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How to hire a freelancer on Upwork

Crafting a design for your products takes time, energy, and expertise to perfect. Many Teespring Creators find themselves in need of quality graphic design skills, and in many cases, it’s worth entrusting this task to an outside designer.

Amongst the Teespring Community, we’ve identified four major characteristics of creators that would benefit from hiring a freelance designer for their project.

1. You need it done in a hurry. Many freelance designers are well-versed in creating high quality content on tight deadlines.

2. You have a set budget to work within. Not everyone has the need or budget for a full-time designer, especially if you have short-term needs. Freelance talent gives you access to the skills and services you need.

3. Resources are limited. If you’re already stretched too thin and the rest of your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to take on discrete projects that need attention now it makes sense to turn to an independent contractor.

4. You’re missing the specific expertise needed. Beyond requiring an eye for detail and a touch of personal style, design can encompass a wide range of specific formats, ranging from digital images and ebooks to animated videos and more. If you and your team aren’t already familiar with a given medium, it’s better to bring in an expert than try to fumble through it yourself.


10 Steps to Finding a Freelancer

Step 1: Post a Job! Select the second option. Why? Because designers who are looking for full time gigs are often more talented and confident in the quality of their work! Plus, if all goes to plan, you will want to find a designer who will help to build your business longterm.
Step 2: Choose Design & Creative -> Graphic Design  

Step 3: Name and describe your job – it’s important to be very clear of the experience level you are looking for, as well as the specific product you want to feature your design on. 
Here are a few example headlines:
  • Expert T-shirt Designer Wanted – Longterm Contract
  • Professional Level T-shirt Designer Wanted – Longterm Contract 
  • Expert Graphic Designer – Apparel – Longterm Contract
Just as important as the Job Title is the Job Posting! this is where you can get really specific with what you want, to cut out much of the back and forth that often slows down the freelance hiring process. 
“I need a design partner to produce anywhere between 15-50 t-shirt graphics for an apparel company per week. There are three elements for the job: 
1. Take an existing quote or design to draw inspiration from, and create something original with the same theme or different essence 
2. Create an original design from verbal or written directions
3. Make variations on one design to fit many different themes or interests 
Preferably fluent in English and able to communicate via Skype or another video technology service. Exited about being part of a flourishing new brand.”
From there, be sure to select “Ongoing Project” and then specify the work as a “Garment Designer.”
Step 4: Some more details! Follow the specifications shown below. 
Screen_Shot_2016-10-04_at_10.50.01_AM.png Screen_Shot_2016-10-04_at_10.50.27_AM.png
Step 5: Budget is important. While $200 might be more than you’re willing to shell out, it does send the signal that you are serious about finding a quality freelancer. In the end, you might end up paying $200 for 20 designs! 
Step 6: Set up your qualifications as shown below. It’s important to pay attention to Job Success Score and Hours Billed – these two qualifiers are great indicators of the quality work you will receive. If English is not your first language, change it based upon your comfort levels! 
Step 7: Screening questions are another important part of finding the perfect freelance fit. We suggest using the two questions shown below:
  • Do you have experience designing t-shirts, or other merchandise?
  • How fast, on average, can you finish a design?
If you include those two screening questions, you won’t require a cover letter. Cover letters can be helpful, but are usually just mass copy and pasted! 

Step 7: Attracting applicants
So now the setup part is over, it’s time to started screening some applicants. Upward makes this very easy – simply go through their recommended designers and invite them to check out your job! Be sure to mention that there will be an initial test – you will want to go through the collaboration flow with them before you decide to move forward with them.
Hello! I checked out your portfolio and am really impressed by your work. Would you be willing to take a short, paid, design test to see if you might be a good fit for my t-shirt design position? Thanks, and hope to hear back from you soon! 
Step 8: What to say
After a you start hearing back from interested Freelancers, it’s time to administer your design test. This is important, as it will help you judge their skill sets as they relate to t-shirt designs. Once you hear back from a Freelancer, simply send them the following design test:
For easy tee designs, I pay $10. For medium, $15. For complicated, it’s $25. (With bonuses they are hot sellers!) I’d like you to complete a test before we move forward. The test will be to create 1 easy shirt for 10, 1 medium shirt for $15, and 1 complicated shirt for $25.  For each of those 9 shirts, I will also send you examples/instructions of what I’d like it to say and look like. Does that sound like a fair test? Thanks, and hope to hear back from you soon. 
Step 9: Giving instructions
You know what your perfect t-shirt design looks like – but the tricky part is getting that idea from your mind into your freelancer’s! . Be extremely specific in your description, and provide reference photos and design cues where necessary.
Step 10 Making a Decision
If you are pleased with the results of your design test, wahoo! Having a trusted designer to rely on for a steady stream of new designs will make your launching life a lot easier. If you plan on really ramping up your design output, create a shared Dropbox folder that you share with your freelancer! Create a new folder called “Design Inspiration” that you share only with your designer. When you have an idea for a new design, creater a sub folder (ex: Dog XMAS Sweater) and load it with instructions / any inspiration imagery. From there, your freelancer can keep up with your creativity, and you will have a library of designs on hand at any time.

2 responses to “How to hire a freelancer on Upwork

  1. Larissa says:

    Not sure I understand the design test. In this scenario, are you asking the designer to create 3 different T-shirt designs? Not sure why the cost is listed and 9 shirts??

    1. Erica Bickel says:

      Hey Larissa, these are just examples.

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