Enhancing your team with freelancers can be a very agile way to work if you find you have busy and then quiet periods. You can scale your team up and down dependant on workflow, keep your core staff costs down and harness whichever skills are most relevant to your current projects. However, once you’ve decided you need a freelancer, it’s time to navigate portfolios to find the right fit and it can be a daunting task. Here are our tips to help you make the right decision.
Pick someone you can work with long term
One of the first things you should realise about selecting a freelancer is that you need to think of it as the beginning of a long relationship. While you can find plenty of discount ways to get work done, the absolute best work, and the work that will be effective, is born from a strong collaborative effort between you and your freelancer. When that relationship works, you’ll end up with a go-to resource who can quickly and easily deliver great work that exceeds your expectations.
Ensure work quality is up to scratch
This is sometimes trickier to assess, as everyone’s taste is slightly different, but there should always be a level of quality to all the freelancer’s work. One place to start looking is their portfolio. The work you see on your prospective freelancer’s website doesn’t need to exactly match the work you need done, but you should always like what you see. At interview stage, ask your candidate for their favourite brand, then ask what they like about it and what makes it unique. Even a freelancer with a strong portfolio could have had influences that may have impacted the samples in their style.
Work out your budget
Every project has an anticipated value or return, whether it’s for an external client or an internal department. Your freelance hiring spend will need to work within your overall budget for that project and take up the right percentage. Ask yourself how important having a freelancer is to the success of the project. If it’s very important, be willing to be flexible on what portion of your overall budget goes to getting the very best you can afford. Once you build a relationship with your favourite multi-talented freelancer, you can easily work that cost into your overall spend.
Set expectations up front
There are several things that will improve the relationship with your freelancer. One of them is a clear list of your expectations and proposed projects. Setting basic parameters (when you work and when you don’t, expected response time to emails, payment schedule, etc.) is important to discuss up front. Make a list of all the work that you need done and then consider what you need for each of those items, the more information the better.
Work together and be patient
It’s unlikely a new freelancer will get everything perfectly right the first time, discovering what works for you and your business is going to take time. As with any project, learning to provide constructive feedback will produce better results. Also, giving unreasonable due dates or asking for changes late in the process will only harm the final product and the partnership with your freelancer. Instead, provide reasonable deadlines that will ensure everything is up to your standards long before you need it.
Need some more hiring advice? We’ve created a ‘how to’ guide on all you could ever want to know when looking to source, build and maintain your creative team. From deciding which roles your team needs, to conducting the perfect interview, to keeping your team inspired - and everything inbetween. And if that’s not amazing enough, it’s also free! Download it here.