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Hiring a Freelancer for Your Business

I successfully hired my first contract worker to help me with a few website related tasks and that’s what this post is going to be about. I’ve tried doing it before and the experience left a lot to be desired. After 3 previously failed attempts, I found the right source and asked the right questions and got the exact results I wanted.

If you are going to start your own business or build your online presence, it’s nice to have some expert help. As a medical professional your income should be high enough that you can save time and money by hiring a contract worker rather than doing the work yourself.


WordPress Optimization

The problem I had with this website was its performance. I had some database issues and a few pages were taking forever to load. When your website performs poorly then search engines tend to kick it down the list and your pages no longer come up on a search. This hurts your SEO score.

In the past I didn’t care how this website performed because it was just a way for me to learn WordPress. But now that I am making money selling products and consulting, it’s important to me that it performs well.

I was looking for a website developer who had experience with WP and who could figure out the problem without ruining my website. I looked on because it had been recommended by others and found the right person to do the work.

He charged me $20 for the work. The same quote in the US was $150 on the low end and $300 on the high end.


Previous Experience with Craigslist

When I lived in San Diego I was working full-time at Kaiser Permanente as an urgent care doctor and owned an auto mechanic shop. I was insanely busy. I needed someone to take some of the work off of my shoulders so I started interviewing for personal assistants.

It may have been a bit of an ego thing to have a personal assistant. I’m not sure I even knew what tasks I would delegate to them. Nevertheless, I found a woman who had experience doing this work.

I tasked her with:

  • document scanning
  • document organizing
  • meal prepping
  • pickups and delivery
  • research
  • travel planning

It’s not that she was bad but the price was prohibitive. She wasn’t spending her own money so whatever I tasked her with ended up costing me a ton of money. I gave her 600 pages to scan and organize and she took it to FedEx which ended up costing me $400.

In hindsight I didn’t do a good job setting expectations and wasn’t willing to work with her to help her improve. I worked with her for 2 months and after $4,000 I gave up on her even though I was making north of $350,000/year.


Previous Experience with Fiverr

The next time I contracted out work was through Fiverr. Some dude in Pakistan claimed to do good work creating infographics which I wanted to put on my website. We discussed the details of the job. I was very clear about what I wanted and we agreed on $65 for the price.

The product I received was so shitty that I didn’t know where to start. I had him make one single revision which took more time than I cared for. I accepted the loss and moved on. I felt that I was very clear about what I wanted but maybe I wasn’t.


Previous Experience with Social Media Marketer

About a year ago I found a social media marketer whom I wanted to hire to manage my social media content for this website. I didn’t know shit about social media and didn’t have Instagram or Facebook back then.

The cheapest price I could negotiate was $1,000/month. Money wasn’t a big issue since I had plenty of it coming in. I communicated with this social media person back and forth and she took me through all sorts hoops and in the end I got ghosted.

She resurfaced later saying that she had some work and personal emergencies. I get it, shit happens. But I no longer want to commit to such a large price tag and ongoing contract unless I have tested the person out first. Contract Experience

To hire a freelancer on you have to first sign up for a monthly subscription which you can cancel at any time. There is a plan which is $69/month and one which is $99/month. I can cancel at any time and the cancellation process isn’t a nightmare – one-click cancel.

As for the kind of work that’s done on OJ, they do everything from programming to being your virtual assistant.

I searched for people who advertise WordPress work and emailed 2 people. The first guy wanted me to hire him on an ongoing basis and started quoting prices to me before delving into the problem. Been there, done that – not for me.

The second person was great. He asked me what the problem was, what I had done to try to fix it, and what I was hoping to get out of his work. He then quoted me 4 hours of work at $5/hour and requested 50% of the money to be paid up-front through PayPal.

I paid the 50% ($10), gave him temporary login access to my website, went to bed, and woke up and the work was done. The website is now running like a champ. This morning I paid him the other $10 and that was it.


Contracting Work to the Philippines

Why would someone like myself go to hire someone from the Philippines instead of a US-based contractor? I’m not a cheap person and it’s important to me to support my local community. But when you can’t find good work close to home, it’s okay to broaden your reach.

I first went on Fiverr and Upwork¬†which are premier freelance websites where someone like myself can contract out work to individuals with the right expertise. I emailed a few individuals because I didn’t even know what the problem was on my website and didn’t know what kind of work I needed and didn’t know how much work it would take.

Much like my previous experience with Fiverr and Upwork, the people who were really good charged a lot because they are being contracted by major companies who have a lot a lot money. The other freelancers were clueless and I didn’t want to waste my time with them.

I also don’t care for that aura of authority and being talked down to by a freelancer. It takes me right back to the urgent care with those occasionally condescending patients.

For all those reasons I decided to work with freelancers from the Philippines. I enjoy the courteous interactions and I can afford the prices. Hourly rates start at $2 and go up to $20 – give or take.

I can hire someone full-time for less than $1000/month. It might seem unfair to workers in the US but I see the digital freelance space dominated by those who are making very good money with more than enough wealthy clients. I can’t compete with them for now but will reconsider it in the future.

The US also has minimum wage laws which, even though they don’t apply to contract work, nevertheless drive up the cost of services. As a consumer I have a high expectation of someone who garners a minimum hourly fee. If they cannot provide to me that hourly value then I’m being ripped off – I’m losing money. Thanks to globalization I can choose to take my business somewhere else.


Which Tasks to Contract Out

The website has a lot of useful information to read through so that you can figure out how to hire the right person for your job. They delve in deep into the culture of the Filipino workers which I think is important for an American, like myself.

They recommend that you contract out work which you are very familiar with or tasks which you have no clue about. Let’s review some examples.

I am comfortable with SEO work because I spend a lot of time learning SEO. But it’s tedious which is why it’s expensive to hire freelancers doing SEO for you in the US. Now that I’m proficient at it, I’m comfortable farming it out and will be looking to hire someone from for this in the future.

On the other hand, I know nothing about design and image optimization for websites. I also don’t care to learn it. So that’s something else I want to farm out to a freelancer. I am comfortable writing my content but need someone to handle all the media work.

Here is another example, imagine you want to create a website for your profile, you want to have DrMichaelSmith as a website where you can curate your own content. It’s meant to help you slowly build your brand. You have zero desire to get into web design or managing a website. So you can hire a webmaster or web developer to do all that for you.

You let them know what you want it to look like, what kind of links you want, and you write some basic content and let them put it all together into a functional website. Whenever you need any updates to the site you just go back to that person or someone else and have them do the work for you piecemeal.


Hiring Help Isn’t Sexy

I thought that by hiring a contract worker I would have all of my headaches offloaded and with a click of a button everything would be fixed.

The reality is that by hiring a freelancer you have to spend time transferring your knowledge to the hired contractor first. Hiring a freelancer means that you now have one more string to pull on. You have to properly communicate your problem to them, set the right expectations, be willing to fix any communication errors, and then assess their work.

Eventually you will get to a point where it’s a pain in the ass to explain yourself to a new person, over and over. It will make more sense to hire someone on a part-time basis rather than contractually so that you have some predictability in the work.

It’s also important to learn negotiation tactics without feeling like you’re taking advantage of the other person. I got quotes by potential webmasters for $300/month and I was able to negotiate them down to $120. I’m not sure if I will hire them yet but at least now I have solid options if I want to hire someone long-term.

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