The choice of a freelancer, or on the hypothesis of an old professor on the topic of search

The hypothesis itself

I met her many years ago. My friend’s father, then still a very young professor, once spoke about his research on the topic of strategy and tactics in the search, including when searching for a new one.
And, in particular, about the optimal proportion of a targeted, planned search by criteria established by him and his employees, and a free search based on randomness.

I remember how happy I was then. The hypothesis became a balm for my wounds, because it was just the coincidences that I loved very much, and always believed that life could not do without them. A varied planning was for me something like a necessary, tradition-imposed procedure, which is necessary and useful, but in many ways limits freedom, and in general can be useful only at the beginning of the search. Most of the people around us felt differently, the clashes of our views and led to mental injuries, mostly I was the victim.

Now, the authority of the professor reconciled me with the need for planning and control, because the results of his research said thatthe optimal approach is a combination of about two-thirds of the activity aimed at organized, orderly, systematic, and no more than one-third given to free, unregulated search.

What does freelancers have to do with it?

There are several layers to the answer to this question.
On the one hand, freelance is often practiced by specialists engaged in the main work in the office. I think the hypothesis is significant for them, in terms of how much time and effort it makes sense to devote to free creativity.

Also, a “pure” freelancer engaged in a large project, or choosing only large or specialized orders from reputable employers, may wonder whether he should pay attention to projects that are small, non-obvious, simple, not burdensome, a little out of specialization, including various “indie” "And startups.

Here I will tell you what I think and practice in terms of choosing a freelancer for the role of an employee or performer for certain projects. In the light of the aforementioned hypothesis.

I publish this text, in particular, because recently I finally started to implement a serious multi-level project with the participation of remote employees, I decided to limit myself to personal contacts, social activity, and even some pleasures - all for a more effective project activity. For a month and a half I have been communicating with people almost exclusively in the text and in the case, I haven’t been visiting or calling, but I’m conducting correspondence with dozens of freelancers.

And against the background of such selective social isolation and intensive work and communication exclusively with freelancers, two different approaches to the selection of specialists were particularly clear. Because I drew several remote performers to the development of some simple elements of the project, based not at all on their experience, level of professionalism and reputation, and got enough experience for a little systematization.

A few words about the experience

The first episode of collaboration with a free artist was with me in the 90s. The word "freelancer" was not used then.
Since the beginning of the 2000s, I have been constantly turning to freelancers both as a direct customer and as a contractor. I mainly work with designers, artists, programmers.
The experience in most cases was successful, isolated failures were only recently, about them, as about examples, a little later.

Two approaches to choosing a freelancer

Everything is simple.
If I have an important project, to which I involve a remote employee, or an urgent, complex, or some other “special” order, the main criteria for me when choosing a freelancer are his experience (portfolio), reputation, sometimes - the presence of a team, physical accessibility , the opportunity to meet and conclude an agreement.

And in cases where there is a margin of time, especially if the project is simple, small and inexpensive - I often choose among beginners or young people who do not have a large portfolio or experience in this particular field, among those living in a small town, in one of the republics, to the edge of the world ...
The main criterion for such a choice is he (she) is clearly a capable, or unusual, interesting person. Moreover, on the one hand, I hope to find a promising specialist for the project. But another motive for me is to give an opportunity to prove myself and earn money to a person who at this time does not have many opportunities for this.

For many years I have been doing just that, and despite the obvious risks in the second approach, I plan to continue this practice .

A little about the second approach

However, there are a few points.
No matter how talented at first glance the freelancer chosen in this way is, if he is impolite, optional, sloppy during the initial correspondence - there will be no order.

If in the correspondence it turns out that we find it difficult to find a common language, poorly understand each other, stomp on the spot and cannot agree at all - then it is better not to start cooperation, the chances of success are clearly small.

Different things happen. For example, taking an order, a person may suddenly become inaccessible - get sick, suddenly leave, but you never know what the reasons are. But if, having gained access to the Internet, he immediately wrote to me, apologized, offered options for resolving the situation or constructively participated in the dialogue I proposed - I will continue to work with him until the result.
And the result will be the criterion for evaluation.

Eliminate bad motives when choosing

If most of the examples of graphics in the portfolio do not fit the style and mood - most likely the result of the work of such an artist will not suit the customer. No matter how interesting and unusual this freelancer was. Need a fun, cheerful picture? Then choose the one who draws that way.

When, instead of answering my questions in the published draft, the applicants do not answer, but persistently write “We are good, we can do everything, but we are unemployed, so give us an order”, while being called a studio, and in the portfolio at least, I will not give them an order . Since the studio, albeit from a small town, there should be a manager who knows how to work with the customer. I don’t see that they know how to work.

When the portfolio is completely empty, but in words there is a lot of experience, there is a good command of terminology and it can be seen from the message texts that the person is interesting and difficult - perhaps it is just that, that is not a simple person.

So pity, sympathy for the complexities of life, the charm with the style of writing or userpic (here is a smile) of a freelancer are not the motives for choosing a specialist in the second approach.

Cons of this approach

On the one hand, these are greater risks and uncertainties, the possibility of losing time, money, the likelihood of disappointments and disappointments.
And just now, attracting to some stages of a large project artists without experience, portfolio, or succumbing to a bad motive, I slightly went too far with hope for the case. He exceeded the recommended level, devoted more than half of his attention to randomness in selecting an artist, and immediately got a negative result, a couple of small but unpleasant episodes when they let me down.

On the other hand, more than once it happened - the freelancer found in this way soon leaves for a permanent job in the office, leaves for another city, country. Or he quickly begins to become important, to value too much his new experience and level of professionalism, small orders cease to interest him. However, this is just natural and explainable, a talented person is able to actively grow, and now he can be trusted with more serious projects.


A lot of them. It is very nice when, it would seem a novice, sends a magnificent job.
When you see fresh and unusual decisions.
When they understand the idea perfectly and do perfectly in a day what experienced professionals require a week.

And the main plus is the feeling of novelty and development, unpredictability and movement forward.


I have been doubting for a long time - what if a professor who has known me since childhood did not conduct any research, but then told a bike - in order to accustom me to planning his activities?
But in that case, he achieved his goal. Planning came into my life, without it, nowhere. And I did not refuse experiments in searches.

And sometimes doubts come - maybe, well, this second approach? Maybe it’s better to always give it to the experienced and trusted, know what will be done on time, and everything will be professional, beautiful and stable?

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