Working with freelancers: Picking the right fit and keeping the project on track | Evan Kimbrell | Skillshare

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Working with freelancers: Picking the right fit and keeping the project on track

teacher avatar Evan Kimbrell, Director at Sprintkick

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Welcome to the class!

    • 2. First thing to do

    • 3. 5 pillars for evaluating contractors

    • 4. 6 red flags for hiring contractors

    • 5. How to handle extra work and specifications

    • 6. Is contracting a long term solution?

    • 7. How to handle referrals

    • 8. Understanding your response rate

    • 9. How important is site reputation?

    • 10. Keep the learning going

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About This Class

If you're like many other entrepreneurs, you will, at some point, need to hire a freelancer or two. And as if managing your personal relationships wasn't hard enough, now you've got to effectively manage a freelancer relationship - which is more complicated than you'd think. Chances are you're going to have to sift through a lot of candidates, so where to begin?

This class is a crash course on how to choose and work well with a freelancer by figuring out what qualities to look for and what to avoid - plus some other quick tips that I've gathered from my experience in hiring and managing freelancers. You'll pick up the techniques needed to ensure that your next freelance hire is a good one.

What you'll learn: (italics)

  • How to choose a freelancer that fits
  • How to keep things on track
  • Red flags to look for

What you'll do:

You're going to go out into the big, wide Internet world, post a job listing on Freelancer or Upwork and review the bids that come in. Take screenshots of the good and red-flagged candidates, post them to the Project Gallery (no personal information), and explain why they are or aren't the right fit.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Evan Kimbrell

Director at Sprintkick


Hi, I'm Evan Kimbrell.

Thanks for checking out my classes.

Currently, I'm the Founder, Director of Sprintkick, a referral-based full service digital agency based out of San Francisco. Over the past 4 years, I've overseen the development and launch of over 100 web and mobile apps. Clients range from 1-2 man startups bootstrapping their initial idea to multibillion dollar Fortune 100's like Wal-Mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, & GNC.

Prior to Sprintkick, I worked as a VC for a firm called Juvo Capital, based out of L.A. I spearheaded the firm's expansion into the Silicon Valley deal flow and into the Consumer Web tech category.

Before working for Juvo, in the long, long ago, I was a co-founder for an educational software startup called ScholarPRO that raised a ton ... See full profile

