Making Friends With Freelancers
**Why and how freelancers can save the day. **
It might be a week, it might be ten years, since you started your business, and it’s all going exactly to plan. Your office furniture is the perfect amount of Scandi chic; not too grey, not too firm. Your co-workers are laughing and focusing in perfect equilibrium. Even the work experience kid isn’t trying to sneak out after lunch. Nothing, you think, could ever ruin this.
And then it happens. You win the contract — the one you wanted. You’ve fought for this. You’ve earned it. After everything you’ve done you’re finally…not quite sure you’re going to be able to get it finished by the deadline.
Late nights turn into early mornings. The tension rises. Your co-workers aren’t laughing any more; they’re just staring blankly at empty screens. The work experience kid has stopped coming in at all. It’s time, you think. You must. You have to. For the team. Your fingers hover over the keyboard tentatively. You take a deep breath. With tears running down your face, you type…
“Does anyone know a good freelancer?”
Freelancers are like atoms; they’re literally everywhere, but most of us have no idea how they actually work. Thanks to the increased possibilities of remote working, more people than ever before are choosing to pack up their (often specialist) skills and hit the road. Whether it’s to fill a staffing gap, assist on a big project or provide some much needed expertise, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re truly getting the most out of your working relationship with your newest “sort-of” team member.
1. Focus on relationships
Freelancers aren’t a permanent part of your team — and often they wouldn’t want to be — but this is no reason to make them feel disposable. You don’t have to tell them your deepest, darkest secrets, but if you invite them out to work drinks, or sit with them at lunch, they’ll be more likely to want to come and work with you again. From giving you a great deal, to telling potential customers about how much they love your company, behaving like a pleasant human being will always pay off.#### **2. Tap into the network**
The best person to recommend a freelancer is another freelancer. They know their own business inside out, and come into contact with a huge variety of people over their working life. Saying this, never play freelancers off against one another. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and anyone who throws you an unusually low quote might know that their work isn’t going to be up to scratch.#### **3. Be fair**
Like an alarm clock that’s getting into yoga, one of the perks of freelancing is the flexible hours. Freelancers may prefer to work evenings and weekends, and as such can usually storm through projects at a faster rate than your more desk-bound team members. While this can be a real boom for you, their speed must be reciprocated, or it might not happen again the next time. Always pay freelancers when you say you will, and promptly. Sadly, this is probably the biggest thing that will set you apart from other employers, so make the most of it!#### **4. Clearly set the terms**
At the end of the day, you are responsible for the work your company produces, even if it’s done by a freelancer. If they’re contracted on a project basis, decide whether or not you tell your client that you have freelancers on their team (you’re not necessarily obliged to). If you choose to keep this quiet, avoid awkward moments by ensuring you’re not copying a non-company email into any official correspondence, or letting them access shared files without logging in through your account.
When getting started, make your briefs as clear and straightforward as possible, and check any client feedback makes sense before you pass it on. On the way out, always ensure work is properly reviewed and branded. A freelancer may not mean to leave things out, but they may well be juggling a lot of projects, and any oversight will reflect worse on you than on them.
Saying that, if you do decide to let client and freelancer interact directly, you may well be pleasantly surprised: freelancers typically need to develop excellent client skills to maintain their own business relationships. Either way, you’ll need to be attentive and work hard to manage expectations from both sides.#### **In conclusion…**
Even though it might be easier to match with your soulmate on Tinder, finding the perfect freelancer can be the greatest and most rewarding partnership you’ve ever had. Focus on relationships, build trust and manage expectations…oh, and keep on top of the whole operation with CharlieHR. You’re welcome!