Have you just hired your first freelancer? It doesn’t matter whether they are a writer, cover artist, web developer or ad marketer. There are some universal expectations that your freelancer will expect. In order to deliver a successful project, they will need you to help them to help you. Here is how you do it.
This is the most critical, especially when it comes to deadline time. Looking back, I cannot believe how many clients just simply were not around to answer simple questions and couldn’t understand why it went wrong or I simply stopped working on the project. We don’t always expect an immediate answer but we do need to know you’re around for advice when we hit a snag or need you to clarify something. If you’re our only port of call, mistakes will happen and we’ll both waste valuable time if I’m forced to plough on ahead.
Keep Them in the Loop
There is nothing more frustrating than getting halfway through a project to be told that the requirements have changed. Actually there is one thing more frustrating than that: being told they should have told you last week. Delays occur when time drags, pushing everybody else’s work back. Freelancers rely on you to tell them what they need to know, when they need to know it. Keep them in the loop just as you would for any other vital member of the team. They may not be in your office or an actual employee, but they are contributing to your success.
Define Your Expectations
Because being vague helps nobody. If you don’t know what you want, we won’t know either. Ideally, you should have got through this stage before they have agreed to hire you. It should be part of the matching process. You need to know what their experiences and skills are and what you expect to get out of the project at the end. When you do this, work will flow quickly and smoothly and everybody is happy. You also need to manage your expectations in line with what the freelancer is able to deliver within the time frame. Realise they have other clients, for example.
Ask “What Else Do You Need from Me?”
This is music to my ears, even when I have everything clear in my mind about what you want. The reason is that it makes it clear that you are available to help me do what I need to do. “What do you need from me?” shows willing, trust and a willingness to work together. I work with you and for you and you’re willing to do what it takes to help me succeed for you. This is symbiotic. Make it part of your repertoire and you’re unlikely to ever have a difficult relationship with a freelancer.
Learn to Plan
This is one thing with which a freelancer can’t help you. You are unlikely to be their only client so please, please, please don’t expect a quick turnaround on every job. If the deadline really is Monday, then don’t leave it until Friday to tell your freelancer about it. We all need plenty of time to work around other work we have. Sometimes I can fit you in with a quick turnaround job but not always. Working with a freelancer requires breaking bad habits and learning new ones. Leaving everything until the last minute is one of the worst.