Related Skills

Entrepreneurship Business

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1. Welcome to the class!: Hey, guys. I'm Evan Kimbrell, and I'm the director at Sprint Kick, which is a Web and mobile development studio based out of San Francisco, California So the title this class is working with freelancers. I know a lot of you out there work with contractors and work with freelancers on a daily basis. So I know this is something that's very relevant to a lot of you, Whether you're an entrepreneur or a project manager or product manager or just in their freelancer who works with other freelancers, it's really important to know how to work effectively with that other person I've been hiring freelancers for over 10 years now, and there's a lot of things that I've learned over time about what works and what does not with regards to your relationship, this class is kind of a crash course. For those of you who have worked with freelancers, are those of you who do not have a lot of experience working with freelancers? We're gonna cover what are the most effective techniques for working with contractors and freelancers? What are the red flags you should look for in your relationship, and how can you keep everything good and on track. The class is kind of a collection of skills and techniques that I have kind of developed over a period of time. So if you work with freelancers or you're looking to work with them and you want to know how to manage that relationship effectively and without any grief, try taking my class. Now. At the end of the class, we have a fun little project. It's a little bit like a scavenger hunt. I'm going to be some criteria that happen or occur frequently in freelancers, and you have to go out and find those criteria and report back when you do find them. So I'm excited to teach this class. I hope that you guys learned a lot, and I hope that you enroll, so I'll see inside. 2. First thing to do: Hey, guys, welcome back to the class. So I have an assignment for you really quickly. I want this to be the first thing you dio eso at the bottom of the skill share page. It says discussions, the clip discussions, and then you can click new post. I want you right now to go and do that and introduce yourself. You don't have to tell me a lot of information. You can just say your name or your from. But what I'd like to actually hear from you is one. What do you struggling with? And to what are you looking to get out of the class? I think this is something that helped immensely with the class. I really like to make my classes as engaging as possible. I respond to everyone, and I want to make sure that as I'm teaching, I'm meeting your goals and I know exactly what I'm trying to fix. Okay, so this is the first thing. Just go down to the bottom of the page. Do that now. Don't skip it. You can skip it if you want, but I think you'll miss out. All right. Seeing the next lecture 3. 5 pillars for evaluating contractors: depending on how specific your application is or how well you've described your application , I would imagine you probably if you've waited about 24 hours, have anywhere between 20 and 50 bids. Picking a freelancer is crucial. When this is a scale that I've developed over the last five years. In the last 100 some applications. I'm gonna teach you how I do it, how I rank my freelancers. There could be other ways of doing it out there. And I'm not saying those were wrong. I'm saying this is what's worked for me. I can walk you through my logic and my rationale for why I do it this way I write them on five things. Number one is relevancy. Relevancy means that when you're looking at a freelancer, look at their portfolio. How many applications have they done that are similar to what you're building not only similar in subject, similar and industry and similar and size does it three dimensions that I look at these. So when my projects was a taxi management app Now I'm gonna look for someone who won. Hopefully has worked in some kind of logistics application. Hopefully someone who's worked in cars or taxis or transportation sub that I'm gonna look for someone who has built any type of application that I think controls moving parts and controls actual employees. If they don't have that, it's probably a strike against them. Then I'm gonna look for applications they built that have similar features. My application had text messaging. It also had an online screen where they can pick their shifts and pick their hours. It also had a system where they could communicate the route text message, and that text message system was essentially like a robot that would talk back to them. That's a little obscure. So I'm gonna look for. But I'm gonna look for somebody who may be built text message APS before really anything along those lines, I might look for someone who's done online scheduling. That could be something. If they have neither one of those, then it's probably a strike in my book as well. For the term relevancy, the last sub dimension under relevancy is going to be scope. Look at the application they've built. If you're proposing to build an application that you think will take a month to build, see how many other applications they've built that also took them roughly a month. Most of the freelancing applications will show you how long their projects lasted. Odeh school tell you how many hours they build on a particular project? E Lance. I believe you can just go and look at the job. Posting Freelancer is similar in that regard. So if you're looking for a big project, look to see that they have big project experience. If you're doing a smaller project, then maybe you want to make sure that they can pull off a quick job as well. They're not going Teoh disappear because the application that they signed on to build is only gonna take them a week. If you have the case where they have either all small project experience or all big project experience, I always air in favor of big project experience. I never really hold that against them, and that's the only thing they do. That just means that they like larger projects. But in my experience, developers who work on larger applications have a larger breadth of skill, and also they're just more responsible in general. So that's not necessarily knock against him. If they only have short projects. That means that they could be a less mature freelancer. That could mean that they're not nearly as committed. That could mean that they have other commitments that could actually get in the way. The second criteria I uses experience. This is probably the most obvious one. And I think that honestly, when you look at a freelancer and you want to determine how you rate them on experience, just click on their profile and just take a quick gander. It shouldn't take you more than a couple of minutes to get a general