This article was updated on June 18, 2018.
If you need help on a special project, working with freelancers may be the solution. These self-employed workers can be hired at your convenience and technology has made it easier than ever to find them.
Before launching a project, it's important to understand what makes a successful freelance relationship. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help ensure both you and your freelancers have a positive experience.
1. Have Reasonable Time Expectations
Freelancers have multiple projects going on simultaneously, so you can't expect them to drop everything to do your work with a minute's notice. They need to balance your work with their other clients. If you have an important deadline, provide your freelancers with as much notice as possible to allow them to plan their schedules accordingly. If you are in a hurry, offer to pay more in exchange for the "rush" job.
2. Give Clear Instructions
Your instructions can make or break your project when working with freelancers. If they have to guess what you're thinking, chances are the results will not be what you expect. Instead of telling a writer that you need a "good marketing brochure," for example, you should explain your goals for the brochure, the services you want to promote, the key information on your business and layout details you have in mind. Be as specific as possible.
3. Establish Balanced Communications
Staying in touch with your freelancers is a balancing act. If you call them multiple times a day, they may get annoyed and lose valuable time that could be spent focusing on your work. On the other hand, if you go weeks without contact, they may get worried or forget about your project. An easy solution is to ask your freelancers how often they want to stay in contact. Otherwise, plan to touch base every three to five days to see how things are going.
4. Make Yourself Readily Available
If your freelancers have questions, you need to be available to help them. If they cannot track you down, your project may be delayed or go in a direction that you do not want. Check your emails and provide your cell phone number so they can easily find you in a pinch.
5. Pay Promptly
When you set a project deadline for your freelancers, you expect your work to come in on time. In exchange, you must pay promptly and for the agreed amount. If freelancers have to spend weeks chasing you down for invoices, they aren't going to be too eager to work with you again. For larger projects that may take several months to complete, you can set payment milestones so the freelancer has some money coming in as they move through your deadlines.
By following this advice, you can build more successful freelancer relationships that will hopefully last for many years. Good luck with your project!