Recently, a study revealed that a third of the US workforce had done freelance at least once during their career. Freelancers are dynamic workers who specialize in one specific task. From software developers to writers, and everything in between, freelancers can fill gaps in your business.
Regardless if you are a small business owner, a startup founder, or a side hustler trying to make money online, you need to tap into the freelance marketplace if you want to grow your business into a profit-generating machine successfully.
However, managing freelancers is no easy task. Fortunately, from my experiences as a small business owner, I compiled a quick list of four tips to help you manage freelancers.
1. Create a Thorough Plan of Action
As we all know, a clear plan is vital for both you and the freelancer. Before you hire a freelancer, make sure you thoroughly describe and outline the scope of work you need done. In some cases, this means providing a typed-up outline stating what you would like the finished product to look like. Often, you can find examples of a similar product. Please provide this information to your freelancer, so they have an example to follow. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. This arms the freelancer with the necessary information they need to get the job done on-time and on budget.
2. Set Goals
Freelancers love goals – specific goals that are achievable. I recommend setting SMART Goals. This framework will ensure that your goals provide clarity and focus. Here is how the SMART Goal Framework works:
- Specific – Your purpose is clearly stated. There is no room for interpretation.
- Measurable – The freelancer will know how to measure their goal.
- Achievable – Your goal should push the freelancer but remain attainable.
- Relevant – Ultimately, the goal needs to help your business grow in one way or another.
- Time-Bound – There is a specific timeline that states when the project will be done.
Setting achievable goals for your freelancers will keep them focused and motivated. In return, goals will ensure you stay on budget, remain efficient, and do not procrastinate.
3. Over Communicate
Communication is vital when managing freelancers. They will have questions, and you need to make yourself available to answer them. As their manager, you need to periodically check-in. Checking in allows your freelancers to ask questions if they have any, and it gives you a chance to review their progress and provide feedback. If you are not satisfied, this is the time to correct and change the direction of the project, so it aligns with your vision. Freelancers are always hungry for feedback because it allows them to finetune their craft, and it builds trust between both parties. Above all, critical feedback shows your freelancers that you care about them and their work. Remember, saying “thank you” goes a long way.
4. Do Not Micromanage
Freelancers are working professionals who enjoy their autonomy. If you are working with a reputable freelancer, then you need to let them work freely. The best freelancers are self-motivated, experts, and know-how to complete a project on-time and within budget. But remember, they are most likely working with other clients as well. The best thing you can do is to remain hands-off, only intervene when necessary, and be flexible. You are not their only client, so adapt to their schedule and external time-commitments.
Wrapping Up: 4 Tips to Help Manage Freelancers as a Small Business Owner
While there are many ways to manage freelancers successfully, these four tips will help you navigate through the difficulties of working with contractors. Tapping into the freelance marketplace is a great way to scale your business, lower your overhead expenses, and bring subject matter experts into your organization. However, make sure you do your due diligence and spend time researching different freelancers. But remember, the best freelancers will command a higher hourly rate, and they will be hard to book. Ultimately, you want to hire a freelancer that is reputable and shares your vision.
Drew Cheneler is a writer and a small business owner. His work is featured in The Huffington Post, Business.com, and other significant publications. He is passionate about helping small business owners scale their organization, teaching others how to make money online, and create life-changing income. Drew is deeply committed to helping you reach your financial goals on his blog, SimpleMoneyLyfe.com.