The best freelancers are like gold dust and you’ve got to treat them well if you don’t want to get fired.
First things first: you can definitely get fired by a freelancer
Remember that when you’re hiring freelancers, getting fired is a very real possibility. They don’t have to work for you and nightmare clients just aren’t worth it. So the last thing you want to do is burn bridges with a fantastic freelancer and be screwed the next time you need work done. You’ve got to make it clear you care about their career and that you don’t just see them as a convenient and underpaid logo generator.
Get them invested in the company
It’s great to hire someone who’s already legitimately interested in your business. But if they’re not, it’s definitely possible to change that. In meetings, sell your company well so they want to produce great work.
If you find yourself hiring the same freelancer again and again because they’re producing amazing stuff every time, be open to giving them a permanent role or getting them on retainer. That way, you’re offering them real career progression.
Treat them as well as you’d treat your employees
They’re working for you too and should be treated just as well as permanent employees.* The only difference is that freelancers can’t definitely fire you.
*Disclaimer: this doesn’t apply if you’re treating your employees terribly. If you are, the first step is to stop doing that.
Don’t reduce the relationship to just price
Hiring a freelancer shouldn’t be about haggling their fee down to a pittance. You want to hire the one who’s right for the job, and that means also paying them what they deserve. Offering a fiver for a logo is just disrespectful and shows you don’t care about their career (or even survival really!) You won’t even get round to getting fired if you try and pull this off.
Give your freelancer the freedom to get the job done. It’s unrealistic to think you can monitor everything they do and all it’s likely to do is wind them up. Agree on dates for review meetings in advance, rather than demanding live-Tweeting on the project’s progress.
Be willing to give them advice and support
However, do make sure you’re on hand if they have questions about the project. And remember that life has a nasty habit of getting in the way, so be sympathetic if something happens to go wrong.
Remember they have lives too
Don’t send them a message at stupid o’clock in the morning and expect an immediate response. They’re not at your beck and call and that “urgent” update can definitely wait until more sociable hours!
So there you have it! Keeping a freelancer onboard shouldn’t be hard if you have a basic level of human sympathy – just remember that their career is important and treat them with respect!
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