Once you’ve accepted a creative on your project, read through these top tips on how to work with freelancers successfully. Whether you’ve got previous experience or not, our ten step guide will ensure you get the best out of your relationship.
- Do your research
The first step to finding a creative that’s easy to work with is making sure you’ve found the right one! Read our article on how to choose the best creative if you haven’t already.
- Communicate clearly
If you’re working remotely, communication is 90% of the job. If you can explain and communicate clearly, working together will be a breeze. If you’re working with someone who doesn’t speak your language, be aware of cultural differences. If you can, try talking over the phone or video chat to avoid miscommunication.
- Lay down the rules
Clearly define your project’s scope and schedule right from the start. This point is absolutely critical. Don’t be tempted to be vague with the details – the freelancer can only work to the brief you provide so make sure you give them all they need to do the job properly. Otherwise, you’ll be disappointed with the results and there’ll be nobody to blame except yourself. Clearly state project aims, deadline, rates of pay etc.
- Don’t assume they know it all
Your freelancer might be an industry pro, but that doesn’t mean they’re familiar with the way things are done in your company. Bring them up to speed with your workflow and processes. Sometimes even industry-specific terms differ from country to country, so make sure you’re both on the same page.
- Make a contract
You probably won’t need it, but it’s good to have a contract in place. It doesn’t need to be a fancy legal document, just a piece of paper where you can draw up an overview of the project, who owns the work once it’s completed and rates of pay.
- Keep in touch
Once you hand over the project details, don’t just leave them to it. Check up and get feedback from your freelancer regularly. That way if the project is going awry, you can catch it early. Ask them to send updates so you can review their work and give feedback.
- Start small
If you’ve got a really big project, don’t hand it all over to a freelancer you’ve never worked with straight away. Instead, try giving them a small part of the project to complete first to see if they’re a good fit for you. For example, if your project is a website ask them to design one page or a logo etc. If you’re testing someone out, don’t ask for work on spec. That’s not cool – your freelancer should be paid for any work they undertake for you. If they’re not right for the project, pay them for the work they’ve done then hire someone else.
- Give feedback
Your feedback is vital to your freelancer, so give feedback regularly. Feedback should gently nudge the creative in the right direction and give them motivation to continue. Learn to give the right kind of feedback – never be aggressive or overly critical. If you have to give negative feedback, make sure it’s constructive and something the creative can take away and use.
- Be realistic
Take another look at that budget. If you want someone to create a huge, complex project for you like a website or a film or a tricky photoshoot, but your budget is only $100? Think again. Creative freelancers will bring your project to life in ways you could never imagine, but only if you respect their talent – don’t waste their time.
- There’s no I in team
Remember you’re a team. Freelancing is a two-way thing, they can only work with what you give them. If you can stop seeing yourself as “The Boss” you’ll become more of a coach or mentor, which is exactly the right kind of mindset for getting the best out of your freelancer. Most of all you need to be available to answer their questions and concerns. If your freelancer has questions they can’t address, then they can’t move forward with the project.
If you’ve got any advice or experiences of your own, we’d love to hear it!
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