idea of how experienced they are. The way that you do this is you just simply look at the freelancer, see how many projects they have specifically, How long have they been doing this? That's another big one. They've only been on the application for a year or maybe six months. That could be a red flag. If it's the case that they've only been using that platform for a short period of time, you can always ask them once you get to your shortlist, say, how long have you been making Web applications? And they will tell you often within their resumes or their profile descriptions. It'll say I've been a developer 4.5 years. Use that as a general gage of how mature they are and how comfortable you are with them. The biggest thing is what's gonna happen when they run into a problem. People who are more experienced are less likely to run away, and they're less likely to have an incomplete project. More experience is better. But keep in mind, obviously, that if you're trying to cut costs, you might have to forego a little bit of experience. Also, look at your application and have a deep think about how complicated this really is. You can reach out to the freelancers and asked them, How complicated is this? And they will generally give you a good idea, and that's a good way of engaging. Okay, this is a medium difficulty project, or this is a low difficulty project. If that's the case, then experience is not nearly as important of a criteria Criteria Number three, and this is the biggest one. For me, it is interest. Every time you've heard someone who is a hiring or each our guru, what they always tell you is really the important about hiring someone. They always tell you that that person needs to show interest in your company. And that is kind of a startup motto as well that people who are interested but lack the skills can learn the skills that, but people with the skills who lack the interest are just gonna be kind of dead in the water. I believe that works for freelancers as well, and in this case, look for interest. How do you tell if they're interested? Typical. You'll see a range of responses to your project. That range could be on one end of the spectrum, which is that they sent you a copy and pasted message. And in that copy and pasted message, you could notice that nothing has been modified. How do you tell if something's modified in their copy paste message? The way I tell is if I post a project with specifics to it, say I posted my TWILIO taxi application. Do they mention anything about twilio in their application? That's generally a dead giveaway for me. Did they mention any of the skills that I listed his prerequisites or desired skills on my job posting? There's no mention. Wow, they didn't even read it at all. Now the other end of the spectrum with terms of interest will be that someone will just send you a message. And they're commenting directly to you about the project. Maybe they're responding with the question that is dinner early. A better sign, a better Sinus them saying, I like this project. I'm interested in this project or away that they're illustrating that they thought about your project, their spending time on your bid. And they are showing that when they read your bed, they're thinking about it. That's good way of just of telling how interested now committed, they are to it. There are freelancers who are good at hiding that what they do is they have templates that they can modify very quickly. And it's very hard for you to tell whether or not it's been written by hand, or it's just a copy and paste message the way that you can easily get through. This is just my messaging them, and I'll show you this when we actually go through and do this for a riel. What you could do is just message them really quickly. Cinema sentence, saying, What do you think about the project? How long do you think it'll take now? What that will do is a lot of people who don't even check their accounts. They just won't respond. So there you go. You save yourself some time. Some people respond, given inadequate answer, and some people will respond and blow you away. They'll say, You know, I think these the hard parts about it here, the easy parts about it. This is my best guess of time. And in the last few questions, that means that the person's engaged and that means generally a positive sign. Another positive sign is when they verbally say they're interested in it, or they mention that they built something in the past. Those are always good interest, will keep their focus on the application, and interest will make it such that they're more willing to put in extra work and the less willing to charge you for that extra work because it just comes naturally to them. If this is Drudge work for them, you're probably going to run into more issues than if it's someone who's really committed. The fourth criteria that I use is availability. Availability is pretty easy to tell. You just simply ask them if you don't trust their response is what you can do is you can look at their profiles. Most of these freelancing websites, they will tell you what other projects they're working on. A lot of times it's hard. When a studio responds, it's like a firm art agency responds. You know that they have other projects, and you know that they're not going to be realistic when you ask them. Hey, what's your band with going forward? How many people can you devote to this project? They always lie, or they always exaggerate because they don't want to lose the sale. And they always overestimate their ability to shift. Resource is around. That is something I've known just from being in the studio game for so long. That is inevitable, and the best people do it regardless. Have a look for yourself. Look at their profile. See how Maney active projects there are. You can tell that summer active, and some of them look like they're abandoned. That's a red flag if it looks like there's a small project that started six months ago, and it's not wrapped up its not necessarily their fault. But it's something that you should keep in mind. If you're not looking at an agency or a studio again, I will go back to what I said originally, which is that you could just ask them, What's your availability like? And for the most part, they will be honest. If it's the case of a freelancer, I think that your tolerance for how many other projects they have should be lower. I say this because say you have a freelancer He might think he's extremely productive and they might be extremely duct of here. She however, there are certain things they cannot predict. They don't know when a bug might hit one of their projects. They don't know when the scope of the project changes or when someone that they're working with changes the specifications for the project or if someone disappears, things happen. So what can happen is if they're