The Quick and Easy Way to Take Your Business to a Higher Sales Volume

You have a business and it’s been doing pretty well. You’re generating traffic. You’re building a list.

You’re making some money… but you want more.

And you know that you can make more. Plenty of other marketers just like you make more money, so you know you can do it too. But the question is, how?

If you’re like most folks, you get your hands on all the marketing manuals, blueprints and systems you can find. And if you’re like a lot of marketers, you find that despite all this information, your business isn’t growing.

That’s because all these training materials are roadmaps. They were enough to get your business up and running – but what you really need at this point is a personal tour guide! This is the person who can look where you are, help you choose your destination and then give you personalized advice that will get you between the two points!

Here are five other things a good coach can do for you…

1.   A coach can look at your business objectively and without emotion. Sometimes a business – or even just a product – feels like your “baby.” You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating it, so there’s no way you’d let it fail.

Sometimes, however, our emotions cloud our vision. Sometimes we cling to “babies” that are profit-draining losers. It may take us a long time to realize this on our own – if we ever do.

But a good coach will see your business without those clouding emotions. And that means he can help you get back on track, moving towards your goals.

2.   A coach has “been there, done that”… and can show you the best route. Your coach probably learned a lot about business through trial error. But you don’t have to make those same mistakes or waste time and money. Your coach will help you choose the fastest, quickest route to success!

3.   Your coach won’t let you make excuses. It’s easy to rationalize why you don’t want to do something, even though you know you should do it. for example, you can tell yourself that you’ll start building your list later, because you want to focus on your article marketing.

A good coach won’t let you make those excuses or rationalizations. And that goes for when you make a mistake, too. He’ll ask that you take responsibility and learn from the mistake so that you can keep moving forward.

4.   A good coach can keep you moving forward. It’s tempting to get distracted by other ideas and even products. A good coach will insist that you make a plan… and then stick with it. And that means you’ll meet your goals faster.

5.   Your coach will share with you tools and resources to grow your business faster. Tools alone won’t make your business grow faster. But the right tools plus the right action can make your business grow by leaps and bounds. And a good coach will suggest not only the action but the tools you can use.

In summary: Roadmaps are good for Sunday drives when it doesn’t matter how long it takes or how much fuel you burn. And likewise, general marketing guides are good for getting you from Point A to Point B – if you have time and money to burn.

If you want to grow your business faster by learning the shortcuts and staying focused, then you need a business coach to serve as your personal tour guide! Jimmy D. Brown can help – check out his Info Coach 5 Day Coaching Program.

Should You Hire a Marketing Coach? Take This Quiz to Find Out!

Consider this: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has a coach.

He’s lightning quick. He breaks records even without the new “fast” swimsuits. And while you’d think that any swimmer on the planet would be happy to have him as a coach, he has his own coach!

That’s because –

He realizes that even those who are successful in their fields 

still need a little help from time to time.

What about you? Do you need a coach too?

Take this quiz to find out. Just answer “true” or “false” to the following questions:

  • My business has not grown significantly in the last six months.
  • Sometimes other people give me suggestions to improve my business, and sometimes I’m surprised that I didn’t think of these ideas before!
  • I would enjoy bouncing ideas off of someone with an objective viewpoint.
  • I could use improvement in one or more skills such as marketing, copywriting, motivation, time management, organization and similar business-related activities.
  • I want my business to grow but I’m not sure what steps to take next.
  • Sometimes I know what to do but I don’t take the steps.
  • I know how to make money online. But don’t know how to make money consistently.
  • I’m all over the place. I chase one idea or opportunity after another. I need a business plan and some focus.
  • Seems like everything I try doesn’t work. I know it’s possible to make money online, I just haven’t figured it out yet.
  • I see a lot of people struggling and I’d just like to skip the learning curve so I can start making money.

Scoring

Scoring is easy: If you answered “true” to ANY of the questions, then you’re a good candidate for coaching. (And if you answered “true” to multiple questions, then you should definitely consider getting a coach ASAP!)

You see, a coach isn’t just someone who stands on the sidelines and yells “rah rah” like a cheerleader. Instead, a coach is someone who can see the big picture and advise you of where to go next.

