Running a business can often involve juggling a lot of moving parts, and it requires a wide variety of skills in order to make sure that everything is managed well. It’s not always possible or practical to employ someone in these roles, however, especially if you are a new start-up with a limited budget, or if the tasks are only required to be carried out for a short period. Another alternative option that can work well for businesses, in this case, is to hire freelancers, and there are many ways that this can work well for your organization. Read on for some helpful ideas on getting the best out of your freelancers.
Take a look at their portfolio first
A portfolio is an essential marketing tool for any freelancer in today’s business environment and is often more useful than a typical CV. Instead of listing their past roles and activities as a traditional resumé might, a portfolio will often give you a comprehensive overview of their skills, the kind of work that they have carried out in the past, and the clients that they may have worked with previously.
Taking a look at this can help you decide quickly whether or not the person is right for you. By reviewing the quality of their past work, you can assess if they meet your standards. Looking at their past client list also gives you some insight into their ability to work with different types of organizations or industries.
Freelancers are often hired for short and specific projects that may only last a few weeks or months. If this is the case for your business, make sure that you have given them as much information as possible at the outset to avoid wasting time in lengthy reviews, changes to work, and corrections.
A brief should set an outline of what exactly is required of them and highlight any rules or specific aspects that must be included or avoided. You may also have an in-house style guide that you would like them to adhere to, as well as deadlines for delivery. Providing all of this information at the beginning allows the freelancer enough time to review and ask questions if necessary.
Communicate frequently with them
If you are employing multiple freelancers in your organization, keeping tabs on them all is essential to making sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Using a collaborative platform such as Mattermost can be a great way of doing this, as it can allow you to allocate tasks, assess the progress of projects, and send messages all under one umbrella. You may need to provide freelancers with access to secure areas of your business, such as the CMS for your website, so this should also be done at the start of your relationship to ensure that they can start working quickly.
Remember that freelancers will often be working with multiple clients and on a variety of projects, so they may not always be available to communicate with you whenever you want them to. If you have expectations of them to be available at set times, this should be established at the outset so that they can work around this as needed.
Don’t choose someone on price alone
With many freelance platforms today, there are thousands of potential workers from around the world, available and keen to take work on instantly. However, with so many people to choose from, it can often be tempting to go for the best value price quoted to you, and this is not always the best approach if you are after high-quality work.
Instead of looking for the lowest possible price, take time to think about what your budget will be realistically and what you hope to get out of the work produced. With this in mind, you can then assess the background and experience of a variety of freelancers who may fit your price range. It’s also worth bearing in mind that many freelancers will be willing to negotiate a price, especially if there is a potential for long-term work involved.
Ensure your business is protected
When working with freelancers, you may often need to provide access to secure aspects of your business, such as your website, confidential data, and other important information. Before this is handed over, it is a good idea to take steps to protect your business first in the event of any unscrupulous behaviour from the freelancer involved.
If you are likely to be sharing confidential information, it can be useful to establish a non-disclosure agreement with the freelancer first. This should be discussed before awarding work, as not all freelancers will be comfortable signing this. If people will be involved in communicating with customers under your brand name, then it is also a good idea to create a specific email account for them, rather than allowing them to use their own. This can give you a greater level of control and security, as well as avoiding confusing your customers.
Pay them on time
Finally, keeping on good terms with your freelancers is vital, as it will impact both your business reputation and your ability to keep them on board. One of the biggest issues faced by many freelancers in every industry is difficulty in getting paid on time. This can often lead to financial hardship for them, especially if they are waiting for a number of clients to clear bills and may end up with them unwilling to release work to your business.
It’s a good idea to set clear terms and conditions around invoicing and when they can expect to be paid. If there are likely to be any issues with processing a payment, then you should always communicate this in advance as soon as you are aware of the issue and try to give a clear and concrete indication of when your payment will be made.
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About the Author
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.