The American workforce now consists of nearly 36 percent or nearly 58 million freelancers. The figure is expected to surge to 50 percent by 2027, according to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In 2019, freelancers contributed over $1.2 trillion or five percent of the US Gross Domestic Product or GDP. These figures clearly indicate the popularity of freelancing and its rising demand.
The demand for freelancers is mainly from Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) across the US. That’s because entrepreneurs are increasingly outsourcing services from freelancers since hiring full-time staff for certain processes isn’t often necessary.
However, hiring freelancers also comes with inherent flipsides. Hence, it’s imperative to understand how to manage freelancers, if your business requires one.
In this article, I’ll provide some tips and tweaks about managing freelancers.
How to Manage Freelancers?
As BLS figures indicate, the number of freelancers joining the gig-economy will surge in the coming years. Therefore, buyers of freelance work stand to gain in several ways, provided you know how to manage freelancers. That way, you could get the maximum mileage from the money you pay freelancers while getting quality work that benefits your organization in various spheres of operations.
Scout the Market for Talent
Before and during 2020, most buyers of freelance services would flock to freelancing portals including Upwork, FlexJobs.com, Freelancer.com, Transformify, and Fiverr, to name a few. However, using these portals isn’t free by any means. Indubitably, you’ll find superb freelancers on these websites.
Yet, an increasing number of freelancers, especially beginners, opt to look for work through other online resources. LinkedIn ranks among the topmost websites where freelancers look for work. That’s mainly because LinkedIn helps eliminate the fees that range between five percent and 20 percent that freelancing platforms charge from the earnings of freelancers. For beginners, this fee can prove hefty, considering there’re no guarantees of getting assignments. Transformify does not take a cut on freelancer's earnings and is valued by top talent.
Furthermore, 2020 also saw an exponential increase in the number of professionals across America joining the gig-economy as freelancers, either due to loss of fixed jobs or out of own volition and concerns over venturing outdoors due to risks from the contagion.
Therefore, find freelancers on LinkedIn and other popular job boards, to find the best talent that suits your needs. Both these resources can help find highly qualified and skilled professionals that wish to embark on careers as freelancers.
LinkedIn is particularly useful since you can view references and educational qualifications as well as the skillset and work experience of a freelancer, before hiring. In fact, LinkedIn is popular because at least one person gets hired from the website every 10 seconds. With nearly 680 million spread across 200 countries and territories, you can find some of the best professionals on LinkedIn.
Set Realistic Deadlines
Setting realistic deadlines is one of the best ways to manage freelancers. Understandably, freelancers take several assignments to ensure a steady flow of income. Therefore, they’re sometimes prone to missing deadlines. Your business could suffer if any freelancer isn’t able to deliver the work on schedule.
To avoid such situations, it's best to set realistic deadlines that match your requirements and would allow a freelancer to deliver superior quality work on time.
This would entail some efforts from your side too. Meaning, you’ll have to identify areas where you require freelance work and quantify the volume. Once you’ve these facts in place, it’s easy to set deadlines while finding whether one or more freelancers would be necessary to complete the work on schedule.
One of the dangers of providing short deadlines is that you might end up with unsatisfactory work. While freelance platforms do hold payments to freelancers in escrow, you’d have no option other than to accept shoddy work because rejecting it could cost your business dearly in other ways.
Specify Your Objectives Clearly
Managing freelancers and their work becomes a lot easier when you specify your objectives clearly. This means, informing freelancers about the specific purposes their work is expected to serve and its expected outcomes. This also enables freelancers to provide work according to your needs and expectations, instead of providing something vague that wouldn’t prove very useful.
Highly talented freelancers cost a lot. And you’re paying for their services. Therefore, it’s only fair that you should get work that suits the needs of your business while helping it reach the desired goals.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for freelancers through a freelance marketplace or LinkedIn or job boards, setting forth your objectives clearly always helps attract the best talent. Obviously, you’ll have to go over dozens or even scores of bids before finalizing the right people for your freelance work. Yet, the effort would prove worthwhile.
Hold Regular Video Conferences
Once you specify the objectives, the next way to manage freelancers is by holding regular video conferences on Zoom or other resources. That way, you can monitor the progress of the work you’ve given to freelancers and have any corrections done, if necessary. Interaction between the buyer and freelancer is very important if you’re going to manage one or more freelancers properly and get work done to the fullest satisfaction.
Video conferencing enables file sharing and screen sharing. This allows you to view what’s been done and whether it matches your needs while helping you to provide guidelines for further work on the same project. It ensures that your work is moving ahead in the proper and desired direction, helping to avoid delays and disappointments later.
The above tips should help you manage freelancers and get superb value for your money you pay for the work. There’s a lot of superb talent available in the freelance market both in the US and abroad. These tips would also prove useful if you’re going to hire a team of freelancers for any large project. The year 2021 and beyond will see a spurt in freelance work. Therefore, it’s imminent to learn how to manage alone freelancer or a team astutely, if you’re planning on getting the best talent and superior quality work. Ambiguity and indecisiveness have no place in the world of freelancing.