August 18, 2016
An increasing number of startups are using freelancers to get by. They’re using them because they can get things done without taking on full-time employees. And the freelancing community is only increasing, with 54 million freelancers now in the US alone.
They’re useful for overcoming your business plateau. The problem is not all freelancers were created equal. You still need to sift through the various candidates to make sure you’re getting the right people for your startup.
Start in a Small Way
Blending gig workers into your team isn’t as easy as throwing them in and getting them to sink or swim. Too many freelancers at once can become a nightmare to manage. They can disrupt your team and make life difficult for you. Try to start in a small way by having freelancers take on some smaller tasks in the beginning.
This will be as much a learning experience for you as it will for your team. Make sure that you’re not overwhelming them from the start.
Even when you’re dealing with freelancers you should break down the project into manageable parts. Don’t start by telling them about that grand vision because it’s highly likely you’ll just confuse them. Start small and keep things simple.
Make Sure You Have Clear Expectations in Place
Freelancers can give your business a boost. The problem is a lot of companies don’t get the maximum benefits from freelancers because they don’t communicate what they actually want. You have to set some clear expectations. Make it clear what you expect them to do for your benefit and theirs.
A project that isn’t well-defined can also put freelancers off. For example, telling them you want to create more brand awareness doesn’t mean anything. Telling them you want to boost your brand by doing X, Y, and Z is a task they can get behind. A lot of contractors won’t even deal with you if you’re not clear enough.
Set your expectations from the beginning. Make it one of your things to have in place before hiring freelancers, or it could come back to bite you later.
Understand What the True Value of a Freelancer Is
There’s nothing more demotivating for a freelancer than to be low-balled on a project. Companies that try to pay as little as they can are not going to get the results they want. The chances are they’re going to get an inferior freelancer who will produce inferior work. You generally pay for what you get, so low-balling your freelancers will only lead to disappointment.
That doesn’t mean you have to pay a huge amount to get a great freelancer. Look into the industry and get a feel for what the average freelancer is charging. This will give you a rough idea of how much you should be paying.
But what if you can’t find a freelancer within your budget?
Figure out why that is. It could be that the freelancers within your budget are all busy right now. It could also mean you’re just not charging enough. Instead, you might have to consider changing your project or breaking it down into a series of smaller projects.
Whatever you do, don’t hire based on who has the lowest price.
Communicate Clearly on a Regular Basis
Freelancers are essentially trying to read your mind. When they go to work they’re trying to imagine what you want. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they get it wrong. To avoid any frustration later on you should go out of your way to communicate with the freelancer on a regular basis.
It’s much cheaper for you to ask for a regular report from your freelancer. Take a look at their work as the project goes on. Communicating with them with clarity will ensure that if something does go wrong you can steer them in the right direction before they waste your time and theirs.
Great freelancers know you can never communicate too much. Ask for clarity and don’t be afraid to ask them questions.
There’s nothing worse than a company that’s unable to explain what they actually want. And don’t try to add on things at the end of the project that you didn’t ask for at the start of the project.
How Getting This Right Can Impact Your Company
Freelancers can get a project done in record time if you give them all the tools they need. Tell them exactly what you want and be specific about everything. This will ultimately allow you to get exactly what you want. Don’t assume they can read your mind, otherwise, this can be a frustrating process.
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