How to Get the Most out of Working With Your Freelancer | Pt.1 Before You Hire
Hi, I’m Emma. I’m a full-time freelancer and I’m here to help you rock your next freelance hire.
Freelancing is a growing trend around the world and is incredible for businesses who need highly specialized talent but don’t need another full-time employee. It is especially suited to short-term jobs or times when a company needs a long-term specialist .
This is the first installment of a three part series to help you get the most out of your freelancer before hiring, during the working process, and at the end of the contract. Read on and take your business to the next level!
Define Your Goal
Before reaching out to a freelancer or posting your job, establish your goals. What do you need in a freelancer, and how can they help you achieve these goals?
If you aren’t quite sure what you need, be open about this with your potential freelancers and ask advice. Part of a freelancer’s job is to guide clients and we love helping them in the initial stages. Please note, however, that most experienced freelancers will charge for consulting.
Define Your Budget
What is your target budget, and what is the absolute most you can spend?
Freelancers are highly specialized in their field so will charge more than the average worker. This will pay off in the long run but be sure not to over-extend your business or start a project you can’t afford to finish.
The best freelancers know their worth. Don’t try hiring the lowest-charging freelancer because it almost always goes south quickly. Also, be respectful of the freelancer’s rates. There’s a difference between negotiating and badgering. As a professional freelancer, if a potential client bothers me too much on price in the initial on-boarding stage, I will not sign a long-term contract. Often, the clients that value price over quality will be disappointed with their experience.
Quick Tip: If you want to save money, ask if there is a discount if you hire the freelancer for a long-term contract, a larger job, or keep them on retainer. We love job stability and will often take a steady job slightly under our rate. Also, if the initial pitch is out of your price range, ask for options at a variety of price points. You might not get everything you initially wanted, but there may be a fit for your budget that still moves your business forward.
Gather Your Resources & Inspiration
Streamline the work process by having inspo and project assets ready to go as soon as you hire. Some freelancers may also request certain resources before signing a long-term contract to ensure they’re pitching the correct amount and fully understand your needs.
If you’re hiring a creative freelancer, be sure your brand documents are all in one place. Also gather any inspiration or write down your ideas to help the freelancer see your vision. Google Drive and Pinterest are very helpful for this.
If you’re hiring a non-creative freelancer, ensure all the tools and resources they need are easily accessible along with any passwords or login information. Be mindful of the security of your business and ask how the freelancer will handle your sensitive information.
Ask About Their Onboarding Process
Most great freelancers have a tried-and-true process for onboarding every client. Typical steps include answering a questionnaire, jumping on a video call, or sending over inspiration examples. After you get in touch with a potential freelancer, ask them what their next steps are.
Some freelancers will have you go through part of their on-boarding process before they send a quote. This is a good sign as it means they will give you the most accurate price possible.
Get A Contract
Even if your job is super short-term, make sure you get a solid contract with deliverables, rates and expectations. Many freelancers have a system they use so ask about this (I love And.Co or Upwork).
If you want to test the waters before diving in headfirst, suggest a short-term and long-term contract. I typically do this with my clients to ensure we have good working chemistry. Pick a small part of the job for the freelancer to complete, with a clear review and contract renewal date for them to sign on for long-term.
Decide how you want to structure the contract. Do you want an hourly, fixed rate, retainer or other type of contract? There are tons of options here and freelancers will usually have different recommendations depending on the job. Also ask if they charge a deposit (I typically ask for 30-50% up front).
(P.S. deposits may seem silly, but they allow your freelancer to eat while doing your work. Freelancers who eat do better work, it’s science).
I started freelancing on Upwork and still get a lot of great clients from the site. There are tons of filters & features you can use to find your perfect freelancer or you can post the job and watch the pitches roll in. They even handle the payment transfer, the contract and mediation if something goes wrong.