Anyone with a small business or who wants to work on a project with someone else can find it scary to hire a freelancer. If you’ve never done this before, your first thought might be to go to a site like Fiverr, O-Desk, Upwork, or Freelancer.com.
But I wouldn’t hire from these places without being very careful. If price is important to you, these sites might be useful. But it’s likely that you’ll hire someone who isn’t from the US and doesn’t know the details of your market.
How much should you pay a designer who works on their own?
It comes down to experience and where you are. If you want to hire someone in the U.S. who is a senior-level designer with years of experience, you can expect their hourly rate to be between $60 and $100. Many designers also work for a flat fee, but keep in mind that, like any other business, they need to make money from their work. We have to pay for a lot of tools, training, and software, and we have to keep track of all of these costs.
You could hire a less experienced designer for around $35/hour, but you would have to do more managing and holding their hand through projects.
I’ve seen a number of companies hire a “cheaper” design solution, only to find:
They are on the other side of the world and working on your project while you sleep. When you’re awake, they’re either asleep or can’t be found.
To make quick changes, you have to wait 24 hours, which can be annoying.
Language barriers and cultural differences can sometimes lead to a lot of spelling mistakes or bad choices of images.
You can’t just pick up the phone and call them. There aren’t many times during the day or evening when you can talk.
The Designer didn’t understand something, so those changes will have to wait until the next night or day.
What is the main difference between a local designer and a designer from another country?
It can be helpful to have a designer nearby or one you can call and share your screen with to talk about the changes you want. This can help you explain what you want more clearly. You can also get things done faster and at the last minute if they are nearby and in the same time zone.
A client I worked with a few years ago ran an ad campaign in the United States. It was a big hit, so the client decided to do it again in Europe –
It didn’t work. MISERABLY…
At the time, they didn’t know that the same ad, which worked so well in the U.S., had a completely different message in Europe. You can’t always just hire someone to translate the text for you. Before putting out the ad, they should have hired a consultant who knows the culture of the country.
Their mistake was that they didn’t have the right person who could understand all the subtleties and differences between cultures.
You should hire someone with whom you can work well on any projects that come up. Someone who you can count on and who knows what you don’t know. You should think of the Designer as an extension of your team and someone who can help you build your brand along with you.
This is the main reason why copywriters, marketers, Art Directors, and Designers all work together. When people work on a project together as a team, they make it better because their skills complement each other.
If you own a business or are just looking for someone to fill in your weak spots (mine are copywriting and development, which is why I often work with copywriters and developers), I can help.
Here are some tips to help you find the best freelance designer for your project or projects:
Ask other business owners, friends, and family if they know of any people who have worked for them in the past. This is great because you already know how the freelancer works because your reference told you. No one would recommend someone they didn’t like, and this will give you an idea of how much they charge. Social media is also a great place to get feedback and suggestions from friends and colleagues.
Find freelancers with tools like LinkedIn and LinkedIn Profinder. Profinder is a great way to get in touch with freelancers and start talking to them. Once you tell them what you want, you’ll hear from up to 5 designers who want to help you with your project. On LinkedIn, you might also get direct contacts from designers that you should look into. If things don’t work out, you can always cut ties with that person. It’s just a way to get in touch with great local designers, some of whom you can meet in person to see if you get along. And yes, it is important that people get along. If they’re going to be part of your team (even if it’s just you), make sure you like not only their design style but also how they make you feel as a person. Coroflot, Behance, and Dribble are three more great tools.
If you find someone online, look at their portfolio (if it’s a collection of pictures) or read a sample of their writing. As the designer, I have a lot of questions. Give details and ask them what their part was in the project. Ask if the design was mostly their idea or if the client or team they work with had a lot to do with it. Ask if they looked for the pictures or if they were given them. If it’s a drawing, ask if it was made from other pieces of art or if it was made from scratch. It’s always a good idea to ask more questions to learn more about the designer’s mind and work. The other key is that you shouldn’t expect a different result for your project if you don’t like what you see or read in their portfolio. Don’t go any further with this freelancer, stop right there!
Talk to them in person or on Skype. To see if you have a connection with someone, you need to see what they look like. The more they understand you, the more likely it is that your project will go well.
Ask the designer for references, and CHECK THEM… Even though it’s annoying, it’s important. Find out what other people have to say about their jobs. You’ll be happy you did.
Start with a small project to see if it’s what you’re looking for. Think of this as a test run, but be aware that you will have to pay for it. Freelancers don’t work for free, at least not the good ones.
Don’t offer the designer too little. Expect to pay a junior designer at least $35 per hour and a senior designer at least $60 per hour or more. Don’t forget that you do get what you pay for. Think about working for a flat fee, but be prepared to pay more for anything that wasn’t in the original plan. Designers don’t like to feel like they’re being used, which can hurt your relationship with them in the future.
When you hire a freelance design consultant, these tips can really save you a lot of time and trouble. Happy Hiring!