Freelancing benefits businesses that are looking for someone to help them out, and the people that are looking for jobs or to earn more. Remote work studies have shown that millions of people worldwide are now freelancing, meaning that your company should not have a problem finding the right person for the job.
Since the services freelancers offer are vast and diverse, you are likely to find someone who can help take care of one or a few problems. Working with them gives you the flexibility to take on various projects that maybe you were not able to do with your core team.
Hiring freelancers is also great when you have one-off projects as it usually makes more sense both from an operational and financial standpoint for your company than to bring in someone full-time.
But before committing to working with freelancers, there are a few aspects you need to consider.
Find a Freelancer With the Right Skills
While it sometimes makes sense to have one of your full-time employees help out their colleagues to finish a task that they do not usually do, the same cannot be applied to freelancers.
When you hire someone as additional help, take your time to find the right person. Just as you would not hire a full-time employee who does not know how to do the work you need them to do, do not hire a freelancer if you are not 100% sure they can deliver.
There are millions of freelancers out there, which means that you should not have any problems with finding the one that does what you need. There are plenty of different platforms that help you find the right person, so take your time, and create an interviewing process that will help you test their skills properly.
Be Realistic About Your Budget
Even though you may be tempted to go for the cheapest freelancer, you usually get what you pay for. Be realistic about your budget and find someone whose rates match what you are looking for.
Be aware that a rockstar freelancer will not charge the same rates as a beginner. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
If you aren’t sure what the budget for your specific task should be, try searching for other posts advertising a job of a similar scope.
Establish a Payment Structure
Once you’ve settled on a freelancer in your price range, it’s important to establish a payment structure that works for both parties.
Different freelancers will be comfortable with different payment structures, so find out upfront what the expectation on their end is.
For example, some freelancers work on a project-by-project or hourly basis, while others will work for a monthly retainer fee.
Think about what payment structure makes the most sense for the work involved, and then you can discuss the details. You’ll also want to discuss invoicing before you get started on any projects together, so you can determine a cadence and method for receiving invoices.
All of this information should then be put into a work contract, which also states what will be in the freelancer’s remit and outside of it.
If this is your first time working with freelancers, start small. Do not try to give a freelancer the same project you usually give to your teams since they are not yet familiar with your company, or the goals you are trying to achieve.
Think of that first project as a small try-out. See how the freelancer communicates, if they are able to deliver on time, and if their work is any good. Once you find a person who checks all three boxes, you can give them a more significant project.
Outline the Project
Before starting a project, make sure that the freelancer knows what you are looking for. And have that in writing. Take your time to outline the exact deliverables you want.
If it is possible, provide the freelancer with examples to better describe what you are looking for. By providing them with all the necessary details from the get-go, you will avoid revisions and the waste of time that could potentially jeopardize your project.
Monitor Their Work
Many remote work studies highlight the productivity boost professionals experience when working from home, yet when working with freelancers, how can you be sure?
If you pay your freelancer by the hour, you need to ensure that they are doing the work you are paying for and not someone else's project. To do this, you should implement employee monitoring software for small businesses that can help you monitor the worker in real time.
If they are against using employee monitoring software for small businesses, explain to them that the tool will only be used when they are working on your project. They should have full control over the tool, meaning that they can stop it or start it as they please, so you can only monitor what they are doing when they are actually working on your project.
Two-Way Open Communication
All good relationships rely on open and transparent two-way conversations. The same should be applied to your communications with the freelancer. All projects require a constant back-and-forth discussion. Revisions are standard, and you should never settle for something you do not like.
Make sure that you openly tell your freelancers if there are any changes you need them to do. Tell them that it is okay to ask you any questions. It is better to start working on a project a day later than to have multiple revisions. If necessary, organize calls or meetings with them to make communication easier, but always confirm everything in writing so there is no confusion in the future.
Understanding Their Work Environment
A small amount of empathy goes a long way when it comes to working with freelancers.
While you both enter into a working relationship together, and there should be rules and expectations in place, it’s important to remember that freelancers often work in very different work environments than traditional employees.
This should in no way affect their ability to be productive and get work done - it’s on them to make sure they’re in a good work environment - but it does mean that communication can sometimes be an issue.
Whether it's odd working hours or limited availability, it’s important that you establish a communication plan from the start of your working relationship, or you might find that you don’t know how best to contact the freelancer when you need to.
The same goes for time zones: make sure you understand where the freelancer is working from so you can schedule calls and meetings at hours that make sense for both of you.
Providing Access to Necessary Resources
If you’re hiring a freelancer to take care of tasks and projects for which you already have a process in place, you might need to share access to certain tools or resources.
For example, if you create content based on an extensive knowledge base you’ve created that includes outline examples, expectations for blog content, and SEO factors, then you’ll want to make sure your freelancer has access to it.
Likewise, if you use a certain keyword research tool to create content, such as SEMrush, you can use a password management tool like LastPass to share access to your company’s subscription without sharing confidential login information.
The Bottom Line of Working with Freelancers
Working with freelancers is a smart financial and business move. Most of the time, they will charge less, and you will be able to take on more, as well as different types of projects. The results freelancers produce for your business could be fantastic.
You just need to make sure that you hire the right person, pay them realistically, properly outline their project, be open in communicating with them, and monitor what they do with employee monitoring software for small businesses.