Remember when online dating first came about? Everyone had their doubts. How can you fall in love with someone who you’ve never met in person? How do you know they aren’t really a serial killer or some sort of freak show? My how times have changed. In September 2015 there were 54 million singles in the US, and 49 million have tried online dating, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute. Seventeen percent of those online dates led to marriage in 2014, and 20 percent of currently committed couples met online. Dating isn’t the only matchmaking success of the Internet. “Looking for freelance writer” is a top search phrase among businesses looking online for someone to handle their verbiage.
Fine Qualities of the Freelancer Relationship
Going the freelancer route is like online dating, in that you don’t have to buy expensive gourmet dinners, boutiques of roses, or a new pair of date-worthy slacks. You don’t even have to take time off from work to go online dating, as the Internet accommodates a 24/7 open door policy. Searching for freelancers follows this same freedom, along with a massive money saving opportunity. If you hire a freelancer you don’t have the overhead of an in-house employee. You get to pay them for their product, not by the hour or salary. You don’t have to offer benefits, health insurance coverage, paid vacation days, or overtime. Your human resource department can be streamlined, and you don’t have to provide such a roomy workspace.
Ruffling Freelancers’ Feathers
As with any online dating scenario, there’s an outcome to be expected and both sides should understand this going in. If you are fine with flirting with freelancers and using them for a single experience, then be upfront about this. Don’t dangle diamonds in front of them, thinking this will help you with the quality of the experience. Freelancers talk, and if the word on the web gets around that your business is boasting of big bonuses and long-range projects, while you fail to hold up to your end of the deal, your rep will suffer. Between freelancer forums and social media feeds, your freelancer web cred will take a hit, causing you difficulties in finding quality and reputable freelancers in the future.
Committing to a Freelancer Relationship
If you are a client with goals of finding a freelancer to work for you long-term let the freelancer know up front. While you may think you have the perfect work opportunity for a writer, not every freelancer is interested in working 80 hour weeks, weekends and being attached to their email 24/7. That, dear reader, is the joy of being a freelancer, free of the structure and formality analogous to the traditional dating scene. Online freelance writers who are ready to take the next step with a client will have set expectations that accompany any business relationship. These include:
- Honesty and transparency regarding projects and assignments in the present and future opportunities
- Respect in regards to giving the freelancer the ability to do their job without hovering
- Trustworthiness in reference to getting paid via the stipulations of a contractual agreement
- Open communication that allows the freelancer to stay abreast to your professional needs, which may include video conferences, phone calls, emails, Google doc sharing or texting depending on the client-freelancer capabilities
Furthermore, when dealing with an online freelancer, remember that there is a very real person on the other side of the screen. Show them the same professional courtesy you would any person who works in your office. As with online dating, you also want to represent yourself truthfully. Avoid deception if you have any interest in getting the best quality of work from freelancers.
Miranda B has been a freelancer for six years with no plans to stop now. She’s also attempted online dating. Let’s just say, her work as an online freelancer has been far more successful.