Who hasn’t had to bring in some external help to meet a tight deadline at one time or another? If you’ve never done it before it can be a daunting prospect. Here are my top tips for bringing a freelancer on board, painless and effortlessly

  • Preparation.  Before you make an approach, do your preparation. Do you have the authority to hire a freelancer and a budget, have you identified a specific need and what are your timescales?
  • Get to know your freelancer. It’s reasonable to ask to meet your freelancer to discuss a project you have in mind. Bear in mind that many freelancers offer a free consultation with no commitment. Take advantage of this.
  • Proposals. If you are considering asking for a formal written proposal, make sure your reasons for doing so are sensible. A freelancer can easily spend 30-60 minutes working on a proposal, and you can spend as long, if not longer, reviewing it.Use a proposal when dealing with a new freelancer or if the job is large or complex. But if you have worked with a particular freelancer before, ask yourself whether a proposal for every job is really necessary.
  • Fees. Ask your freelancer for a full breakdown of where their time will be allocated for a project (1 hour to interview for a case study, 2 hours to write up for example). Be cautious of freelancers who can’t break it down. What do they have to hide?
  • Time management. Don’t ask a freelancer to work in-house or come in for meetings unless absolutely necessary. Personal contact is important to build trust at the start of the relationship however freelancers are more efficient working remotely. Clients imagine there are distractions because we often work from home. There are more distractions working on a client’s premises. About 40% of writing time can be eaten away with interruptions and general enquiries from curious employees.
  • Compare like against like. When a freelancer’s itemised invoice arrives it’s easy to believe it’s been an expensive option. However, try working out the hourly rate for your in-house editor or writer taking into account salary, sick pay, annual leave entitlement and staff benefits. You’ll be surprised.