Handy Steps To Successful Freelancer Collaborations
If you and your business don’t already work with a few freelancers, you could really be missing out. Not only will a team of freelancers bring fresh new ideas to your company, but they are also handy for companies who are trying to cut down on their expenses. That’s because hiring contractors usually works out cheaper than having full-time employees on the books.
When you have employees, it’s not just their wages that you need to pay. You will also have to provide certain financial perks, including paid days off for vacations and sickness, as well as pension payments. As you can see, all of that will quickly add up! Thankfully, when you work with freelancers, you don’t have to pay these extra costs. You just need to be able to afford their wages.
Once you do decide to hire a team of freelancers, you will then need to think about how you can best collaborate with them. Working with contractors throws up its own set of challenges, especially if you work with them remotely and they are scattered all around the globe. This shouldn’t be too challenging, though, as there are ways you can easily collaborate with your remote team and ensure that each project is a success. Here are a few steps that you need to take.
Spend Time Finding The Best Freelancer For The Project
One of the most important parts of working with a freelancer is finding the best one in the first place. Some entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time recruiting freelancers as they would full-time employees, and this is almost always a mistake. If you do rush into hiring a contractor, then there is a good chance you will have gone with someone who just isn’t the best fit for the job. So, it’s worth reading through digital resumes and application letters very carefully, and then taking the time to whittle all applicants down through at least one interview stage.
Pay Fair Rates
You should also carefully consider the rates that you are going to offer your freelancers. Try not to pay low rates, as this will only attract poor-quality workers. Any freelancer worth their salt will work for fairly good rates that match or are even more than what you would expect to pay full-time employees. But even though this may seem like a lot, you need to remember that they aren’t entitled to any financial perks of the job, so will still work out cheaper than full-time employees. If you aren’t too sure what to offer your freelancers, there should be resources online that can help you figure this out. For instance, most industries have guides for their freelancers that outline the minimum rates they should work for.
Write Up A Contract
Whatever you do, don’t attempt to work with a freelancer if they do not want a contract in place. This document is very important as it gives some legal weight to your relationship. The contract will outline the rates that the freelancer will be paid as well as the scope of work that they are to carry out. It should also inform both of you of how they can bring their relationship with your company to an end should they want to do so before their contract is up. This is a very important document as you can always refer back to it if any problems ever arise with the work or the relationship between the two of you. If things escalate, and one of you takes the other to court, then the contract will be used as some hard evidence.
Be Clear About The Scope Of Work
One thing that can often make collaborating with freelancers difficult for some companies is that they aren’t quite so clear about the scope of work that the freelancer needs to take care of for the project. One way to make sure that all freelancers know exactly what they need to do is to write down their responsibilities and tasks in bullet-point form. It’s also worth being super clear about the scope of the job in the job advert that you use to attract contractors in the first place. This will ensure that you don’t have any individuals who are the wrong fit applying for the position.
Set Regular Meetings To Touch Base
Just because your freelancers are working remotely, doesn’t mean that you can simply leave them to get on with everything on their own. It will be beneficial for both of you to touch base on a regular basis. That allows you to check the quality of their ongoing work and it also gives them the chance to ask any questions or raise any issues that they might have. Ideally, you should set regular meetings right at the start of the project. You might want to hold them once a week or once every two weeks, depending on how long the project will last for. Don’t worry if your contractors don’t work in your office with you; you can always arrange a Skype meeting or conference call. These days, there’s no excuse to check in with even your freelancers who are based on the other side of the world!
Make All Documents And Files Easily Accessible
If your freelancers do work remotely, then you might be wondering how you can share all the necessary documents and files with them that they will need to be able to carry out their work. There are various ways you can share these online with them, but you need to make sure that you do that safely and securely or else your important online files might end up in the hands of hackers and online thieves. If you are sending large files to freelancers via email on a regular basis, it’s worth looking for a reliable platform from which to do so. You should also invest in some secure cloud software so that you can have peace of mind knowing that your freelancers have easy access to files and documents, but there is no way that hackers will be able to get them.
Use Collaboration Tools
There are also lots of collaboration tools that you can use to make working with freelancers a lot easier. For instance, Slack is a great way to quickly send an instant message whenever you need to inform your freelancers of any last-minute changes or notifications. If you are working with a team of freelancers who are all based in different locations, you could use an online platform like Basecamp or SharePoint to ensure that everyone stays in the loop with any updates. These platforms also give your contractors an online space where they can share ideas and communicate together.
Be Firm With Deadlines
There is no doubt that you will need to set your freelancers deadlines for their work. Whether you set just one hard deadline at the end of the project or a few smaller ones throughout is up to you. Many contractors flourish when they have deadlines to work to, though, as the pressure gives them a reason to be motivated. However, you need to make sure that the deadlines you set are reasonable and that they aren’t too short or else it could really stress out your freelancers, and their work might not be as good as a result. Similarly, don’t give them too much time before a deadline, as it will only create more time for them to procrastinate.
Review Progress Regularly
I’ve already mentioned that you should organize regular meetings with your team of contractors, but there are other ways you should continually review their progress. For example, it’s a good idea to get them to send you any completed work as soon as they have done it, even if there is more for them to work on. This then gives you the chance to take a look at what they have been up to and to ensure that you are happy with everything they have been getting up to. It’s also worth setting a few goals or targets for them to work towards as well. These goals will help them stay motivated as they will have plenty to keep aiming for.
Ask For Feedback
You will no doubt have plenty of time to offer your feedback on your freelancers’ work. This is necessary as it gives them the chance to improve and build on their strengths whenever necessary. It’s also worth asking your contractors to give you and your company some feedback on how they have found their time collaborating with you. They might have ideas of how you can make the whole collaboration process a lot easier for everyone involved. It’s worth taking their feedback on board as it gives you the chance to improve your outsourcing for future projects.
Collaborating with contractors and freelancers shouldn’t be a burden for your company. If you follow these steps, then it should work out very smoothly for everyone involved in any of your projects.
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