When building your online business (or any business really), you'll quickly realize that you can't do it all yourself. You are simply going to have to hire some help. It does not mean you have to go out and start hiring full time employees. However, you'll probably need a few contract or project guru's to help you along the way.
One of the biggest mistakes is second guessing yourself. Once you've found someone you know is good for your business, stick with them. At some point, you may hit a few bumps in the road with them, but 99% of the time, you can work them out. See what I mean by watching Sue and Steve's video.
Here's some more tips to make the process easier.
1. Ask a buddy
Word of mouth is king these days, and so is networking. If you are not already, get out there and make friends in the business. Hopefully you already have a few.
Ask them if they've used any good people.
Let's say you were friends of Sue and Steve's and you too were in the market for a new copywriter. They probably got dozens and dozens of applicants. However, only a small handful were a right fit for their project. That does NOT mean that the others were bad writers. It just means their expertise did not fit with Sue and Steve's. They may be able to recommend one of the applicants they found in their search that would be a better fit for your business type.
Other friends might be able to recommend people they've actually hired in the past. One thing is for sure, people love to support people that do great work. When I have people that have done excellent work for me, I love handing out their contact information every chance I get. It's the best way of repaying someone for a job well done, and it costs me nothing.
2. It is not going to happen overnight.
The tendency is to start checking your inbox like an obsessive compulsive lunatic. As the first three quotes trickle in, you start scouring every word over and over again.
That is pointless amigo. You are better off waiting a couple of days to get a good pool of candidates together before making a decision. If you go to fast, you may miss out on someone that is a much better fit. Plus, you can use this time to come up with a more detailed list of deliverables and action items. Us freelancers love that stuff.
3. What do you actually need? Write it down.
Sounds like an obvious question, but I cannot even begin to tell you how many clients I have that had no idea what they actually needed done.
Just because you are the insane genius with the million dollar business idea does not mean that everyone else will understand what you are talking about. Take some time to really flush out what work you need done. Write it all down in detail.
You will often find that you need a few different kinds of help. Perhaps you'll need a few people rather than just one.
For example, designers and coders are not often the same people.
Once you've flushed out this element of your project on paper, you might see that what you need to accomplish is very technically detailed. However, having an amazingly simple graphical user interface is key to this project's success.
Hmmm. Now what?
You might need to hire a coder and a separate graphic designer. Better yet, you might need to hire a project manager (almost like a general contractor) to manage the design and coding on your behalf.
Plus, this part of the planning will help you better understand your future business.
4. Ask for work samples. As many as you need.
Don't just let a potential freelancer sweet talk you with how great they are and how they've done tons of projects like yours before. If they really have done projects like yours before, you may want to make sure you've evaluated your competition before going forward.
Make your freelancer show you work they've done in the past. Don't just let them email you a sample with no explanation. Get them to tell you in detail what exactly they did with the project and how much hands-on work they actually did. You may find that the guy has worked on this great site, but all he did was make the background color blue. The rest was done by someone else.
Get all the details so you are comfortable with their level of expertise.
5. Do not ignore the high price tags. Everything is negotiable.
I've seen a lot of people automatically jump to the price page when evaluating RFP's and quotes. Once they see a huge number they are not comfortable paying, they move on to the next quote.
Wait a minute. Sometimes you get what you pay for...remember that.
If you get a quote from someone that you think you might really be interested in, call them anyway. Go through the entire interview process with them to make sure that they really are a match. If so, then start talking price.
Don't be afraid to really interview the "expensive" coders hard. That's why they get such high rates.
If you are sold on them, start negotiating. If the freelancer has spent a good amount of time talking with you already, chances are they will be willing to negotiate the rate with you.
Sometimes freelancers will quote a number that they just hope to get when in reality they will do the job for much less.
Don't let sticker shock scare you away from good people.