Think of it this way…

Have you ever written an email or an article and then days or weeks later you noticed a glaring typo? You didn’t see it at first because you were too close to the writing. But anyone else who read it no doubt picked up on the typo immediately.

Likewise, you’re too close to your business to see all the errors and mistakes you’re making. But a good coach sees them. He not only sees the errors you’ve made, he can also see the errors you’re about to make – which means a good coach saves you time, money and slashes your frustration level to near zero!

Now that you have some background about coaching, check out InfoCoach for a terrific 5 day coaching from Jimmy D. Brown to get you started on the right path.

Surefire Cures to a Slow Sales Period

Sales slowdowns are inevitable.

It might be the economy, it might be a holiday, or it just might be the season. For whatever reason, they happen – but you don’t have to just accept it.

Instead, you can get proactive and go rustle up some sales.

Here’s what to do: Create a short report, sell it to your list and then make even more money on the backend. Let me explain in more detail…

Step #1: Create an in-demand report

Sales are slow, meaning your prospects might not be ready to haul out the credit card for a three or four figure product.

Instead, you can hit them up with a cheap report – about $10 to $15 – which is a “no brainer” price. Not only will you get your existing customers lining up with cash in hand, you’re also likely to get a nice conversion rate on new customers.

The trick is to create something that your market really wants. You can do this by visiting Clickbank.com to see what kinds of topics are really popular right now. You should also have a sense of what sorts of products your list has been gobbling up in recent times.

Tip: You may even ask your list to see what they want. But keep in mind that the best way to deliver a profitable product is by creating something similar to those that are already selling. Sometimes what people say they want isn’t actually what they’ll buy.

Once you’ve selected your topic, create your report. It can be as few as 5000 words, so you should be able to complete it within a day or so.

Step #2: Create backend offers

Now before you unleash this product, you need to create a 7-12 part autoresponder series for those who purchase this new report. This autoresponder series should seek to sell related offers to your list.

Here’s what your series might look like:

Email #1, immediately: Thank customer for order and recommend a related product.

Email #2, 2 days later: Remind customer of the benefits of the report they just purchased and then recommend a related product.

Email #3, 2-3 days later: Give your customer a tip that’s related to the report they just purchased along with a recommendation for a related product.

Email #4 and on… about once a week you can send out a newsletter that includes an article (or even just a short tip) alongside a product recommendation.

Tip: You may sell your own products (which is preferable) or you can recommend affiliate products.  You may even create a series of short (related) reports and sell them on the backend.

 

Step #3: Unleash the product

Next, it’s time to write your sales materials and then promote your product. You can tell your list, blog about it, get affiliates, mention it to your social networks, use articles marketing, use video marketing, etc.

In short, promote it just like any product and enjoy your automatic backend profits.

We could stop here. But you can squeeze even more cash out of the report with this last step…

Step #4: Offer rights to the product

Now that you have a proven product and sales copy on your hands, you can make even more money by licensing the rights to this product to others.

Example: You can sell 100 licenses for $50 each. And as a nice bonus, any links you put into your report will bring in a nice backend income for you.

In summary: Don’t let a sales slump shrivel your paycheck! Just use this simple four-step plan to pull in thousands of dollars quickly. In fact, you could start right now and have profits in your pocket in as little as 24 hours!

Now that you know some of the tips to creating your own small report, find out more from Jimmy D. Brown by visiting http://www.smallreportsfortune.com/.

27 Things You Can Outsource

Quick, what do you think of when someone says outsourcing?

If you’re like most folks, you probably think of article writing and other common tasks. But that’s just the tip of the outsourcing iceberg.

