6 Ways To Suck At Hiring A Freelancer!
So I’m not particularly proud of the title … but I really couldn’t come up with something else that accurately described a basic concept: Hiring a freelancer and how you might be bad at it. The purpose of this post is not to embarrass anyone or point fingers, but rather to help educate those entrepreneurs, businesses and start-ups on ways to creating great relationships with your outsourced companies.
Freelancers and I’ll add outsourced companies, work with businesses on a contract basis. This helps small businesses, start-ups and even large businesses to scale work on a budget, start new divisions and test market new products. The list goes on for reasons that businesses hire freelancers and outsource to other companies vs. hiring employees.
Most people in this day and age have resorted to hiring freelancers for everything from data entry, website design and even legal matters. Let’s face it – it’s a changing business game out there and the ability to pick up top notch help for specific functions vs. hiring someone full time is pretty attractive. You probably wouldn’t be able to pay for that person’s talent and knowledge as a full time employee yet – but your company/business can pay for their knowledge in pieces as you need it.
There are many other reasons to hire a freelancer – but we’re here to talk about how to do a better job at hiring and getting quality work from outsourced sources.
1. Be Clear Not Rude At Initial Hiring: Over the years I’ve had firsthand experience realizing how a client or business handles that initial request for work – this will be a clear sign as to how it will be to work with them moving forward. This is just as much of a tip for Freelancers as it is for the hiring company. If a company starts with demanding words prior to any contract such as “I’m not paying for …” or ” You will provide …” or “Without Exception …” chances are – you’re not going to be a great client to work with on any project.
Talking down or demanding anything from anyone that you are going to trust to your business operations on any level – isn’t a good leadership and it’s not setting a great tone for excited contractors. Experienced contractors will walk away from this type of client before they even begin – so you will be left with only inexperienced contractors and maybe under-qualified ones.
2. You Think You “Own” That Person’s Time: If you think that because you are paying a portion of a person’s time that you should get full time attention at the drop of a hat from them … you probably suck at hiring a freelancer. Freelancers are able to offer you competitive rates because they work with MANY clients. I once had (notice I said “had”) a client who paid for 3 hours of work a month from me and expected that I would drop my calls and projects I was currently working on the moment she called or emailed. I should also mention that in 2 weeks time – this person sent me 173 emails. As much as its the responsibility of the company to respect times … it’s up to the freelancer to set boundaries when things start to get out of hand.
3. You Don’t Pay On Time: This is probably one of the biggest problems facing contractors out there – being paid on time. I don’t know why companies feel that they don’t have to pay on the agreed upon time of billing, but it happens all the time. If you had an employee with an agreement to pay on every 1st or 15th or every Friday … you have to pay on those days. Why then as a company, are you paying in delay to outsourced contractors?
Now, if there is an issue with the contractor and their work – different story, this means you’ve both had conversations and the work needs to be completed / fixed prior to payment. If a hired contractor is doing all the work asked … then you need to send payment to them on the day they’ve asked. It’s always a good relationship when both parties fulfill their agreements.
4. Appreciate Your Contractor: I’m fortunate now to have some awesome clients! Can’t name one of them I do not appreciate or not want to work with. However, those clients that say a simple “Thank you” or “I appreciate your help” to me … oh … they get more work out of me than those that don’t. It’s not a necessary expectation – but treating a contractor with appreciation … usually encourages more work from the contractor.
5. Watch Your Email Usage: This is one I have to keep watching myself. As an entrepreneur and working multiple projects – it’s easy to carried away with email. Most freelancers I know, appreciate emails over a phone call because it allows them to have a documented record of what you are requesting and it allows them time to work on your issue when they get to your account. Entrepreneur’s are hard workers, which means they typically work all hours, even into the wee hours of the next morning. It’s easy to start emailing your contractor at that time – try to hold that email / thought. I’m just as guilty of it… until I get a response from one of my contractors at that wee hour of the morning…. then I just became a demanding client – not what I want.
If you are a late hour worker and send emails at all hours – make sure your contractors understand this and that you have no intention of them replying back off hours or immediately. This helps all parties to understand the process and everyone has the same expectations.
6. Respect Their Dinner Hours: This is another issue plagued by many – clients who call, email or text at all hours of the day with an expectation of an immediate response. Typically, a freelancer will let their clients know when they are “off grid” or on vacation. Similarly, we’ll go back to #5 on this list which talks about time. Unless you have a prior agreement with your contractor on time and time zones. Texting, requesting meetings or anything past 5 PM in their timezone requires prior arrangements. Never assume (See #2 and #5) that your contractor is available at all hours. Reaching out unexpectedly in the evening time conflicts with their family and personal time. Make arrangements and all should be good!
All these items listed are things a contractor can take responsibility for ahead of time and provide understanding to the hiring company. Not all companies are experienced in working with freelancers, so your communication of expectations from a client are needed as well. If you have specific work hours – let them know. If you prefer emails over phone calls – let them know. The list goes on – but having good communication between each party is the way to win the hiring a freelancer project!
I hope this helps to demystify the reasons some contractors and clients don’t seem to get along. Beside the need for communication – respect is a valuable thing for both parties!