There are a million and one ways to boost and develop your business. One of the more popular and recommended ways is to work with freelancers.
In so doing, you’ll be gaining access to a pool of talent that you may otherwise be unable to afford if your only other option was a full-time employee. You can get bespoke work that was built with your business in mind.
You can gather alternative views and ways of looking at problems. But how should you go about working with your freelancers?
Below, we take a look at some essential tips that’ll ensure you get it right more often than you get it wrong.
Take it Seriously
There are some misconceptions surrounding freelancers. Some people think that it’s just a matter of posting a job, hiring a worker, and then waiting for the work to drop in your email folder. That’s the simplified version.
A more realistic view is that it’s something that takes time, offers a wide range of experience types (from the terrible to the great), and is something that you need to build into your company model.
It’s an alternative to hiring employees, not the cheat route that gives you all of the benefits with none of the drawbacks.
Look in the Right Places
There’s a big difference in quality when it comes to freelancers, just as there is with everything else. The type that you get will depend on where you’re looking and how you’re advertising for the position. There are some websites that offer anyone to join their website, which means you’ll be inundated with low-quality applicants.
Using resources like LinkedIn and other professional sites will push you toward the better-quality freelancers. If you’re only attracting bottom-of-the-barrel applicants to your job posts, then take a look at what you’ve written.
A common mistake that companies make is to include a long list of requirements they demand of their freelancers, yet fail to mention how much the compensation is worth. Make your job description sound more appealing to freelancers, and you’ll find that the quality of the people you attract moves in the right direction.
Getting to Know Them
OK, you’re not bringing the worker on board on a long-term basis, but it’s still worthwhile getting to know them.
If all you’re going off is their resume and cover letter, then you can’t be too disappointed or shocked if they don’t turn out to be all that they cracked up to be. Before hiring them for the job, make sure you’re holding a video interview, especially if it’s a large value job.
You’ll have a much better sense of them as a person if you’ve chatted for a while “face to face.” there’s another benefit, too — you’ll find that the freelancer is much more willing to work hard and go the extra mile if they know the person behind the screen.
Even the best freelancer on the planet won’t be able to read your mind. One of the biggest issues that crop up again and again between company and freelancer is communication-based.
The business wants it to be one thing, yet fails to adequately express that want, and the freelancer delivers work that’s something else entirely. To get the most from your working relationship with the freelancer, then you need to keep the lines of communication open.
Don’t leave things up to chance — the person you’ve hired will appreciate more extensive notes, rather than submitting the work and ending up with revisions they didn’t know to include in the first place.
Resources and Access
For the freelancer to do their job properly, then they need to be treated as an employee, on, of course, a short-term basis. This means they may need to have access to your information, data, and other resources that exist “behind the scenes.”
Some companies are reluctant to do this since it presents a security risk, but there are ways around it. One such way is to set up an access management system, with which you can temporarily set up access to the parts of your network that the freelancer needs to access.
This will help the freelancer in a number of ways, depending on the type of work they’re doing, including helping to ensure that the work they do for you is consistent with your company branding.
Micromanaging and Feedback
There’s always the temptation to micromanage when you’re hiring people. This is as true for freelancers as it is for your regular, full-time employees.
However, it’s something that’s nearly always best avoided. If you’ve hired the right freelancer, then trust them to work well, and let them get on with it. It’s rare that a project that was micromanaged ends up as good as it could have been! Of course, there’s a big difference between micromanaging and feedback.
The latter is most definitely necessary. It’s a good idea to get periodic updates as the project progresses and give advice at this time, rather than waiting for them to finish and realize they took a wrong turn early on in the job.
Your and Their Expectations
When you begin working with freelancers, it’s important that expectations are set from each side. You, as the company, will have your demands, but it’s important to keep in mind that the freelancer will have theirs, too.
For example, they’ll have their own rules about how many edits are permitted before additional charges are incurred. They may have their own deadlines in mind.
You’ll be able to call the bulk of the shots since you’re the paying party, but remember that being the purse doesn’t mean you can get everything you’re on the way unless you’re paying some serious dollar.
Finally, remember to keep notes of the good and bad freelancers that you worked with. You only need to hire a great freelancer once; next time you have more work, you can simply drop them a line and see if they’re available.
It makes everything more straightforward!