“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” is a quote made famous by Helen Keller. When coaching others, we often encourage our clients to seek out others who can help them to solve problems and share the workload, so why don’t we as coaches do this for ourselves when starting a private practice? For some reason, we tend to believe that we need to learn all the different skills and tasks it takes to open and operate a successful career coaching practice because we assume we can’t afford to hire someone to help. That’s the beauty of hiring a freelancer. Spending a little of your practice-building budget by working with someone who has expertise in the areas you lack, will actually help your business to grow while you are focused on what you are good at — client-facing opportunities.
Working with experts at a reduced cost
Hiring a freelancer gives you the benefits of working with an expert at a minimal cost to you. The ideal freelancer can take on projects and tasks while hitting the ground running. A good freelancer can complete their projects and tasks with maximum flexibility and quality while passing on to you the advantage of low overhead costs.
Most freelancers work part-time and through a short-term contract. They also can be hired for time limited specific projects, or for a broad scope of tasks that are ongoing. Some examples include helping you to design your website, manage your social media, write your monthly blog, or help you to manage your daily administrative needs.
Rewards of working with a freelancer
The benefits of working with an exceptional freelancer are many. First off, they can produce high-quality work and meet tight deadlines. They can handle multiple projects at a time and can communicate effectively via email, text or zoom. They can think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to your private practice issues. In addition, a flexible freelancer can address work concerns outside of normal business hours.
There are many different aspects to consider when hiring a freelancer, so we will be breaking it all down for you so you have the resources and information you will need to contract effectively with freelancers in your budding private practice.
First, figure out what you need to outsource
When you are starting out as a coaching practitioner, certain things like setting up your own website cries out for the expertise of a freelancer while other tasks like content creation may be something you choose to take on initially. Figuring out which projects and tasks you can do yourself and what to outsource should be carefully calibrated when beginning or expanding your private practice.
Here is an exercise worth doing early on in your business set up. Make an extensive list of all of the tasks involved in setting up and running your private practice. This may take a few days as you reflect and think of additional things you want to add to the list. Next, create two columns to the right of the task list where you note which tasks you do well and enjoy vs. those that you don’t have the right skill-set, bandwidth, or existing knowledge for right now. This exercise will begin to point you in the direction of which tasks would be good to outsource. Next, prioritize your list so you can choose the top 3-5 tasks that you really need help with first. This will allow you to make better choices about where to invest some of your limited funds first.
Different kinds of specializations
While there are a myriad of specialized freelancers there are a few, in particular, that will apply to opening and successfully running a career coaching practice. To start, you are going to need a compelling and informative website. Hiring an effective website developer is often a first step when opening up your own practice.
Next comes content creation. Content creation is key to driving potential clients to your website. You can hire writers for content creation that will work on a project-by-project basis or an hourly rate you predetermine.
Another area that begs for outside assistance is social media. In today’s marketplace it is critical to send out the right messages about your career consulting practice to the right audience at the right time. There are many individuals and agencies that provide social media messaging.
Finding the right people
One of the most effective ways to hire an exceptional freelancer is by getting referrals. When you are starting your own career coaching practices, checking with other career coaches can be extremely advantageous. Not only will another career coach pass along a good quality referral but you can rest in the knowledge that this individual has worked successfully in your field, as well. Another way to find good freelancers is through different websites like guru.com or freelancer.com. Go to online career coaching groups to get feedback on helpful freelancers or freelance websites.
Evaluating potential candidates
Now that you’ve found a freelancer that has piqued your interest, how do you evaluate them? Look over work samples, preferably a sample for work they have done for another career consultant. Interview them looking specifically for excellent communication skills, specialized skills, flexibility, organizational skills, knowledge of online tools and experience.
Cost of hiring a freelancer
If you are just starting out don’t be deterred by the cost of hiring a freelancer. There are a lot of individuals doing this work who have reasonable rates and some people even get started by bartering with others for services. Perhaps your web developer has a kid who is getting ready to graduate from college who could benefit from some career coaching advice. Get creative and be willing to consider what skills you have to offer. Be cautious if you barter with a friend, or family member, for services that both parties have clear expectations and understood boundaries.
Getting the most out of your freelancer
When working with a freelancer it is critical to set up three constructs in advance: Communication, Boundaries, and Expectations. To begin the relationship on the right footing, have an onboarding system in place that includes these three things and a contract that lays out these concepts in detail. The more work you do upfront to lay the groundwork of your working relationship, the less you will hassle over the specifics later. A good freelancer will appreciate having these expectations in advance as it clarifies their goals and work, as well.
Make sure you have a contact available to them to answer questions and give effective feedback often as this will improve the quality of their work. Be sure and pay your freelancer on time. This will establish trust and uphold your end of the agreement to accurately compensate for their efforts.
Working with freelancers is an opportunity to set yourself up for success. You only have so much time and energy to go around, so think about your strengths and weaknesses when evaluating the right time and instances to hire freelancers.
And speaking of setting yourself up for success, our fully online, self-paced, 8-week Kickstart Your Private Practice (KYPP) program is being offered again for Fall 2022! Class dates are September 24th through November 16th with face-to-face sessions every Wednesday from 4-6pm (EST) starting October 5th.
KYPP is taught by successful career coaches who learned the hard way how to avoid common coaching practice pitfalls and they have gathered together the best methods and resources to help you launch your new business efficiently and effectively. Topics include new business issues like marketing, defining your target audience, choosing/forming a legal entity, developing a pricing structure, the advantages of partnering with other coaches, and much more!
In addition, following graduation the KYPP program gives you ongoing monthly access to a community of like-minded career coaches. Register, or schedule a free fifteen-minute consultation with one of our team members, at our KYPP website to see if the Kickstart Your Private Practice course is a good fit for you.