Working with freelancers: Useful stuff business owners + technical people should know
The pressure to produce written and visual content to connect with customers means business owners have had to expand their repertoire.
#1 Own responsibility for your project
#2 Create accountability
- Do the necessary thinking and research about what you want in terms of look, feel, and functionality, then document this and share it in a conversation and in written format with your developer (graphic designer, content creator, and so on).
- Create a list of questions to ask your website developer at each stage of the project. By doing that you’re creating accountability for them and it demonstrates you’re more than just financially invested in the project.
- Dedicate an appropriate amount of time to complete reviews and provide intelligent feedback. I’ve seen business owners who’ve spent thousands of dollars on projects who haven’t dedicated the time to review the work completed for them – and then complained the outcomes were not what they wanted. Don’t be that client.
#3 Don’t look away
If your experiences with certain freelancers haven’t been ideal, maybe it’s time for a little self-reflection. Maybe, just maybe, you played a role in all this.
What does that mean? It means that you if you don’t feel confident about the content creation process, your provider is going to sniff that out a mile away. In some cases, they may use that against you. In other cases, if your freelancer has your best interests at heart, they’ll take you on a journey, educating and raising awareness along the way.
But here’s the thing, even if you feel out of your depth, it is possible to communicate that confidently. Business owners can approach these conversations with posture, saying something like:
“Look Mary Joe, I don’t know very much about the content creation process, but I do want to understand what’s going on during my project, every step of the way. Can you explain the steps before we start?”
This level of honesty and vulnerability opens up the channel to better communication between you and your freelancer. You might also ask questions like:
What kind of communication will there be during the project?
What kind of response time can I expect from you?
How are reviews conducted?
Will I be able to speak to you if I need to?
Instead, this is what typically happens. Because the business owner feels out of their depth, they look away, hoping it will all just magically take care of itself. If you’re not tech savvy at all (and there are plenty of us around), the idea of a website project is a nightmare. Just the thought of it can leave you feeling out of control and overwhelmed – never a good basis for starting a relationship, particularly one involving an exchange of funds.
But here’s the thing, if it’s your project or content, you can’t afford to look away, especially if you engage someone else to do the work.
Your job is to know just enough about your project. It’s the freelancer’s job to know more and educate you along the way. If that hasn’t happened for you, it could be time to muscle up, do your research – and find the right people to work with.
Want to learn more about working with freelancers? Download the free guide for business owners who are ready to work with freelancers in a more conscious way and realise the best outcomes for their projects.