by Guest Author on September 13, 2013
Sift through a range of studies and you’ll find a freelance workforce that’s booming. Estimates differ, but increasingly, it appears that if they’re not quite already the majority, freelancers will soon be the ones in the ascendancy—the American workforce is set to take a different shape.
For the entrepreneur, this is surely only a good thing. Significantly more flexible than your traditional employee they can be brought in as, and when you need them, sparing you the money and stress involved with employing in-house staff. Not only that, they’ll often do an excellent job, too.
To get the best out of them though, you’ll first need to develop a little nous of what they’re all about. As an ex-freelance writer I’d like to think I know what makes the freelance community tick, so, for the entrepreneur eager to work with the growing swathe of solopreneurs, here are my tips on how to work with freelancers effectively.
Be clear from the outset
Integral to a happy client-freelancer relationship is ensuring each party knows exactly what’s expected of one another.
Clearness here – perhaps through the medium of a contract – should ensure that there are no grey areas and that both parties know what’s expected of them. This ought to prevent petty disputes and spare trouble throughout the course of a project.
The age old adage goes ‘you get what you pay for’ and you’ll find that rings true with freelancers. If you’re paying a pittance, be prepared for a poor end result.
Paying a little more, you’ll likelier bring more benefit to your business. Those freelancers whose fees are a little higher tend to be experts in the field, offering considerable expertise that can prove invaluable. That’s not to say there isn’t some value at the lower end of the market – there is. Just take your time and choose who you work with wisely.
Try not to micromanage
Something that used to irk me in my freelancer days was certain clients’ tendency to micromanage – incessantly checking up, offering constant advice and keeping a watch on me like a hawk.
Whilst they were well within their rights to do so, this did nothing but breed resentment on my part. After all, freelancers are effectively selling their expertise and ought to be trusted to get on with the job. In short, by all means give freelancers feedback but don’t be incessant. Give them the space to get on with the job and don’t feel like they need constant babysitting.
Remember, we’re all in the same boat
Not literally (unless you’re some sort of aquatic start up), more on a metaphorical basis.
Freelancers are their very own small business and as such, share all the worries of a small business owner. They carry cash flow worries and need them invoices paid swiftly, so ensure that you do. Treat them with the respect that you’d treat a big business and you can’t go far wrong.
Author bio: Mark James currently writes in-house for UK-based contractor accountants, Crunch. Prior to that he worked freelance for several years, writing on travel and soccer… but ultimately, accounting paid better.