if they're building your application in the building three other things it is likely that one of the other projects can balloon, and every well, intention ing developer I've met still makes this mistake. They always think that they can quantify how long and how much damage time they're going to spend on their other projects, and that always changes. It is too variable now if the freelancer says they have other job. We talked about this previously about how finding off hours freelancers is fantastic. If they say they have another job that I think is an exception, why do I say that? Because their job is typically 9 to 5. If they've been with that job for a long period of time. There mawr realistic about how often they have to have over time, How often do their projects at work balloon? If it's one job, that's one job, it's not to other projects that they have limited familiarity with. So if they have another job that seems find typically I look for people that have a lot of availability. There's one other thing that I think you should keep in mind. If they have a wide open schedule, that's a good thing, and it's a bad thing. They've wide open schedule. Asked them, Are you gonna be taking on other projects while you do this? That's a crucial thing that you should ask them. Criteria Number five is responsiveness. Ah, lot of people think that I read too much into responsiveness, and I think I read too little into it. I think this is huge when I message them. How fast did they respond when I message them? And I asked them two questions. They respond to both questions, or do they only respond to one, but even more respond to one. And it's not even the correct response. Responsiveness for me is huge because the more I ping them and the more they respond in a shorter period of time that shows me that their active shows me that they're engaged. It shows me that they're interested. Remember, previously on the O Desk lecture. It shows you how often they respond to their contacts. That's a great sign. Now someone who Onley responds sometimes or they get around to it every 48 hours is not someone that you want to go into a project with, because what happens when your servers crashed and you have to message them? How responsive are they? You should try Teoh, talk to them outside of these systems, see if they have Skype, the have Skype, then you can talk to them directly and with minimal back and forth time. I'll talk about that in a little bit more in the next lecture. Why not? Having Skype is actually a really bad thing. Look for responsiveness. How do you know if they're responsive? Who? Really simple. I call it the Ping test. What I do is I will message them a quick question. See how fast they respond. How is fast within an hour, superfast within two hours. Guts Quite fast. Are they in another country? Wow. If there another country, take what I just said and multiply it quite a bit. I think if they respond within five or six hours, consider this is a freelancer website and you're not necessarily client yet and they have time zones. You can take that into consideration if they're in your country and they're not responding within a couple hours. I don't generally like that. This is also depends on how many people have bidding on your project and how choosy you want to be. Personally, I do not like people who do not respond. When I asked them questions and I don't like people who take a day to respond, that makes me anxious. If you want to get a little bit hard core about it like me, I send them a ping message at midnight. See how they respond. I'll send them something kind of at the fringe of when they should be awake when they should be asleep. I just want to see how connected they are to their phone. For me, this is huge. Someone who's interested in my project, who has a decent amount of experience who was very responsive, is a very good candidate for me. If you have questions at this point in the lecture, feel free to post it in the group discussion and we can talk about it. There are other criteria I'm leaving out and I had met that These are the five that I care about and they're not really in any order. I think that you kind of rate them on all five, and I think what I'll do is probably attach a tech sheet that you can actually some kind of visualisation that will help you rate them in your head. After a while, you get really good at this and you be able to rattle it off very quickly. after a while. You also kind of get a gut feeling for Is this a good applicant or is this a bad apple? 4. 6 red flags for hiring contractors: then my experience. Ah, lot of people graze over what I consider effectively odor mines, things that are gonna blow up later. And I think that there are a lot of red flags that you might skip over because you don't have a lot of experience with this. There also a lot of things when it comes to selecting a freelancer that you might be little lawfully on because you're new to this. You're not sure how I should interpret something? Well, I'm going to interject my opinion to give you a little bit of guidance. Take it For what it's worth, the first thing I want to say is Number one. If the person that I'm talking to when I'm trying to build my short list says that they don't have Skype or they don't offer that that is a red flag for me, that's just odd to me. I think it's very strange that they don't use Skype and they are contracting. That means to me that they don't have a lot of experience contracting, or they're not realistic about how much kind of connectivity this project's going to require. Typically, the best way of hashing someone out is asked for their Skype. You can talk on Skype, have a real time conversation. Personally, I don't like to video Skype with all of my contractors. That just would get a little onerous. It would take a little bit too much time. I like to just text Skype message shot and having a quick conversation with them. You can get a feel for how confident you think they are, how interested they are in the other five criteria that we listed in the previous lecture. No Skype. I consider that a red flag, especially if they say no, I don't have one or you ask for and they don't give it to you. That's weird. You need to have real time feedback. You're not gonna run this project through messages on the Lance Oro desk. The 2nd 1 I kind of touched on this a little bit last time. Miss Descriptions. You know, it's nice that a lot of people will put some time into their responses in their bid, but actually read it and make sure that there's nothing in there that's completely off. I've had actually many, many instances where someone sounds like a good applicant, but then one sentence in what they responded to My thing makes no sense. I've had outsourcing a Web application, and the contractor kept calling it in mobile application. I