May 1, 2019updated 18 Jul 2019 8:14am

Productivity tips: 7 tips for using freelancers to supercharge your business

By Andrew Wray

Freelancers represent the future of work for businesses looking to grow and compete in the modern economy. They are the fastest growing labour group in the European Union – and in America the number of self-employed workers is projected to triple to 42 million by 2020.

And yet, according to Deloitte, an incredible 23% of businesses have little to no process in place for sourcing and managing alternative talent.

In an effort to remedy this, here are seven tips for using freelance talent to boost productivity at your business.

1. Talk to them early

Freelancers may not be staff members – but to get the best out of them try not to leave everything to the last minute.

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 full brief, given in good time, 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

It’s easy to think that hiring a professional will mean they instinctively know exactly what you want.

While they will usually know their market, 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

There are freelancers out there from all over the world who do work in all sorts of different niches.

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.

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 people too! 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

If you’re using an online platform to source your creative talent, be sure to use the reviews to your advantage.

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

Freelance workers are quick and nimble, which means they’re often used reactively to plug gaps when things need to be done asap.

But 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 modern freelance landscape is absolutely buzzing with talent that comes from all over the globe – and prices are varied and competitive.

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.

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