Beyond the Brief: How to Make the Most out of your Freelance Hire

Beyond the Brief: How to Make the Most Out of Your Freelance Hire
Since freelancers are not your run-of-the-mill employees, they require different management to regular employees to ensure that they meet the goals that have been set out for them.

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Working with freelancers can be a highly rewarding endeavor for you and your business. That being said, some people have a hard time integrating freelancers into their workforce, especially if they haven’t had any previous experience dealing with them. Since freelancers are not your run-of-the-mill employees, they require different management to regular employees to ensure that they meet the goals that have been set out for them. However, most people have actually figured out how to best align freelancers with their businesses for maximum results.

According to a survey conducted on business owners in 2020, 71% said they had a great experience with their freelancers. Only 7% of the respondents indicated that they had a bad experience with gigsters, most probably because they weren’t doing it right. If you fall in that 7% demographic, this blog is for you. Or if you feel your freelance hires aren’t really hitting that sweet spot, this one’s for you too. Read on to find out how you can change your experience for the better.

1. Loop them in on your big picture

Since freelancers are mostly hired to handle specific aspects of a project, you may be making the mistake of feeding them information just sufficient enough for them to do their job. Although this isn’t wrong, it might not paint the freelancer a clear picture of your goals and how they fit into them. Sharing your big picture with your freelance hire will go a long way in helping them understand what you expect from them, guide them to ask better, more insightful questions and ultimately help them deliver quality results. 

Since they aren’t permanent employees, you may not have enough time to give them the full orientation package, but just a run-through of what you do and how their input contributes to the success of your project and your business in general will be enough.

2. Set rules on communication as soon as you hire them

Poor communication is among one of the most common reasons why freelancer-client relationships fail. You may be of the idea that once you give your freelancer the brief at the start of the project, you’ll reach out to them next when the project is completed- this is a mistake.

The same way you touch base with your regular employees from time to time to check their progress and see if they’re doing what you expect of them, you should be with your freelancer. 

When you give them the brief, also include how often you’d require updates. It is also just as important to choose a channel of communication that would be best for both parties from the onset. This can be as specific as “We’ll have Zoom calls every Thursday at 3pm.” This way everyone can parcel out time that day for communication.

3. Have clearly defined expectations

When both you and your freelancer are on the same page when it comes to deliverables, deadlines, and payment, you leave little room for conflict. This all comes down to the brief. Ensure that you spend sufficient time creating a wholesome informational packet that will define your working relationship. This point also goes alongside the first one, where you let the freelancer know how their role works to achieve the company’s overall goals.

4. Give and expect honest feedback

Freelancers thrive on feedback; they’re always out for self-improvement, so they want to know what they’re doing right or wrong and how they can improve. Most of them also aren’t shy about pointing out what you’re doing well or where you might be slacking. Either way, this feedback loop will help both of you overcome snarl-ups so the project cycle can run successfully and produce quality output. For instance, if one of their deliverables is not of the quality you expected, point out the mistakes, ask the freelancer if they need additional information or support so that they can improve and do this consistently until you get the quality of work you want. This is why it is important to break your project into small actionable parts so you can give feedback in stages instead of receiving the completed work in bulk which will make finding and correcting errors difficult.

5. Treat your freelancers as an extension of your team

Among the many perks of hiring freelancers is how low maintenance they are. They don’t need too much to produce high quality results. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t require any support at all. In addition to their remuneration, it is also imperative that they feel that they are a welcome member of your team. If you aren’t rude and callous with your regular staff, then you shouldn’t be with your freelancers either. 

The human aspect while dealing with freelancers is just as important as your expectations of them. Also, if it is necessary, you can have them sit in on important meetings after they sign an NDA (as per your company’s rules) so that they get the information they need to do their job successfully, as opposed to giving them bits and pieces later on.

6. Commit to your freelancers

Although freelancing is mostly on a no-commitments basis, it will work wonders for your business if you deviate a bit from this mindset. For example, if your company regularly needs some SEO work done, once you find a freelancer that meets your goals efficiently and you have a good relationship with them, it’s best to make them a regular hire. This doesn’t mean that you put them on retainer, no. It means that you hire them every time work of that nature needs to be done. This way, you cut out the stress of hiring someone new every time, and the quality of work improves significantly because you have demonstrated your loyalty/commitment to your freelancer. 

Your experience is highly dependent on how you source freelancers

All the tips shared in this blog will work only when you have the right hire for your project. Since there are numerous online marketplaces now that freelancing is becoming mainstream, you have to ensure that the platform you use is the best one for you. On for instance, freelancers are vetted and work in over 150 industries from numerous countries across the globe. So, whatever task you want to get done, from wherever you may be in the world, has the right hire for you.

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