Team Building Around Freelancers

Absorbing ebbs and flows, without breaking up the team.

Do you use freelance talent: writers, consultants, developers, or other forms of freelance talent? It’s an excellent way to absorb ebbs and flows in activity. It is also good for those special situations when a particular talent or skill makes the difference between good and great. A freelancer can bring fresh ideas and perspective to bear on problems or challenges faced by your business. So, assuming you use freelancers, the question becomes:

“How do I get the most out of freelance talent?”

Over the years we have identified six best practices that help us work with freelance talent. They are tightly intertwined and they are all important. Follow them and you will get great work.

1) Brief them well.

As talented as they may be, they can’t read your mind. A good brief has a number of benefits to you and the freelancer. By taking the time to craft a thorough brief you are much more likely to get a good product and avoid expensive rework. For the freelancer, a clear brief with understandable objectives, requirements and specific deliverables helps them manage their time and resources.

As talented as they may be, they can’t read your mind. A good brief has a number of benefits to you and the freelancer. By taking the time to craft a thorough brief you are much more likely to get a good product and avoid expensive rework. For the freelancer, a clear brief with understandable objectives, requirements and specific deliverables helps them manage their time and resources.

“To speed up, slow down.”

2) Treat them with respect.

Freelancers are people, they are also professionals running micro businesses with multiple priorities and limited resources. Respect them as the professionals and business people they are by taking the time to write a good brief. Did I mention how important the brief is?blog_content_image

Listen respectfully to their advice and feedback throughout the process. You hired them for their expertise. That same expertise may take you to areas you hadn’t considered, which may make you uncomfortable. This is OK. You don’t have to agree with everything but, if you disagree, be respectful and tell them why.

3) Don’t quibble over price.

If you want the best work from a freelancer don’t try to knock down the price they charge. If this is what they charge, it’s what they have been getting, and it reflects their professional worth. Accept it and trust that they will deliver value for the price. Do this and they will work extra hard for you and you will get a lot more than you’re paying for. If their price is beyond your budget that’s OK. Tell them, and look for someone in your price range. When the project is finished, if you think the price was too much for what was delivered, tell them why you didn’t see the value you expected. They’re professionals, you won’t hurt their feelings. And, if they exceeded your expectations, give them a bonus. It says a lot.

Finally, pay them on time. Most freelancers are accustomed to net 30 days. Whatever you agree to, stick to it. Never let an invoice go past due. Freelancers are micro businesses, holes in cash flow have a huge impact.

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