Sooner or later, most businesses need to outsource to freelancers in order to get essential work done. It can be a daunting task to find people and businesses whose values fit your own and who you believe will meet your needs the best, but once you’ve chosen the right person for the job, it’s not just a simple matter of passing on the baton. Here’s what you need to know if you want to get the most from your out-of-house work.
Know Your Constraints and Considerations
Get the most out of your time with freelancers by knowing these in advance, as your first consultation with them is going to involve clearing these up anyway. The more you can differentiate between your essential needs and more superficial desires, as well as what your limitations or constraints are, the easier it will be prioritise and avoid getting bogged down in impracticalities. The clearer you can communicate the most important aspects of the job, the more likely it is that your first consultation will go quickly and smoothly. If you don’t know what you’re asking for or how to ask for it you’re more likely to go overtime on consultations just trying to get the groundwork done, and the more likely it is that you may have to clear up miscommunications further down the work pipeline and wait on work to be redone, or simply end up with an undesirable result. This could cost your business time and money which you can avoid by starting from a good foundation here.
This is a good time to think about your expectations on what you’re getting. Ask yourself:
- What are you hoping to get out of this service? If you have multiple goals, list them out and order them according to what is the highest priority. The clearer your needs are, the easier it is for your contractors to satisfy them.
- How much are you willing to spend? Though a good quality freelancer will give you value for your money, be realistic about your budget and what it can afford. If you underestimate the costs of skilled labour and try to pay less than it’s worth, you will be telling your contractors that your business isn’t worth their time. Bargains will always come with compromises somewhere, so if keeping your budget down is a high priority, keep your requests simple enough to match it.
- When is your deadline? If meeting one is your highest priority, be aware that corners may need to be cut to meet it. However, some jobs will take a certain amount of time to complete no matter how much you’re willing to spend. For those situations, forward planning is the key.
- What may you need to provide to your contractors in order to get the job done? If you know in advance that something will be needed off you and you can prepare any assets or information to be ready up front, you may save a lot of time and hard work chasing you up for them at a later point.
Practice Good Communication
Once the work is underway, participate in the process. If you refuse to talk to the contractor between the first point of contract and the day of the deadline, you may find the work is at odds with what you wanted even if it fulfilled all the technical requirements. Discussing progress when you have the opportunity can help avoid this.
Be clear about why you want something as well as what it is that you want. Professionals will often have a myriad of problem-solving skills, allowing them to see efficient solutions to your needs that you may not be aware of. If they get to understand the situation they can bring more of their own resources to the table rather than just following requests blindly, so where possible, don’t leave them in the dark!
Being candid with feedback will also ensure that the contractors can address all of your concerns. Even if the work does not need to change as a result, they may be able to share new insights and problem-solving tools with you and restore your confidence in the work, increasing your final levels of satisfaction with the services that they have provided.
Trust the Experts
Remember that you’re contracting professionals for a reason! They know what they’re doing and often have years of experience delivering on their promises.
Depending on the needs of the project, a good contractor will check in on you about the direction of the work along the way, and advise you when different options might be more successful for your business. At these points they may give you advice that runs contrary to what you’d prefer and you may need to make some hard decisions.
Of course, sometimes it will not suit your work or your brand to take that advice up, but be aware of the level of success that these professionals have in their fields and avoid dismissing their suggestions out of hand if you want to benefit from their experience.