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As more and more companies start turning to freelancers, it is important that they understand the difference between being a client and being an employer. Putting together a freelance team is not the same as putting together a team of employees, so you have to know how to tailor your approach if you want to get the best results. Here are a few simple ways to adjust your hiring and management style for the freelance market.
Be a Good Client
As the person doing the hiring, it’s easy to feel like you have all the power. However, good clients attract good freelancers, and vice-versa. If you want to find and retain the best talent, you need to make sure you are being the kind of client the best talent wants to work with.
So, what makes a good client? Well, for one, offering a fair rate. While you can offer low rates to inexperienced freelancers (and many of these people will do a good job), you’re not going to get the best quality work with this strategy. According to the Balance, newbies can expect to charge $20 to $30 an hour, while those with a few years of experience will charge in the $35 to $60 range, with seasoned pros charging up to $100 an hour. Be honest about your budget — if it is limited, you may have to parcel out the work across a longer period of time.
Another way to attract top talent is to be clear and communicative with your expectations. It helps to use reliable communication tools — Slack is an industry favorite with large remote teams — or to have systems in place to ensure exchanges are recorded. For example, if you opt for video calls, it can be a good idea to use an automated speech-to-text transcription service to ensure everything you say is accurately transcribed in writing. Usually, these services can sync audio and text, enabling anyone to visit the exact moment in a conversation for reference.
If you struggle to trust remote freelancers, there are tools that can help. A time-tracking app can help you make sure you are paying for what you get — Wirecutter recommends Harvest, Toggle, and Timeular — or you could simply set up daily check-ins. If you choose to pursue daily check-ins, make sure to let them choose when works best for them, but it’s always important to clearly communicate what your expectations are from them.
Consider Alternative Hiring Models
Most people know they can find freelancers on freelancing platforms, but these do not always represent the best value. While there is talent to be found, especially on platforms that screen their workers, selecting a freelancer from the dozens of bids can take up valuable time.
An alternative could be to turn to a temp agency, which can do the work of matching you with candidates. As Wonolo points out, there are certain pros and cons to hiring temps over freelancers, but the former can be especially handy if you need to fill a place fast and don’t have much time to dedicate to the search.
You should also expand your horizons when it comes to the contracts you offer. For example, a contract-to-hire model can be a great way to test out a freelancer before hiring them on a more permanent basis. This benefits both parties, acting as a trial run and building trust.
When hiring freelancers, don’t shy away from hiring people based around all four corners of the world. Remote teams come with their own difficulties, but they can also be incredibly powerful.
Some of the benefits of distributed teams include a varied set of perspectives, 24/7 timezone coverage, high levels of productivity, and added flexibility for your staff. Many fully remote companies also hold events where everyone can get together a few times a year, which can be a great way to boost and re-invigorate team spirit.
Freelancing is on the rise, and this is good for everyone involved. Freelancers get to enjoy an unprecedented level of professional freedom, while companies get to select the best person for each individual job, paying only for the work they need. It’s a new world of business out there: the sooner you learn to adapt your approach to the freelance market, the sooner you will be able to take advantage of the possibilities.
By Courtney Rosenfeld