How To Hire And Get The Most Out Of A Creative Freelancer


Hiring a creative freelance specialist to run a project in your business could be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Delegating a project to a creative freelancer can be a hugely liberating experience.

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The first bonus is that you don’t have to delegate the task to a staff member who might not be the best skilled person to assign to the job. You’re also freeing up internal resources to focus on their own role.

Hiring a freelancer also means you’re able to set your own parameters and budget for a project. While cheaper freelance options can be found via online sites that allow the client to name their price, tread carefully. Certainly, these freelancers have their place depending on the project and your budget, but there is quite a distinction between these freelancers often based in third world countries, and reaching out to talented Australian freelancer who can show you samples of work they’ve done for clients and brands you perhaps know well. These freelancers can be akin to hiring an additional staff member.

Freelancers are taking advantage of technology improvements, and the notion of work evolves, these creatives are unshackling themselves from employers to forge a freelancer career in their chosen field, selling their skills via the interwebs. And they’re hoping you’ll find them and offer them that exciting project that you’re sitting on for no apparent reason.

Creative freelancers are journalists, web developers, photographers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, copywriters, PR professionals, app developers, illustrators, project managers, marketing gurus and more. They’re confident enough in their own skills to hang out the virtual shingle and sell their services to all and sundry, so take heart in the fact that they probably know what they’re doing.

If you haven’t actually gone through the process of locating and hiring a creative freelancer before, it’s a skill you need to learn.

The Australian work landscape is evolving, and locating and hiring an Australian freelancer is a skill that Australian business owners need to perfect if they’re ever going to get the most out of the growing talent pool hitting the market.

Start by mapping out a brief. This should include project scope, objectives, target audience, links or examples to illustrate what you’re after, type of freelancer you need, and a deadline.

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Accept that good quality freelancers are more interested in seeing your brief and being given the opportunity to quote, than being told what your budget might be. Provide as much detail as you can and sit back and see what the freelancer suggests.

Next, you need to track down the best freelancer for your needs, which is the hard part. Start by asking colleagues for recommendations. An online search for the type of freelancer you’re after won’t reveal much unless you’ve got a freelancer’s name already, so try search terms like ‘Australian creative freelancers’ for sites that allow freelancers to create a profile of their services, and also have a look through LinkedIn.

Remember that the best freelancers focus on a few service offerings, and do them well. Keeping this in mind, shortlist 2-3 freelancers and send them your brief, asking them to provide a quote. Wait for them to come back to you with additional questions.

Review each quote, and be sure each includes information on both project inclusions and exclusions. The review process of these freelancers should include a thorough review of the freelancer’s website and any other online profiles that give you a full picture of their skills and experience. Also be sure to take a look at their LinkedIn profile to check out their work history. Then, check their professional social media accounts to see how they present themselves to the world.

Ask to see projects they’ve worked on similar to yours. Also look for testimonials on their website or in their quoting documents. Ask for some testimonials, or look for endorsements on LinkedIn.

Don’t hire your freelancer based solely on price. Look at their experience, who they’ve worked with in the past, and spend some time speaking with them on the phone, in person or Skype to make sure you communicate easily with each other. Don’t make the mistake of looking for someone local – the best person for the project won’t necessarily live locally.

Once you select a freelancer you want to work with, be sure to check they’re clear on the brief, and set regular intervals to check on their progress. Start with a smaller project, and build up.

Expect to pay a deposit to secure their services. Most freelancers expect between a 10% and 50% deposit. Once the work is complete, provide feedback and offer a testimonial if you’re willing to. And most importantly of all, refer the freelancer onto others.


Nina Hendy is the founder of The Freelance Collective – an online community of curated Australian creative freelancers. She has also been a freelance journalist & wordsmith for more than a decade. You can reach her at