The freelance workforce is huge and growing, how can you build productive relationships to boost growth?
Share this article
According to Morgan Stanley, Freelancing is now the fastest growing labour group in Europe and more workers are now opting for the flexible hours and creativity that freelancing enables.
And yet, according to a recent Deloitte report, an incredible 23% of businesses have little to no process in place for sourcing and managing this kind of alternative talent - despite the global talent pool, speed and efficiency of using freelancers in business today.
Here are some top tips for using freelance talent to boost productivity at your business.
1. Talk to them early
Whilst freelancers may not be contracted as a member of staff, to get the best out of them you must treat them with the same respect that you would a permanent member of staff.
Try to embed freelancers into your wider team as much as possible - and give them as much visibility over the task as you can.
A well timed brief will allow them the hours they need to get the job done well - and mean you get plenty of time to review their work before your own deadline looms.
2. Give them a thorough brief
Whilst some freelancers may be well-versed in the nuances of your business, it is key that you provide a detailed brief that allows them to do their best work.
And while they will usually know their market and have a pretty good idea - it remains the case that every job is different.
The more detail you can get into the brief you’re sending over, the more likely it is you’ll get exactly what you need when they come back to you with the work.
3. Do your research
One of the benefits of working with freelancers is unprecedented access to a global talent pool, that you wouldn’t necessarily have access to when looking for full time staff.
If you take the time to scout around, you will give yourself the best chance of finding the perfect person who’ll deliver the most compelling work. You can use platforms like Fiverr, which will match your brief with the right freelancer, based on their skills - no matter where they are in the world.
Don’t just lump for the first person you find, unless they really are well suited to the job, because the chances are you’ll find a hotter prospect by doing a little bit of digging first.
4. Be respectful
Freelancers are often brought into fill a hole in the short term. Some managers can be dismissive of freelancers if they know they’re only going to be around for a short while. But this is a mistake. Treating creatives with respect is the best way to get them producing top quality work - and that’s the same for freelancers as it is for your own staff.
5. Make use of the reviews
Reviews are such an important part of freelancers armoury and most will take pride in the wealth of positive feedback they get. Take note of these, as it will give you an idea of the way they will be in your workplace.
The freelancers who build up strong star ratings have put in a lot of hard work and effort to get them - and the reviews people leave for them can be super useful in making sure you get what you need.
Equally - if you want to be a good citizen, leaving reviews of your own can ensure the whole ecosystem works well for everyone.
6. Get organised
Freelancers have the ability to be used in many different scenarios, but you should take the time to plot where you’re going to use them.
If you put a strategy in place to detail exactly what you have coming up and where your freelance talent will be best deployed, you may find your results improve as work comes through in good time and on budget.
Managers we talk to are increasingly building freelance talent into their forward planning, which allows them to offer clients a far wider range of services.
7. Don’t let price be your only guide
The price of a freelancer doesn’t necessarily guarantee they are going to be the best person for your business/brief.
But it’s important that cost isn’t the only thing you look for. Of course, if you can get the perfect talent at a great price then you’d be crazy not to go for it.
Sometimes, though, you may need to pay a premium to find the exact skills you need. A general rule of thumb is that the more niche the skill set, the more it’s likely to cost. And if you need a real expert for a specific task, a cheaper generalist may be the wrong approach as you’ll simply end up doing most of the hard work yourself.
A specialist who understands the intricacies and details could be far better suited to the job.