don't know what that says to you, but that says to me they weren't paying attention. Or maybe they're just not that good. While there are a lot of things that make a good developer, one of them is attention to detail. And if they didn't pick up on that, they might be overstressed. Maybe they're overworked. Regardless, it's just not something that I want in my project. Number three. Are they overly anxious to start the project? You'll notice this special on freelancer dot com and freelance dot com. There are too many freelancers. There are seven million of them versus so desperate it was three point something, and what'll happen? Is they kind of have this problem where it feels like the squeaky wheel gets the grease. They have to shout to get noticed. So a lot of times you have people that are anxious to start the project. They're like, Yes, yes, whatever you say. It's fantastic. Let's do this. A lot of them will be very active about getting you off of the website when their first message will say I can do this. Contact me on Skype or something like that. I'm not saying don't engage with them, but that is a red flag for me, that is just too strange for me. It means that they're not very mature. It means that they're trying to do a quick grab. It means that they're probably not realistic about what your projects going to take. Number four. I call this sick of Phantasm. I'm gonna put that word up on the board. Here is the definition. For me, that is a feature of outsourcing contractors. Quite often, I don't know what it is. I think it's a cultural disconnect that in some countries they think that the way that you get projects is by being overly formal or overly ingratiating. A lot of times you will get thes flowery letters that they write to you that are way too over the top, the cheering, spending too much time on platitudes. It almost comes off like one of those Nigerian scam letters. Dear Great honorable sir, Um, I have heard of you from such and such. I believe you are a trustworthy, an intelligent person. That's odd. I just posted a job. Chill out, that is a red flag for me. That means to me that they are actively looking for projects, but it appears that they're losing and they're not getting the projects that they want. So they're just laddering on the compliments and the I can do anything, sir. Attitude. Don't obviously mistake some of the cultural conventions for being a sycophantic sometimes with Indian developers. Specifically, they will often just call you sir, even if you're a woman or they'll call you Miss or Mrs If you're not married, they will always call you Mrs. But that is just something that they dio. You need to be able to tell distinction between that, and that is just a convention that they use, and it's just something that's kind of brainless for them. They just type it and whether or not they're trying, Teoh lather on compliments to get your business. Those are two different things. One of the red flags that I think that you should pay attention to is what is your gut feeling when you look at their portfolio. If you don't have a lot of bids on your project and you go and look at their portfolio and say the graphic design on them are not so great. Or, say the websites you been to our little too low quality, little to basic, you just not sure. Now follow the rule that goes with bad meat. It's ah, when in doubt, throw it out and I apply that towards software programs. What I mean by that is say, you look at their portfolio and, like, two or three things you think look good, you think fit. Then you see three or four that don't at all don't have this kind of confirmation bias where you just assume that those three that you didn't like Oh, those are the clients problem. You don't think that that represents the freelancer? That's not the truth. I mean, you should look at it from the other way around. When in doubt, throw it out. Just say not worth it. If you have any questions about with their ability to create something that you're happy with at the end, and this is after you like the portfolio move along and the 6th 1 this one actually referring back to the Five Criteria. Never the last two. It was availability and responsiveness. Well, these air actually, inter related. You need to tell whether or not their availability matches their responsiveness. If they say they have a lot of availability and they're not being responsive, that means for me that they're not telling the truth. For me. That's a little bit odd that they have all this free time, but they're not dedicating it to projects and not dedicating it to at least communication there a lot of free time. That means they probably could take on more projects where they're spending more time. That's a mismatch for May, and then the inverse of that is a super responsive, but also incredibly busy. I don't feel great about that. That means that they might be exaggerating about how busy they are. They might be hedging by saying they don't have as much time, so that allows them to underperform on your project and deliver it late. That's what I've seen before. Oh, I'm so busy is gonna take a month. Really, they're not actually that busy. They just want to give themselves a comfortable runway. I don't like it you shouldn't like it. So those are six things that I've noticed repeatedly that will pop up. You'll probably run into them, and hopefully now you can recognize them. 5. How to handle extra work and specifications: not that I'd talk really quickly about something that a lot of you guys have been mentioning, which is what I do at this stage in the process. If there's something in my application, I forgot to tell the freelancer to Dio. First off, don't front about. It's not a big deal. A lot of developers expect this to happen. If they are a good developer, if they should know that you're gonna forget things, I do it all the time. Still, to this day, and I have a professional process by which I and other people go through and develop the specifications. What you should do If that is the case to rectify this issue. One look at the contract in the agreement that you had with them. If you're on a per hour basis, it's really simple. You say, Hey, I screwed up. This is something I'd like to add, and they're just gonna charge you for the amount of time that it takes, so that works perfectly. But if it's a fixed price, what you need to do is look back at your specifications in your contract and see whether or not it actually does include it and then, if it doesn't explicitly include it, look to see if it implies it. There are a lot of times that you'll forget to say Build this simply because you didn't think that they would need that instruction. For instance, you might think that you don't need to explicitly tell them that you need intermediary screens like you don't need a screen that pops up and says