You’re a budding entrepreneur and life coach. You need a website, but you’ve firmly decided you are not going to do it yourself because you know the value of your time. You want to outsource that particular project to someone else, but your budget is limited.
You’ve looked into hiring a freelancer on websites like Upwork, but you aren’t sure how to go about searching for the best person on there or posting your job. You don’t know what obstacles to expect and are intimidated by some of the negative reviews you might have read online.
This post is for you.
First, the elephant in the room
You might be wondering why I’m writing a post about hiring a developer who isn’t me.
I’ll be open with you. My website clients are primarily life coaches. I choose to work with coaches because coaching has had such an impact on me (lost weight and kept it off, dug my way out of post-partum depression, to name a couple of things).
Because of that result, my overall purpose as a web consultant is to get more coaching into the world.
I’m doing that by building websites for and helping life coaches with their digital strategy. I love it. I eat, sleep, and dream it. It’s a fantastic marriage of skill and passion for me. And as a bonus, my clients tend to enjoy the results of my work.
But I’m also aware that my price point is just not a reality for some coaches, especially when they’re just starting out. And I still want to help them!
So I’m writing this advice for those of you who want to outsource your website project via a freelance website. I’m going to tell you the things to be prepared for when you post a job on one of those sites.
Be sure to have a handle on your overall strategy
When hiring on Upwork, the person you are going to be working with isn’t going to know what you should have on your coaching website. This is actually true for most developers you’ll run into, so it isn’t necessarily unique to a freelance site. Do your research to find out what pages you need and what your overall content strategy should be.
If you’re a life coach going through coach training with the Life Coach School, as many of my clients are, then you’ll likely receive some training on this.
In addition, I’ve created a great resource for all the pages and strategies you might need with my 5-day Coach Website Blueprint training. It’s completely free for you, and you can get it here.
Be ready to become a project manager
Most freelancers are on their own for a reason. They like to work for themselves and have flexibility. But sometimes that means they might need more encouragement than you would need to give if working with a more established web development agency. Be sure to ask them about scheduling regular project updates and, in general, ensure you’ll have a solid stream of communication throughout the project.
Gauge the potential language and culture barrier
Labor is going to less expensive when you’re hiring from overseas, it’s just a fact. The cost of living makes it that way, and that might be a good thing for you. There’s nothing inherently bad about hiring from India or the Phillippines for your website project. Just be sure you are okay with a little bit of disconnect in the culture between you and your developer, and be patient with it.
English is also more likely to a second language when hiring inexpensive website help. Because of the potential language and culture barrier, be sure to email back and forth a few times with someone before hiring them so you can ensure their language skill level will be a good match for you.
Be ready to spend some effort finding the right person
A lot of the applicant pool will be sub-par in skill for the development you need. Check out ratings on applicant’s profiles to see what they can do, though don’t rely on those alone. Some of the really valuable people may not be as active on these websites because they have their own projects going.
My recommendation: be proactive. Reach out to at least 20 developers who you’ve searched out yourself and invite them to pitch for your project. You’ll get dozens of offers that come in, but most of them will probably not be the kind of developer you want to work with.
Also, be sure to check out the profile of anyone you’re considering to note if they’ve had projects completed recently. That way you’ll know they’re busy and really committed to serving their clients.
Know the technology you need
Decide beforehand what technology you need. What content management system are you going to use? Do you want a page builder? Which email marketing service do you want integrated? What scheduling software do you need?
I’ve got a great cheat sheet for some of these things. You can check out my 5 tips for a sleek website to learn about some of my favorite technology that will be sure to help your website function well. I wrote that guide with those who are building their site themselves in mind, but it’s helpful even if you aren’t DIYing it!
Those are my main pieces of advice. If you aren’t in a place to hire someone more specialized yet, I hope these points about what to be aware of when hiring on freelance websites are helpful!
If you’re down for all this, you can read a simple 5-step guide to posting your first project-for-hire on Upwork right here.
Hope that’s helpful,
P.S. If you’re determined to outsource your website project and you need to do so inexpensively, then looking on Upwork isn’t a bad idea. Just keep these things in mind:
- Be sure to have a good handle on your content and digital strategy.
- Be prepared to be a project manager.
- Gauge the potential language and culture barrier so you know how well the applicant communicates in written English.
- Spend some time finding the right person.
- And know the technology you need!