In today’s environment, a business’ success is contingent on its ability to start a conversation around its brand and offering. This takes understanding your audience and knowing how to build a loyal community who will naturally spread the (good) word about their experience with their networks.

The problem is, the busy entrepreneur has little time to manage a community or research new platforms they need to be active on in order to grow their audience and drive conversions. Hiring a freelancer allows small companies to test and iterate — to remain flexible and agile and learn more about their potential customers without slowing down other areas of growing a business, such as building a product or growing a team.

Although freelance work is nothing new, more and more companies — startups and large brand alike — are seeking freelance help with their marketing needs. But many of them don’t know where to start. They may know what skills they’re looking for, but don’t know how to spot someone who is good at freelancing. That is, someone who’s autonomous, confident and treats themselves as a business.

For that reason, we’ve highlighted ten of our top freelancers to watch from the CloudPeeps community to give you an idea of what what to look for when hiring your freelancers.

1) Stephanie Benton, social media pro

San Diego, CA

stephanie bentonStephanie recently joined the freelancing lifestyle because it allows her to work as a Pilates instructor while helping brands build awareness and foster engagement on social media. Most of her experience is in real estate and travel and tourism, but her current client is in the tech startup world and she’s loving the challenge and opportunity to learn new things. Here’s what she had to say.

“I freelance because I have worked in corporate for several years and just never felt like it was a fit for me. I like the flexibility freelancing gives me to be creative and really think outside of the box.”

Her golden rule for client work is:

“Exceed expectations and take initiative in communication. I realize my clients are busy launching their products, and it’s up to me to make suggestions from my point of view, and take initiative in working on projects.”  

2) Cesar Romero, business development and outreach expert  

Raleigh, NC

cesarCesar has blown us away with his passion and foresight to identify a potential issue and proactively present a solution. He sends us ideas for marketing CloudPeeps all the time and we absolutely love and appreciate it. His specialties are in business development, blogger/client outreach, and project/event management. He works across industries, with his sweet spot being in travel. Right now his biggest client is a travel startup that pays him to travel!

Here’s more about Cesar and why he has chosen the path of a freelancer.

“Freelancing is all about growth, freedom, and flexibility. It allows you to choose who you want to work with, what projects, and how much time you want to dedicate to it.”  

His golden rule for client work is:

“My biggest rule is know your WHY. If you don’t believe in your client’s mission, don’t pitch. A lot of freelancers go for the money but find themselves doing meaningless work because they don’t believe in the mission. Once you believe in the mission, communicate constantly to manage expectations and deadlines.”  

3) Sejal Patel, storyteller and people connector

Portland, OR

sejalSejal is currently working with CloudPeeps client Mitchellake Group as their Content & Event Marketing Strategist, which has been the perfect fit so far. Previously, she spent more than five years in the recruiting department at Intel corporation creating, implementing and growing a social media strategy with respect to employer marketing and branding. Today, her goal is to connect with people through laughter, experiences and mutual passions. Here’s her story.

“I took a leap of faith and quit my wonderful corporate job to pursue my passion for travel. Fourteen months later, there’s still more of the world to see and experience, but I can’t live off of my savings forever. I started freelancing because I think it will help me financially support myself while still giving me the freedom and flexibility to manage my own schedule–still figuring it out (fingers crossed)!”

Her golden rule for client work is:

“I try to keep it simple when working with clients — there’s enough ambiguity already out there! Ask questions. Seek feedback. Keep your word. Adjust as necessary. Document. Communicate, communicate, communicate. And have fun!”

Sejal is new to freelancing, but as she said, “I was really excited to join CloudPeeps and land my first gig within my first week, does that count? :-)”

4) Amy Rigby, digital marketer and outreach specialist

Pensacola, FL

amyWith a background in broadcast journalism writing stories for and an NPR-affiliated show, Amy decided to use her passion for communication to do digital marketing for startups. Focused on food, travel and tech startups, she’s currently working on email outreach for Peep client Breather to help them build blogger and partner relationships. See how she landed the gig here!

“Freelancing affords me the flexibility to work in a variety of locations (I once worked from a hotel outside Machu Picchu!) and select exciting, dynamic projects to work on with awesome clients.”

Amy also runs her own travel blog at!

Her golden rule for client work is:

“I try to be very responsive and accessible to keep the lines of communication open. I make it clear from the start that I welcome their feedback, so I can make sure I’m doing the best work I can for them. As with any relationship, communication is key.”

5) Amy Weicker, marketing director and growth hacker

Drums, PA
Any WWith 12+ years in social, digital and print marketing, Amy drives engagement and organic activity via transparent and authentic communications that are relevant, useful and timely. Currently working on a Facebook marketing campaign for a CloudPeeps client, she’s mostly focused on tech, but open to working with any brand/product that she can get excited about, ranging from non-profits to small local businesses and thriving startups.

“I love the freedom and variety that freelancing offers: it has afforded me the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of tools that I would likely struggle to gain access to in a more traditional role. (Ever try to talk a company out of their antiquated enterprise level CRM or CMS? Not easy!) Freelancing has also allowed me to have a substantial impact on the growth and success of many more companies than I could have helped as a traditional employee.”

