HOW TO: Hire People With Niche Skills

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There are a lot of nonmusical facets to running a music business, including graphic design, photography, marketing, public relations, promotion, merchandising, distribution, and more. All of this work requires a lot of time, attention, and effort for your business to be successful. Often, all these activities need to happen at the same time. Yet, many musicians choose to do it all themselves.

Fortunately, a huge talent pool is available to help: Thanks to revolutionary web services that connect skilled contractors with those who need them, you have access to a world of freelancers. Here are five steps to find qualified help:

1. Define what you need. Do you need to create artwork for an album or poster? Do you need help with setting up a Wordpress website for your band? Do you need accounting help? The more specific you can be, the easier the search and the better the outcome.

2. Use a site or service that can hook you up with the right talent. The work you identified will point the way to a service that can help you. Like any temporary employment agency, most of these services make their living by taking a percentage, or cut, of the contractor’s fee. So, pay attention to the payment. There are new services popping up all of the time, but here are a few worth exploring:

Upwork.com: Upwork is possibly the largest and most expansive talent site. It covers nearly every major skill area and represents workers you can tap from all over the world.

99designs: 99designs specializes in graphics, art, and design, so if you’re looking for help with images for your merchandise, website, videos, or music release, give this site a try.

Fiverr: The talent on Fiverr knock out small projects for a set fee of five dollars. This could be researching venues where you can play live or identifying podcasts or MP3 blogs where your music might be featured. It could also be creating a video clip or promo. Check out the site to get a sense of the skill sets available and the scope of their projects. This is a great place to “try before you buy”; if you end up liking the work you get from Fiverr on a quick project, then you can contract with that person directly for larger projects.

3. Make your listing as specific as possible, and make it clear that you want work for hire. Being clear upfront will help manage expectations. Be sure to specify that it’s a work for hire, so you can repurpose the product for other uses. If you’re not sure how to do this, see The DIY Advisor article: “How to Hire Photographers, Graphic Artists, and Other Professionals as a Work for Hire” at emusician.com.

4. Manage and delegate. Most people you’ll work with will probably be in another city or even another country. Stay in communication with them as they progress. Set up milestone deadlines to keep the project on track. Make sure they can reach you when they have questions, but don’t micromanage. For delegation tips, see The DIY Advisor article “The Three Secret Steps to Successful Delegation” at emusician.com.

5. Tap multiple sources. You may want to hire more than one contractor to work on a given task, especially if you’re using sites like Fiverr, where the initial bid is so inexpensive and the scope is so limited. For instance, you may have a few artists create and submit album art so you can consider different styles and options.

Once you start employing contractors to handle some of the tasks you have before you, you’ll see that don’t have to do everything yourself. Hiring others help can propel your business forward and free yoto u up to focus on other things—like your music.