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The freelance marketplace is booming, with thousands of global companies of all sizes now taking advantage of a wor...
The freelance marketplace is booming, with thousands of global companies of all sizes now taking advantage of a worldwide pool of self-employed talent.
Thanks to freelancing websites such as oDesk and eLance, companies can feed assignments to a multitude of skilled personnel, without the stress and cost of taking them on as employees. eLance alone provides access to nearly three million global freelancers.
The freelancing marketplace is a true meritocracy, and while some employers use it as a way to gain cheap labour for simple tasks, others are willing to pay a fair price for the best people, which provides skilled workers with a way to forge out a successful career working for a diverse range of clients.
For the purposes of this article, we will assume that you choose quality over cost when selecting freelancers. The old adage that “you get what you pay for” is certainly applicable here.
Here are ten ways to hold on to your best freelance talent:
Online freelance marketplaces have advanced portfolio and feedback systems, which allow you to ensure you choose personnel whose experience and approach really fits with your objectives. So, don’t choose based on price or on gut feeling—make use of the information that’s there for you.
Freelancers expect loyalty from regular clients, and can quickly lose respect for those who communicate sporadically and fail to respond to messages until work needs doing. If you don’t communicate properly, don’t be surprised if a good quality freelancer is too busy on other projects when you suddenly decide you need them again after weeks of silence.
Even the best freelancers sometimes take on low-income tasks during slow months. However, you can be sure they don’t prioritise those tasks during the boom times.
If you’re choosing to pay a fair price for good quality workers, you’re paying for their expertise and experience. As such, if you ignore their feedback you’re not getting the best value from their presence.
Modern freelancers typically have a wide range of regular clients. If they’re not earning their $xxx per hour from you, they can easily earn it elsewhere—so don’t expect them to happily give away their time on endless communication or project planning. You should expect to pay for this time, just as you would with an employee.
A high-end freelancer may have a high hourly rate, but you’re not paying them sick pay or holiday pay, or contributing to their retirement. Compare the cost of a good freelancer to the true cost of an employee and this should make sense.
Experienced freelancers are used to juggling numerous projects simultaneously. Hand out the work, and let them do it. If they’re not capable of this, you’ve not chosen the right freelancers.
Freelancers work best if they know not only what they have to do, but why as well. Tempting though it may be to work with freelancers on a “need to know” basis, they usually perform better if they understand how their work fits into their client’s core strategy.
Many freelancers have chosen a path of self-employment for lifestyle as well as financial reasons. Some are working around childcare needs, for example. Try to understand how your freelancers work so that your mutual expectations remain aligned.
Sometimes your requirements may change, negating the need for freelancers for a while. Perhaps you have another, cheaper freelancer lined up that you’d like to try out?
This is fine, and experienced freelancers know it’s all part of the game. But don’t just break off communication; you never know when you may suddenly wish you had that person back in the fold—and if you treat them poorly they’ll be working for someone else when you decide to get back in touch.