t available when I needed them.
Practicality had to play a part too, so I had to choose a graphic designer that had availability to get started within the next couple of weeks, and a photographer that was available when I was physically able to attend the shoot.
The clincher, in some cases, was the price. As a freelancer, I, of course, believe in paying a fair price for quality work, but the price needed to be reasonable and a reflection of the value of the service to me.
I’d decided on a rough budget before I started the search, so it was the freelancers that ticked all of the boxes above and quoted an amount within my budget that got the gig in the end.