Freelancers are the best hack to getting your projects across the finish line in 2022. The gig economy is on the rise, and with good reason. These reliable experts can provide fractional services on a contract basis, giving businesses a more agile, cost-efficient, and effective way of doing business.
(Really, it’s all the best parts of hiring an outside consultant, but on an as-needed basis—the best way to stay agile and effective at a fraction of the cost.)
Below, we get into best practices for managing your project with freelancers and contract experts and show you how you can get the most out of every interaction.
How to manage your project with freelancers
No matter how large or complex your project is, you can easily manage every part by using specialists and freelancers throughout the delegation process.
Let’s get into a few ways that you can help your project find success with freelance and virtual teams.
1. Be clear about your expectations
When you’re working with freelancers, it’s important to remember that they are likely not a part of your internal organization.
When setting project expectations, try to be as clear as possible to avoid roadblocks down the line. A great way to do this is to establish a clear hierarchy and contact points for the project. Also, encourage communication and collaboration across your project management tools and channels.
2. Build a relationship with your freelancers
A project isn’t just a project. It’s an opportunity to connect and interface with new people and skill sets. A good working relationship is key to keeping your project in line and on track.
To build this in your business, focus on getting to know who the freelancers are as people and team members, as well as learning how they best work and thrive.
A great way to do this is to be proactive, setting several “touchpoints” and opportunities for your team to interface and connect. Do your best to make these casual hangs. A virtual coffee hour or other virtual team-building tools can connect even the most global teams.
3. Be available and responsive
Freelancers are masters of their domain, but they still may need your help to clarify a few big-picture questions. Do your best to be as available as possible to your freelancer, and work to anticipate any needs or concerns they may have.
You can work actively to avoid daily standups and miscommunication by providing clear briefs and guidelines from the start of the relationship. Both you and your team will appreciate it.
4. Provide feedback as you go
Providing feedback is especially important, as this will affect how your freelancer takes on successive tasks in the project. It can also help them better understand the “big picture” and stakeholder expectations tied to the project. If you deliver feedback incorrectly, it’s difficult to understand.
To keep the project on track, you need to provide clear, specific feedback. Pieces of feedback, such as “it isn’t good” or “it needs to be fixed,” don’t help and can provide additional barriers to your progress.
Also, understanding the motive behind the work or the freelancer’s end goal can help you determine your next steps. For example:
- If you don’t like how the project’s going, ask yourself two questions:
- Is this “dislike” caused by something that is business critical?
- What’s the reason the freelancer is moving in this direction? Is it because of a lack of knowledge or clarity? Is it aligned with an industry best practice you aren’t aware of?
- If you like how the project’s going, that’s great. It means you properly set expectations.
- Be sure to take every opportunity to communicate positive feedback. This helps to give your culture a boost and can foster new moments for collaboration and teamwork.
Managing for freelance specialist types: Tailoring your approach for (seriously) big rewards
Stepping into the “flow” with your freelancers can help you both to walk away with the best possible experience. Here are a few ways to better partner with specific team members during work hours.
- Designers appreciate mood boards or inspiration provided by stakeholders or supervisors to give them an idea of the project’s direction. Keep the feedback coming—you’ll be able to work together to bring the vision to life.
- Videographers enjoy working with pre-set shot lists and storyboards to help bring the story to life on-screen. Give feedback as much as possible to save on revisions or inefficiency.
- Writers & developers like it when you give them clear expectations or an outline of what the needs are before the project begins. If changes happen, let them know as soon as you can, and offer feedback along the way to keep everything on track.
You’ll notice two common themes in these suggestions: Communicate, and be extremely clear wherever you can. If you operate with these two goals at the core of what you do, you’ll find success—every time.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about freelancer management
Looking to dive right in? We got you. Below are just a few of the common questions we get regarding freelancer management.
When should I start the project management process with freelancers?
This depends on your project and the size of your team. We recommend communicating details as soon as they are (somewhat) set in stone and continuing to communicate throughout the timeline of the project.
Other great recommendations include group kickoff calls, regular standup meetings to check on progress, and opening up channels of communication using tools like Slack or Google Meet.
Are there any “perfect” project management tools out there?
There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all tool. The good news is that if your tool allows your team to collaborate, strategize, and execute, that’s really all you need. Our favorites include Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. The integration opportunities are endless.
What if the freelancer isn’t a fit?
Sometimes, hard conversations need to happen. Execute any sort of decision quickly, clearly, and as positively as possible. Doing this quickly can prevent inefficiency down the line.
Freelance project management is the future of work for hundreds of businesses like yours
Looking for outside talent to help you get more work done? Verblio can help with that.
With our marketing strategies and happy writers, we deliver consistently competitive content that delivers results now and into the future.
Click here to learn more about Verblio and how we can help you grow your business.