Working with freelance resources is not always roses. This can be frustrating when you’re in a crunch.
What’s more, not all freelancers are equal, sometimes choosing the right person is like winning the lottery! And choosing the wrong person can result in inaccuracies, loss of time and money and even cost you the relationship with your client.
As a project manager, you have to find great people and how to manage but you also need to maintain and nurture the relationship with your then, so you don’t have to constantly look for new freelancers.
At the end of the day, successful outsourcing to freelancers just requires good management and nurturing a great relationship, so here is how to accomplish that.
Why is important to nurture the relationship with your freelancers?
Let’s begin at the beginning (a very good place to begin!) and talk about why a great relationship is important.
If you have a great relationship with your freelancers, your projects will flow much more smoothly. Your mental load will be incredibly reduced and you will actually be excited to outsource to them. Most importantly, if issues do come up, you’ll be prepared to work around any issues and actually enjoy the process and reach a positive result.
A great relationship with your freelancer also means a greater level of trust and an understanding of the ways both you (as the outsourcer) and them (as freelancers) work. You will be able to count on the if you need something urgent and you can trust that they’ve got your back. In return, you will be able to help them with recommendations and provide references of a great experience.
Having a great relationship with your freelancer also means a great collaboration, a new point of view on your project and the experience that comes from working together for an extended period of time.
All of this would result in less headaches for you, a better experience for the freelancer and ultimately, a higher-quality delivery for your client.
There are tons of marketplace platforms and solutions for you to start looking for freelancers. This is great for specialized one-off projects. You may even find an amazing freelancer you would like to continue collaborating with. However finding a great freelancer in them equates to the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Recommendations from colleagues are always useful, but you cannot count solely on recommended freelancers to cover all of your needs.
What else can you do then? You can network.
Networking doesn’t only happen at ‘networking events’. You can meet clients but you can also meet potential contractors, collaborators, and freelancers via networking.
So when you have your “networking mode” activated, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of connections, including potential vendors.
Don’t just peddle business cards, but actually, spend time talking to people. If someone you meet is potentially a good contractor, have a normal conversation, keep it casual. Ask for their contact details to offer a relaxed follow-up email. Networking can be as simple as that.
It’s about making a connection, adding value to others, and staying in touch. Not about giving them the job’s specs on the spot and get them to commit!
Value Your Freelancer
If you’ve done a good job at finding the right freelancers for your project, chances are that they are well-rounded and experienced professionals. They will bring their own knowledge, skills, and expertise to the table.
It is important for them that their effort is valued, and that they are not treated like a commodity. By treating a contractor as an integral member of your team, you can keep them with you for the long haul, as well as discover new ways to leverage those skills and expertise in your business.
You Want to Work With a Professional? Act like one!
Don’t become the client everyone hates to work with and posts about in Glassdoor. Take care of your reputation -and your business relationships- by following a few simple steps.
Freelancers (and everyone else, really) value companies that act professionally. They usually define professionalism mostly as respecting previous agreements on rates and availability, and, of course, on-time payment. Nothing shrinks a freelance pool faster than delayed or no payment.
Not surprisingly, freelancers also value companies that provide appropriate support. Which makes sense, because it’s not common that your freelancers can hit the ground running. Remember that they can only be as successful as the time you are willing to invest in preparing them. Which takes me to the next point…
Have Transparent Standards
Why? Because that’s how your freelancers are going to meet the mark, and how you’ll support them to meet their responsibilities.
It’s your responsibility to set the standard and be clear about what you need. It is their responsibility to get what they need from you to complete their job.
This is a BIG shift in mindset that will revolutionize how you manage! Most managers don’t manage this way and instead ‘chase’ around or micromanage the people they manage.
Be crystal-clear on your needs or be ready pay dearly. Outline clearly what you need them to do, and what would be nice if they could do include. A top performer focuses on meeting spelled out accountabilities. If it wasn’t written or measured beforehand because “you didn’t think of it” it does not mean the freelancer isn’t a top performer, it means that you were too vague to get the results you actually wanted.
Take Care of Your Freelancers
If you want a long relationship, get them excited to work with you and your company. Showcase your strengths. How can you help them grow professionally?