Businesses who hire freelancers think that once the freelancer is hired and they’ve been given the task, that this is it. Hiring freelancers is actually much easier said than done, and while having a team of freelancers generally has more benefits than hiring a full-time employee, they still need to be managed to ensure the success of your business.
Once you’ve picked out your freelancers, you will soon come to realize the amount of effort it takes to keep track of their work and the projects on hand. Handling freelancers should not be a hassle if you know the required steps and tools to use to manage and keep up with them.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects you will need to manage and how to manage them.
One of the main advantages of working with freelancers is how easy it is to end a contract in case you don’t like their work. However, this also means that often there is no sense of loyalty between both parties and no obligation to protect your data. Because freelancers are not always under your supervision, your information might be at risk. Luckily, there are steps you can do to ensure confidentiality.
An NDA is a contract legally binding, both, you and the freelancer. It’s used to protect all the most important in-house secrets, confidential information, proprietary and more. You can choose between a mutual or a one-way NDA. A mutual NDA requires both parties to make disclosures that need to be kept confidential, while a one-way NDA only requires the freelancer to have the information kept secret. More often than not, you will need a one-way NDA. Do not forget to specify how long they need to keep the information confidential and what happens if the contract is breached.
Most organizations think that once they get work from the freelancer that the work is officially theirs. However, you will need to agree with the freelancer to transfer their copyright and full ownership of the work they submit. A Work-for-Hire Agreement is a must.
If you still haven’t chosen the freelancer, you can always leave the big idea out, and only share it with the freelancer that you’ve selected after signing an NDA. However, you need to know that you run the risk of getting much fewer proposals since they don’t know the full information regarding the project.
A non-compete agreement prevents any freelancers you work with from starting a business (or collaborating with businesses) that in any way threatens your business (or even competes with it).
There is no doubt that, in order to get the best possible outcome from your freelancers, you need to tell them all about your company’s vision, mission, objectives, and idea. You want your freelancers to be on the same page that you are on so they can end up producing the needed results.
We all know that a company is as great as its last hires, and that’s why you need to know to go through a thorough onboarding process with the freelancer to share your vision with them.
If you want to keep in touch with your freelancers and have them aligned with the company’s goals and visions, share daily or weekly big picture goals for your company and allow them to create their own goals that align with yours.
You need to share with them your external and internal brand, what the vibe of your company is like, how the internal culture is like and much more.
Make sure to include these:
How you communicate with each other inside the organization.
Share with them any brand guidelines you might have.
If there is an onboarding kit, make sure to share that with them.
Always define your values, your short-term goals, and your long-term goals.
Explain what your main mission is.
Tell them how they fit into all of this and what their role is in reaching the goals of the company.
It’s essential to create an operating procedure that will ensure that all tasks on the project are effectively delivered.
Here are some ways you can create a mutual project plan and manage a project:
You need to brief freelancers on what is expected of them regarding deliverables for your project, but also in terms of communication, meetings, and values.
By having everything in front of you, you ensure a much easier process for yourself. Make sure everything you want is within reach. A shared document (for example, a Google Doc) is a great way to create a mutual project plan that allows both parties to write notes, scroll through calendars, check out to-do lists, write comments, and see what’s done and what still needs to be done.
Make sure you manage the project by tracking the hours spent working on a specific task so you can be able to pay properly and learn more about how long it takes (or should take) to finish a certain job.
You need to classify different projects or tasks depending on its archetype, time to get done, confidentiality and urgency.
Make sure you have up-to-date information about the availability, rates, and services of the freelancers. This will eventually lead to you keeping track of information for all your projects and knowing exactly what to assign to who.
Having a collaboration tool like Dropbox or Google Drive will save you a lot of time. You won’t have to keep going back and forth with emails in case the freelancer is asking for specific materials.
Make sure you and the freelancer are on the same page when it comes to how much work you expect from them.
Each time you have a project, break it down into to-do lists with clear tasks and deadlines.
Encourage freelancers to keep a log of what they do per day/hour depending on the project. It’s much better to know how much time is spent on different tasks.
Check in every once in a while to look through the project’s progress, clarify any unclear details, answer questions and make sure you and the freelancer are on the same page. You can also ask them for daily updates to keep track of their productivity and make sure that they’re doing their work.
You have to remember that you don’t get to see freelancers regularly, so you need to set strict deadlines and divide your project into milestones to stay in contact with them.
However, your deadlines should be reasonable and fair. In the end, tight deadlines will almost always lead to rushed, low-quality work. Always negotiate deadlines and ask them what is reasonable and what isn’t.
Always send in deadline reminders to ensure that the freelancer doesn’t get caught up with other work.
Keep a regular payment schedule so it’s easier for you to build a budget and calculate your expenses.
Feedback is an important factor when working with freelancers. It will give them a better understanding of your requirements which will then lead to better results.
Firstly, you need to make sure that you’re readily available to answer any questions by the freelancers – especially at first. There is nothing worse than radio silence, especially when it comes to stressful deadlines or complex projects.
Connect with freelancers every once in a while to give them general feedback and always make sure you let them know what you love about what they do (so they can do more of) and what needs to be changed. Instead of “There were a few changes so I took care of them”, let them take care of it so they can know how to deal with it later on.
Weekly meetings are important to hear what they have to say and to communicate what you need from them. Don’t skimp on the feedback – be straightforward if they’re underperforming, and be clear on what you want.
Right now it’s easier than ever to manage freelancers remotely. With the help of smartphones and laptops, you can contact them whenever you want, keep track of their progress at any time of the day and answer questions.
To make sure managing them remotely works out smoothly, always maintain communication so no important information or queries get lost.
The number one reason conflicts happen between freelancers and clients is because of a lack of clear communication. Always make sure you communicate very clearly all tasks needed, budgets, expected deadlines and anything else you need.
If conflicts still arose, then this is how you deal with it:
If all of these don’t work, then you can either end the contract or let Advisable help you settle any disputes. They can step in as a mediator. A team member will review all the evidence and other information and will work with all parties to reach a fair decision.