I have probably hired about two dozen people between employees and contractors over the course of the last decade. I have never created a single job posting or used a website like Freelancer.com or UpWork.com to find a contractor. Job posting websites certainly have their place, but I have always been able to find solid contractors and employees through personal networking and getting recommendations from friends and business acquaintances. I have been able to build a pretty wide network of business contacts over the last decade as a result of going to conferences, participating in online discussion groups and taking a lot of coffee meetings. Whenever I need to hire someone new, I first try to think if there’s anyone that I already know that I can hire for the position. If no one comes to mind, I ask friends that also run online businesses if they know anyone that might be good for the position. In almost every case, I have gotten a solid recommendation from a business acquaintance and have been able to fill the position. If I couldn’t get a good referral, I might then turn to a job posting website or public Facebook groups that I am apart of to try to fill a position.
If you don’t have a wide network of business acquaintances that you can ask for recommendations from, you can shortcut this process by joining a few select Facebook groups geared toward online business owners. Specific Facebook groups serve as a discussion group for online business owners and people regularly share recommendations for contractors and employees in these groups. After joining these groups, write a new post and share what kind of position you need to fill and see if anyone has a recommendation for someone that you can hire. While you can get a lot of good help in these groups, remember these groups don’t solely exist to help you. Make sure that you are giving value to others in these groups and not just asking questions about your own business.
Here are some Facebook groups you might join if you need recommendations for contractors or employees:
- Rhodium Community for Online Entrepreneurs
- The Smart Passive Income Community
- Zero to Scale: The Journey to $100,000 Per Month and Beyond
- Internet Marketing Super Friends
- The Startup Chat
How to Make the Hire
If you have someone in mind for a contract or employment position, first ask them if they are interested in the work. If they are, give them a couple of test projects on a contract basis to see if they can follow your instructions, work independently and produce quality work. Pay them for the test projects you have them do as you would any other contractor. If they do a good job on your test projects, try to get some external feedback about the candidate from references they list and other people that they have done work for that they haven’t explicitly listed. Some of the best feedback you will get about someone will come from someone that they haven’t listed as a reference. If your reference check comes back fine, their test project went well and you still want to hire them, you can then give them an offer letter.
An offer letter is a written document that outlines all pertinent information about a job, such as compensation, benefits, hours, responsibilities, location of work, whether or not the job requires travel, and any other expectations that you have for them as an employee. Your offer letter should also describe how their performance will be evaluated and under what circumstances they will get a raise. In my offer letters, I state that they will be working for the company on a 90-day trial basis. After their 90-day trial period, they will either be offered a permanent position with the company or they will be let go. There’s no legal requirement to include a statement like this in my state, but it sends a clear message to new employees that they will have to earn their keep if they want to stick around. Finally, your offer letter should include a deadline and instructions for them to accept the offer, which usually involves signing and returning the offer letter, completing a W4 form and attending in-person training.