What Great Freelance Talent Values in Their Clients

Our complete guide to help you maintain the best possible relationship with your freelancers.

If you own or run a small business there is a strong chance you might be sourcing some external help in the form of freelance talent.

Whatever type of freelance experts you are currently engaging with, one thing is for sure: you need to know how to retain that hard-won talent for as long as possible!

So, how can you make sure that you achieve this? By understanding what serious, committed freelancers expect from and value in clients like you.

Curious to learn more? Our guide right here has you covered.

A motivating, engaging working environment

To ensure that you retain your great freelancers, you need to build a working environment that’s worth staying in for in the long run.

Just because your freelancers might not be working in your physical office, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t involve them in your company’s activities, events, and training opportunities.

For example, you could start by inviting them to your in-house team’s weekly (or monthly) get-togethers. These might still happen online because of COVID-19 restrictions, but it’s still nice to include everyone!

Similarly, you might also want to involve them in other parts of your business that you think might be interesting or important to them. Do you regularly work with a fantastic freelance marketing copywriter? Then, why not consult them on your next marketing campaign?

Even if that’s not necessarily their remit, picking their brains and hearing their perspective will help them feel more motivated and might even help you come up with an even better campaign.

Be crystal clear — straight away!

Another super-important quality of a great client? Clarity! When you sit down to create a brief for your freelancers, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • “What am I expecting to achieve with this piece of work?”
  • “How urgent is this job? When do I want/need it by?”
  • “Does this brief have all the information my freelancer needs to do a great job?” 
  • “Is this brief written in a clear, concise, and well-structured way?” 
  • “If I was the freelancer handling this job, would I be able to proceed with this information, or would I need more?”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to write an essay. Just put together instructions that are easy to understand and comprehensive. And, of course, include a clear deadline.

If you aren’t too sure about what type of deliverable you are looking for and would love to get your freelancer’s input on it, that’s fine — just make sure you specify that in your brief.

Being clear and transparent from the beginning is also essential when it comes to handling any edits to your freelancer’s work. For example, if you share a tight, accurate brief, and your freelancer is not following it, go ahead and request substantial changes.

But if your brief was short, loose, and confusing, don’t expect your freelancer to be happy when you request a bunch of changes!
Similarly, if your project scope changes at some point, be sure to notify your freelancer as soon as possible and factor in some extra time for completion.

Your time is valuable, but so is your freelancers’ — make sure that you show them that you understand and respect that.

Budget and fees: Transparency, please!

Clarity and transparency are essential when it comes to money, too. Just like you, freelancers are often small business owners. And, just like you, their income might vary month to month.

For this reason, freelancers truly appreciate open and upfront clients when it comes to topics like budgets and fees.

Let’s imagine that last quarter you allocated a highly-paid project to one of your freelancers. This quarter, though, your budget for the same type of project is halved. When you approach your freelancer asking them if they can handle it, remember to explain beforehand that, unfortunately, the pay won’t be as high this time.

Whether you want to go into more detail about why this is happening is entirely up to you. Just remember to clarify straight away that the fees are going to be lower, and let them decide whether or not they are still happy to work on it.

As long as you offer them fair pay and a heads-up whenever your budget is a bit tighter, they will appreciate and respect your decisions.

Timely payments are a must

On the topic of payments: not only is it important to pay your freelancers their worth, but it’s also essential to be prompt when processing their payments.

Did you know that research shows 29% of freelancers get paid late? You don’t want to be part of that statistic.

Freelancers rely on getting those invoices paid on the agreed-upon date. It’s unprofessional and disrespectful to let them wait around before you even begin to process their payments.

If you struggle to keep up with timely payments, perhaps because you work with many freelancers across multiple departments, automation software is a great solution.

A tool like GigRally can help you keep track of your engagements with freelancers and reduce your financial stress, so you always have sufficient cash on hand to pay your freelancers. Interested to learn more? See here.

Spread the word

What says “You’re doing a great job” more than a genuine recommendation? Freelancers are often looking to expand their reach, grow their portfolio, and boost their finances.

If you are happy with the work they’re doing for you, don’t keep it to yourself! Refer their services to other business owners, and you’ll win your freelancers’ loyalty and appreciation in the long term.

And don’t worry about potentially losing them to the competition. Because you’re bringing them more work, there is a solid chance that they will be thrilled to continue working with you.

Communication is key

Finally, you need to know how and when to communicate with your amazing freelance talent to retain them.

Your freelancers will want and expect to hear from you regularly. But that doesn’t mean you should bombard them with daily emails, WhatsApps, calls, and Slack messages. They might think you are trying to micromanage them, which could sour your relationship.

You need to strike a balance between micromanagement and abandonment. Agree on a regular time to speak that works for both you and your freelancers. On that day, feel free to reach out to your freelancers for a quick check-in and answer any questions they may have.

If you are in the middle of a long and complex project, you might want (or need) to communicate with your freelancers more often. That’s okay! Just let them know in advance so that they can set aside more time to talk with you.

It’s also a good idea to reassure your freelancers that they can reach out to you whenever they need. They might be dealing with family emergencies, illnesses, or they might simply need to ask you for clarification or information on a project.

Letting them know they can contact you outside of the pre-agreed dates will ensure that they keep you up-to-speed with their workload, progress, and performance. All this, in turn, makes for productive freelancers and happy business owners!

The takeaway

Hiring excellent freelance talent is just the first step towards a flourishing business. Using our guide, you can make sure that you keep that talent loyal to you for a long time to come!

Need an innovative way to manage your freelancers’ payments? Try GigRally today!

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