Error When something goes wrong , they might just have standard text at the top or they might not display anything because they're following the instructions to the T. If that's the case, look to see if it's implied. Most developers, if you tell them that this was implied, or they should have known that the product wouldn't be good if they didn't do this will do that. And if they don't, then unfortunately, you just need to negotiate out additional payment. Try to keep it low. Try to obviously say that like you know, it's both your fault. It's not a big deal. That's the worst case scenario. You're still just going to pay a little bit extra money, but if you contract did cover it, your specifications did cover than your great. If it didn't, we will get up a little bit extra 6. Is contracting a long term solution?: let's talk a little bit about the question of our contractors. A long term solution. I believe that at the beginning of your business, it is the obvious choice. It has so many benefits to you, the founder, from equity from the leverage you're gonna have when you go to recruit technical founders to the terms, going to get an investment to even the amount of time and effort you're going to put up front and essentially the efficiency of your time at the very beginning. But then there's a question off. Is this something that that essentially stays right forever? Should you always stick with contractors? The answer to this is it depends. That's the short answer. It depends on a lot of things. It depends how serious you are about your company. It depends how big your company is growing. Let's imagine someone who is building a lifestyle business. You want to make a basic Web application that's gonna bring you $5000 a month. In that case, do you even need to bring on someone to your team? $5000 a month is not a huge hurdle to hit, especially if you're devoting a lot of time and effort towards it. In that case, then, honestly, this is that businesses something that could be run by contractors essentially in perpetuity forever. If that's the case, you wanna build a small business, you don't plan to turn it into a Google. I definitely think that as long as you establish good, ongoing relationships with your contractors, there's absolutely no reason why you would need to switch to in house development. If you're trying to build a company that is going to grow and grow and grow and you're trying to take this rocket ship to the moon, so to speak, it's a different question. And typically, when I was giving advice to startups when I was in venture capital, what I would tell them is the most effective way of starting your business is you start with contracting. As the company starts accelerating, your needs will start to change. Contracting has an inherent cost advantage to it, but it also has an inherent efficiency disadvantage to it. When you're contracting out, that means that that person is not integrated into your core unit. The turnaround time, for example, when you make changes or make additions, is much slower now at the beginning, when you're testing out an idea and you're trying to gain kind of minimal traction, to take your business in the next step is not gonna matter how much time you spend writing requirements and what the turnaround time is on a new feature. The turnaround time on a bug is still important, but it's not nearly as important when you have 200 users versus when you have two million users. As the company grows, this kind of dynamic changes. All of a sudden, the time it takes to do things like that becomes much more valuable, and the cost advantage of contracting goes down significantly. And that's why, generally suggest as your company progresses, you do shift from contracting into in house development. And that's the best way of taking advantage of the up front cost advantages of contracting and then later taking advantage of once money is not a huge issue. Thea Vantage is of having an in house team someone you want sitting next to you. Someone who two in the morning, when something goes down, you are a phone call away and they'll do it immediately. Once your company's big. You don't really want to deal with writing contracts constantly for new sections of development you don't wanna have to constantly with billing and recording time. It's much easier to, for instance, and in house Developer to use them for overtime or use them as an on an as needed basis. Or, as a contractor probably is going to adhere more to the 9 to 5 schedule. Hopefully, have explained this decently well, bigger companies, they need different things, and so eventually your needs will evolve. And problems that you thought were big previously will no longer be huge issues anymore. For instance, you know paying an extra 50% per hour for your developer work. It's not gonna be as big of a deal when you know you have a much bigger user base and a lot more money and funding and a lot Mork elective effort going towards your product. This is not completely to say that you can't go the distance with contractors. There are a lot of big companies that keep contractors on their roster, but typically what you'll see is it's more of a hybrid situation where they stick with contractors for the 1st 2 years and then gradually bring in more in house developers. But they retain outside contractors because they don't want to use what we call internal velocity. What that basically means is your company's ability to produce new products. New code, make changes further your product. They don't want to take a dip in that as they switch completely from contract to in house developer. And so they retain both. And a lot of companies actually say the vast majority of companies will utilize contractors as well as in house developers. And if you followed this strategy in the course by using contractors at first, that will actually set you up to have a much stronger ongoing relationship with your contractor. So you're not in the future trying to find efficient contractors that you have a report with, and then you have very strong working efficiency with you guys. Have any other questions? Just post them? This lecture is really just kind of a reflection. I want you guys to be as realistic as possible going forward, just knowing that the most effective startups I've seen shift from contractor to in house or shift from contractor to hybrid 7. How to handle referrals: Let's talk about getting referrals for contractors. This is something that happens quite often. Someone will say, Hey, I worked with a great team. Oh, are you work to the great freelancer? Would you like the referral? I'll answer that for you. Yes, you. Do. You want the referral? The only things that you want to be careful with with regards to referrals are one. Think about the person who's referring them. Do you trust that person? Do