How to Get the Most Out of a Freelancer

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Hiring a freelancer or outsourcing a job to bolster your productivity is often seen as a risk. What if he doesn’t uphold the values your church hopes to convey? What if he slacks and fails to accomplish what you hired him to do? What if you pay for a design that you just don’t like? Ultimately, these fears are nothing to worry about if you take the time to implement a thorough vetting process.

Use Third-Party Sites

A number of websites offer pre-vetted freelance professionals with specific skills, such as copywriting, design, social media marketing and SEO. If you are pressed for time, these sites allow you to browse individual profiles with testimonials, samples of work, and hopefully a concise description of the freelancer’s style and area of expertise.

This can streamline some of the work of finding and comparing freelancers as well as ensure you are dealing with serious professionals. Browse talent pools on sites such as Scripted (writers), Toptal (designers) and CloudPeeps (marketers) to find someone with relevant experience.

You can also use sites like Fiverr (various services) and 99Designs (specific design projects), which are both great for all kinds of projects from simple graphics, to podcast intros, writing, editing and more. With these “value” websites you have to pay a little closer attention to who you choose. Pick freelancers who have completed many successful projects on the platform already. Make sure they are highly rated, and actually read some of the reviews that people have left.

Ask the Right Questions

At the start of your work relationship, you want to be crystal clear about expectations. It’s critical to not only verbalize precisely what you expect from your freelancer, but also ask questions to uncover his or her expectations. This discussion should include the what, when, where and how of your business relationship.

Here are the main topics you should cover:

  • Will the freelancer be working remotely?
  • Are there certain hours you need them?
  • What are the primary tasks you need taken care of?
  • When is the task due?
  • What tools and software will they be utilizing?
  • How long will the working relationship last?

All these details should be worked out and included in a signed agreement (try Rocket Lawyer for simple and affordable contracts). The easiest way to avoid a resentful freelancer is to avoid scope creep. Scope creep occurs when roles overlap and freelancers get stuck with work that is not included in their job description (e.g., when your designer ends up doing marketing tasks or your copywriter has to tackle a design problem, or you are on your 5th revision request for what you said would be a “simple graphic”). If it’s not your freelancer’s area of expertise, or you’re requested more than what was expected, you aren’t serving them or your organization by asking them to do it.

Provide Exceptional Guidance

Bottom line – your freelancer is only as effective as the guidance you give him. Many organizations fail to recognize this. For example, getting social media help for your church can have a huge impact on your online reach. But hiring a social media manager without providing your style guide, marketing goals, and guidelines for the kind of content your audience enjoys can end up being a waste of time and money for everyone.

Remember that there is power in releasing an important task to an outside expert — especially if your staff is already taxed to the limit with other projects. Don’t let your church marketing slide. Communicate openly and honestly to find a freelancer who is passionate and ready to fill a gap in your organization.