Is your business reaching its capacity but you cannot commit to hiring permanent new members of staff? Maybe you have just had a few big clients come to you on a temporary basis and you are looking for some extra help during this time? The best option for many business owners and managers in this instance is to outsource the work to a freelancer instead. Did you know there are around 53 million freelancers and by 2020, it is predicted that around 40% of the workforce will be freelancers?
Freelancing can provide many benefits and advantages, however, one of the main issues that many people tend to have with freelancers is that they find it hard to keep track of the workflow and to see where the freelancers are at with it. Freelancers will be working with many different clients and so there needs to be rules established around a set workload, what they can deliver and also any deadlines. This whole process becomes more and more difficult to manage if you have a team of freelancers working for you!
In this article, we will be taking you through the different ways in which you can easily manage a team of freelancers and some tips that should help make the process as smooth as possible.
Understand the Freelancer’s Motivation
Before you designate work to a freelancer, it is important that you ask them why it is they are interested in this job in the first place. The most obvious reason, of course, is that they are simply looking for projects in which they can make money from. However, it could also be that they are looking to learn new skills or are looking for an opportunity to work with new people. You won’t know these freelancers as well as anyone on your team and so this is a question that you will need to directly ask them. It is then up to you to ensure that you are fulfilling your end of the agreement.
Put Specific Expectations in Place
While you want to gauge what it is your freelancers are looking for, it is also vitally important that you are very clear to them in what it is that you are expecting in return. This could be anything from a brilliantly designed website to consulting advice every few weeks. We would recommend that you draft up a statement for freelancers in which you detail exactly what the service is that you are looking for from them and then also provide them with the context around this. It is important to provide the context because while the employees in your office will understand the purpose of an exercise, those working for you on a freelance basic won’t and may not be able to complete the task as well as they potentially could. It is worth while in the long run to spend that little bit of extra time explaining exactly what your goals are and why this works is integrated in the bigger picture.
Building a Relationship with Freelancers
While you do not have to invest nearly as much time in freelancers compared to employees, it is still worth trying to build up some kind of working relationship. It is easy to fall into the trap of making any work with freelancers purely transactional but if you want to work with them repeatedly and build a good relationship, then make sure to invest some more time in them. Ask them about their family, interests, hobbies or even other projects that they are currently working on. This can benefit your business in the long run as it could come to a stage where a freelancer has to limit the work they take on but if you have a good working relationship with them then they are likely to continue working with you. What’s more, it is also a good idea to make any freelancers that you are working with feel part of the team. If you can, invite them to team meetings or even just add them into the team email list.
Freelancers are used to being self-motivated and being able to work without someone micromanaging them, so if you take this approach when working with a freelancer they are likely to become irritated. Most freelancers are in this sector because they enjoy working themselves and they like the freedom that it gives them. You most likely will not be the only client of a freelancer as so they will also have other schedules and commitments, meaning they need the space to get on and do their work. This also saves you time as it means you don’t need to spend your valuable time micromanaging them. You know that your work will be completed on time and to a high-quality standard.
When you are looking to hire more than one freelancer, the best way to keep track of everyone’s progress and ensure that the workflow is running smoothly is to use an online software management system such as Kanban. The Kanban method allows you to create boards, and on these boards, you can see individual members of not only your freelancing team but also your employees too. This can help you to visualise and keep track of where everyone is in the workflow process so that you can make sure everything is running smoothly and you can also see any areas where it may be beneficial for you to take on more freelancers or give your existing freelancers more work to keep up with the demand.
Provide Them with Feedback
When you are working with freelancers, you don’t have to give them a formal review, but you should still be able to provide them with feedback. Be constructive with your feedback and if there is something that you do not like, tell them what it is and give advice on what exactly it is that you are looking for. This will strengthen your relationship with the freelancer and it should also improve the quality of their work too. Most freelancers will enjoy receiving feedback as they will be able to use it to improve their services with other clients too.
Show Your Freelancers They Are Valued
One of the easiest ways that you can ensure your freelancers are kept happy and feel valued is to pay them what they deserve. Freelancers deserved to be treated fairly and so you should start by paying them the market rate, then, if you feel that their work is really great and you value the work that they produce, make sure to pay them more! It is also a good idea to carry out some test pieces or trial runs with freelancers before you commit to one big project with them. This will give you a good indication of the quality of their work and the time scale in which it takes them to complete it.
Now that you know how to easily manage your freelancing team, it is time to start hiring them today to help your business grow and prosper!