As a home business owner, contracting out work to freelancers is a no-nonsense way to grow your business. Hiring a freelancer will simplify the process of bringing someone on board to help you with specific projects. It will also increase the profitability of your business because you will be able to get more clients since you can now get more work done faster.
Frankly, there are more reasons to hire freelancers than reasons to postpone the help you need to lighten your workload. With that in mind, here are 4 steps to take to put together a freelance team that takes your business to the next level:
Step #1: Communicate On Multiple Channels.
The first thing you must understand is how essential communication is to make sure the work is done correctly. Since the freelancer does not know your business and you are not yet familiar with their level of knowledge and skills, clear and open communication is necessary to close the gap. By giving your freelancers a chance to know your business and what kind of work you need, you empower them to do a better job for you.
While a telephone call or a Skype conference is the first step to getting to know each other, you also need other channels of communication like email, file sharing, and instant messaging.
- · Email is a highly effective way of communicating new instructions and getting feedback. A popular platform for email is Gmail, which allows you to filter incoming emails and create folders for different freelancers.
- · Cloud computing is an excellent way to share files back and forth. A versatile one for file sharing is Google Docs, which allows you to share documents. If you’re familiar with Microsoft Office, you’ll find Google Docs easy to learn how to use.
- · Instant messaging offers fast, fluid communication in real-time when it’s imperative to bat ideas back and forth throughout the day. A robust instant messenger program is Brosix, which incidentally, just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. They offer highly secure private instant messaging and a wide number of features for business and instant enterprise messaging purposes.
Step 2: Be Clear On What You Expect
If you were to hire a part-time or full-time employee, you would write a comprehensive job description. Unfortunately, when it comes to hiring freelancers, many business owners think it’s unimportant to be this formal and that they can just offer a general description of the work expected.
While a job description does not have to be part of the contract, it is helpful for the freelancer to know whether or not they are meeting expectations.
If, for instance, you were to hire someone to write regular posts for your blog, it’s not enough just to briefly describe the theme and purpose of your blog and ask the freelancer to research and write on topics that will appeal to your target audience. Instead, it’s important to create a content schedule. The more detailed you can be—how many posts per week, how long they should be, what topics they should cover, and what stylistic guidelines to follow—the better the results you will get. The freelancer will know exactly what to do and you will have a clear idea of what to expect.
Step 3: Manage Your Freelancers
After you’ve interviewed the freelancers who responded to your ads and selected the best ones, after you’ve offered the freelancers a clear description of the work you need from them, you might be tempted to quit managing the parts of the project you’ve delegated out.
While micromanagement is not a good idea, neither is letting the freelancers figure out everything for themselves. While it is their job to do the work assigned — because they are specialists at what they do–it’s still your job to manage the overall project.
Here are 3 suggestions for project management:
- Set a clear schedule of when you expect completion every week, month, or quarter. Don’t just do things at your own pace and assume the freelancers are going to readjust their schedule with their other clients to fit in your work.
- Be available to answer questions that come up as they do their assignments. Also, define what channels you prefer for this communication. For instance, do you want to discuss it over the phone or would you prefer an email?
- Be clear when you will be paying your freelancers. Set a reoccurring date and payment method that is convenient for both parties.
4. Evaluate Progress
You are the one responsible for your business success. Only you can define what success looks like for your business. Besides assigning work and reviewing the quality of the work, you also need to set aside a time to review how well things are going in your relationships with your freelancers. What’s working? What’s not working? What can be improved by offering more instructions, feedback, or training about your business process?
Since freelancers can play an indispensable role in growing your business, your goal is to create a relationship with them that will make them enjoy working with you to propel your business forward.