Summary:

Working with freelancers has become a necessity for many businesses. But bringing someone into your team who doesn’t have a good idea of how your organization operates can present difficulties. You can make things easier by asking the right questions before you start your working relationship:

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Working with freelancers has become a necessity for many businesses.  But bringing someone into your team who doesn’t have a good idea of how your organization operates and who may never see you in person can have its difficulties. You can make things easier by asking the right questions before you start your working relationship:

  1. What tools do you use? It doesn’t usually make sense to try to get your entire team to conform to a particular freelancer’s tools, but you do need to know if the methods and software a freelancer uses will be compatible with your approach. You may also need to see if you can get the freelancer on board with the tools you already work with.
  2. Who will actually be working on the project? Some freelancers will bring in subcontractors for certain parts of a project — and that’s not usually a problem. But if they aren’t up for managing a team, you can see issues creep in at your end of things. Asking who you should expect to be working with ahead of time makes the process much easier.
  3. How do you schedule or prioritize your work? No matter how much you hope that your project is at the top of a freelancer’s list, the fact is that most freelancers are usually working on at least a couple of projects at any given time. You need to know how the freelancers you work with prioritize their work so you know exactly where you are in the queue.
  4. How do you handle working with multiple stakeholders? If you’re the only person from your organization working with a given freelancer, managing revisions and sharing information should be straightforward. But if you’ve got more than one person involved in making decisions about the project, you need to know how to most effectively communicate all that information to a freelancer. Maybe the best option is for all information to go through one person, or perhaps it’s better if the freelancer has full access to everyone — either way, you need to ask.
  5. What methods of communication do you prefer? It may seem obvious to you that you’ll communicate with freelancers through email or phone, but many freelancers have certain ways they handle communications. Some may not answer the phone in the evenings, while others may only check their email on specific schedules. Find the best ways to make sure you can get in touch with the freelance you’re working with, both in the regular course of things and in the event of an emergency.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Carleton Torpin

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