When you’re a startup in the early days of your business it’s difficult to engage the services of full-time employees, using freelancers is a cheaper and more efficient way to get tasks done within your business without having to shell out full-time rates for experts.
Whether you need a graphic designer, a web developer, marketing guru, content writer, admin assistant or any other task known to man, you can find a freelancer that is willing to do it and all without the mounds of paperwork and onboarding requirements.
Freelancers can be engaged for a quick 1-hour task or a 30-day job, or more - the choice is yours and offers complete flexibility and transparency based on your budget and funding.
In this article, we run through the best ways to find top freelancers and how to manage remote freelancers so that you get the best value out of every project they undertake.
My Startup is Boombing. How do I Manage Remote Freelancers Effectively?
So you’ve engaged the services of a freelancer, now it’s time to get the project started and chugging along but do you know how to best manage freelancers?
Here are a few tips for managing remote freelancers to ensure you get the best out of their skill set while at the same time getting the most out of the engagement for your startup.
Understand what the freelancer wants
Let’s be honest; it's probably money that your freelancer is mostly motivated by but are they doing the job to enhance their skills or work with a new and exciting startup? Take the time to ask your freelancers what they are hoping to gain from the project so you can aim to deliver your side of the bargain as well.
Set your expectations from the beginning
It can be challenging to trust remote freelancers if you’re the sort of person that likes to see people working before your eyes but in the freelance world, you’ll rarely have a freelancer working at a desk in your office, so you’ll need to come to terms with trusting your freelancer and setting expectations. Be clear about what you want to be done - whether it is a new website design or a prototype development - and clearly outline what you need and the date you need it.
Build a relationship with your freelancer
Take the time to get to know your freelancer and where they are from; it doesn’t need to be all business. If you avoid the need to make the process only transactional, you might wind up finding a freelancer you can use on an ongoing basis. Ask them questions and show your human side.
Introduce them to the team, if you have one
If you are using remote freelancers for a job you can link everyone up via a project management program such as BaseCamp or Trello. If you take the time to make freelancers feel like they are part of a team they will more than likely collaborate more effectively and offer better outcomes for your project. Being a remote freelancer can be isolating, bringing in engagement with other team members so they get a better understanding of your startup can be a win-win for all parties.
Don’t hog their time
Freelancers often work on a few projects at a time so avoid the assumption that you’re their one and only client, they are more than likely juggling a few all at the same time, and they are in the business of doing as much or as little as they like. If you have provided a clear brief and had a lengthy discussion regarding the project in the early stages you should send your freelancer off on their merry way to get the job done autonomously. Rest assured they will get in contact if they have any questions or need to check with you about something, make sure you resist the temptation to harass them on Skype or check in every few hours to see what they are up to.
Micromanaging is just plain annoying, and freelancers can’t stand it. Freelancers love autonomy, by being in their line of work they have bucked the trend of working full time for someone, so they aren’t going to like an employer that hovers over their work. Find a freelancer you trust will deliver what you need, stand back and wait for the results.
Give honest feedback
When you engage a freelancer you’ll usually throwing them into the deep end of your project without a whole lot of knowledge so if they do create the first draft of a project and it’s not what you had in mind it’s important to take the time to revisit the brief, provide examples and keep an open mind for any further updates. Don’t beat around the bush with your feedback and be sure to provide positive feedback when a freelancer is on point with the work so you can build their confidence and understanding about your project.
If you do find after the first round of drafts your freelancer just isn't up to scratch with your expectations, be open to parting ways and coming to an agreement rather than wasting your time.
If the job is done pay the freelancer quickly - and consider leaving a tip
Freelance work can be tough, and it’s important when a freelance job is completed to your satisfaction you pay for the job quickly, leave any feedback and provide additional work or even a tip if the job was a great success. Freelancers don’t have 30 or 60-day accounts like you might see in big business so don’t hold out on them and avoid paying as you’ll end up with a bad reputation.
Above all, it’s important to remember that when you are hiring freelancers, you should be mindful that this is their career and livelihood so you should always be respectful and treat them as professionals. If you focus on clear communication, providing a scope of work and set time frames and expectations your freelancer experience is bound to be a positive one.
How do I Find Freelancers For My Startup?
Finding freelancers to do work remotely for your startup is fairly easy, one quick search on the web will provide you with thousands of options for talented freelancers from all over the world. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, wading through the massive lists of applicants can be daunting, so you should have a cracker of a project description that will weed out the time wasters from the true freelance talent.
If you’re looking to fill a freelance posting, you will need to create a project ad to post on a freelance marketplace or platform that will provide a clear idea of your project, your expectations, your budget and your vision.
Here’s what you need for the perfect project brief for freelance talent:
Describe your startup and who you are looking for
Take the time to outline your startup and what you are looking to achieve and why they would want to be a part of your startup. The more info you can give the better. If you need someone that is multi-skilled be clear so you get the expert that suits your project to a tee.
Set the exact task you need to be done
Outline what you need to be done, the skills needed and what the outcomes will be. While you might have a very clear idea what you need it’s important to provide as much information as possible and really lay it out in the job posting.
Add in a time frame for the job
Time waits for no one and if you need a quick turnaround here is where you should be clear about it. Outline if it is a job that needs to be done in 24 hours or if you have a few days or weeks up your sleeve, so you get the right freelance talent that is available when you need them. Also be aware of where your freelancer is located, if their timezone is behind yours and you ask for something at a certain time you will need to be clear if this is in ‘their’ timezone or ‘yours’.
Outline your budget
Be clear about your budget so you can avoid time wasters and ensure everyone that offers their services understands your ballpark budget. If you are looking for a logo and only want to pay $100 for it, be clear in the ad.
Hire Your Freelancer Team, And Get Stuff Done Today!
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Whatever freelancer you’re looking for to work on your startup, you’ll find the perfect match for your business needs.
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