There are a variety of reasons for which small business owners work with freelancers. In some cases, freelancers are brought into complete tasks that no full-time team member is qualified to handle. Other times, business owners simply can’t afford to make many full-time hires and use freelancers as a cost-effective alternative. Whatever your reason for enlisting the services of freelancers, there are a number of things you’ll need to consider when welcoming these individuals into your ranks.
Work with a Dependable Staffing Service
If you lack the time and/or experience needed to recruit freelancers, partner up with a dependable staffing service. While you’ll still have the final say over all hires, the right service will use a wide assortment of criteria to determine which applicants are best-suited to both your business and the type of work you need to be done. Although this will cost a little money, it can also save you a tremendous amount of time, enabling you to direct your energy toward more pressing matters.
Carefully Outline Expectations at the Outset
When working with freelancers, it’s important that you clearly outline your expectations at the outset. If your instructions are vague or leave a lot of holes, there’s a good chance that the work submitted will fail to meet your expectations. Unsurprisingly, this can create tension between freelancers and clients. Clients believe that such miscommunications are entirely the fault of freelancers, while freelancers maintain that they did the best they could with the directions provided.
By offering detailed instructions from the get-go, you can effectively nip potential miscommunications in the bud and make things much easier for your freelancers. Freelancers should also be openly encouraged to reach out whenever they have questions or hit a snag. While some businesses put pressure on freelancers to complete their work with minimal assistance, this approach is liable to result in unmet expectations and resentment between your business and its freelance employees.
Keep Yourself in the Loop
In addition to encouraging freelancers to reach out, you should make a point of keeping yourself in the loop throughout every phase of important projects. This entails regularly checking in with your freelancers and closely monitoring their progress. While this may seem slightly cumbersome, it ultimately helps ensure that you and your freelance employees are consistently on the same page, thereby decreasing the odds of last-second revisions and large amounts of unusable work.
Keep Expectations Realistic
While expecting a freelancer to put their best foot forward is perfectly reasonable, it’s important that your expectations of freelance employees remain grounded in reality. For example, a freelancer is not a full-time team member, but rather an independent contractor. That being the case, expecting them to exhibit the same level of commitment as full-time employees without the added job security is a tad unrealistic. This is particularly true for companies whose freelancers make a fraction of what their full-time team members make. In other words, you’re certainly justified in requiring freelancers to work hard – just don’t expect them to move mountains.
Process Payments in a Timely Manner
Processing payments in a timely manner is a must for any business that works with freelancers. Since many of them are unable to rely on consistent paychecks, it’s important to pay independent contractors in a timely manner for their services. For example, if you commit to a payment date at the outset of a project, the only circumstance under which you should fail to honor it is if no work has been submitted. Allowing payment processing to fall by the wayside will not endear your business to freelancers and is likely to dissuade many of them from working with you in the future. When looking for ways to ensure that payments are processed without a hitch, you can’t go wrong with cutting-edge payment management solutions. The programs can show you how to easily manage contract workflows.
It’s easy to see why working with freelancers holds so much appeal for small business owners. After all, freelance labor is generally fast, cost-effective and easy to find. Furthermore, there are fewer commitments involved when dealing with contract employees. Still, this isn’t to say that farming out certain jobs to freelancers is always going to be a pleasant experience. In fact, depending on how you go about the process, you stand to make things needlessly complex and frustrating. To help ensure that your experiences with freelancers turn out favorably, put the pointers discussed above to good use.
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