By Carlo Pandian
Working with freelancers is a quick way of saving your business time and money. An experienced outsourced freelancer can do the jobs you don’t have the capability or time for.
However there are many pitfalls and challenges when you choose to work with individual freelancers, which you should keep in mind at all times:
It may sound like a stereotype but the majority of freelancers are prone to procrastination. If you have a strict deadline you need to be very specific in telling them so to ensure its met, otherwise just saying ‘sometime next week’ might mean you get it at 11pm on Sunday evening and that isn’t timely enough for most businesses.
Some business specialists will tell you to outsource almost everything from accounts to copywriting. However, there are certain elements of your business you can keep in-house, even if you’re not a specialist in that area. For example choosing to use an external accountant isn’t necessary as you can manage and control your own accounts with comprehensive accounting software like QuickBooks.
Overworked and Overstretched.
Many freelancers get themselves into a position where they bite off more than they can chew and ultimately the client suffers. It’s hard to gauge whether your chosen freelancer is overstretched, but you’ll soon see tell-tale signs. It could be that you never get your calls returned or that you receive emails at erratic times of the day. If they always miss deadlines then you need to look elsewhere.
Follow the Guidelines.
Just because you’ve chosen an experienced freelancer does not mean they have the right to follow their own set of rules. When you provide a brief or guidelines your chosen freelancer should stick to it or discuss any changes with you. If the guidelines aren’t followed then you should feel comfortable raising this with the freelancer and they should be more than willing to edit and change the work to your original plan. It doesn’t matter whether they agree or not, they are working on your behalf and it is your plan that matters.
It can be very disheartening when your freelancer provides you with a fantastic portfolio and wonderful testimonials but when it comes to delivering your work it’s below par. The persuasive techniques used to get the job are all well and good, but a freelancer cannot expect to keep it unless they keep their standards high. You don’t have to feel obliged to keep using someone if they’re not meeting the standards you require.
There are thousands of reputable freelancers out there who could make a big difference to your business. First you need to make sure you actually need the service and that there isn’t a software program or app that can be utilized instead. Secondly you need to be extremely picky about who you work with. Samples are all well and good, but you could consider including a trial period in your contract too. Get the balance right and your freelancer can become an invaluable part of your business success.
Carlo Pandian is a management graduate interested in the start-up world. He has previously written PC software guides on Intuit invoicing software and worked at the tech start-up Adzuna. When he’s not online, Carlo loves sharing entrepreneurial tips on finance, marketing and productivity.