Here’s a list of 27 things you can outsource to free up your time and help your business grow…

  1. You can get a writer to create your blog posts.
  2. You can hire a writer to create (and even submit) articles to article directories like EzineArticles.com or GoArticles.com.
  3. You can hire someone to create your ecover graphics.
  4. You can outsource your mini-site design.
  5. You can hire a copywriter to write your sales letters.
  6. You can find a ghostwriter to create short, viral reports for you.
  7. You can hire a ghostwriter to create full-length (paid) ebooks.
  8. You can outsource your microblogging on sites like Twitter.com.
  9. You can let an affiliate manager take care of your affiliate program and even your product launches.
  10. You can use professional customer service representatives to handle your help desk inquiries.
  11. You can hire telemarketers to close sales on the phone (either inbound or outbound sales calls).
  12. You can use professional forum posters to create posts and build your reputation on niche forums.
  13. You can hire a freelancer to post to Yahoo! Answers for you.
  14. If you sell software, then hire a programmer to create the software for you.
  15. You can put a freelancer marketer in charge of creating and maintaining your Google AdWords accounts.
  16. You can find a copywriter who specializes in autoresponder messages to create a persuasive pre-sell autoresponder series.
  17. You can ask this copywriter to create solo email ads.
  18. You can find a programmer to develop iPhone applications that you can sell in the Apple store.
  19. A professional video producer can create a polished sales video for you.
  20. A “buzz marketing” company can create and launch a viral video for you.
  21. You can commission a specialized writer to create your press releases.
  22. You can hire a “tech guy” (or gal) to take care of maintenance on your website such as script installation.
  23. Need more traffic? Hire a professional to optimize your site for the search engines.
  24. If you do teleseminars or other audio products, you can hire a transcriptionist to turn these audio products into text products.
  25. Take your product to different countries by hiring someone to translate your product into another language.
  26. You just shot a bunch of footage for an upcoming video product. You can hire someone else to edit the video for you.
  27. You’d like to turn a text product into an audio product, or maybe you want to create an audio sales message on your site. Either way, you can hire voice talent to do voiceover work.

Even though I just listed 27 different things you can outsource, do NOT limit yourself to these tasks. That’s because I wanted to show you the wide variety of tasks you can find a freelancer to complete. Indeed, there are plenty of others I didn’t even mention, such as data entry, newsletter creation or bookkeeping.

Point is, you can outsource almost anything!

If you need more inspiration for outsourcing your writing, check out http://contentaire.com/.

Five Keys to Outsourcing Success

Finding a reliable outsourcer is a two-step process:

  1. The first step is to compile a list of potential freelancers who might be right for the job.
  2. The second step is to screen these candidates to find the BEST freelancer for the job.

Here are the five keys to finding a reliable, professional outsourcing vendor…

Key #1: Review the Freelancer’s Portfolio

Most freelancers have a portfolio of samples they can show you, although some don’t make this portfolio public. If the freelancer doesn’t have one just ask. And if you’re requiring special work – such as writing on a specialized topic – ask for samples related to the special work.

Tip: Some freelancers will claim they don’t have a portfolio because they’re just getting started and thus they haven’t had any clients yet. Don’t believe this excuse (and skip anyone who doesn’t show you samples).

That’s because even if it’s true that they haven’t yet built a client base, they should STILL have a portfolio.  For example, a writer can certainly write a few articles for his own use and add them to his portfolio. A web designer can certainly create a few “mock ups” just to showcase his skills.

Key #2: Contact the Freelancer’s References

Most freelancers post testimonials or references on their sites (or they have references they can put you in contact with upon request).

Don’t just read these testimonials – you should actually follow up and contact them to see if they still recommend the freelancer.

Key #3: Look at the Freelancer’s Feedback, Reviews and Recommendations

If you found the freelancer on a site like elance.com, then be sure to read the freelancer’s feedback and ratings. Likewise, if you found them on a forum like the WarriorForum.com, check their past threads to see what others have said about them. You’re looking for someone who has a long history of providing quality work.

Tip: If you find someone on the WarriorForum.com, search www.WarriorPlus.com/WSO for the freelancer’s forum name. That way you can see if they have any past complaints on their forum offerings. Naturally, you can also ask other forum members for their recommendations.

Key #4: Search Google for More Information

The next key is to search for your potential freelancer’s name, email address, known aliases and website in Google (all separate searches).

This step helps you uncover customer complaints, unprofessional behaviors or, if you’re lucky, an established history of professional service and glowing reviews.

