Freelancers can be a cost-effective and fast way to outsource projects. Whether long or short-term projects, hiring a freelancer can be a great addition to your in-house team.
Since there are thousands of potential candidates, it’s important to find reliable ones and build long-lasting partnerships. A lot depends on where you look for talents and how you communicate with them. These days, scammers are cunning and hard to spot, which makes it more difficult to find trustworthy freelancers.
The right communication can guarantee you’ll find the best professional for your business. But where should you start? Places where you look for people, a portfolio to prove their work, it all determines whether it’s going to be a successful relationship or not. In this article, I’ll briefly walk you through the communication stages with a freelancer that can help you build long-term partnerships.
How to start communication with a freelancer
Know where to find experts
I don’t encourage you to cross out freelance job boards and marketplaces, but often it’s much more challenging to find a trustworthy expert. Experts have to compete with thousands of poorly experienced freelancers on freelance marketplaces, making them lower their rates and exhaust themselves.
Yes, you might find cheap and fast help, but you’ll face higher risks of poor quality work and scams. I would always recommend looking for freelancers on social media such as LinkedIn, through referrals, or organic search. If a person has proof of work, recommendations, and a portfolio, the chances are they are worth hiring. Of course, you’re probably going to pay more for an expert, but in the end, working with a professional who understands the service and your business saves you time and money.
Find someone with matching experience
Another thing with freelance marketplaces is that they are full of generalists. It’s fine to hire a freelancer who takes on all kinds of tasks for small projects, but you need someone who understands the job specifics when it comes to particular market knowledge and a niche. For instance, if you’re looking for a copywriter for a healthcare company, try to find someone who worked with similar projects, as it might be too tricky for someone without experience in the field.
Although it’s easy to learn about a new industry, think if you want to waste money on onboarding a freelancer, or would you rather hire someone who can already bring a certain set of skills and knowledge.
Set expectations at the beginning
Most likely, the freelancer you’ll choose already has clients. To save time for both of you, you should be clear from the beginning about your expectations of this partnership. Before starting to work together, discuss their availability, deadlines, your budget, and skills needed for the job. If they can’t meet your expectation, move on to another candidate.
Decide on communication channels
It’s very important to be clear when setting communication platforms. Tasks can be lost if there’s no order. If one day you’re communicating via email, another on Facebook, and a little bit over Slack, the work gets chaotic, and information might get lost.
My advice is to pick one or two communication channels and stick to them. The best way to ensure quality communication is to have one channel for large tasks, such as email—another channel for quick updates, such as Slack. You might also want to use additional platforms for calls.
Set regular meetings
Regular updates from both sides are important. Even if it’s a long-term project, it’s good to keep communication to know where you’re at. Weekly or biweekly calls or emails can prevent misunderstandings and mistakes.
However, it’s easy to slip and start micromanaging. In general, micromanaging is cancerous to the business, especially when you’re working with a freelancer. Companies hire freelancers as experts to outsource work. When you’re working with an expert, you should respect their work and let them do their thing.
Sign a contract
Contracts can save you from a lot of trouble. I keep seeing employers complain about freelancers who take a deposit and disappear. While legal conditions are getting better to deal with such situations, save yourself time and energy by signing a basic working contract.
This way, both the company and a freelancer will know their responsibilities and legal consequences to avoid misunderstandings.
Too many companies have a negative experience with freelancers. However, your future work with a freelancer depends on their credibility and ability to communicate. If you overlook a freelancer’s experience and portfolio, you can get burned. When you know where to look for quality work and how to communicate with a freelancer, you can benefit from cost-effective and professional work.