How To Work With Freelancers: A Small Business Guide

How To Work With Freelancers

There are a number of reasons why companies are diverting from the employee talent pool and choosing to enlist freelancers for the job instead. Not only can it be more affordable, but the arrangements can give your business greater agility as you don’t have to account for the management and administration of one more employee. While freelancing is becoming more popular in most sectors, there are still some common bottlenecks that appear on one or both sides. If you want to improve how you work with freelancers to get a better, more tangible result, read this small business guide.

Payment Terms

It’s incredible to see how many contracts fail to define clear payment terms at the start of a relationship… if there is a contract in place at all. Payment terms will avoid assumptions being made on either side as well as a hostile exchange when the freelancer is cautious to complete more work without receiving payment first. Issuing an invoice template will also remove any ambiguity over what is expected, and that way your freelancer is meeting your own company set payment terms. Payment terms should not be a topic that we shy away from but rather understood by all parties, as this is the freelancer’s salary.

Clarify Business Purpose And Priority

A detailed brief is always going to result in better quality work, although sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to uphold this standard every time you need some work completed. Instead, take the time to induct your freelancer once at the start of the relationship on the purpose and priorities of your business. This will be such a valuable exchange for your freelancer who can then bridge those gaps and understand the function of every job they complete, linking it back to your core values and motivations. In an ideal world, each piece of work would be perfectly briefed, but that just isn’t a reality sometimes.

Find The Right Communication Method

How and where you communicate with your freelancer has a big role to play in efficiency, so give this decision some forethought. Most freelancers will use a workflow app to manage projects and deliverables, but if that isn’t going to work for your business – speak up. You also need to respect their boundaries so find out what communication method is off the table for them to avoid you encroaching on their boundaries if you send an urgent text past 5 pm. Work regularity, the nature of the work and how many points of contact there are in your business will really inform the communication method, so be prepared to meet your freelancer halfway.

The Right Fit

Just because you have found a freelancer specialist does not mean that they should be your freelancer specialist. Ask to see the work they have previously worked on so you can assess whether this expertise can be translated to your own business or whether their craft is better suited to another industry. Freelancers have become just that because they can offer a service to a greater number of people, but they won’t expect to be everyone’s first choice every time. Some freelancers have a very well-defined niche, and others are all-rounders. If you are unsure if you have found the right fit, brief out a trial piece to them and ensure you pay for that work either way so that you don’t get a bad name for yourself in the freelancer community.

Despite freelancers being client-facing, they don’t have to work with you or take on unrealistic expectations if they don’t want to. It’s important that you also respect their work and do your best to make them feel valued and provide quality feedback when they miss the mark. Your attitude and respect toward freelancers will fundamentally shape the relationship so do right by the ones working for you.