Tip: The email addresses (and website searches) are the most reliable, since it’s extremely rare for someone to have the same email address as someone else. It happens if the person sells their domain name and the new owner uses the same address, such as info@domain.com.

When searching for the name, search for variations on the name. For example, “Nathan Smith” might also go by “Nate Smith” or “Nathaniel Smith.” Since some names are extremely common, just be sure that any information you uncover is about your freelancer and not someone else.

Key #5: Start Small With a New Freelancer

Don’t skip this step, even if you’ve completed the other four steps. That’s because this step will help you uncover problems BEFORE you spend thousands of dollars or waste weeks or months on a huge project.

Simply put, you should start by giving your freelancer small jobs.

If you work well together on the small jobs, you can gradually give your freelancer bigger project and more responsibility.

Example:

  • Ask for a pack or articles and then a small report from a writer before delving into bigger projects.
  • Ask a graphic designer to design a few ebook covers and a mini site (header, footer and buy button) before moving onto bigger projects or more work.
  • Ask a programmer to tweak the code on existing projects and start with small jobs before moving onto your main project.

In summary: If you follow and apply these five keys, you’re virtually guaranteed to find a professional freelancer who makes your business easier and more profitable!

Now that you know some of the keys to outsourcing success, you can find out how to create your own small reports fortune by visiting http://www.smallreportsfortune.com/.

10 Quick and Easy Ways to Find Outsourcing Vendors

You hear a lot about outsourcing and how it can help you grow your business more quickly and easily. But if you’ve never outsourced any work before, the whole process might leave you scratching your head wondering where to start.

In other words, where can you find freelancers?

Here are 10 proven ways to find freelancers

1.   Go to Elance.com. This is one of the most popular freelancing sites, which means you’ll have plenty of providers to choose from (no matter what type of freelancer you’re seeking).

2.   Search Google. Don’t just run one search in Google. Instead, search for various related terms. That way you’ll get more options to choose from.

Example: Let’s say you’re looking for a writer. You might search using terms such as:

  • Ghostwriter
  • Freelance writer
  • Article writer
  • Content creator
  • Ebook writer
  • Autoresponder writer
  • Copywriter (if you’re looking for someone to write sales materials)

3.   Ask your colleagues. Be sure to ask both online and offline. If you have a mastermind group or if you attend any business organization meetings, ask around at those events as well.

4.   Drop a request to your list. You can ask your list no matter what your niche (though this works best if you have a marketing or business niche). Be sure to ask your readers to pass your request on to their friends or family members. For example: “Are you a graphic designer or do you know someone who is?” (Then talk about how to contact you.)

5.   Look for recommendations on business and marketing forums. Check around the marketing forums you usually visit to see if there’s a “freelancer” section (such as the “Warriors for Hire” section of the WarriorForum.com). Also, you can make a post asking for recommendations and/or asking for freelancers to contact you.

6.   Use CraigsList.org. You can use this classifieds site both to post a want ad as well as view the ads from freelancers.

7.   Place an ad in the local newspaper. Likewise, you can post an ad in your local paper. This works particularly well if you’re interested in working with someone local so that you can have face-to-face meetings.

8.   Go to your local university campus. One source of talented yet relatively expensive outsourcers is your local college campuses. There you’ll find students who aren’t actively looking to be freelancers but they might accept the job if you offer it. Place ads in the local paper and flyers on the bulletin boards in the appropriate departments (e.g., English department if you need a writer).

9.   Try RentACoder.com. Here’s another popular freelancing site. This one works best if you’re looking for programmers, web designers or other coders.

10.   Visit GetAFreelancer.com. Here’s yet another popular freelancing site. While this site caters to all sorts of freelancers, web design and web promotion tend to be some of the most popular requests on the site, perhaps due to plenty of talent in those areas.

So which one method should you use to find your freelancer?

All of them!

That’s because you’ll want to “shop around” before settling on a freelancer, and the best way to do that is to find as many potential candidates as possible.

Now that you know some of the steps to find an outsourcing vendor, find out how to use your free content to attract paying customers to your site by visiting http://freetofeesystem.com/ to find out how to do this.

