5 Ways to Make Freelancers Love Working For You
As an entrepreneur, you can’t possibly do all the work yourself or hire enough employees for all the tasks you need to delegate. Outsourcing is the way to go. So, how do you do that?
I’ve written a lot about when to outsource work to freelancers. I highly recommend it, but if you don’t know how to manage and get the best work out of your freelancers, it won’t be worth the expense. Remember, you hire freelancers to make your life easier, but if you aren’t a good leader it will end up making your life more complicated.
Managing freelancers is a skill that you’ll learn through trial and error. As a freelancer myself, I try to emulate the traits that I have loved in my clients. Here are a few ways you can build a strong relationship with your freelancers so they continue to do good work for you.
Provide Constructive Criticism Without Emotion
Offering feedback can be challenging, especially when you’re not too happy with the work they’ve done. But this is your business, and you deserve to have the best.
So, how should you offer feedback?
When you need something improved, give constructive criticism without emotion. This advice came from a therapist a few years ago and has stuck with me ever since.
It’s really simple. You don’t have to apologize, feel bad or be angry either. Adding emotion can make corrections a bigger (or more personal) deal than it really is. Just deliver your feedback in a neutral, matter-of-fact way so your freelancer knows exactly what to do to make it better.
As a professional, they should know that there is always room for improvement and be ready to hear what you like and don’t like about their work. There’s nothing to apologize for.
Compliment Good Work
Constructive criticism is good for correcting work you don’t like, but you should also recognize the work you do like.
Even though my clients are paying me, I always appreciate their compliments. Who doesn’t want to know they are doing a good job? Freelancers often work alone and don’t have a lot of feedback as it is, which gives your compliments a lot of weight in how they develop their skills.
When a freelancer sends you work that you love, tell them. A specific compliment will help a freelancer understand what you value in their work so they can replicate it in the future, strengthens how they perceive you as a client and encourages them to work hard for you in future projects.
Be Grateful for Their Effort
I say “Thank you” (and mean it) all the time.
When a freelancer accepts a project, I say thank you. I appreciate that they are taking something off my plate so I can focus on other things.
When a freelancer asks a question, I thank them for working on it. I appreciate that they’re committed to doing it right and not wasting any time guessing.
And when a freelancer returns the work completed, I thank them again. I appreciate that they followed through, improve my business and make my life easier.
Be grateful for every bit of effort a freelancer gives you. Show them that you appreciate what they do for you. Compliments are good for explaining specific things you like about their work, but appreciation can be doled out liberally.
A little gratitude goes a long way in shaping how the freelancer views you, your business, and how they approach your work.
Too often, I send a client a question and don’t hear back for days. After long enough and a few follow-ups, I usually get an apology, an explanation that they were busy, and finally, the quick answer I needed in the first place.
The problem is I can’t do my job well when the client isn’t communicating. It might be that I need a detail from them to start pitching or a reporter is asking to get them on the phone. If they don’t respond, we waste time and opportunities.
Most people want to do good work, os if you make it hard for them to do so, they won’t love working for you.
Prioritize communicating with freelancers the same way you would a full-time employee. At the very least, commit yourself to answering them right away letting them know you have read their message and tell them when they can expect an answer.
Pay on Time
Honestly, out of all the things I just listed, paying your freelancers on time is the most important. It’s the ultimate sign that you respect their work.
Unfortunately, most freelancers have dealt with clients who didn’t pay. Sometimes the client doesn’t pay at all and other times the client pays late or only after being reminded a few times. It’s a super frustrating situation because of obvious financial reasons, and because it shows that the client doesn’t value their work enough to pay them for it.
After dealing with this situation myself, I promised that I would always pay on time. We all have bills to pay, and I don’t people waiting weeks or months for their money. I make it a point to only hire people if I can afford it so that I can pay them ASAP.