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Don't Scare Your Freelancers: 5 Tips for Treating Them Well

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Who doesn't love a good, dependable freelancer?  They're regularly used as cost-saving measures or time-saving ones. Need an expert right now? Need to get something done über-fast? Count on your freelancer. Just be sure you don't get in the way or complicate the project. To make the process as smooth and as snag-free as possible---both for your business and your freelancer---check out these 5 quick tips. 

1. Take time to meet with the freelancer.

Whether it’s over the phone or in person, you should make time to just do a brief interview regarding the freelancer’s past experience and get a vibe for what they’re all about. Maybe someone looks good on paper, but he shows up to the interview late, forgets to return a call, etc. Likewise, maybe a newbie freelancer has only a little experience, but communicates clearly and promptly. Take a little time to get a reading on them.

2. Be specific about your needs.

Having worked as a freelance editor for years, I know that companies’ definition of editing differs. Some companies wanted serious rewriting of so-so materials; others wanted a very light touch only for obvious errors. And a few companies fell in between. It's the same with other tasks, too.  So when you hire a freelancer, be clear about what you need done and your process.

3. Use a creative-input worksheet.

Most people tend to be visual. Having a creative-input worksheet helps to get the details in writing. You may tell the freelancer, “I want an orange Web graphic,” but what you really want to say is, “I want a bright orange graphic that shows we’re a fresh, sparkling, energetic company, creating new products regularly.” When I freelanced writing copy for websites, I would meet with the client and go over my creative-input worksheet, which helped them understand the process ... and help me better serve them. You can see a sample of that sheet, if you'd like.

4. Create a realistic schedule.

Your project may be your current obsession (or the company’s entire focus), but it isn’t that to the freelancer. A good freelancer will have other clients, which means he won’t always be as available as someone on the payroll. When meeting with the freelancer, take time to be clear about when you need the project done and if it is realistic for this freelancer. It’s better to know this up front and hire a new freelancer if it’s not the right fit rather than to miss absolute deadlines. Also, be sure to arrange to be notified of milestones, just so you can be assured of the project’s progress.

5. Make yourself available.

Freelancers like to know that they can reach out with questions or concerns regarding a project. Make sure you give them your basic info about contacting you. And when they call or email, don't treat them like a distraction or nuisance. They are part of your business team, even if for just a little while.

Have any other ideas you'd like to add?

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Veronica Maria Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs.

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

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  • by Elaine Fogel Tue Oct 26, 2010 via blog

    6. Communicate regularly to ensure you are both on the same page.
    7. Pay the freelancer according to his/her agreement.
    8. If you like your freelancer, there's no greater show of appreciation than your referral.

  • by Mila Anggam Tue Oct 26, 2010 via blog

    9. Give some bonuses if you think your freelancer is working hard.
    10. Allow a day of rest or two if you think that your free lancer is working over what you expected

    And yes, saying thank you is the best thing to do to show appreciation to your freelancer.

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  • by Celinamac Tue Oct 26, 2010 via blog


    It will also be great if freelance clients would surprise their freelancers and give them a 'bonus' for an exceptionally well done project or for achieving results beyond the metrics!

    They will surely stand out because .000001% clients of freelancers do it, and it won't still cost as much as having a permanent staff.

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Wed Oct 27, 2010 via blog

    Elaine: Thanks for the additions! No. 8 is particularly important. It's very competitive out there, and word of mouth can really help out a freelancer, letting them focus more on working steadily rather than constantly drumming up work.

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Thu Oct 28, 2010 via blog

    Great tips! Thanks for adding numbers 9 and 10.

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Thu Oct 28, 2010 via blog

    I definitely agree. If a company can give a bonus, it's a fabulous way to show appreciation.

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