 

 

How to Write a Product Review

If you’ve built a good relationship with your blog readers or newsletter subscribers, then a product review is one of your best sales tools. And that’s because –

A product review sells the product 
without you having to make a direct pitch.

It’s a way to sell to people without having people get the feeling they’ve been sold to (which most folks don’t like).

Here then is how to write a persuasive product review (for a product that you’re recommending)…

Tip: If you’re not recommending the product, don’t include your affiliate link or call to action. Instead, suggest an alternative product.

Step #1: Write a Curiosity-Arousing Title

Do NOT give away your conclusion in your title. You want your prospects to read your article so that you have a chance to lead them to the sales page.

As such, your title should arouse a little curiosity like these examples:

  • Don’t Buy [Product Name] Until You Read This! Or: Are You Thinking of Buying [Product Name]? Read This First!
  • The Shocking Truth About [Product Name]!
  • Here’s What [Product Creator] Doesn’t Want You to Know About [Product Name]!

Step #2: Lead Your Prospects

Once your title has sucked the prospect into your article, your introductory paragraph needs to let the skimmers know your conclusion (so they can buy now if they’re in a hurry).

However, you also need to get the skeptics to continue reading. And you do this by promising to reveal something surprising later in the article, such as

  • You won’t believe what’s in chapter 2 of this book. I’ll share that with you in a minute, but first let me tell you the good stuff…
  • There’s a lot to like about this product. But I need to warn you about one feature. You’ll learn what it is in just a moment, but first…

Step #3: Share the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Next, you need to share both the strengths and weaknesses of the product.

Ideally, you should share the strengths first as a way to get your readers excited about the product (e.g., you’re basically pre-selling). After you share the strengths, share the product flaws.

Now, some people are tempted to skip over the product flaws. DON’T do this with a product review. Your prospects know there are problems with the product (no product is perfect), so they’ll appreciate your honesty. Plus, it gives you a chance to not only raise these objections, but resolve them as well.

Here’s an example of raising an objection:

While the diet plan overall is a good, solid plan that will help you lose weight if you stick to it, there aren’t very many recipes included in the book. That means that if you spend more than three or four months following the diet, you’re going to get bored. However, I’ll throw in a free recipe book with 201 new recipes in it so you can get a lot of variety!

Step #4: Tell Your Prospects Why They Should Buy (or Not)

Finally, you conclude your review by quickly summarizing your overall review, giving your conclusion and creating a call to action. You may even want to share with readers who would benefit most from the product.

Example: If you just need to lose 10 pounds, don’t bother with this product. However, if you need to lose more, then you’ll find this book is perfect because [reiterate biggest benefits]. Click here to order now and you’ll get the recipe book for free!

There you have it – a simple four-step method to writing a persuasive product review.

It boils down to providing an honest review, an affiliate link and giving your prospects a reason to buy.

Give it a try and see how well this form of pre-selling works for you!

Now that you know how to write product reviews, why not create your own products that really are premium products. If you don’t already have a product selling for at least $97 per order, then visit  http://www.ipremiumproducts.com/ to see how you can create one in 48 hours or less.

How To Motivate Your Freelance Vendors

How to Motivate Your Freelancers

Whether you have one freelancer or 100 freelancers on your team, you want to motivate your freelancers to be productive and turn out high quality work. And you want your freelancers to be happy so that they stay on your team and keep performing.

So how do you keep your freelancers happy? How do you motivate them? By following these five simple tips…

Praise Good Work

Yes, your freelancers are working for you in exchange for money. But your freelancers are also human, which means most of them will appreciate a kind word. So don’t be stingy with your praise. Tell your freelancers when they’re doing a good job.

Tip: For best results, offer specific praise. For example, “You did a great job on this graphic even though you were under a tight deadline – and you even got it in early!” Or, “This sales letter is absolutely amazing – it’s already converting at 5%!”

Make Your Expectations Clear

If you leave any room for guessing when you give your freelancers a project, then you’re just leaving room for disappointment.

So, be sure to always offer detailed project briefs so your freelancers know what you expect them to do. And if you have other expectations – such as wanting an update every 24 hours – be sure to make those expectations clear too. The more you and your freelancers communicate, the happier everyone will be.

