Outsourcing Insider

Whatever negative feelings you may have towards freelancers, it might actually be mutual. For whatever reason, the dynamic between businesses and freelancers continues to allude both parties, despite their mutual goal and desire to complete a project to scope that everyone loves. 

If you haven’t mastered this relationship and you work with a number of freelancers, you need to improve this situation immediately so that you can minimise the time worrying and mitigating, and get back to what you need to do so they can do what they do. We are fortunate enough to have been on both side of the table, so here is how you can improve your relations with your freelancers and start working as a team.

Clarify processes

If this is an existing or new relationship, it’s never a bad time to take the time and clarify the processes that both of you must abide by. When to invoice, what invoice template to use, what format the work must be presented in, what the projet phases are - and anything else that may be unique to the industry or work at hand. 

You can communicate these verbally or via email, but it might serve you both to have these on-hand as a PDF to refer to if you are at a fork in the road and unsure where things went awry. I’m sure you have been in these situations before. Of course, it’s one thing to design processes like this, but it is quite another to uphold them, so ensure that you are honouring all terms that were agreed upon and incorporating their take on the circumstances. Their processes are just as important as yours, so make sure your freelancers feel heard.

Set boundaries

Freelancers are all too familiar with the impact that boundaries and lack of boundaries bring. Given the nature of their work, it will go a long way if you empathise with the sometimes unpredictable nature of their relations with clients and projects. You want to respect their boundaries and have yours respected too, so define these at the start of your relationship and reiterate them if things steer off course. 

An example of some good boundaries would be methods of communication - is a text messaging off-limits, and are there set hours that communication can only take place within? You may also want to have boundaries around deadlines and number of drafts - as this will reduce their time in going over the same document, and it will save you from losing the day in one file also.

Share the goals, challenges and plans for your business

You might be wondering why your freelancer would possibly want to know these details when they may not impact the project they are working on. You couldn’t be more wrong. Communicating this information will enhance their stake in your business and the success parameters, and it might also educate them in a way that will reduce communication as they know which direction in the business is heading. 

Your freelancers also want to feel like the team, just because they aren’t in your office does not mean they are not contributing to your growth. You can get the ball rolling by letting them know of any internal changes or exciting announcement, as you will see with your own physical workforce - an engaged professional is a hard-working professional.

If you implement these changes, you will be astounded by the improved communication and enhanced output that follows. You are both striving for the same target, so it is time to start acting like a team and enjoying the fruits of this dynamic.