10 tips to effectively work with freelancers

Seth Richtsmeier
Written by Seth Richtsmeier
on February 18, 2022

As more and more employees leave their jobs to freelance, companies must adapt. As a result, the gap between employees and freelancers is becoming smaller. Europe in particular is experiencing a significant shift in the workplace. Freelancers are the fastest-growing segment of the EU workforce, with a 45% increase since 2000.

The relationship working with freelancers differs from working with full-time staff.

With the gig economy growing and more freelance marketplaces popping up, finding a freelancer is easier than ever. To ensure you know how to work with freelancers and make the most of the relationship, here are 10 tips for effectively working together.

1. Set clear expectations

You’ve successfully found a freelancer and you’re ready to get started. First, set clear expectations and time commitments that will be required. Managing freelancers will typically involve multiple projects in the early going, so clear expectations from the get-go are important.

As an example, if you require a weekly time commitment of 10+ hours from your freelancer, in addition to two deliverables per week and a weekly check-in, the freelancer may not have the capacity to take all of this on.

2. Take time to onboard and cover all processes

Every freelancer will use different software and processes, and they may choose to make these mandatory as part of the engagement. To keep things seamless, take the time to onboard the freelancer’s processes into your own.

Both parties should be on the same page. Other things to consider are preferred method of videos calls, messaging, and how work is delivered.

3. Confirm what the fees include

Depending on where you hired your freelancer, their fees can include a variety of things. For example, they may have additional fees if the project requires extra time or revisions. Before you start working together, make sure to confirm what the pricing includes (and doesn’t include).

If pricing seems vague or you need a clearer breakdown, confirm with the freelancer. This clarification ensures that there’s no miscommunication once a project has begun. Plus, you’ll be able to stay within budget and know what to expect.

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4. Clearly outline the project

To help your new freelancer be successful in delivering exactly what you need, clearly outline the project with all expectations. The more specific and informative an outline is, the better chance you’ll have of avoiding the back and forth.

By clearly outlining the project, you prevent guesswork and empower your freelancers to ask relevant questions. As a result, the work they deliver should need little to no revisions, and the turnaround can even become quicker.

5. Respect the freelancer's time

Traditionally, managing freelancers is quick and low-touch. But now, freelancers are top talent who have chosen self-employment. Therefore, you should treat them with the same respect as you would treat an employee.

According to Talent Alpha, a Poland-based freelancing platform, Europe will need over 700,000 people to close the global tech gap, and freelancers will play a key role in solving this problem.

To ensure the relationship is positive for both parties, respect the freelancer’s time. Although projects are expected to be delivered on time, “life happens.” Freelancers also have lives where things can come up unexpectedly, so try to be understanding.

6. Be reliable with communication

When working with freelancers, they may be located in a different time zone, in a different country, or they may be a digital nomad. While gig websites like Upwork and Fiverr might have chat features, it’s especially important to ensure that the way you choose to communicate is reliable.

If your company has a form of communication that the team uses, consider adding your freelancer to this platform. But before you do, ask what your freelancer prefers. They may just want to correspond through email, which is common.

7. Don't bombard freelancers with messages

More often than not, the freelancer you hire will already have multiple clients and projects. Don’t demand time from freelancers outside of their commitment to your company by sending random messages and expecting an immediate response.

If a freelancer is receiving frequent messages with changes to projects, for instance, they can easily miss something. Therefore, there’s a chance the project could come back to you incomplete. So, when you hire your freelancer, discuss how you plan to communicate before you get started.

8. Decide if a regular check-in is necessary

If you’re expecting weekly deliverables from your freelancers, it might be worth setting up a weekly check-in as you would with full-time employees. An online meeting or phone call can help keep the project on track, clarify expectations, and answer any questions the freelancer might have. These check-ins should be worked into the contract agreement, of course.

A regular check-in isn’t always necessary, and it may not work for the freelancer, so confirm before assuming. If a regular check-in isn’t possible, choose another way to catch up that works for both parties.

9. Pay freelancers on time

Paying freelancers on time is crucial to working effectively with freelancers. Depending on the payment terms and contract, the freelancer may choose to stop working if payment is sent not on time. If employees are always paid on time, then the same should be done for freelancers.

For freelancers, invoicing and payment schedules are part of their day-to-day tasks. When a client doesn’t pay on time, it adds to their list of administrative duties and can take precious time away spent working on your projects.

👉 Pro tip: With Xolo Teams, you can pay all your freelancers from a single bulk invoice. 

10. Provide helpful feedback

Finally, provide feedback that’s helpful for current projects and beyond. Freelancers are generally receptive to feedback (both positive and negative) and encourage it so they can deliver their best work. If you only provide surface-level feedback, it can be difficult to understand what you truly need.

Whatever the project may be, offer constructive feedback. This might include things about your brand and customers that take time to learn.

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About Seth

Seth Richtsmeier is an SEO professional and freelance writer with a passion for all things digital marketing. When Seth isn’t writing, you’ll find him enjoying Thai cuisine and spending time outdoors with his wife, son, and vizsla.