Finding Freelance Talent Online

If you need an occasional programmer, writer, marketer or website designer, you probably don’t want to hire a full time staff member to do the job. Sometimes you have a project that needs assistance for a few weeks. But where do you find freelancers?

My top picks online are Elance and Guru. Read on to find out how they can help you find talented freelancers.

Elance

While there are dozens of freelance sites online (and believe me, I’ve pitched my services on most of them), most irritate me because they are filled with low-quality, low-wage workers who are beating out the more talented competition simply because they’re overseas and cheap. But, as I always say, you get what you pay for. The quality of service providers on Elance is better than other sites.

Providers are rated by people who have hired them in the past on Elance. Because they can leave feedback, you can get a better sense of if this individual is a good fit for your project, and if he’s reliable. Both individuals and agencies have profiles, so you can take your pick based on what you want.

As you can see in my company’s profile below, you can easily see what areas a freelancer or agency specializes in, as well as portfolio samples, rates and work experience. In some ways, it’s better than looking at a company’s website, because you see exactly what they’ve worked on and the results.

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Guru

Guru is another great site for finding freelancers. You can search by category, then narrow your search by clicking on more specific niches. Guru also offers vendors the opportunity to take tests to display their skill levels in different categories, so if you’re looking for a programmer with sharp PHP skills, you can look at test results to see if they’re up to par.

Vendors can offer package deals, which can be handy if you’re looking for a cut and dry solution, like web design.

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How to Find a Provider

Once you set up a profile on either site, there are two main ways to find a provider. The first is to search through freelancers in the category that you need solutions in. Review profiles to find a handful of providers that have what you’re looking for. You can reach out to them directly, or include them in the second way for finding freelancers.

The second method is to post a job with all the requirements you need. You can either a) open it up to any qualified freelancers or b) invite those you’ve targeted in the first step. You’ll likely have dozens of responses, so you then can weed through the results to find the best candidate. Make sure to leave feedback after the project to help others who might want to hire your freelancer.