Her golden rule for client work is:

“Operate with complete transparency!”

Her favorite freelance story is from when she helped a non-profit benefiting urban families affected by juvenile cancer with their 3rd annual crowd-fundraising campaign, increasing conversions by 40% over the previous year and generating more than $120k from over 1000 first-time donors via a strategic four-week social marketing campaign.

6) Krista Gray, creative project manager and partnership pro

San Francisco, CA

Krista GrayCurrently leading community initiatives at Tilt and freelancing, Krista has spent the last five years helping build startups, working on both content and creative project management, as well as partnerships and community. Recently, she’s been able to hone in on clients in industries she finds particularly interesting, including health and wellness, travel and technology. She’s also working as a Peep on community operations for The Fetch. Here’s her story.

“Freelance offers me the opportunity to work on a bevy of exciting projects with passionate people, and that’s an absolute dream come true. The variety in gigs also allows me to continually flex my problem solving and creativity muscles while keeping my skills sharp. A total win-win. :)”

Her golden rule for client work is:

“Set expectations (including projected timelines) up front – and stick to them.”

Krista has even had the opportunity to work with people she really admires. Most recently, she designed and published a site for AJ Govoni, a kick butt ambassador for Oakley Women and GoMacro, and shares some awesome health and wellness tips. Krista said, “building out AJ’s brand presence while helping her share her expertise has been an awesome experience.

7) Kara Harms, social and emerging media guru

San Francisco, CA

kara harmsKara is a busy working, working as an art director turned social and emerging media guru, aspiring fashion blogger, and wedding photographer. Having just claimed full-time freelance status a few weeks ago, she’s currently working with startups in a variety of industries and couldn’t be more ready to jump in head first.

“I think I was bred to be in freelance since my mother has been a freelance graphic designer since I was a toddler. I grew up seeing both the pros and cons of working independently, but at the end of the day, I know the freedom of freelance allows you to live a fuller life, which is why I do it.”

Her golden rule for client work is:

“I’m big on communication and respect. Especially since I’m not working side-by-side most of my clients, we need to communicate well and also respect each other’s ideas, work and time or it just isn’t going to last.”

8) Lisa Crocco, public relations and politics maven

Chicago, IL

lisa croccoWith years of journalism experience, Lisa actively works on public relations strategies, strategic marketing campaigns, logistics, blogging and social media. Working with CloudPeeps client Teachability, an online community for teachers, she has successfully launched a contributor program, securing 45 blog posts and 10,000 unique visits over just a few months.

She’s currently enjoying working with Teachabilty and a disaster relief startup, she hopes to also secure more gigs related to the political sector, as that’s what her background is in.

“Freelance was a way for me to work on what I was passionate about when my 9 to 5 job was not fulfilling. I loved it so much that I decided to take the leap and focus on freelancing full-time.”

Her golden rule for client work is:

“Know your role with the client and anticipate their needs. Since you’re an outsider of the company you see things from a different but valuable perspective. Know when to share your opinions and when to take a back seat.”

Lisa also added “to get the news that I’m a freelancer to watch reaffirms my decision and proves to everyone, but most importantly myself, that I am capable of living out my dreams.”

9) Peter Trapasso, digital marketing expert

San Francisco, CA
PeterHaving been a web marketer and publishing lead at Sun Microsystems for 11 years, Peter is now a freelance social media consultant, blogger and influencer specializing in marketing and writing for a range of businesses, focusing mostly on technology.

“I really enjoy the wide variety of work available. It is also important for me to set my own hours too.”

His golden rule for client work is:

“Communications are critical when it comes to freelancing. Replying to clients in a timely manner and answering their specific questions are key. It also helps to understand their communication style and preferred mode as well.”

10) Ashley McGregor Day, community extraordinaire 

Austin, TX

headshot_ashleymdWorking in social media since, Ashley has managed social and community for include Quiksilver/Roxy, PacSun, ModCloth, Nitro, Indiegogo and Kifi. She’s also currently doing social media and community relations for a CloudPeeps client that makes pop-culture-infused mobile electronics. She loves creating meaningful interactions and small armies of brand advocates and believes that community building is about creating a lot of small 1:1 connections and then amplifying. Her biggest win to-date has been increasing engagement for a big client by 700%.

“I like having a flexible schedule and being able to work from anywhere. I get to work with a lot of different clients on a variety of projects. It keeps on my toes, it challenges me and gives me more experience than I would get if I were working with just one company. It makes my toolbox a bit bigger and my network wider and more diverse.”

Her golden rule for client work is:

“You need to be extremely clear about expectations from day one. Just keep communication open and don’t get into a position where you feel like they’re taking advantage of your time by continuing to add more without revisiting hours/rate.”

To freelance, you have to be into the product or you lose motivation very quickly. Stick to an industry you’re knowledgable or passionate about because you’ll need that passion to drive you.

Are you ready to hire one of these or any of the other 400+ talented freelancers in our community to help your business grow? Sign up for CloudPeeps and we’ll make sure you’re matched with the best one for your needs and goals.