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Hiring a freelancer can be a bit daunting with so many options and avenues available. Freelancers for the most part are knowledgeable, hard-working, and reliable. But you need to make sure to do your research before using external services.

Is that freelancer outsourcing their own workload?

This tends to be the case when a freelancer just sets up a sales funnel to gain leads and sell you the service. Then they will outsource the work to the lowest bidder on another platform. They are essentially just a middle man in the process. You can usually call someone like this out with a few on the spot technical questions.

The real downside of getting stuck with a freelancer like this is that you will never get responses quickly because everything has to then be relayed to whoever is actually doing the work. If that person happens to be on the other side of the world then you will be waiting at least a day to get any answers. It’s more akin to working with an agency, so you lose that personal relationship.

Using freelancers through freelancing sites

Freelancing sites like Fiverr, People Per Hour, and UpWork have a huge selection of freelancers covering all kinds of services. In theory, it looks great but the platforms are rife with poor quality work and false reviews.

There are a lot of reputable freelancers on those sites, so please don’t write them off, its a perfectly valid method of hiring a freelancer. Just be sure to check the freelancer outside of that platform. Say, for example, they are a web designer and they don’t have a portfolio website with examples of their work, that doesn’t bode well. The same goes for SEO, if they don’t have a website that ranks well organically then look elsewhere.

So what is the problem?

The quality of a freelancer’s work is something you can usually get an idea of from previous examples but the main issue comes from handing over sensitive data to unknown sources. For all you know, they could be cloning all of your content, adding malicious links or worse yet, exporting all of your client data.

I have even seen instances of people installing tracking software and scripts to skim money from eCommerce store transactions in the background to their account. This can be a very costly mistake with almost no comeback.

For design and video work, I have seen instances where clients have been caught out from freelancers not licensing stock photos or video content in the work they have supplied. This can result in hefty fines and legal implications.

So where should I be hiring a freelancer?

This isn’t a scaremongering post, I just urge anyone I talk to, to do their research before offering out work. It may take longer upfront but building a good relationship with a reputable freelancer can be invaluable later down the line.