We all know the term “freelancer” and it seems to have a negative connotation. Cheap and bad quality with a low score on the reliability spectrum – and for the most part, maybe you’re right. If you know how and where to look though, you will unlock some INCREDIBLE talent for a very fair price. (Write this next part down – throwing some ridiculously valuable insight your way…now) Agencies utilize freelancers on a regular basis and you can literally pull from the same talent pool we (as agencies) do and pay a quarter of the price. So, you can get agency talent with amazing experience at a great cost…here is how.

LinkedIn (don’t roll your eyes at me until you finish this section…then roll your eyes if you like)

If you’re looking for professional branding help search “Freelance Brand Designer” and you may get a list like this: 

(Note: You can use this same tactic for any creative work. The below information is applicable to all topics – websites, branding, copywriting, PR, etc)

Screenshot of LinkedIn search results.

You will get pages and pages of freelancers to choose from, but now is the time to do your research. 

What to look for: 
  1. We look for agency experience specifically. They get how to work with deadlines and the brand experience is unmatched. 
  2. U.S. based. We prefer this, so we pay higher rates for local talent. Outsourcing overseas is an option but comes with risks. 
  3. Active portfolio. Serious freelancers will have active and updated portfolios of work.

When you find a handful you like, search their profile for a portfolio link and take a deep dive into their work. They most likely will have contact info available so reach out and ask for a convo. 

Here are some tips for that convo:
  1. Be honest and open. No need to show up with an ego, it turns most creatives off. Let them know you love their work and would love to see how you may be able to work together. 
  2. Be upfront about the budget. Always ask what they charge first. If it is outside your budget, ask if they would consider doing it for what you have. If your product or service is something that can benefit them – ask if they are willing to do partial trade. 
  3. Be nice. You are not their biggest client. If you are rude and disrespectful or treat them as an employee/contractor expect slow communication and not their best work. Mean people suck and we creatives are sensitive folks – most of us at least. 
  4. Ask about their process. Professionals will have a process that they like to follow. Ask them about it and let them drive the project. Your job is to give open and honest feedback. I stated earlier that creatives are sensitive folks but feedback – given in a respectful manner – is not offensive and is craved by most creatives. 

Keep in mind that it may take you some time to find the right fit so don’t be discouraged. You are saving THOUSANDS so stick with it and if you have to – extend the search outside of your city.