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There is a point when your blog is going to grow beyond your ability to manage everything yourself. This is going to be one of the most exciting parts of your blogging career. It is also going to be one of the points when you need to make some difficult decisions, such as which contractors to hire and how to manage them. You can find some decent freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr, but you need to be realistic about the quality of the work and the number of resources you will need.
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You have built a successful blog by following a proven methodology. You have developed considerable expertise and it has paid off. Unfortunately, freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr might not have the skill sets to match your expectations. You need to choose employees carefully. You need to train them well, oversee their work and be mindful of their limitations.
If you hire the wrong person or fail to monitor them properly, then you could tarnish your blog. All of your hard work getting to this point could be wasted with the wrong freelancer.
Here are some common mistakes that bloggers make when outsourcing projects on these platforms.
Neglecting to look at previous feedback from other clients
When you first post a gig on Upwork, you will probably receive at least half a dozen applications within the first hour. How do you determine which applicant is the best?
Many clients will only look at two things:
- The hourly rate of the freelancer
- Their average rating
Surprisingly few clients will look at the feedback other employers have left. This is a huge mistake for several reasons.
For one thing, the freelancers average rating is barely a good indication of the quality of their work. These ratings are very subjective. Employers also have a tendency to conflate these ratings, unless they are extremely unhappy with the freelancer.
One blogger that hired someone on Upwork made a surprising observation while reviewing their profile. They saw that almost all of the previous clients gave four or five stars to them. The average rating was 4.5. However, the feedback that they left was not nearly as positive.
One previous client said that the freelancer had branded themselves as an expert, which is what the client was asking for. However, the client said that they were disappointed and felt the freelancer was only average at their job. They said the freelancer was able to handle some more basic responsibilities, but not more advanced projects. Despite the somewhat harsh feedback, the client still gave the freelancer a perfect five-star rating.
Good freelancers learn from their mistakes and grow from them, but some will repeat the same mistakes frequently — such as not taking negative feedback lightly. This is something that could quickly damage your account and reputation, so it’s important to follow up and try to get the most out of each review and paying customer.
Another reason that you need to look at the feedback is to see what types of projects they have actually worked on in the past. Keep in mind that many freelancers on Fiverr and Upwork offer a broad range of services. The same freelancer could offer blogging, Pinterest marketing, translation and back-end programming.
You might find that 90% of the projects they have worked on were unrelated to the project that you need them for. The fact that they have earned an excellent rating with previous clients could be totally irrelevant to you. That simply means they are very good at a task that you don’t intend to hire them for.
When you look at feedback from other clients, you can let these freelancers better. You will know whether or not they have experience working on a project similar to what you need.
Neglecting to look at the job success score
Nothing is more frustrating than onboarding a freelancer, training them, paying them to do part of a project, only to have them fail to finish it. There are a lot of reasons that this can happen. Some freelancers simply are not very self-motivated. They may have chosen to freelance on Fiverr or Upwork because they don’t have the work ethic to run a more intensive business or handle the responsibilities of a regular job. They might also have a tendency to take on more clients than they can handle. They could also have a problem following directions, so they have to drop clients out of frustration or the clients terminate the agreement.
Fortunately, Upwork tracks the job success score for every freelancer in their network. If a client regularly fails to complete jobs, you will obviously not want to hire them.
It is a good idea to look for freelancers that have a job success score of at least 75% to 80%. This indicates that they are better at servicing their clients and follow through with their commitments then people with a lower score.
Expecting that the freelancer will be able to make the same high-level executive decisions as you
As a blogger, you need to be highly independent and self-motivated. You understand the importance of taking initiative and making crucial decisions.
You might not be able to count on a freelancer from Upwork to do the same. One blogger discovered this when they used this platform to find someone to help with his Pinterest strategy. They initially instructed the freelancer to make their own decisions about which images to use for each pin. This created a lot of confusion and lead to a number of back-and-forth questions between the blogger and the freelancer.
The blogger realized that they needed to provide a lot more structure to make the relationship successful. They created a spreadsheet and clarified which images to use with every pen. The assignment of each image was completely arbitrary, so the blogger was able to randomly assign them quickly. As simple of a change as this was, it provided clearer direction to the freelancer, so they were able to get the job done with fewer frustrations.
You are an entrepreneur. You are used to making strategic decisions all the time. People that choose to freelance for a living are not used to you making the same choices. As intelligent and qualified as they might be, they are going to have a preference for regimented directions with a lot of direction. Things will go a lot more smoothly if you provide that.
Not being willing to pay enough for good results
The quality of freelancers on Upwork and Fiverr varies tremendously. This is often reflected in the rates that they charge.
There are some dedicated workers that will be willing to handle your projects for a surprisingly low price. However, most decent freelancers are going to charge more than their less qualified colleagues.
You need to keep in mind that you are usually going to get what you pay for. If you always hire the cheapest contractor, then you could be jeopardizing the future of your blog.
The best examples to illustrate this point are if you are hiring a contractor for writing blog articles or linkbuilding. Contractors that charge low fees to build links are going to generally do a lousy job. They will use spammy linkbuilding networks that could get your site penalized or even deindexed by Google. Writers that charge $5 an article are going to also offer lower quality work, as well. Some of them outright plagiarize content or use article spinners, hoping that they won’t get caught. Using these writers could also seriously damage your reputation with readers were standing with Google.
For example, if you are blogging about a complicated topic, such as ‘custom printed magnets‘, then you need to make sure that you are hiring a professional writer that can step up to the plate, learn about your niche and do a great job. You can see some of the best performing content and blog posts from Jukebox in the screenshot below, and how they are also targeting their customers needs and then fulfilling them as a service.
I understand the temptation to keep your costs low. Bloggers are used to having the mindset that they don’t have to pay to make their business a success. However, if you do need to start outsourcing work, it is better to pay a bit more upfront to get the quality that you need.
Of course, you don’t want to overpay freelancers either. But you need to make sure that you are paying enough to get the service that you need.
Acting like too much of a pushover
Bloggers that have just started delegating their responsibilities are not used to some of the tougher parts of being a manager. One of the hardest things is knowing how to hold people accountable.
A lot of bloggers have very easy-going personalities. They don’t find that calling people out on their mistakes and telling them that they did the job wrong is something that comes easily. You are going to need to find a way to get over this challenge if you expect to get value from your freelancers.
Some bloggers decide that they need to accept a low standard of quality from the freelancers they use. Rather than telling their contractors to go back and rectify their mistakes, they decide to make the changes themselves.
There’s a point when this is going to negate the benefits of hiring a freelancer. You are paying them to make your life easier. It completely defeats the purpose if you have to do most of the work yourself.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t accept certain limitations of your freelancers. You might decide that there are certain tasks that you need to continue doing yourself or ask another contractor to handle them for you. However, it is important to make the distinction between excepting reasonable limitations and being too passive to demand a quality service that you expect.