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!