you trust that person's idea of quality to do you like the website that that contractor made? So if your friend has a website that you've constantly thinking the back your head, how ugly that is and you just don't tell them, then you probably don't want to take a referral. For the contracting team that built, it seems a little obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many people end up with contractors regardless of what they think of the website. They've seen them build. It's weird, but past that what I think about referrals, referrals, they are awesome. Why? Well, there's two big reasons. One. Previously, we talked about the qualification stage of picking a freelancer or a team. What I suggested doing was taking a very small test and giving them a project is to see how they work, how you interact, What's the responsiveness? You can skip that entire section, and you could skip the entire section that's associated with finding them to begin with. So that saves you a lot of time. A lot of money. You might not have the familiarity with them, but they come pre vetted. You've already seen what they can build. You already have a recommendation from someone saying to communicate Well, that's all you need. And to the freelancer or the team. They're gonna be a lot more inclined to work harder for you. The reason why it's just basic psychology. If I work for a client and that client thinks so well of me that he refers me to a second client and I take on that second client, I now have to clients and I know that they communicate. So if I do a poor job with second client that could affect my relationship with the first client, it ups the stakes for the contractor. So and I've seen this time and time again when I get referrals and that person was referring. Them is an active client or they're likely to bring back a project to that contractor. I see a significant increase in the effort those shown by the contractor. I've seen them go beyond what I would expect out of a usual fixed price project or per hour project. So if you have the opportunity of referrals, it's fantastic. Very quick thing you could easily do if you are stuck and you don't know who to pick, Ah, Fury, Land submission or you're owed s submission or whatever. Here is a very quick way of doing this. Ask your friends. It's super duper simple. You'd be surprised how many people have outsourced poor or contract it out. You can get a referral from somebody. I mean, you could even private message me and I will give you referrals. Amount is not gonna refer you to my company. I will give you referrals from people we have worked with so share past the love around saves everybody a lot of time, and it almost always has a better outcome. 8. Understanding your response rate: Hey, guys, welcome back to the course in this lecture, we're gonna talk about one of the most important things in contracting and in outsourcing. So this thing eyes something. I tell people all the time and I see people making this huge mistake. It's something you can very easily slip into on DSO. You need to be very aware before you go into the project. Your response rate sets the tone for the entire relationship. Now let me explain what I mean. When you first post a project, someone sends you a message. You respond, they respond, you respond. How much time is in between you hearing a message and you responding? Now, this is a very well known sociological phenomenon. When you use tax messages when you use e mails when you post in a group, whatever it may be, if you signal a delay, the other person will typically match that delay. Now, this is especially true in freelancer relationships. You are the employer. And so it's up to you to set the tone for relationship. Are you gonna be very casual? Are you going to be very serious? Do you require lots of information? Do you respond quickly. There's a lot of different aspects and variations to every single working arrangement. So a freelancer needs to adapt to the employer. And if you signal something to them, say you're signaling casual language, they'll most likely respond in casual language. That's just a natural order of things. Now, response rate works in the same exact way. If you take a data respond, your freelancers gonna take a day to respond. If you take a week to respond, your freelancer is gonna take a week to respond. Why? Because you're signaling to them that it's OK to literally take a week before responding to something. Now, you might not think that's an issue, but this is something that grows very, very quickly, and it becomes a problem very, very quickly. If you say respond within a day during the first week in the second week, it takes you two days and third wakes. It takes you three days. What's gonna end up happening is that every single subsequent week you're going to have your communication speed is going to slow down to the point at which you're literally communing four times a month. That is incredibly slow for virtually any project. There have been many, many cases where I had a project that had I had a responsive relationship and we were communicating within 30 minutes to each other. We would have been done in a day. But because I made the mistake of not responding within two days, I set the tone for the relationship and the project took a month. So now I mean, think about you really can't blame the freelancer for doing that again. They adapt to every single employer. Every single employer is different. So it's important for you to set the tone early and to show them that you care about the project. So they should, too. There's also a negative effect that in general they're not going to take the project as seriously. If you're not on the ball with it, it subconsciously signals to them that this is not particularly an important thing. Dio. It might be a side project. Maybe they're doing this outside of their expertise. That is generally how someone's going to think about it. So I can't stress this enough. I mean, it even gets to the point where if you're gonna launch something, launch a post a project and you're gonna try to get it done within a week. Don't post it on a day that, you know they're not gonna be able to respond quickly. Don't even post it on the weekend if you're busy on weekends. Why? Because of the very beginning. If you take 12 hours to respond, you've now set the tone for a 12 hour response rate. You might be okay with that, right? And if you are, that's perfectly fine. But there's no reason why you couldn't just limit that Limit the cycle time, um, and limit the project time in totality. Okay, so take it seriously. Be conscious when you post a job on and make sure that you respond as quickly as possible. Your projects will get done in a fraction of the time. And you're freelancers are going to take this project a lot more seriously. They asked