5 Ways to Spot a Career Freelancer

There are two categories of freelancers and knowing how to spot the difference between the two will help you make the best decision when looking for some help. Temporary freelancers are just what the name implies, they may be currently transitioning between jobs, trying to make some extra cash on the side or freelancing as a hobby as projects pop up. This type of contractor might not be the best fit for you if you're looking for someone who's going to be reliable and with you for the long haul. The other type of freelancer is the career freelancer, this type of worker is going to be the best fit if you're looking for reliable talent who will be there indefinitely to help you with your business, below are 5 ways you can spot a career freelancer.

1 - They work regular business hours

Not all career freelancers work exactly 9-5, but they should be keeping somewhat regular hours and you should have a good idea of when they will be available. If you're constantly playing phone tag, they're getting back to you days or weeks later and at odd hours, they might not be as dedicated as you are. Asking what their typical availability is should get you the answers you need.

2 - They treat their business like a business

Career freelancers usually have a great website that is a bit more robust than a typical portfolio style site that one would use for getting a job. You shouldn't see a resume, but you should see some recent work, some awards, a great bio, a services page, etc. They will also have some great branded materials, and have a distinct process for how they do things.

3 - They have a lot of experience

You can see from a portfolio the type of work they do, but talking to someone you should be able to get a deeper understanding of their level of experience. Have they been hired by big companies and have a history of challenging and varied work? Have they been freelancing for more than a few months? Have they ever worked on a project similar to the type of project you're needing to have done? How did it go? What were some challenges, how were those solved? A good career freelancer will be able to easily navigate challenging situations and working with difficult clients.

4 - You sometimes have to wait

Career freelancers are not always readily available, especially to new clients. Often times, you will have to wait a week or sometimes even a month for a project to kick off. While this can be irritating, it should be comforting to know they have lots of work and are dedicated to completing their existing projects before taking on more.

5 - They don't take every project or every client

Good career freelancers typically aren't desperate for work. They have a solid list of happy repeat clients and a flowing pipeline of work. They also know what types of clients and the kind of work that's a good fit for them. When you're a freelancer, potential clients propose all kinds of projects, which may be in or outside of your wheelhouse, a good freelancer only takes on projects and clients where they know they can shine and be successful. A career freelancer will be interviewing you the same way you'll be interviewing them, they'll ask a lot of questions about you and your project before saying yes.

Temporary freelancers are certainly great for certain types of work but if you're looking for a career freelancer who will be there for your business a year or 5 years into the future, these are some good ways to spot the differences.


How to pick the best Graphic Designer

1. You need to like their work

This may seem obvious but it happens. A client picks a designer based on a referral but doesn't take the time to look at that designers work. Every designer has a style and it's important that the client and the designers style is a match. If you love the designers work, you'll most likely be thrilled with the work they do for you.

2. They need to be organized and prompt

Designers and creatives have a reputation for being a little flakey. So when you're in initial talks with a designer make sure they are on time for meetings, that they don't reschedule and that they show up prepared. Things like communicating with the client, meeting deadlines and informing the client when and if things are going off track will make or break a project. Making sure your designer is organized and prompt is key.

3. They need to be excited about the project

New projects are exciting! If your designer doesn't seem thrilled with the thought of new work, maybe it's not a great fit.

4. They should possess a sense of urgency

If the client hasn't responded to edits or initial drafts and this is going to effect the deadline, the designer should be on it, 'Just wanted to follow up', 'I wanted to make sure you received the revised', etc. The designer needs to be actively working towards meeting your deadline even if you're the one holding up the process.

5. They need to 'get' you

Some people just 'get' you, if a designer seems confused about what you do or isn't quite understanding they might not be the best fit. Someone who's a good fit will ask great informed questions, they will have worked within your industry or learned enough about it to be clear.

6. They need to be experienced and confident

You can tell by a designers portfolio if they're experienced with projects similar to yours, you can also tell by asking questions. An experienced designer will be able to talk through ideas, design and production with ease, they'll be able to confidently make recommendations in a way that makes you feel comfortable and feel like you're in capable hands.

7. They need to have relationships with vendors

Having great relationships with vendors is a must, there are all different types of vendors with different specialties and knowing who to partner up with to produce the best possible product at the best possible price is an advantage that experienced designers have.

8. They need to be able to problem-solve

There are many problems that arise in projects: design problems, client problem, vendor problem,  production/quality problems or logistical problems. Being able to confidently handle them, come up with creative solutions and communicate to all parties involved in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable is an important skill to have.

9. They should be clear communicators

Clear communication is so important, as a client if you feel confused about what is happening and when it's happening you're going to lose confidence. Designers should be clearly communicating what is happening, when it's happening and what the next step is.

10. Both the client and the designer should be comfortable with each other

If you feel intimidated by your designer or your designer is feeling intimidated by you, either party might not be communicating everything that needs to be communicated. If that's the case, it's not the best relationship. It's not a guarantee that you won't have great results but it could lead to that. There needs to be open lines of communication on both sides, if the client hates the work, they need to say it, if the designer is confused by some feedback, they need to feel confident enough to let the client know so they can get clear. 

Why Should You Hire a Graphic Designer?

Your business needs graphic design services. If overlooked you could be missing out on clients, attracting the wrong ones or wasting time and money. By making graphic design a focus in your business you'll be receiving benefits well worth the initial investment. Below are some important reasons you should hire a designer.

Look Professional

Do you remember a time when you received a flyer or visited a site and thought "I would never hire this company"? You're not the only one, customers are more likely to read and react to something that looks and feels professional.

Build Confidence

Handing out business cards or a marketing piece that you're proud of and you feel accurately represents your business makes a huge difference in your confidence. That confidence could be the difference between getting or not getting a sale.  

Build Trust

Your customers care about design, to them it symbolizes credibility and makes you instantly more trustworthy. When you invest in great design, customers take notice. If you're a small business owner this is especially important, by investing in well-crafted marketing materials your customers will know you're serious about what you do.

Save Time and Money

Many business owners make the mistake of creating and printing their own marketing materials. Not only does this waste valuable time that could be better allocated to working on your business but the end result isn't always very professional, creating a need for a redesign/reprint down the road. By selecting a talented designer from the start, your materials have longevity and won't need to be constantly redesigned.

Solve Problems

Great design can help you solve a lot of business related problems. Are people not responding to your ads, not reading your materials, think your services are too expensive or confused about what you do? Great design can help solve these types of problems.

Get Attention

A great redesign can instantly help recalibrate customers perceptions of who you are and what you do, getting you the attention you deserve.