Working with Freelancers: Achieving Symbiosis
A coming-of-age experience in the business world is acquiring freelance talent for select projects. While the word “freelance” often invokes thoughts of photographers, that is but one of many services freelancers provide. Almost any position which can be performed by a full-time employee can be performed by a freelancer (it just isn’t necessarily work- or cost-efficient to use a freelancer for a full-time position). Freelancers can be excellent temps when a full-time employee is unavailable and efficient workforce for long-term tasks that are too infrequent to hire even a part-time employee. There are many benefits to forming a successful professional relationship with freelance talent (particularly in the long-term), such as consistency in product/performance, less time spent training replacements, and obtaining skills from people who specialize in particular tasks. The best way to achieve such symbiosis is to B.O.N.D.
Something that many people don’t realize is that freelancers usually consider the work that they do to be a business. They are offering their skills and services in a professional manner just as a company does, and appreciate being recognized as such. It is easy to think of a freelancer as just a person doing tasks on the side as they are not traditional employees, but they are doing something specifically for you in order to make money for themselves just as any employee or company. While freelancers are a vendor to companies to the freelancer, a business opportunity to the freelancer is not just a customer, but a client relationship. Treating them as respected professionals will gain a lot of favor among freelancers who are often taken for granted. This can only inspire freelance talent to desire to keep you pleased.
In order to get to the phase of the relationship where you can trust a long-term freelancer to deliver to your preferences, the freelancer must be given the proper direction. Freelancers desire to please their clients to the maximum, but will need to know what your preferences are. This does not necessarily mean that each piece of work needs a full critique; a simple instructive compliment such as “I really like how, here, you only highlighted a couple of words for the hyperlink.” will result in future work containing hyperlinks with fewer highlighted words. Let them know what part of their business that you appreciate, that area will get special focus. Respectfully inform them of things that you do not appreciate, those will likewise get addressed. Nothing mentioned, nothing altered.
All businesses appreciate when satisfied customers/clients recommend them to others – freelancers are absolutely no different. Nothing lets a freelancer know that you appreciate their services more than referring them to your contacts. It shows a dedication to your relationship that will entice them to maintain the long-term relationship. With many freelancers feeling under-appreciated for their services, recommending them to others goes a long way towards showing that you respect AND appreciate them, even legitimizing that this is a B2B relationship.
Deliver on Promises
Just as a business expects the freelancer to come through with a work product, it is only reasonable that the business do likewise with the consideration. Just as you would (should) never offer a customer, employee, or vendor something that you would never provide, that applies to freelancers. If a barter was to include a service as well as a monetary payment for what the freelancer performed, and only the money was provided, this will only serve to dissuade the freelancer from doing their best work for you (assuming they even decide to continue still doing any work).
When a business develops a strong relationship with their freelance talent, many stresses can be relieved. A skilled writer can remove the pressure of producing company blogs. Having a solid caterer on speed dial can eliminate that entire step of planning a corporate event. A regular housekeeper can you from worrying about cleaning as well as working. One perfect freelancer can take a whole category of problem off of your plate.
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Graduating Magna Cum Laude with an AS in Paralegal Studies, Neth W. has drafted personal profiles and resumes, analysis reports, self-help and comedy essays, and a variety of legal documents including, but not limited to, domestic and class-action complaints, research reports, memoranda, scripts for depositions and interrogatories, Municipal Bonds, and multi-million dollar license agreements for the city of Nashville, TN. Neth can write as informal as first-person humorist tales, to as formal as APA format. Every project gets treated as a top priority, and will be completely customized to each order. Using the OHIO method (Only Handle it Once), no project will be overlapped with another; not one task will be interrupted for any other.