5 Tips For a Creating a Productive Relationship With Your Freelancers

By Nick Sonnenberg | Blog

Chances are that at some point in your business, a task will arise for which you don’t have the time or the skillset. You might be great at coming up with creative ideas but have no idea how to use photoshop. Maybe you’re so busy at managing all of the other aspects of your business that you don’t have time to think about social media accounts.

This is where freelancers can come in handy. Whether it’s writing, social media, graphic design, marketing solutions, or even accounting, there are many freelancers out there who can do the work for you.

Here are my top 5 tips for creating a productive relationship with your freelancers:

1. Don’t Rush the Hiring Process

You may feel a sense of urgency to just hire someone, anyone, quickly to get started on the work. It’s more important, however, to find a freelancer you feel confident you can trust. Go through their samples and portfolio thoroughly, check references, and interview them to get a sense of their availability and your work compatibility.

If you rush to hire the first person who seems to be available or the person who claims they can finish the work in the shortest amount of time, you may find yourself stuck with subpar work. Giving your candidates a paid test assignment is a great way to filter out the best candidates that can back up their claims with quality work.

2. Hire Freelancers For What They’re Worth

On sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and People Per Hour, you can find freelancers who charge very little for their services, and that might be appealing, at first. But as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” If a freelancer requests $20/hr for high-quality work, don’t try to bring them down to $10/hr. Freelancers need to make a living, and if you’re not willing to pay them what they’re worth, they’ll find another client who is.

Of course, sometimes you can only afford so much. If you’re on a tight budget, explain that in the job posting and the interview process so that you and the freelancer can work out a rate that works for both of you.

3. Be Communicative and Available

This job is probably the freelancer’s first experience with you and with your company. Even with years of experience and a cursory look at your website, they can’t fully know what to expect. That’s why it’s important to communicate clearly the work you need and to be available in case they have questions. You may be busy, and that’s why you hired a freelancer in the first place, making it difficult to promptly answer repeated questions from the freelancer. If that’s the case, it’s especially important to take the time to ensure you hired the right person and that you clearly and fully communicated your needs for the job.

Be sure to set guidelines for how you want to communicate – perhaps you can structure a communication time period. Tools like Slack, Skype and Google Hangouts work well for streamlining your communication. Or you can use an outsourcing platform to help manage that for you.

4. Give Feedback

You should also clearly communicate your feedback, especially if you plan to have regular work for this freelancer. If you notice something wrong with the work they sent, don’t be afraid to tell them. Even if it’s something small that you can correct yourself, tell the freelancer so they know to avoid the mistake in the future. You should also let freelancers know what they’re doing right, so they can continue to do it and know that their work is appreciated.

You don’t want to micromanage, however, as this will lead to a broken relationship over time. Think of the big picture and enable your freelancers to learn through failure.

5. If It’s Not Working, Walk Away

Firing a professional is hard. It’s awkward and you certainly don’t want them to lose their livelihood. However, if a freelancer simply isn’t delivering the work you need, keeping them on is not only a waste of your time, it’s a waste of their time. You should always communicate if there’s a problem, but if you have communicated and you’re not seeing improvement, this isn’t a working relationship that’s good for either of you. It’s time to cut them loose and find someone else.

It may be difficult to trust an aspect of your business to an outside contractor, but remember that freelancers are still professionals in their niche. If you hire carefully and you work well together, there’s no reason not to expect high-quality work from a freelancer.

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About the Author

Nick Sonnenberg is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for creating companies that disrupt the way people live. He is the co-founder of Leverage and the former CEO of CalvinApp. Before making the jump to the startup technology space, Nick spent more than eight years on Wall Street as a high-frequency algorithmic trader.