Use the Sandwich Tactic

Sometimes you do have to offer a critique of the freelancer’s work. If this happens, then sandwich the critique within praise.

Example: “You did a great job with this report – the introduction in particular is perfect. However, page 5 needs a few tweaks… [explain tweaks]. Again, that’s for all your hard work!”

Offer Bonuses

Your freelancers will most appreciate cash bonuses, such as an extra 10% or 20% “tip” that you put on top of the regular payment. But from time to time you may offer other rewards, such as paid time off or gift certificates.

Tip: Be sure to tell the freelancer exactly why they’re receiving the bonus, which will encourage them to repeat their good performance!

Do note that you can actually offer bonuses in two ways:

• Announced bonuses. These are where you offer a bonus if the freelancer achieves a specific, measurable goal. The easiest way to do this is to offer a bonus if the freelancer completes the work before the deadline. Indeed, many freelancers will do “rush jobs” for a premium price (meaning those employers who pay more get sent to the front of the freelancer’s work queue).

• Unannounced bonuses. These are the surprise bonuses you offer for a job well done.

Avoid Micromanaging

Your freelancer is an independent contractor. He’s also an expert in his field. And like you, he’s an independent business owner. Just as you wouldn’t like it if someone watched over your shoulder and tried to dictate how you do your work, neither would your freelancer appreciate this.

Yes, you can make requests of your freelancer. And yes, when it comes to the quality of the work, you can certainly set criteria. But you cannot force your freelancer to do things like:

• Work certain hours or be available during certain hours.

• Accept every project that you offer to him.

• Work certain days.

• Work a certain number of days.

• Be available through certain channels, such as on Skype.

Note: Some freelancers refuse to take calls, because it tends to eat up a lot of their time. If they spend 30 minutes on the phone with you, and they’re not charging you consultation fees, then you’re using their valuable time that they could be spending on a paid project.

In sum…

Happy, motivated freelancers are loyal freelancers who eagerly give you their highest-quality work. Be sure to motivate your freelancers using all five of the tips you just discovered!

Getting Great Results From Outsourced Projects

Do you want to get great results from your freelancers?

Then I have two words for you: Eliminate guesswork.

Your freelancer isn’t a mind reader. He doesn’t know how you like your projects completed. He hasn’t seen samples of projects that you do like. And so he’s not going to get your project exactly right unless you offer details… and lots of them. The best way to do this is by offering a detailed project brief.

Now, the details you put into your project brief really depend on the type of project.

So let me give you two examples of the types of details you need to include in a project brief – one for a typical writing project, and one for a simple graphic design.

Writing Brief

Maybe you need some writing done, such as an article, blog post or ebook. Here’s an example of the kinds of details you should provide to your writer:

• What do you need? Is it an article, blog post, ebook, pre-sell report, paid report, ebook or something else?

• Word count? Word count is specific, page number is not. That’s because freelancers can adjust the page count by adjusting margins, type face and similar elements.

• Who’s the intended audience? For example, “new dog owners who just got a puppy and don’t have a clue what to do next.”

• What’s the topic? If you have a working title, include that as well.

• What’s the purpose of the piece? Is it to get traffic, build relationships, sell something on the backend, satisfy a customer… or something else?

• What is the tone? For example, are you looking for an instructional tone? Authoritative tone? Sales tone? Conversational tone? It’s best if you can show samples of the tone you’re seeking.

• What are your requirements? Do you want the piece written in a certain way, such as optimized around a set of keywords? If so, provide the keywords. Or do you want the piece written with plenty of examples or stories? If so, provide these examples and stories, if possible. (Especially if these are supposed to be your personal stories.)
• What all do you want included in the piece? Here you should provide a detailed outline. For example, if it’s an ebook, then provide an outline of all chapters and subsections.

• Provide research. If you already have good sources of information, then pass these links and sources along to your freelancer.

• Show samples. Whenever possible, show your freelancer samples of writing pieces that you like. Just be sure to say what it is you like about these samples. (E.G., “I like the conversational tone in this piece.”)

