How to Find a REAL Freelance Pro

From Elance to Guru, to Odesk, how do you know that the person you are hiring is the real deal?

Are your prospects great button pushers, graphic grabbers, and trend followers, with the ability to provide enthusiastic customer service and a very affordable rate?

Do you have long term relationships with these freelancers, or do they disappear out of thin air just as soon as they arrived with your product sheet or website content?

The first step is to be honest about what you really want.

If you are paying someone cheap in the freelance world, don’t necessarily expect project loyalty or top quality work. There is a reason why some writers will take a penny a word and compete against desperate, undoubtedly caffeinated individuals who have an insignificant amount of the all-pro pie. And if you’re looking for something quick, a one-off project or item that is again, decent, passable, and serves a very specific purpose, you may want to consider the above sites.

If you’re looking for a long-term pro like those in my world, men and women who you can hire on a flexible basis (an array of set-up options include hourly, deliverable, weekly, monthly, etc.), it’s better to hire a professional, someone educated in their craft, a great communicator, and dedicated to the entire brand life-cycle, who will get to know you and your brand, and is dedicated to excellence and success in a cohesive, holistic fashion.

We’re talking the ability to achieve long-term success through relationship-building, a variety of skills and services, a commitment to organization and organizational success, and a steady flow of consistent content.

To be able to see through a successful, long-term strategy with proven return on investment, in whatever goal or project that may be, from a book to a website to an engaging social media strategy, you must look a bit deeper for the right people.

Some of the best can be found on sites like LinkedIn, on the web, through word of mouth and events in your local communities, and even social media. The best way is to take a look at someone’s profile, blog, or website, and if you’re intrigued, give them a call.

And Then What? 

Even if you’re not completely sure what you’re looking for, it pays to get into contact with someone whose style or prose compels you. Get on the phone, on Skype or GoToMeeting, or meet with the prospective freelancer in person. Discuss their background and expertise, their track record, clients, successes, failures, you’re welcome to get samples or portfolios if you can. Some freelancers set up free consultations to discuss specific projects to determine if the match is a right fit. Take the time that you need.

Want to give that freelancer a shot? Go through any agreements or formalities you may need with them, and make sure to ask them up front about it. Most freelancers will have no problem doing work on a project basis, especially in the beginning – others would like a month-long commitment, or other various terms, in order to try a long-term strategy. Of course, this depends on the medium and the expert you need.

Above all, though, the lesson is simple: You get what you pay for. If you want a professional helping you write content or further your marketing strategy, you will pay more, but you will achieve greater overall success and better ROI.

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