Every experienced and successful freelancer has most probably crossed paths with i-know-it-all type of clients. Working with freelancers is not like managing an employee. We, freelancers, don’t like clients who micromanage their team; clients who think they could do the work better than whoever they hired and end up wondering why they hired them at all in the first place (although the freelancer’s work is superb).
Today’s post is for such clients – to help them understand what their attitude and mindset should be, if they want to have a successful and fruitful working relationship with a freelancer.
Giving sufficient preliminary information is the first step to successful collaboration.
Many clients keep the project details in secrecy and reveal important and needed information only after signing a contract. Such clients are more likely to hire unprofessional or the very least, inexperienced freelancers whose quality of work is questionable and often fail to deliver on time. Every experienced freelancer would ask questions in advance and stand by their principles – they would never sign a contract before having the full picture.
Dear clients, to make sure you hire the right freelancer for your project, make sure you give all the needed preliminary information, provided details in advance can make or break your project’s success.
You, being the client, have the answers to all questions which freelancers may ask you. They don’t ask out of curiosity. They ask to better understand your business needs, their role in your project, your requirements and timeline and everything else which matters to giving you a price quote.
Asking and addressing all questions is the only way to fine-tune your expectations – who should do what, when and within what budget. Remember, writing your job post well is the first step to finding the right freelancer for your team.
When working with freelancers, give them their space – freedom is the vehicle for your project success.
If you have conducted your interviews and have chosen the right freelancer for your team, give them their space and let them do their job.
Control, progress reports, directions, feedback, critique and praise are an indispensable part of your successful collaboration. But don’t breathe down your freelancer’s neck all the time, micromanaging every single step they make. Freelancers avoid working with i-know-it-all type of clients.
If you have done your recruitment right, the freelancer you hired is a professional. You hired them because of their skills and experience. Let them do their job so that they can complete the project on time, within budget and with the agreed quality.
For successful collaboration with a freelancer, make sure you give them your feedback promptly.
Unlike micromanagers, many clients hire a freelancer and then forget about his or her needs. When a question arises or feedback is needed, those clients disappear from the face of the earth and the freelancer cannot proceed with their work. Don’t be that guy!
As a freelance client, it’s your job to give feedback and answer ongoing questions, no matter if the consultant is writing copy for you, designing, programming, helping you with marketing, and so on. If you don’t give them feedback when needed, your freelancers can’t be sure if they are working in the right direction; if they met your requirements; if they felt and presented the company culture in their materials; if their work is in line with all other existing company communication materials.
The lack of feedback or even only delaying it leads to delays in your project as well. Furthermore, it demonstrates lack of respect to your freelancer’s efforts and time.
The quality of your feedback is important, too. Skip the comments like “ehm, I don’t know what the problem is but I don’t like it; give me a new version!” Such feedback doesn’t give any information to your freelancer.
For the sake of your project success, you as a client must give your reasons what you don’t like and why. In the course of discussions with the freelancer, together you can even reach a decision how that something should be changed to fit your company culture and needs. So, if you want to complete the project successfully and keep the freelancer on your team, make some time to provide them with quality and prompt feedback.
When working with freelancers, it’s paramount to keep your end of the deal.
Making good on your word and sticking to the terms of your contract is a rule both freelancers and clients should comply with. However, I am including it as a tip for clients when working with freelancers for a reason. I notice a tendency in clients to expect more than they have asked for, without price adjustment.
When you hire a freelance writer to write an article of 500 words for $X with 2 edit requests included in the price, don’t expect them to write 2 articles for the same amount of money only because you didn’t have any edit requests on the first one.
Honor your agreement or you risk being labeled as a bad client and nobody would ever want to work with you.
Jeri Walker-Bickett (@JeriWB) says
As someone on the editing end of being a freelancer, I’d add for clients to take advantage of any follow-up that’s included in the editing package. I’ve been surprised how many don’t, usually due to schedule conflicts, but still…
hm, this is strange – if i were paying for professional editing services, i would think i;d follow up!
a question though, Jeri – does following up or not following up plays a role in YOUR decision whether to work with that particular client again or not?