With 59 million freelancer in the US alone, it’s safe to say that freelancing is at an all-time high.
This begs the question: why the sudden freelancing surge?
Fortunately, the answer is simple - businesses are beginning to see the benefits of freelance workers, and as such, the demand for freelance talent has never been greater.
In the near future, 80% of enterprises plan to greatly increase their use of flexible workers.
50% of freelancers offer highly skilled services - for example, programming, IT services, business consultation, etc.
The US freelance market boasts a 78% growth in annual earnings.
Of course, when you consider that professional freelancers tend to be experts in their field, ready to hit the ground running, and already understand what’s expected of them - it’s no wonder more and more businesses are looking to work with them.
That said, you might be wondering how to start working with freelancers? Or, are you curious about the best practices for engaging freelance workers? Alternatively, perhaps you’re looking for advice on making the most out of a freelance team?
If you’re nodding your head in response to any of these questions, stay tuned as we reveal five of the top ways to work with freelancers.
1. Hire the Right People From the Get-Go
While typically a faster process, hiring a freelancer is akin to any other hiring procedure:
Provide a clear job description - The more defined your expectations, the easier finding a better match will be. So, if you haven’t already, list all the skills and experiences you want your ideal freelancer to have. Using hiring managers like Bubty, honing in on what skills you need is a breeze. Just enter your skills and experience criteria, and hit search.
Define a budget: You need to communicate clear boundaries on how you’ll remunerate freelancers. This is why freelance management systems like Bubty enable you to filter workers by budget, availability, status, etc.
Assess potential freelancers: Often, a skills-based approach works best. For instance, examining a portfolio of previous work or conducting a skills test. Bubty makes it easy to evaluate talent based on their skills, experience, and customer references. With Bubty’s review system, clients can leave reviews so you can see which freelancers boast a glowing track record.
2. Use the Right Tools
As you start introducing freelance workers to your team, it’s worth considering the following three kinds of tools for streamlining operations and boosting general productivity:
FMS - Freelance management systems: An FMS is a cloud-based application designed to facilitate the sourcing, contracting, and accountancy side of working with freelancers. Often these platforms work wonders for helping you find the right talent for your project while offering support with onboarding, HR, legal, financial, and local compliance issues. Bubty is one such FMS (more on this below) that ****provides users with searchable talent pools where you can hire and manage freelancers with just a few clicks.
PMS - Project management software: These platforms are explicitly designed to help you and your team manage your workload. The right project management software can help to foster collaboration, monitor progress, and track your freelancing budget. That’s as well as facilitating file sharing, project scheduling, and assigning specific tasks and roles to team members. Some popular PMSs include:
CMS - Content management system: This is best described as a repository for digital material. I.e., a place where content can be shared across your team virtually. Some popular CMSs include:
That said, there’s more comprehensive software out there, offering both FMS and PMS features in one bundle.
3. Communication is Key
While you want freelancers to work independently, fostering effective communication is imperative from the get-go. For instance, as part of your onboarding process, it’s often a good idea to meet with freelancers and answer any questions they may have about the project.
It would be best to make it clear you’re open to communication throughout your working relationship. Usually, freelancers work remotely, making clear communication all the more critical. Needless to say, this goes a long way to nipping any misunderstandings in the bud and ensuring no area of your project is overlooked.
If you're unsure how to employ an effective communications strategy, here are a few tips for hitting the ground running:
Establish clear points of contact for freelancers to direct questions and queries.
Encourage freelancer feedback; this is especially worth doing if you’re looking to identify areas for improvement.
To avoid delays, respond to freelancers quickly.
Using an FMS or PMS with a sound communication system can work wonders for streamlining communications with team members.
4. Time Management
Establishing a clear timeline of project deadlines is imperative - not least because the average freelancer works on several projects simultaneously. In fact, as many as 80% of freelancers work on up to three projects at any given time. So, if you don’t clarify which projects are a priority, you’ll risk falling behind on your project schedule.
Again using a PMS is an excellent way of visualizing and communicating when deadlines need completing. Plus, you can usually send automatic reminders to team members when a task is due to help ensure your project stays on track.
5. Transform Misconceptions to Your Advantage
When working with freelancers, we can turn potential disadvantages into business assets.
That said, here are a few examples of how to achieve exactly that:
Global Teams Cause a Broken Work Culture
Some assume that employing team members from different countries creates language or cultural barriers. However, statistically, a diverse team is 35% more likely to generate financial returns above respective national industry medians. Research also suggests that a myriad of thinking can increase organizational innovation by 20%.
Moreover, logistically speaking, when you have operatives in different time zones, you can increase your businesses' operational hours -so that, effectively, your team will be working around the clock.
If you want to implement a global team, you need a comprehensive FMS to help you handle international invoicing, project scheduling, and streamlining your global HR strategy.
Freelancers Are Less Productive and Skilled Than Full-Time Employees
Contrary to this belief, [recent reports](https://www.upwork.com/press/releases/new-upwork-study-finds-36-of-the-us-workforce-freelance-amid-the-covid-19-pandemic#:~:text=Freelancers are increasingly high-skilled,up from 45%25 in 2019.) indicate that freelancers can be highly skilled additions to your workforce. Moreover, by allowing people to choose their working environment, studies show this can improve productivity by 2.7%.
To encourage productivity among your freelancers, you need to organize your project schedules and deadlines. With an FMS, like Bubty, you can make it easy for you and your team to get on the same page by sharing all the necessary files, briefs, and deadlines freelancers need to get the job done.
Managing Freelancers Takes a Lot of Work
For the uninitiated, sourcing and overseeing freelancers can feel intimidating. However, modern FMSs like Bubty make it easy to manage workers from start to finish. For instance, Bubty takes care of hiring, onboarding, compliance, and invoicing, thereby removing the majority of the burden that comes with hiring freelancers from your shoulders.****
So, there you have it; our advice on the best ways to work with freelancers. The freelance market offers a competitive edge for companies looking to expand their team. So it’s no wonder that high-quality freelancers are in such demand!
So, to recap, if you want to make the most out of your freelancers, we suggest doing the following:
Be clear about the kind of talent you’re looking to acquire
Practice meaningful communication
Use the right tools
Execute effective time management
By following the above pointers, you shouldn’t go too far wrong. We wish you the best of luck as you traverse the freelance domain.