Freelancing is a booming industry right now, with great talent pools available. The percentage of full-time freelancers in the U.S. workforce soared from 17 to 28 percent between 2014 and 2019 and has been continually growing since the pandemic.
Moreover, the demand for freelancers is also set to increase as the gig economy proves that they are equally productive as full-time employees, but arguably, a more cost-effective option for employers. To maximize the benefits of hiring freelance workers, it is important to learn how to support them and work with them properly.
Knowing how to work with a freelancer efficiently will ensure the relationship is successful and the collaboration is fruitful. Here are things you should do when you consider working with freelancers:
1. Be Ready for Them
Hiring talented and skilled freelancers can help cut costs for many businesses. But that is only if you employ the appropriate strategy to find, hire, and onboard them. Depending on your business or the tasks at hand, try to find the right platform where you can find the best ones in their field.
From the very start, make sure you set your freelancers up for success and provide them with the right tools and resources that they can use for the tasks. Have an onboarding plan in place and try to make it as seamless as possible, especially if you plan on hiring a lot of freelancers. If you need to consult with a freelancer, that’s fine, but don’t hire them for a project if you aren’t fully prepared to move forward or have no concrete plans yet. If a freelancer feels strung along or not utilized properly, that can lead to a poor relationship.
Working with freelancers requires effective and transparent communication. For example, if you hire remote developers, all of your communication will be digital. Communicate your thoughts and allow the freelancer to communicate in return. Establish times to connect and receive/provide updates regularly. This especially applies if your freelance workforce is following different time zones.
Make sure your freelancer knows when these touch bases are coming so they feel prepared and not blind-sided. Give honest feedback as well. This will help freelancers understand the tasks and collaborate with you better. The clearer your communication is, the mother the project will run.
3. Understand Their Skills
Gauging a freelancer’s skill is among the most important steps before hiring. To find the best fit, you must know what your freelancer is and is not able to do. When making job posts, specify the skills you look for in a candidate to ensure you will only get relevant applications. It is also advisable to have them submit a portfolio or some work sample so you can see it with your own eyes.
You can also prepare a short assessment with questions and/or tasks that will let you gauge their specific skill level. If something does not fall within the scope of the skillset you require, find someone else or consider hiring multiple freelancers to cover the needed tasks.
4. Set Expectations
Make sure project outcomes are understood. Both sides of the relationship should know what the expectations are for each. As the employer or project manager, you should be the one setting the schedule and performance expectations. Relatively, you must also be very specific in making job posts to help set freelancers’ expectations as well. Explicitly describe the project and determine its scope.
Moreover, it is important to discuss compensations and workload promptly with your freelancer/s. You can share your budget for the task or project and its duration with them. Afterward, ask them their expected salary for the project and their availability. Be willing to pay for their skills’ worth. If it’s too costly, you can always negotiate with your freelancers. Of course, try to meet them in the middle or adjust on your end where possible. Otherwise, you may need to find other freelancers.
5. Let Them Work
Freelancers can be in different time zones and on different schedules. They are freelancers for a reason: they do not need to adhere to business hours or workplace standards. So it is important to hire someone whose skills you can trust. More so, trust them to make decisions and deliver.
When working with freelancers, there is no need for micromanaging. As long as the work gets done and the communications are adequate, how they do the work shouldn’t matter.
Your Freelancers’ Success is Your Success
Freelance workers can deliver significant benefits to your business. They can help you scale and grow towards success only if you do the same to them in return. Acknowledge their skills, appreciate their service and establish transparent and professional communication. This way, you can build a strong working relationship and can trust that your freelancers can and will deliver their best performance and outputs according to your needs.