Maybe not the best place to find freelancers (Image: lhourahane on Flickr)
The reaction to the post was interesting. I had a number of people contacting me via Twitter, both to agree and strongly disagree with my point of view.
The most interesting comments were from people who are considering moving into the contract world, which surprised me. It seems 2011 really is the year of the self-employed. However, based on those comments it's clear moving into the freelance world isn't quite as easy as it seems.
Someone who has just made the move tells me the key is organisation and learning the difficult skill of keeping existing customers happy while lining up new projects. It's a balancing act that many get wrong, leading to feast or famine scenarios which are both stressful.
So what tools are available to help businesses which are looking for help with an IT project connect with suitable freelancers? In my original post I mentioned Freelancer.com as a great place for businesses and freelancers to connect, but there are others I’ve tried:
The site is tailored to both businesses and contractors in equal measure. The main plus point for me is that it includes a great project management area that really helps ensure good communication.
- 99 Designs
I used this site recently for some graphical work. It allows business owners to run competitions for projects, such as designing a new logo. On my particular project I had 67 entries, all to a high standard.
I really like oDesk and for short term contracts I think it makes a lot of sense. Its approach is simple: it takes a 10% cut of all payments going through the system and gives business owners and contractors a powerful marketplace and application to use as they see fit.
As someone who has hired multiple freelancers, the first piece of advice for anyone in the freelance world is to remember why you made the move. 99% of the time it’s to focus on something you're either highly skilled in, or passionate about. However, setting up and running your own business often requires you to do a fair amount of the mundane, creating business processes and doing admin.
The good news is IT can really solve this riddle. There are a number of tools and services available online that can take the pressure off. I’ll go into those in my next blog. Meanwhile, if you have some favourite sites to find work or hire good techies, then let us all know in the comments.
Ben Dyer is the Director of product development at SellerDeck