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How to Use Freelancers Effectively at an Early Stage Startup

When you have a startup, your goal is to get the work needed done for as cost effective as possible. One way to do this is with freelancers. Why freelancers? Because they work on an as needed basis, do not require insurance, and can be much cheaper to hire than an employee. 

Why hire a freelancer?

A freelancer is a specialist in their field. They bring a lot of subject matter expertise to the table, but don’t often require a lot of training. They work by the job or the hour and are not an employee of your company saving you extra labor and benefit costs too. Of course, freelancers also cost more per hour than most employees so there is a tradeoff. 


Whether you’re looking for a part-time or full-time freelancer, flexibility is their speciality. Flexible work options are usually viewed only as a benefit to employees when in fact the world of freelancers opens up an entire realm of possibilities to you regarding working-hours. You can have people working for you on the other side of the world while you are sleeping. 

According to FlexJob's 2018 survey, flexibility brings staying power for freelancers, and creates better relationships between clients and freelancers. A flexible work schedule makes for happier, healthier freelancers, and gets you, the client, better results.

Most of your freelancers will be working from home. FlexJob’s survey showed that a staggering 65% of people feel they are more productive working from home than at a traditional office! 

Lots of options

By choosing a freelancer, your pool of potential employees expands. There are 59 million freelancers in America who have freelanced in the past year. That’s one in three working Americans, available for freelance work. 

Lower expenses

Overall, by hiring a freelancer, you’ll save money. This is especially true for a startup! Freelancers are available on a short-term basis. They do not require benefits.


Though there are a lot of benefits to employing freelancers, there is always a possibility that things won’t go right. A freelancer may not have the loyalty and passion for your company like a traditional employee. 

A virtual working environment requires an extra level of communication. If that communication is not in place, the working relationship may fall apart quickly.

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Photo by olia danilevich from Pexels

How do you find a freelancer?

You’re ready to hire a freelancer for your startup. Now what? Obviously, finding the right person can make a huge difference for your company in the beginning.


Online freelance companies are huge right now. The most popular sites and apps for recruitment are:

  • LinkedIn Profinder: Ideal for finding talented business people worldwide.
  • Craigslist: Find remote workers, skilled laborers, or freelancers in your area. 
  • Fiverr: Ideal for finding graphic artist freelancers.
  • Upwork: Perfect place for finding freelance writers and editors of all skill levels.
  • Freelancer: Just like to name says, freelancers caters to the freelance workforce.
  • PeoplePerHour: Ideal for those who want to work for an hourly rate.
  • 99designs: Great place to find freelance graphic designers.
  • Toptal: A Freelancing platform, that connects businesses with software engineers, designers, finance experts.
  • Simply Hired: Great way to find local freelance talent.
  • Guru: Ideal platform for website design freelancers
  • CodementorX: Great platform to find website coders

A recruitment site or app also makes payment and communication easy.

Word of Mouth

Ask around. Chances are, you have friends, or friends of friends, who know someone who is a freelancer. Social media is a great way to connect with freelancers that you may know too. 

Recruitment Company

Recruitment companies offer contractors and freelancers for businesses. This option gives the company skilled workers without a long-term hiring commitment. You get the type of workers you need from day one without having to train staff to do the job. 

What should you do before you hire?

Have a job description

This seems self-explanatory, but a clear job description will save you and your freelancer time, energy, and a lot of headaches. Make sure your expectations are clear from the beginning.

Set clear goals

Definitely set an overall goal for your freelancer. Breaking that overall goal into small goals or milestones may even be necessary. This will give both of you a clear idea of expectations and progress.

Decide on a budget

Many freelancers are paid hourly. Others are paid by task. Do your research and set a fair price. If you’re using a website, app, or recruitment company, there may be payment parameters.

Have a plan to track work

The most popular apps to track hourly work are:

  • Toggl
  • RescueTime
  • Harvest
  • Hubstaff
  • Time Doctor
  • Timely

Be familiar with the assigned task

Even if the task assigned is not your specialty, learn a little about the task before hiring. This will help you track progress, efficiency, and quality. Even better, write up a detailed description of the job you want completed and expected outcomes. The more detailed you can be early-on, the higher the chance that you will achieve a successful outcome. 

Which jobs can be delegated to freelancers?

Hiring a freelancer frees your time, energy, and focus so you can grow your company. Outsourcing is an amazing tool for any business. Here are areas that freelancers are most commonly hired in:

  • Web Designers
  • Human Resources specialists
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Programming
  • Writers/Editors
  • Legal Services
  • Web Developers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Customer Services
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Photo by olia danilevich from Pexels

How do I start?


No matter how impressive the candidate may seem, don’t skip the interview. This is an opportunity to learn about the candidate. You will be working together. It’s important to make sure their goals and values align with yours. 

Make sure to look at your candidate’s reviews, portfolio, and resume. Don’t forget to check social media, too. 

Schedule a virtual meeting and get an idea of how to freelancer talks and acts. Afterall, they are still going to be representing your company, even as a freelancer, so they should have a vested interest in you and what your startup is all about. If they are lackadaisical and mundane in a video call with you, they will be the same with a prospective client. 


By hiring a freelancer, you’re hiring someone who probably already has a lot of skill and knowledge. However, don’t assume they’ll know exactly what you want. This is where you go back to your goals and job description. Make sure both of you have a clear idea of each task as you move forward.


Communication is the difference between a good freelance experience and a bad one! Determine ahead of time what platform you will use to communicate. Check in often. Be available for questions. 

If you’re using a recruitment app or website, there is a messaging function available. If you prefer to communicate through another method, there are a lot available. In our household, we all use Slack.

Final Thoughts

Freelancers can be a huge asset to your startup. Any working relationship requires communication, and freelancers are no different. If you hire well, communicate often, and have clear expectations, the freelancer/client relationship will be a thing of beauty! Hiring a freelancer can free your time, energy, and cash for the development of your business. 

About AbstractOps

If you're an early stage CEO, we handle and automate your HR, finance, and legal ops — so that you don't have to. We help you Be Scrappy, Not Sloppy. 

We understand that ops can be painful. If you have any questions or need assistance with your ops, drop us a note at [email protected] We’ll do our best to help. 


53 million Americans Now Freelance, new study FINDS: UPWORK. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

Clarine, B. (2021, January 26). The ultimate guide to MANAGING freelancers in your startup. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

A guide for startups: How to manage freelancers. (2019, September 23). Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

Reynolds, B. W. (2018, November 29). FlexJobs 2018 annual Survey: Workers believe a flexible or remote job can help save money, reduce stress, and more. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

Riani, A. (2019, October 16). How to hire freelancers to help you launch your startup app idea. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

What services should a tech startup outsource in 2021? (2021, February 01). Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

Syandita Malakar
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