for a piece of information and you get it to him. They're going to get back to you in the same obedience. See that you gave to them. So set the tone correctly. Half a successful project, right? Seeing the next lecture 9. How important is site reputation?: Hey, guys, welcome back to the course. So in this election, we're gonna talk about one of the elements that's involved in using those outsourcing freelancing platforms on gonna answer the question. Is your actual site reputation important? So if you've noticed this after you're done with a project of the freelancer, they leave, you review and you leave them a review, you rate them on. A number of different things on git varies between the platforms. Several of them actually record how much money you've spent on and how quickly you pay the freelancer. So obviously, with most platforms out there, whether or not you're running a space on Airbnb or picking up a ride on uber, you probably would think that it's important that your rating stays as high as possible. As you the consumer, you the person paying money. So is your site reputation important and is not as important as you would think? I've seen over the years, many, many people who have posted jobs had terrible feedback and still got a concern. You consistently got large amounts of bids and found great freelancers. Now, why is that now? There's a couple reasons it might be the case that people with bad feedback steal a lot of bids and a lot of interest. I think one is because bids air not really indicative of whether or not a freelancer is paying attention to who the employer is. Typically, if someone's bidding on your project, they're spending most their time looking at your actual project description, pecs. Whatever you've attached to it, they rarely get to the point where they're checking out you your actual profile in making decision, whether or not it's worth it to waste their time on it. That's not something they typically do upfront, unless it's a large project now. The other reason is, I think that Ah ah, lot of freelancers are just, you know, if they're biased towards whether or not they fit a project. If they fit a project and the employers showing interest in them and it seems like a good fit, they're obviously going to beam or interested in that project. And typically they're going to throw away the fact that the other you know the employer has some negative reviews has some marks on their profile. Now, the one scenario where having bad reviews can actually come and kind of bite you is later when perhaps you're launching larger projects now larger projects because, ah, free laser could make more money off of it and can have more billable hours off of it. They're actually gonna spend more time upfront, larger projects. And we're going to require even, you know, 30 minutes of time on their own, putting together a thoughtful, complete, you know, very sometimes well researched proposal. And if that's the case, they're much, much more likely to look at the employer. Andi. If there's a lot of negative reviews, probably say that it's not worth the significant of time it would take to actually bid on your project. Now. The other scenario where this could become a problem is when you're doing some of the more advanced vetting techniques that we cover in this course. So if you're using things like screener questions, if you're doing the $50 test, if you're asking them to do small bits of work, send it to you to evaluate it. If you're doing the sample technique, there's a good chance that the freelancer will not do it simply because they're looking at your profile and deciding whether or not, they want to spend another 20 minutes on it. Obviously, they're going to be inclined to work with you because they feel is if there's a better chance of being chosen. But it can become a significant problem, especially if they use multiple vetting techniques. But the more important thing is that if you're getting repeatedly negative reviews, there could be something wrong with the way that you are contracting out. There could be a lot of issues and don't waste the opportunity to find a way of improving what you're doing. So realistically, you have a bad review. It's not the end of the world. It actually doesn't really even matter unless you're doing large projects. Unless you're doing a lot of intensive vetting on you're looking for long term partners, and so you're asking them, do a lot more work up front. That's when it becomes a problem. But up until that point, it's not really an issue. You're still gonna be able to find great freelancers, and once you do find a great freelancer, the review from that is probably going to eventually reach you up to kind of a level point . If you're still getting bad feedback, make sure to figure out what you're doing wrong and why it is that you're repeatedly having bad experiences. It's probably something wrong in the process that you're using, and it's a great opportunity for improvement. 10. Keep the learning going: Hey, guys, I just wanted to say thank you for taking this class, and I hope you learned something. I hope what I said made sense and I was clear. If you have any questions, any concerns, just posting the group discussion all respond to you. You could even send me a direct message if you want to. I want to give you a quick word of how you could take the skills that we learned in this class and how to bring it to the next level. Learn some other related skills. So in this class we learned some of the best practices with working with freelancers. What are things you should look for, like red flags and what are generally good indicators of a good freelancer. Now, if you want to keep the learning going, I have some other classes that are quick and easy, and I think they'll really add to your understanding of what you learned in this class. So whatever, but it suggests, is called Bill documentation for your project. This is really, really important. If you wanna work with contractors, you need to understand how to make documentation that makes sense and effectively communicates your idea. It's a little bit of a backtrack because you're picking a freelancer. I'm assuming you've already done your documentation, but this is really a crucial skilled. I think way too many people skip over. The other one, I'd suggest, is a crash course bug hunting. And the idea behind that one is once you picked your freelancer and they built whatever your project is, there inevitably are going to be issues and bugs. And that's a really quick kind of relaxing class where I introduce you to How do you look for bugs? What tools do you use and one of the most common areas you probably didn't think of that bugs always seem to pop up. Okay, If you want to go further with your skills, check those out. Otherwise, again, thank you for taking the course.