How SMEs can harness freelance talent

Plan your project

Its important to have a timescale for the project with milestones and budgets that reflect the importance of each section of work. This is particularly crucial when working with somebody new for the first time, as it provides both parties with a clear progress report as things develop.

Start with a small less critical milestone with a smaller budget to test the quality of their work and be sure to encourage the freelancer(s) to flag any issues as early as possible so they can be addressed and rectified.

Once they have produced some work, suggest amendments if you’re not happy and give them the chance to improve it will pay off in the long term.

Managing them within the context of your team

It is important to trust your freelancer in an operational sense. Building trust can be more difficult than an in house member of staff, especially when you might not have regular face to face contact with them in the workplace, but it’s essential to any successful partnership.

One way of minimising this is ensuring you treat them as another valued team member. Include them in meetings where possible, and make introductions to those they will be working with as early on in the process as you can.

Think carefully about payment

How much should you pay your freelancer Consider your overall budget carefully too low might eliminate better candidates but dont make the mistake of making it higher than you can afford either.

Aim to pay a fair price for quality work. You are asking someone to represent you or your brand and this needs to be done in the right way. Remember value often doesnt come at the lowest price!

It may sound simple but it is essential to clearly state how much you are willing to pay them and your payments terms before work begins. Many freelancers work project to project and like everyone else they have bills to pay, so start the relationship on a clear footing and pay when you say you will to maximise the likelihood of a more long-term working relationship developing which is to everyones benefit.

By Alice Weightman, founder of The Work Crowd, an online platform which matches quality freelancers with companies looking to outsource work in PR, communications and marketing services.

Image via Shutterstock.

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