amillionmonkeys is a tiny agency. Two of us are permanent full-time staff and the rest of the work is done by a handful of freelancers.
Over the past twelve months we've said hello and bye-bye to a fair few freelancers, here are a few things we've learned in the process...
If you're employing someone you've never worked with before make the first job small, simple, clearly-defined and low-risk. They might not be looking for and you don't want to find that out right before a deadline.
Be careful when working with mates, and mates of mates
There are some freelancers we've employed before and wouldn't work with again. Some of them are our friends and that has proved tricky. If you have absolute confidence in the skill and ability of friends snap them up, it can be a hoot. But if you're a little bit hesitant, find someone you don't see on a regular basis. It makes letting them go much easier.
Get recommendations or don't...
I'm currently working on a project with two amazing freelancers: one is an iOS dev based in Paris the other is a PHP dev based in Somerset. The first was recommended by a friend who met the dev in question at WWDC, the second I found on PeoplePerHour. It's great when you get a recommendation that know know is reliable, but don't be scared of sites like PeoplePerHour. Filter out the dross and you'll find a gem.
Don't be scared about letting people go...
If someone is less professional than you, or there work doesn't meet your standards, part company as soon as you can. There are plenty of amazing, professional freelancers out there. Don't get stuck with a bad one.
Find specialists who are better than you
In the early days of amillionmonkeys, I tried to learn everything. It left me burnt out and spending more time on projects than a) I imagined or b) I was getting paid for. A few years on I now have a little black book of people I know and trust who know a great deal about their area of expertise. On bigger projects my role is about connecting these guys together and doing QA for their work. It's quicker, easier, more profitable, and less stressful for everybody involved.