6 Signs To Look Out For Before You Hire A Creative Freelancer

So you’re looking to hire a creative freelancer to carry out some tasks for your marketing project or for your business needs.

“Yay!” to improving productivity!

We spend a massive amount of hours doing tasks that require a whole lot of skills that we’re not trained to do. What’s worse is that we don’t even realize how much of our time it takes.

You’re far more productive when you focus your time and energy on things that are important in propelling your business or career.

With the resources you have, you’re better off hiring someone with specialized skills in your creative projects who can produce impressive results.

If you’re reading this, you may not have hired a creative freelancer before. Or you may have had a bad experience with your previous freelancer and you want to find out how you can ensure that the next freelancer you hire will be the right one for you.

Fun Fact: Did you know, there are over 179,700 freelancers in 2016 in Singapore alone? And the numbers are increasing.Click To Tweet

“So how do I know which freelancer out there is right for my project?”

In this article, I’ll list down 6 signs to look out for in a creative freelancer in order to know if they’re credible and capable of taking up your project.

These signs are not intended to be used against any specific form of freelancing verticals. It is applicable to creative freelancers from graphic design, photography, videography, sound, etc.

Warning: This article will not help you to land a creative freelancer who is willing to complete your project for free, just because you promised to hire them for “more work.”

These 6 signs are also what we use at Plexxie when we hand-pick the right creative freelancer for your project needs:

 

1) Recommendations

In the world of creative freelancing, most of our projects come from referrals and recommendations. As a client sourcing for freelancers, this might be the factor you start with in your search for the “perfect one.”

Someone might mention to you: Check out this guy I’ve worked with. He’s pretty good!

So it begins; the search for the perfect freelancer for your project.

It’s a great start. However, just be sure that the recommendations come from a credible source.

Also, make sure that it is not the only sign you look out for. Go through the rest of the other signs listed below to further determine if it’s the right creative freelancer for your project.

 

2) Availability

Being the client, you might always be available to work alongside the creative freelancer. But are they available to work with you in the first place? Having the perfect-fit freelancer also means that they have ample time to work on your project, especially if it’s on a tight schedule.

They might have other projects that they’re working on and do not have time to work on your project. Afterall, they’re working professionals just like us.

You can’t expect creative freelancers to push aside all their other projects just because you classify your project as “urgent.”Click To Tweet

Let’s be real though, money talks!

So unless you feel that its worth to pay the freelancer some extra cash to prioritize your project, this is a factor that you should look out for to ensure your deadlines are being met.

 

3) Skills

Okay, let’s say you’re looking for a graphic designer for a logo design. Do you know the exact skills you are looking for to ensure you get the right deliverables?

Pro Tip: For logo designing, you might want it to be done on Adobe Illustrator to get a vector file that can be used for any digital, print and web situations without your logo getting pixelated.Click To Tweet

So, is your graphic designer skilled at Adobe Illustrator? Or does she use other designing software that doesn’t allow a vector file to be created?

What I’m trying to say here is that for your project, there might be more than one skill the creative freelancer should possess. To know what skills you need to look out for, you have to do your own research!

Look into their portfolio and ask them what exactly did they do for that project, and how specialized are they in a particular skill.

 

4) Familiarity

Let’s go with a video production scenario now. You’re searching for a video production company in Singapore to do a recap video of your event.

Not all video production companies are familiar with producing event videos. Some might be more familiar with producing TV commercials or short films.

Again, this is something you have to look out for in their portfolio.

You can also ask the creative freelancers what type of projects they enjoy doing. This will give you an idea if they’re comfortable with the scope of your project.

 

5) Communication

Communication is not just a massive factor in working with creative freelancers, it also plays a part in our daily lives.

It is a crucial skill that every creative freelancer should possess. You can judge their passion or interests in working with you based on how they communicate with you.

  • When approaching them about your project, do they sound or look interested in working on it?
  • Do they show emotional intelligence such as active listening and empathy?
  • How fast does your creative freelancer respond to your queries?
  • Did they give you an answer with sufficient information to the question you asked?

These are the key things to look out for regarding communication. It’ll also ensure you build a strong foundation towards an excellent working relationship with your creative freelancer.

That being said, as clients to creative freelancers, we must again understand that they’re working professionals just like us.

Be reasonable! If you’re being nasty as a client and asking them to complete your projects for a super low price (or for free), don’t expect a reply (or a rational reply) from the creative freelancer.Click To Tweet

Or, if you ignored the creative freelancer for a week or more without any follow-up, and you approach them again asking for things to be done as soon as possible, don’t expect a reasonable reply from them either.

As much as clients can push aside freelancers, freelancers have the right to ignore their clients too.Click To Tweet

But hey as I’ve said, money talks!

 

6) Price Of The Creative Freelancer You Want To Hire

It all comes down to this. Oh yes, the big question we always ask that will usually decide if we’re moving forward with the project, where clients would be eager to find out the magic number and creative freelancers would quote a sum, hoping for the best.

If their availability, skills, familiarity, communication and recommendation fits, the big question should actually be: Can I afford them?