Graphical Design Brief

Let’s say you need a simple graphic, like an ecover or a banner graphic. Here’s an example of the details you should include in your brief:

• The general specs, such as the dimensions and resolution of the graphic.

• How the graphic is to be used – online, offline, in print, on t-shirts, etc.

• Colors you’d like used. (Provide samples.)

• Graphical elements. Whenever possible, provide samples. For example, if you want a dog in your graphic, then tell what kind of dog. And, if possible, provide a stock photo that the designer can use.

• What text you’d like included.

• Font face.

• Your vision of the graphic – how do you imagine it should look?

• The “feel” of the graphic. Is it funny? Serious? Does it bring warm, loving thoughts to the viewer… or does it look sophisticated?

• Samples of similar graphics you like. Be sure to specify what it is you like. For example, “I like the colors on this one but I like the overall feel of this other one.”

In sum…

The more details you can give to your freelancer, the better your end results. Be sure to encourage your freelancers to ask plenty of questions, too!

How To Hire A Good Freelancer

How to Hire a Freelancer

Maybe you have just one prospective freelancer that you found through a forum ad. Or maybe you have a whole slew of freelancers bidding on your Elance project. Question is, are all these freelancers qualified for the job?

Point is, don’t make a hasty hiring decision. Instead, do your due diligence and hire the best-qualified freelancer for the job. Here’s how…

Step 1: Check the Freelancer’s Feedback. If you’re hiring a freelancer from a site like odesk.com or elance.com, then check the freelancer’s onsite feedback ratings. You’re looking for a pattern of good comments from a wide variety of people over an extended period of time.

Step 2: Browse the Freelancer’s Portfolio. This is where you check the freelancer’s samples.

Example: If you’re hiring a writer, then check if the writer has an engaging writing style. Or if you’re hiring a designer, be sure the samples look crisp and professional.

Tip: If you need your freelancer to complete a specific task, you may ask for samples which specifically demonstrate the freelancer’s ability to complete this task. For example, if you’re looking for a technical writer, then ask a freelance writer to provide you with technical writing samples.

Step 3: Research the Freelancer’s Background. If you like what you see so far, then your next step is to go to Google and search for the freelancer’s name, company name, website, email address, telephone number and other identifying pieces of data.

Tip: Be sure that the research you uncover pertains to the person you’re searching for. For example, a name like “Mike Johnson” is extremely common. They may even both be freelancers. While an identifier like an email address or telephone number may have previously belonged to someone else, it’s unlikely that it belonged to someone with the same name as your prospective freelancer. So if you match a name to another identifier, then you know you’re looking at the right person.

Step 4: Review the Freelancer’s Rates. Your next step is to look at your budget in comparison to the freelancer’s rates. The reason why this is Step 4 is because you don’t want to shop around based on price.

Instead, you want to first find a qualified freelancer – one you know who’ll do a good job for you – and then see if they fit into your budget. Otherwise, if you “bargain shop,” you’ll end up getting what you pay for (pay peanuts and you get monkeys).
Step 5: Interview the Freelancer. If this is a freelancer with whom you hope to establish more of a long-term relationship, then you may want to interview the candidates. If you can do it in person, great. Otherwise, you can interview the person by phone or via Skype.

Tip: Keep in mind that this step will eliminate some perfectly good candidates, simply because they prefer not to do interviews or talk on the phone. If you think you have a good candidate yet they don’t want to do an interview, then you can go to Step 6.

Step 6: Test the Freelancer. Don’t immediately hand your newly hired freelancer your most expensive, most important and/or biggest job. Instead, start small by giving your freelancer a series of little tasks to do. If he does a good job, then you can give him more responsibility and bigger projects.

Example: Let’s suppose you’re hiring a writer. For the first few projects you may have your writer complete small tasks, such as a pack of five articles, a set of blog posts and short report. If you’re happy with the results, then you can start giving your writer bigger tasks, like a full-size ebook or bigger article orders (such as 100 articles).

In sum…

Don’t just hastily or blindly hire the first decent-looking freelancer who comes along. You’ll get much better results if you take the time to do your due diligence.