If you have any experience with freelancers then you know they’re an absolute power house. Whether you run a small or large operation, need help with a standalone task or a whole project, or you’re working on a time-sensitive project, freelancers know how to deliver results! They’re highly efficient, flexible, up-to-date with all the developments in their industries of practice and can even help you cut down on your payroll costs.
And now that more businesses are incorporating them into their day-to-day operations, it is important to understand how to manage them efficiently to optimize your project deliverables. This is especially important if you have multiple freelancers working on the same project, but is also helpful if you have several freelancers working independently.
Freelancers Require a Different Type of Management
It is important to note that freelancers are not our run-of-the-mill employees, and that they require a different management “style” compared to your in-house staff. First, their contracts are short-term, meaning that you bring them in to help you cover some ground in a project, and once they’re done, their contract expires. This is why they’re so cost-effective; you hire them on-demand. This is unlike permanent employees who are consistently on your payroll even when there isn’t much in the way of work.
Another difference is that freelancers don’t need any training. You hire them to offer a service in which they’re already experts. Onboarding them requires only giving them the particulars of your projects and letting them know what you expect from them. Also, since they are highly independent and autonomous, they require minimal supervision.
These differences, although they may seem subtle, create a big distinction in how you should manage your freelancing team.
In this blog, we’ve compiled several tips to help you organize your freelancing team to get the best out of them.
Define clear expectations
Freelancers thrive on information. The more you give it, the more they’ll be suited to meet your needs. This is why your brief at the beginning is vital to the overall success of your freelancing experience.
Let your freelancers know from the get-go how their contribution fits into your overall vision for your business. For instance, if you’re running a content marketing team, let them know about your brand tone and voice, keywords, target demographic, etc. so they can deliver output tailored to your business.
Just as important is to spell out all the tasks for which you’ve hired your freelancer. Your content writer for instance, will not be the one to publish blog posts or social media content if it isn’t explicitly stated in their contract. Defining roles clearly not only prevents the possibility of conflict, it also helps you plan out your workflow better because it forces you to plan ahead and plan adequately.
Communicate regularly and efficiently
One survey conducted on business owners who frequently enlist freelancers in their operations found that communication was essential to a successful employer-freelancer relationship. Without proper vertical (from you to your freelance team) and horizontal (amongst the freelancers) communication, you risk your project hitting a snag. Even with clear expectations, you have to keep communicating with your team to offer clarification and monitor progress.
You also have to facilitate communication between other team members if you hope to attain project synergy. Keep in mind that since freelancers may not be a part of your core communication, it is important to bring them up to speed with any information that may affect their progress. On the new Ureed.com platform, you can keep in touch with your team through video calls, group chats and threads. Using these in-app communication features helps to keep all your correspondence in one place, that way it’s easy to keep track of what was said. You can also make use of the time tracking and project management tools on the platform.
For managers with no time on their hands, consider bringing in a dedicated project manager to track tasks, manage payments, and communicate progress on your behalf. (Ureed Enterprise not only provides you with a project manager with industry expertise to manage the project, but also offers fast & easy access to a pre-vetted freelance team based on your project needs, and automates the recruitment and onboarding process to streamline operations & ensure an optimized work environment. Learn more about Ureed Enterprise here!)
Build a relationship with your freelancers
Although a freelancer’s role in your business is not permanent, they are a part of your team when they’re working with you. In fact, since freelancers are entrepreneurs in their own right, you need to think of them as collaborators or business partners. And if you collaborate successfully, you can call on them frequently when you need their input.
A good working relationship is based greatly on how you connect with your freelancers. To make them feel like they’re a part of your team, you can invite them to meetings or virtual team building exercises to create a sense of belonging. And in the circumstance where they might be working with your in-house employees, involving them will help create a good relationship between them, which will help all parties work smoothly together to deliver better outcomes.
Work with milestones, checkpoints and deliverables
If the project your freelancers are working on is large, it may be very helpful to split it into smaller deliverables that can be monitored easily. This way, you’ll ensure that your project is always on the right track to avoid disappointment in the later stages.
Using deliverables will also make it easy for you to pay your freelancers in smaller chunks that may not be as financially draining as if you paid them a lump sum amount all at once. Another important thing is to give your freelancers adequate feedback about their output as they go along, so they know what kind of work you expect from them. That continuous loop of communication ensures you run a “healthy” and timely project.
What industries can benefit from freelance teams?
As we move towards a more freelance-heavy economy, many businesses can benefit from the input of a team of expert freelancers. Businesses looking to create and maintain an online presence can benefit greatly from freelancers, since they may not want to distract their in-house employees from their core activities. Software development companies, businesses looking to localize, those in customer service and digital marketing can benefit greatly from augmenting their teams with freelancers.
But generally, any business looking to increase its efficiency, reduce payroll costs and experience expedited project timelines should be looking into hiring freelancers.