Great creative freelancers are not cheap. You get what you pay for. As the saying goes, “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”Click To Tweet

Finding a cheap creative freelancer that does a fantastic job is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

A great creative freelancer will not only do the job for you. They will give you their expert advice, diagnosing your current issues from what you have and giving you recommendations on how to move forward.

Here’s a rough estimate of creative freelancer prices in graphic design, photography and videography fields in Singapore.

Average price list To Hire Freelancers in SingaporeInformation gathered from Plexxie.

 

Average price list of Freelance Photographers in Singapore (SGD/per hr)

Amateur = $0 – $150
Semi-Pro = $150 – $250
Top-Professionals = $250 – $500

Average price list of Freelance Videographers in Singapore (SGD/per hr)

Amateur = $0 – $120
Semi-Pro = $120 – $280
Top-Professionals = $280 – $550

Average price list of Freelance Graphic Designers in Singapore (SGD/per hr)

Amateur = $0 – $60
Semi-Pro = $60 – $90
Top-Professionals = $90 – $150

 

NO NO NO: I’ve warned you at the start of this article. Do not take the opportunity to say “How about I’ll hire you now for free, BUT I promise I’ll give you more work later.”

If you can’t afford the freelancer, move on to another one. Or you can wait untill you have a bigger budget to hire the creative freelancer in the future.

Nevertheless, keep the relationship going as it might be strategic to you as a business owner or marketer.

 

Bonus Information for Marketers reading this:

You’re looking for Creative Social Influencers (aka Key Opinion Leaders) for your social media marketing project.

Here’s a quick tip for you: Do not use their follower count as the only factor to hire them. Yes, it’s one of the key considerations, but it’s not the only consideration.

Look into their engagement rate.

For Instagram, you can use a tool like Phlanx to calculate their engagement rate according to how many followers they have.

Phlanx.com - Engagement calculator

Usually, the higher your follower count is, the lower your engagement rate. But that kinda makes sense due to the social media algorithms.

Nevertheless, here’s a detailed article by Influence.co on the typical range of engagement rate based on different industries and follower count. Be sure to take note that prices listed on that article are in US Dollars currency.

Engagement Rate Per Industry

 

What Happens If You Hire The Wrong Creative Freelancer?

There is usually no way out if you made a wrong choice. You just wasted both your money and your time. Also, you have to factor in hiring additional creative freelancers to fix the mistakes you have made.

Look on the bright side. At least now you’ll know who not to hire.

Thus, this article is written to help you in your quest to find the perfect-fit creative freelancer without having to waste your money and your time. Just a little bit of hard work at the beginning of the hiring process will guarantee that you would not have to spend additional resources in the future because you made a wrong choice.

 

Applying the approach to a Hiring Scenario

Scenario: You have a 1-day event, and you’re looking for a photographer to cover the event. You have 2 candidates interested in working on the project.

Freelancer Woody: Recommended by a friend. Specialised in Landscape photography. He has another project on the same day before your event starts. Price to hire him: $3000 for 6 hours.

Freelancer Buzz: Recommended by an online friend on Facebook. Specialised in Event Photography. He’s available on the entire event day. Price to hire him: $3500 for 6 hours.

Who would I choose? Definitely Freelancer Buzz.

First of all, he specializes in Event Photography while Freelancer Woody specializes in Landscape photography. Yes, the basics of the skill set in photography might be the same, but choosing someone who specializes in a particular skill that is precisely what you need makes A LOT of difference.

Additionally, based on their availability, I do not want to be screwed if Freelancer Woody shows up late as he has another project before the event starts.

Therefore, I would definitely pay the additional $500 to ensure these 2 factors are met.

 

Conclusion

Choosing a perfect-fit creative freelancer isn’t that difficult once you get the hang of it. You might make a few mistakes in the beginning, but we all experience that and learn from it to understand who not to hire.

To avoid wasting money and time, these are the 6 signs you can look out for when screening to hire a creative freelancer.

These 6 signs are also what we use here at Plexxie when we’re sourcing for creative freelancers. This includes photography, videography, graphic design and even copywriting projects. We specialize in sourcing out multiple millennial creative freelancers for your marketing & events projects.

Here’s another quick tip (if you can afford it): After you go through the 6 signs and you’ve found a perfect-fit freelancer, test them out with a smaller scale job that involves lesser money. This way, you can determine their working ethics based on how they worked with you during that smaller project.

As I mentioned earlier, this article isn’t meant for you to get a “free” project done by a creative freelancer. Neither is it meant for you to find loopholes in low-balling a creative freelancers’ price.

If you can’t afford a particular creative freelancer, it’s better to move along to find another one and leave everyone’s dignity intact.Click To Tweet

But how do you improve your chances of getting more awesome freelancers to work for you? Hubspot has written an excellent article on how you can hire the best-fit freelancer for your next project. 

If you’re interested, you can also read about the rights of creative freelancer in Singapore. Being the clients, we also hope that you can adhere to the rights of creative freelancers and have a positive working relationship with them.

I hope that this article will help you find your perfect-fit creative freelancer and boost your daily productivity to focus on what’s actually important to you.

Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or good/bad experiences with a freelancer!

Written By Matin Wallister

Matin Wallister is the Co-founder & CEO of Plexxie. He has over 10 years of experience as a social media and digital marketer across various industries.