How do I write a good Gig for freelancers?

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Kyle Santos
Customer Relations for Experts Exchange, LLC. Please see my Full Biography for more information.
This article will inform Clients about common and important expectations from the freelancers (Experts) who are looking at your Gig.
I posted my Gig, but what else can I do to get more eyes and replies to my Gig?
What is the most important thing in making the first line of contact with a Client?
If you're going to do a Gig for a client, what are your general requirements that you need to know up front?


1. Have a good understanding of your request.

Your first Gig should anticipate hiring a consultant for 2 or 3 hours just to get your pre-planning underway.  This is especially true if your project is small.  It is important to spend more time writing out very good details.  If you have a $500 project and give very little information, then it shows the freelancers that you really do not understand what you are asking.  Freelancers know that ironing out the details and expectations will take more time, to establish what you really want.  For example, meetings, follow up, etc.  This alone can take up a good amount of your budget.

Here is a great example of how one of our Clients posted a Gig just to budget the price of getting multiple proposals.

I am looking for a set of technology tools that I can give to our Experts Exchange members that are useful and valuable to them to use at least once a day.  I am looking for more than one!  The tool would be free to our members.  It would be something you can only get on Experts Exchange and should be able to attract hundreds of IT professionals to our site.  It could be a programming tool, a security tool, an operations tool, a QA tool, a monitoring tool, a site/ad blocker for mobile devices; the field is wide open for proposals.  I will even consider mobile apps that we add to the store.  Experts Exchange will retain the ownership of the tool; we are paying you to develop it.  Please be descriptive about your idea and how it will benefit the IT professional, how long it will take you to develop, how it will get distributed and/or used, etc.  

Here are the preferred attributes to consider:

- Useful to people who use technology
- Used to help them at work or in their profession
- Used on a daily basis
- Provides value to users 24 hours/day 
- Easy to share with others and encourages others to download 
- Personal user attributes that discourage one account for all
- Low backend maintenance
- Simple to download or be hosted on EE
- Easy to use and understand immediately
- Works across multiple platforms or browsers
- Cannot violate any copyrights, trademarks or patents 
- Does not harm or cause harm to any individual, property or company

I am setting the budget price to get multiple proposals.  I am assuming that I will get several ideas with varying implementation costs.  If I pick yours, we will start a separate Gig to track the actual work.  Thank you for considering this.

2. Create a good title that can get the point across quickly so it is not ambiguous.

For example, "Develop a Microsoft Access database to manage my sales team's leads" vs "Microsoft access program"

The former explains very clearly what you want to achieve while the latter example is broad and doesn't grab attention.  The title can also very easily be the problem statement.  What is the problem you're trying to solve?

3. Write a brief summary including your end goal.

The title of your Gig gives a freelancer a high level taste of what you need.  Now they want to see the meat of your project.  Here is an example of a Client's summary:

We have a custom Cold Fusion application (Version 10) that runs on SQL Server Express (2012). IIS Version is 7.
It has been repeatedly failing. specific error that comes up in the system log is Warning, Source = WAS, event ID 5010. It comes up with different process ID's with "A process serving application pool 'ASP.NET v4.0 Classic' failed to respond to a ping. The process id was '1324'.", with 1324 being just one example.
In the past, restarting the CF app server would get it running again, but the problem has become more pronounced lately, and restarts are much more frequent. While the budget about is at $2000, we have additional work we would like to farm out, like upgrading the CF Server, as well as Windows from 2008 to 2012 R2. We are also looking to upgrade the DB to SQL Server 2014, so this could be a much bigger project for the right freelancer.
The client has done a great job of explaining their setup, budget and their end goal of possibly having more projects down the road.

Here are two examples of freelancers who have replied that are interested in doing this Client's Gig

1. Scope:  Remotely troubleshoot and isolate possible web application and/or IIS configuration issues.
2. Expectations:
2a. Remote Access to the server(s) in question.
2b. If necessary, associated documentation on application component dependencies, functionality and deployment process.
3. Deliverables:
 3a.  Assessment of existing server, application pool and web site configurations.
 3b.  Identification of the source of the error(s).
 3c.  Recommendations for changes to IIS, the associated Application Pools and/or the associated Web Site.  This may include   
         installing additional IIS Features or the enhancement of existing Feature configurations at the Server and Site levels.
 3d.  Recommendations for implementing best practices for IIS, Application Pool and Web Site configurations.

In order to approach the problem in an effective way, the installation of an IIS Feature or 2 may be recommended.  If these Features are installed, they will need to be enabled and/or reconfigured to assist in the identification of the issue(s).

If there are any additional questions, please feel free to contact me through Experts-Exchange.
- Dan

I own a small IT Services company, and would be happy to help you with this, and with your upcoming projects as well.  For small troubleshooting tasks like this, outside of a support contract, our rate is $150 per hour.  For larger projects, or for clients on a support contract, we're happy to provide a more competitive hourly rate or fixed bids.
We're business partners with Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Amazon, and others, and as a result have direct access to support resources there.  We have a good pool of talent with legacy skills, including ColdFusion.
I'd be willing to cap this one at at $2,000. 
We offer a simple guarantee:  no fix, no bill..  That presupposes that a fix is possible, of course.  If we were to isolate this to vendor code for which there is no fix available, or to internal code where your team is responsible for fixes, we'd hope you would agree to cover our troubleshooting time.
There is a reasonably high % chance this is due to a code defect somewhere in the stack: a memory leak to be specific.  Have you had a chance yet to monitor memory utilization per process after a restart, and then during a hang?  If there is a memory leak in vendor code, it is possible that there is no true fix available.  In that case, what we'd generally do is set up a watchdog process that would monitor for a certain memory threshold in the offending process, and attempt to gracefully shut it down and restart it before it reached the critical point where it created a halt.  
Of course that's only one possibility, but a pretty common one for this error.
I'll give you a call in a bit to discuss, if that's OK.
Available to start on this now if you like. 
- Gary

4. Where are you located?  Also, spell out deliverables and timeline.  

As Dan and Gary have both stated, they need deliverables and timeline.  This is especially helpful if your project is small.  The more effort you put in up front, the easier it will be for freelancers to take this project on and that means less billable hours.  Providing your timezone is more important than you realize.  This lets the freelancer know what time they will need to make themselves available to you.

5. Provide a realistic budget.

Most tech professionals at Experts Exchange can charge in the range of $100 to $300 per hour.  It may take an hour or two just to establish and finalize your request.  You will need to plan meetings, testing and possibly a small amount of support time into your budget.  While you may budget 10 hours to complete the actual task, don't forget that part of this budget can take time during communicating via meetings, chats, emailing, etc.

6. Stay engaged with those who have commented or submitted Proposals.

If you've managed to achieve steps 1-5, then you should be good to go and start receiving freelancer comments and Proposals.  It shows tremendous courtesy to stay up to date with people who have questions or Proposals for you.  Just as the freelancers have built a reputation for being knowledgeable, timely, and respectful; it also behooves you to show them the same respect they have provided you.  This small amount of effort will provide future relations and reputation that can last for a lifetime.


Thank you for reading.  We hope this information helps you to write a Gig, get faster replies and quickly finish your projects on time through Experts Exchange.

Author:Kyle Santos

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